Baked Alaska - A very old-fashioned dessert. Cold ice cream on top of pound cake, covered with warm meringue.
This is a real oldie, but goodie. My delicious retro recipe for Baked Alaska.
I remember my mama making this as a treat for us when we were children and also to serve at dinner parties. I thought it was the most elegant dessert I'd ever heard of and my Mama was the most elegant mama because she knew how to make it.
Actually, it is pretty cool to take a dessert with a nice warm meringue out of the oven, slice into it and find that cold ice cream in the middle. I still love it.
The Baked Alaskas you see in my photos are meant for two people to share. If you want to do individual ones, just use one slice of cake and half a "slice" of ice cream. You'll see what I mean as we go along.
Also, of course, you can put your own spin on this and use other combinations like chocolate cake with pistachio ice cream (looks like the earth and grass with clouds above as you cut into it) or a white cake with peach ice cream and meringue. Chocolate cake with strawberry ice cream is really nice, too.
You can cut the cake out with a round cutter and top with a scoop of ice cream instead of a slice like I do. Yum, either way.
Origins of Baked Alaska
According to several online sources, Baked Alaska was created by chef Antoine Alciatore at the famed Antoine's restaurant in New Orleans in 1867 to mark the acquisition of the territory of Alaska by the United States.
However, other sources suggest that it was chef Charles Ranhofer of Delmonico's who created the dish in 1894 and originally called it Alaska-Florida referring to its contrast between cold and hot.
The recipe is also known to some as an omelette à la norvégienne, "Norwegian Omelette." I can't say which title or originator is correct and neither can anyone else apparently. But I can tell you that this is a really simple dessert which makes a nice ending for a special dinner. Or just because it's Tuesday.
Even if you don't cook very much, you can do this. I promise.
How to Make Baked Alaska
For each serving of Baked Alaska, you'll need a slice of pound cake, a "slice" of vanilla ice cream, a room temperature egg white, and a tablespoon of sugar.
And, yes, that is a bought, boxed cake in the picture. If I had homemade pound cake on hand, I'd use that. I didn't on this day :-)
Before you begin, preheat the oven to 425.
Prepare the Cake and Ice Cream Layers
Place the cake slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Next, cut the ice cream into about 1" thick slices. You'll need to purchase ice cream that comes in a box rather than a tub to do this.
Almost all ice cream comes in cardboard tubs now, it seems. I find the box shaped packages in store brands mostly.
It's also easier if you can find a box that opens on the ends like they used to a hundred years ago. You remember that, right? When the ice cream boxes had those tabbed flaps on the ends?
Cover the cake slices with ice cream. Place these in the freezer while you prepare the meringue.
Make the Meringue
Beat the room temperature egg whites at high speed until they form a stiff, but not dry, meringue. Add the sugar near the end of the beating time.
Remove the prepared cake and ice cream layers from the freezer and cover each with meringue, making sure to seal the meringue all the way down to the parchment.
Bake Until Golden Brown
Bake in a hot oven for 6-8 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown.
This is after 7 minutes in my oven. At about the 5 minute mark, start watching carefully and if you begin to see a little melted ice cream starting to flow out, take them out immediately. Remove from the pan with a spatula and serve immediately.
Put on an old Beatles album and enjoy!
You May Also Like ...
- Banana Split Icebox Cake
- Strawberry S'mores Ice Cream
- Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
- Homemade Peach Ice Cream
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For each serving:
- 1 slice pound cake
- 1 “slice” vanilla ice cream
- 1 egg white at room temperature
- 1 tblsp. sugar
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Place the cake slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Cut the ice cream into about 1" thick slices. (see notes)
- Cover the cake slices with ice cream. Place these in the freezer while you prepare the meringue.
- Beat the room temperature egg whites at high speed until they form a stiff, but not dry, meringue. Add the sugar near the end of the beating time.
- Remove the prepared cake and ice cream layers from the freezer and cover each with meringue, making sure to seal the meringue all the way down to the parchment.
- Bake in a hot oven for 6-8 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown.
- Remove from the pan with a spatula and serve immediately.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.