While there’s nothing wrong with the traditional birthday dish of cake and ice cream, wouldn’t it be nice to take it up a notch? Sure, you could make a gourmet cake from scratch and decorate it to within an inch of its egg and flour life. You could also make a supremely rich and decadent ice cream to sidle up along side that cake. But how about making a baked Alaska instead? You can still make it with all of those gourmet goodies, but that toasted meringue covered delight puts all other ice cream desserts to shame.
I get it….Baked Alaska is some seriously old school dessert shiz. And if you remember that show The Love Boat, it made occasional appearances as a flaming dessert seemingly floating through the dining room air while enrobed in blue flames. I can tell you that baked Alaska was, at one time, served that way on cruises in real life too…but no more. Let’s just say it had something to do with a tripping waiter and fire. (Baked Alaska is older than the 1980′s though…try more like the 1880′s.) When we went on our cruise, Craig was extremely disappointed in the lack luster baked Alaska dance (they now use battery operated votive candles inserted in the dessert). So when we got home, I was charged with making it up to him (since I had told him how cool it was). Thus….I bring you baked Alaska.
But what’s wrong with old school recipes? I mean, pretty much retro everything is cool again (hello, retro cocktail recipes). So I say let’s bring back the baked Alaska!
Ice cream desserts really couldn’t get much easier than this one. Seriously…it’s cake, topped with ice cream and swathed in a thick layer of meringue that you can either toast by sliding the whole thing under a broiler (I know, ice cream in the oven sounds like a lot of voodoo magic) or busting out your little flame thrower and torching the meringue dessert that way (which I think is a lot more fun).
The baked Alaska is also a very customizable dessert. Like brownies better than cake? Use that for the bottom layer. Like sorbet better than ice cream? Use that. Want to make it really easy to put together? Use the same size and shape for the cake as the store bought ice cream you’re using. You can also make this dessert in pretty much any size you want too. You can make a large dessert to serve a group or individual ice cream desserts.
You can also let your inner pyro out by pouring a small amount of rum around the base of the baked Alaska and lighting it on fire. WARNING: this can be dangerous! You also need to make sure that the dish you are using can handle the intense heat of an alcohol fire. Another way to do this, a little bit safer, is to use a small metal cup that you can insert into the meringue in the top of the dessert. Fill with some rum and light that. Depending on the shape of your cake, it may end up looking like a volcano (surely a hit with that kid that’s obsessed with dinosaurs).
So go a little retro and have some fun with flavor combinations. A baked Alaska will be a huge hit at your next get together.
- For The Cake
- Sponge Cake (I used this sponge cake recipe)
- For The Ice Cream
- Half Gallon Ice Cream (I used a round container of neopolitan flavor)
- For The Ice Meringue
- ¾ Cup Sugar
- 3 Egg Whites
- For The Cake
- Bake cake/brownies according to the directions.
- Let cool completely.
- Cut into desired shape/size.
- For The Ice Cream
- If making ice cream, do that at least 24 hours in advance so that it has time to really firm up.
- For The Meringue
- Fill a saucepan with 2-3 inches of water and bring it to a simmer.
- Add sugar and egg whites to metal bowl and set bowl over top of saucepan with simmering water. (Don’t let bowl touch water.)
- Whisk eggs and sugar together until well combined and warmed through. (2-3 minutes)
- Remove bowl from top of saucepan and beat mixture with electric mixer.
- Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- For Baked Alaska Assembly
- Lay cake/brownie layer on baking sheet.
- Top with ice cream.
- Using a spatula, cover the ice cream and cake with an even layer of meringue.
- Make sure that meringue completely covers the cake layer all the way to the bottom of the cake.
- Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
- Once frozen, preheat broiler to 300 degrees Farenheit.
- Once broiler is heated, slide baked Alaska 2-3 inches below broiler.
- Watch the browning of the meringue and turn dessert to brown all sides. (this only takes about 2 minutes)
- You can also use your kitchen torch, instead of the broiler. Keep turning the dessert so that it gets browned evenly.
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