recipe

Baked Alaska: the sensational recipe for an incredible old-fashioned frozen dessert

Total time: 2H30
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 8 people
By Cookist
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If you're hosting a party and want to impress your guests with a stunning delicious dessert, make this baked Alaska recipe. Baked Alaska is an old-fashioned frozen dessert, but it's always a crowd-pleaser. This incredible dessert is made with a delicious vanilla cake base, topped with ice cream that's in the center and covered with a thick layer of toasted meringue igloo.

The dish was popularized by the famous New York City restaurant Delmonico's as a way to commemorate the U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. Baked Alaska is a delicious dessert best served cold. It's wonderful for parties, especially around the holidays as you can make it ahead of time!

What is Baked Alaska?

Baked Alaska is a frozen dessert that dates back to the 19th century. It's made from a layer of vanilla cake, topped with ice cream, then covered in a decadent layer of toasted meringue.

Also known asĀ omelette norvegienne, it was made popular in the U.S. by Delmonico's in New York. The Bombe Alaska is a version of the baked Alaska, where the dessert is splashed with rum or cognac and set aflame when being served.

The distinctive feature of this cake is that it is baked but the ice cream inside does not melt. How is this possible? In short, the sponge cake and meringue that coat the ice cream are not good conductors of heat and thus act as an insulator. So the ice cream does not melt as long as the baking time is observed and the cake is not overcooked in the oven.

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Baked Alaska Ingredients

There are three parts to a baked Alaska: the cake base, the ice cream center, and the meringue layer.

For the cake, you'll need classic cake ingredients at room temperature like flour, butter, eggs, sugar, baking powder, milk, and vanilla extract, which adds flavor. You can also cheat and use a pre-made sponge cake instead of baking it from scratch.

For the center, simply choose your preferred flavor of ice cream.

To make the meringue, you'll need room temperature egg whites, ideally from older eggs, sugar, and cream of tartar. The cream of tartar is essential for stabilizing the egg whites and helping them to hold their shape once you've made the meringue.

How to Make Baked Alaska

Although it may seem difficult to make baked Alaska from scratch, it's surprisingly easy. Here's how to make the best baked Alaska, step-by-step. Start by lining a bowl with saran wrap and scooping the ice cream into the bowl. Smooth out the bottom of the ice cream – this is so it'll rest evenly on top of the cake layer, then wrap it with the cling film. Let it harden up in the freezer for at least 2 hours.

While the ice cream is freezing back up, make your cake layer. Heat your oven to 350F, grease the cake pan with cooking spray, then line it with parchment paper. This makes removing the cake from the pan a breeze. Next, combine the sugar with the butter until fluffy. Mix in the eggs and vanilla until the batter is smooth. Beat the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Add in the milk and whisk until you get a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the pan and bake your cake for 25 to 30 minutes. Take the cake out and let it cool on a cake rack. To make the meringue, whisk the cream of tartar and egg whites until foamy. Slowly beat in the sugar, continuing to beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.

Now all the parts are made, you can put your baked Alaska together! Put the cake onto a platter. Invert the ice cream onto the center of the cake, then spread the meringue over both the cake and the ice cream. Make sure the whole thing is covered. Use a spatula to make peaks in the meringue – these will toast up beautifully when you're torching the dessert. Using a kitchen torch, toast the meringue until lightly browned. No kitchen torch? No problem! Put your baked Alaska into the oven at 500F for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Tips for Making the Best Baked Alaska

Love chocolate? Make a chocolate baked Alaska. Simply add cocoa powder to the cake base or use chocolate ice cream for the center.

You can use any ice cream flavor you like for the center of the baked Alaska. Popular options are vanilla, Neopolitan, strawberry, pistachio, mint, and chocolate. Some versions use sorbet instead. Go with your favorite.

Your cake is done baking when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Use older eggs. Older eggs make for fluffier, lighter meringue.

Make sure the bowl you use to whisk your egg whites is completely clean and grease-free. Otherwise, the stiff peaks won't form as well.

If it's too difficult to cut, you can let your baked Alaska soften slightly.

You can make your baked Alaska up to two days in advance.

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How to Store Baked Alaska

Cover and keep your baked Alaska in the freezer. It'll last up to one week when frozen.

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Ingredients
for the ice cream center
Ice cream
3 pints
for the cake
butter at room temperature
1 stick
White sugar
1 cup
Large eggs
2
pure vanilla extract
1 tsp
All-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups
Baking powder
1/2 tsp
Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp
Whole Milk
1/2 cup
for the meringue
large egg whites at room temperature
6
Cream of tartar
1/4 tsp
White sugar
1 cup

Instructions

Grease a large bowl with cooking spray. Line the bowl with cling film. Place 3 pints of ice cream into the bowl.

Smooth the bottom of the ice cream into a flat surface.

Cover it with the cling film, then place in the freezer for at least 2 hours, or until firm.

For the cakeĀ 

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease the cake pan with cooking spray, then line it with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat the sugar with the butter until fluffy.

Beat in the eggs and vanilla until the batter is smooth.

Beat the flour, baking powder, and salt into the egg mixture.

Beat in the milk and whisk until smooth.

Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, then set on a rack to cool completely.

For the meringue

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.

Slowly add in the sugar.

Beat until stiff peaks form.

To assemble

Place the cake on a platter. Invert the ice cream onto the center of the cake.

Spread the meringue over the ice cream and cake, using a spatula to create peaks in the meringue.

Using a kitchen torch, toast the meringue until lightly browned.

Slice and serve immediately.

Notes

Use a 9-inch round cake pan.

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