Baked Alaska – what a delicious invention — moist cake soaking up cold ice cream that is slathered with a layer of meringue while the whole kit-and-kaboodle gets popped into the oven long enough to crisp the outside while keeping the ice cream cool and the meringue warm and chewy. That was a mouthful, and so is this dessert. Yumm!
Here is a very easy way to make a Baked Alaska without too much effort while keeping all the glory. For the patriotic holidays, purchase a red velvet cake mix and follow the package directions for making the cake. (You could make this even easier by purchasing the individual chocolate shortbread cakes found near the strawberries in the grocery store. They just won’t add that red component to our red, white, and blue dessert.) Purchase a blueberry ice cream, and all you need to make from scratch is the meringue (recipe below). If you want to make the entire dessert from scratch, stay tuned at thepatricianpalette.com for an upcoming red velvet cake recipe and a blackberry and oreo cookie ice cream.
PATRIOTIC BAKED ALASKA (short cut version)
Makes: 5 Individual Cakes or One Large 8” Cake
Two – Three 8” cake pans
3” round cookie cutter
2 ½” – 3” diameter ice-cream scoop
Electric stand mixer
Culinary blow torch (optional – I actually prefer a real blow torch available at Home Depot)
One Recipe Meringue (recipe below)
One Recipe Red Velvet Cake (cake mix)
Two 14 oz containers Blueberry Ice Cream
DIRECTIONS FOR FIVE INDIVIDUAL CAKES (read directions thoroughly before beginning)
STEP ONE – Pre-Assembly
Bake the red velvet cake whether from scratch or from a mix (or use premade chocolate shortbread cakes found near the strawberry display). Wrap the individual red velvet cake layers in cling wrap and freeze. Once frozen, use a 3” disc to cut out five mini cakes from one of the layers. (Reserve any remaining layers for future use.) Place the cake disks onto a tray that will fit in your freezer. Use a 2 ½” ice cream scoop to top each cake with an evenly shaped mound of ice cream. Place the tray in the freezer while you make the meringue.
STEP TWO – Make the Meringue
STEP THREE – Final Assembly
Remove the ice cream cakes from the freezer. Use a cake spatula to completely cover cake and ice cream with an even layer of meringue. Leave a 1/8” gap of cake exposed at the bottom. Use a fork or palette knife to create designs in the meringue. Return to the freezer for an hour to ensure the ice cream is frozen. You can even leave them in the freezer overnight.
STEP FOUR – Baking:
Preheat the oven to 450º. Set the rack so the tops of the cakes will be as close to the heating elements as possible. Transfer the unbaked Alaskas to the oven and bake for 4-5 minutes or until golden. A culinary blowtorch can be used to even out the color of the meringue. The trick is to leave them in the oven long enough to crisp the meringue without melting the ice cream. Serve immediately.
DIRECTIONS FOR ONE LARGE CAKE
Step One – Pre-Assembly
Bake the red velvet cake whether from scratch or from a mix. Wrap the individual cake layers in cling wrap and freeze. Line an 8” wide, round-bottomed bowl with cling wrap. Fill the bowl with softened ice cream and return it to the freezer to set. Once frozen, place one 8” cake onto a tray that will fit into your freezer. (Reserve any remaining layers for future use.) Tip the molded ice cream dome onto the frozen layer of cake and remove the cling wrap. Return to the freezer to set. Follow steps 2-4 above to finish.
4 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
175 g (6 oz) ultra fine baker’s sugar
Using a wire whisk, mix egg whites on low speed in either a copper or metal bowl (no glass) until frothy. Add cream of tartar. Increase speed and whisk until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and continue whisking on high speed until peaks are firm and glossy. The meringue must be firm or it won’t hold its shape. (Do not over mix or whites will become dry and collapse.)