A baked Alaska is a simple concept—a block of ice cream set on a layer of cake and then all covered with meringue. The meringue acts as insulation allowing you to stick the whole concoction in the oven to brown the meringue.
For a successful baked Alaska:
- Start with rock hard ice cream. Your cake base will get soggy if you don’t.
- Don’t get it too big. If your baked Alaska is too large, it’s unwieldy and hard to slice and serve. For a party, it’s better to build several small desserts than one large. Remember that you’ll add about an inch of meringue on all sides to your cake and ice cream interior.
5 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup granulated sugar
several drops food coloring (optional)
1 4 x 6-inch layer of cake about 1 1/2 inches thick
1 brick of ice cream approx. 3″ x 5″ x 4″
The ice cream should be frozen rock hard and the cake completely cooled.
The ice cream and the cake can be any flavors of your choosing. You can tint the egg whites with food coloring.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
- To make the meringue, place the egg whites in a stainless steel or glass bowl. Add the cream of tartar and the vanilla. Beat the mixture until soft peaks form. Drizzle in the sugar while continuing to beat until stiff peaks form.
- Lay the cake on an oven-proof platter. Cut the ice cream into blocks and stack them on the cake.
- With a spatula, spread the meringue on the cake and ice cream, completely sealing both from the heat. The meringue will act as insulation from the heat. Any thin areas in the meringue will allow heat to seep through.
- Bake for three minutes or until the meringue starts to brown. Slice and serve immediately or return to the freezer to serve later.
Baker’s notes: You will need to get your sheet cake out of the pan without it breaking. Lining the pan with parchment paper and then lifting the cake from the pan by grasping the edges of the parchment paper is the easiest way to do so. If you need to trim the top of the cake to create an even, flat layer, you can do so with a serrated knife held horizontally.