Exotic and Complex: Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska dessert

Moving away from the everyday, I thought I’d mention something more upscale this time. What, you ask?

The Baked Alaska! A perfect blend of ice cream cake and browned meringue icing. The history of this cake is muddled. Some say it was found in Alaska in 1741 by explorers, others say it was invented in 1867 by the French to celebrate the purchase of Alaska.

Baked Alaska dessert
Jose Mier suggests something upscale!

No matter the origins, this cake is incredibly ambitious. It needs to be frozen perfectly and also baked at the right temperature for the right length of time.

If you want to make this cake yourself, you can expect it to take anywhere from 6 hours to a few days, depending on how cold your freezer is set and how long it takes the ice cream cake to freeze perfectly.

Despite the process being time-consuming, the ingredients couldn’t be more simple: 3 pints of ice cream (mix and match flavors for personal preference), 1 sponge cake, and meringue.

  • To start, take the 3 pints of ice cream and put it in a bowl lined with plastic wrap and cooking spray – freeze it.
  • Next, you’re going to need to bake the cake. The cake will need to be the base the ice cream sits on, so make sure it’s the same size. If you use a 9″ bowl for the ice cream and a 9″ round cake tin, you shouldn’t go wrong. The cake flavor is up to you, you can even use a cake mix if you like! So long as you end with a sturdy round cake, go wild!
  • When the cake is finished baking, and the ice cream is frozen (about 2 hours), place the cooled cake on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Tip out the frozen ice cream dome on top of the cake – be careful, it needs to remain intact.
  • Stick the whole thing back in the freezer. Now you can start working on the meringue.

Tip: You can buy premade meringue, but if you’re feeling adventurous you can make it yourself (I highly recommend an electric mixer if you go this route). Take 6 eggs, and separate the egg whites. You’ll be working with the egg whites only, so dispose of the yolks or use them for a different project. Beat the egg whites on high speed and gradually mix in 1 cup of sugar until the mixture begins to form stiff peaks.

  • When the ice cream cake is set – at least 2 hours, but you can leave it longer if you’re unsure – it’s time to add the meringue icing. Cover the ice cream dome completely with the meringue. Don’t worry about it not being perfectly smooth, that will add to the traditional baked Alaska look.
  • When the icing is done, keep the cake in the freezer for another few hours, or until you’re ready to bake.
  • Preheat the oven to 500F/260C and cook the cake until slightly brown, only 2 or 3 minutes so keep a close eye on it!

And you’re done! You’ve made your very own Baked Alaska! Let it cool for a few minutes, then dig in and enjoy!

{ S'mores Baked Alaska } from Rachel Kivlahan on Vimeo.