Baked Alaska is a classic dessert that features a layer of cake topped with ice cream, which is then covered with a meringue and briefly baked or broiled. The meringue acts as an insulating layer, keeping the ice cream from melting while the dessert browns on the outside. Baked Alaska is known for its impressive presentation and delightful contrast of warm meringue and cold ice cream.
Here’s a simplified recipe for making Baked Alaska:
- 1 pre-made sponge cake or pound cake, large enough to accommodate the ice cream layer
- 1 quart (approx. 1 liter) ice cream, flavor of your choice
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Prepare the base: Slice the cake horizontally, if necessary, to create a layer about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Place the cake layer on a heatproof serving platter or baking sheet.
- Add the ice cream: Soften the ice cream slightly and spread it evenly over the cake layer. Place the dessert in the freezer for at least 2 hours, or until the ice cream is firm.
- Make the meringue: In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually add the sugar, and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- Assemble the Baked Alaska: Preheat your oven’s broiler or set your oven to its highest temperature (around 500°F/260°C). Remove the dessert from the freezer and quickly spread the meringue over the ice cream and cake, making sure to completely cover them and create a seal. For added visual appeal, use a spatula or the back of a spoon to create peaks and swirls in the meringue.
- Bake: Place the dessert in the preheated oven, positioned so that the meringue is a few inches from the heat source. Bake or broil for 2-5 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown. Keep a close eye on it to avoid burning.
- Serve immediately: Baked Alaska is best enjoyed right after it comes out of the oven. Slice and serve immediately to appreciate the contrast between the warm, toasted meringue and the cold, creamy ice cream.
This recipe serves 6-8 people, depending on the size of your cake and ice cream portions. Baked Alaska is a show-stopping dessert that is sure to impress your guests with its combination of textures, temperatures, and flavors.