Prep 40 mins
Cook 20 mins
The History of Baked Alaska Thanks to Charles Ranhofer, chef at the famous Delmonico's restaurant in New York, for creating this spectacular cake to celebrate the United States purchase of Alaska from the Russians. Ranhofer is said to have invented it to commemorate Seward's purchase of Alaska in 1867. It was, at first, called Alaska-Florida Cake, but was soon changed to Baked Alaska. It is was supposedly later popularized worldwide by Jean Giroix, chef in 1895 at the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo. Please don't hesitate to refreeze if the ice cream starts to soften. The key to success for this recipe is to keep the ice cream as cold as possible and turn up the oven as high as it will go. Worried about Salmonella: Egg safety I’ve never had any trouble when making this because I took the precautions. Always purchase your eggs from a reputable source, a place you can trust with your life. PLEASE! Don't use eggs after the expiration date on the carton. But salmonella could sneak into some eggs, so just be cautious about serving young kids or the elderly or to people who have health problems. Do read through directions before making.
SPONGE CAKE or store bought for ease
- 1⁄4 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 8 large eggs (SAVE! 1/2 eggshell washed if going to flambe)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE ICE CREAM
- 1⁄2 gallon ice cream, softened (1 (or more)
FOR THE MERINGUE
- 4 large egg whites
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Optional Cake garnishes
- 1⁄4 cup liquor, of choice (Of choice, optional) (optional) or 1⁄2 cup preserves, room temperature (Of choice) (optional)
- 1⁄2 cup strawberry, sliced (berries of choice) (optional)
- Sponge cake:.
- In a small saucepan, warm the milk and 2 teaspoons butter together over medium-low heat. In an electric mixer beat the eggs and 1 cup of the sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale yellow, thick, and has tripled in volume, about 8 minutes. With the mixer on low, beat in the warm milk mixture.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture and blend thoroughly until smooth. Add the vanilla and mix gently.
- Grease a 17 X 12-inch baking pan or jelly-roll pan very generously with butter. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Pour the cake batter into the pan, spreading it evenly. Bake until the cake springs back when touched, about 15 minutes. Cool for about 2 minutes, then gently flip it out onto a large wire rack or a large sheet of parchment paper. Let cool completely.
- Place the inverted 5-cup-capacity metal bowl in one corner of the sponge cake trace and cut out the circle and place aside.
- Spray the metal bowl with cooking spray; line with plastic. Layer the bottom and side of the bowl with sponge cake. You may drizzle with optional liquor and or jam of choice.
- Fill 1/3 to 1/2 way up with the ice cream. Layer optional berries if using. If any sponge cake is leftover place sponge layer then fill with remaining ice cream.
- (If there is any cake or ice cream leftover it`s for the chef or little people (children)that helped.).
- Top with the circle of cake that was set aside and cover surface with plastic wrap, press to remove air bubbles and place in freezer. Freeze until ice cream is very hard, at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and beat until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
- Remove the cake from the freezer and place serving dish removing plastic. With a rubber spatula, carefully spread the meringue evenly over the tops and sides of the cake. Making peaks in the meringue. With a small blow torch, brown the meringue.
- To brown it in the oven, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Put the baked Alaska in the hot oven until the meringue is tinged golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Or use a hand torch to brown all meringue.
- Optional baking:.
- Preheat oven to 500° or higher if you have a higher setting.
- Place frozen dome on parchment paper covered frozen cookie sheet pan (dome up/wide flat side down). Spread meringue over cake. If ice cream starts to soften, return cake to freezer for 15 minutes.
- Place in oven, and bake until meringue just starts to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Flambe Option:.
- To flambe successfully, choose a high alcohol content liquor-- 80 proof or higher. Before browning the dessert, embed it like a small cup in the meringue. Just before serving, place 1/4 cup liquor and a ladle in a small saucepan. Heat the ladle and the liquor just until the liquor begins to bubble (do not allow the liquor to boil off, or it will not stay lit when you need it to). Immediately ask someone to turn out the lights. Ladle part of the liquor into the eggshell and ignite it with a match. As the liquor burns, fill the warmed ladle half full with more of the warmed liquor and drizzle it slowly into the eggshell, raising the ladle as high as you safely can. The flame will go out by itself when the alcohol burns off. Walla! Here comes the Ooohhhh`s and AAAhhhh`s!
I made this or a similar recipe in the 50's and it was a huge success. I used the egg shell filled with whiskey, and my husband carried it in while the flame burned brightly.