You may think that Baked Alaska recipes are only for the foolhardy or those feeling brave. Really brave. After all, who in their right mind puts ice cream into a relatively hot oven?
But if you keep on reading, and trust me, you'll soon realise that you can confidently serve this warm frozen dessert to your guests for them to gasp and marvel at!
Ready to trust me?
So, here's the science bit. Your ice cream won't melt in the oven because it is insulated by the meringue! Easy eh!
As long as you take care to ensure your ice cream is completely covered by the wonderful marshmallow-y meringue then you really won't be faced with cleaning up a pool of cream, that was referred to as ice cream just five minutes earlier, from the bottom of your oven.
My top tips for making a successful Baked Alaska.
shhhh it's just between you and me ?
- Once you've completely covered your ice cream with meringue run your finger around the base of the meringue where it touches the presentation plate to seal in the ice cream. This cuts out the risk of having a little gap at the base of the meringue which could potentially allow hot air to travel up to your ice cream.
- My second tip is to ensure your ice cream is completely frozen,
pretty obvious really. If you're making your own, like our strawberry ice cream, I'd recommend making it the day before you're planning on
making the Baked Alaska to ensure it is completely frozen.
- Thirdly, work swiftly when coating the ice cream and sponge cake with meringue. That said, I took around four to five minutes to cover and check this one.
Now, for those who may think I make Baked Alaskas all of the time - I don't. Cakes and cupcakes yes, pastries yes, fruit crumbles most certainly. In all honesty, because they're ordinarily too large just to serve Mr E & myself and aren't the sort of dessert which keeps well for obvious reasons, I can count on one hand the number of times I've made a Baked Alaska. And for fear of sounding like I'm blowing my own trumpet (which really isn't the intention) they have always turned out amazingly, with no escape of ice cream at all. The point being, Baked Alaskas really aren't difficult to make.
As I hope you can see from the photograph below, there is a tiny amount of melting ice cream around the side where it boarders the meringue but that's largely because I was messing around trying to take pictures (even if you're not a food blogger, or know one, I'm sure you can appreciate the issues of photographing ice cream!)
Of course, if you're still not convinced that the ice cream in your Baked Alaska would survive a hot oven, you could consider using a blow torch to colour the meringue - but honestly, where's the fun in that ?
Baked Alaskas are perfect when you want some baking excitement in the kitchen!
So, here's how to make a Strawberry Baked Alaska
kitchen! A dome of strawberry ice cream sits on a strawberry sponge cake and is encased in a
layer of marshmallow-y meringue before being baked in the oven! It's the
ultimate warm frozen dessert and is sure to wow your guests!
Hands on time: about 35 mins Bake time: 25 mins Yield: served 8 - 10 people
1 x 18cm (7 inch) diameter Sandwich Tin
1 x 20cm diameter Freezer Safe Bowl
1 x oven safe Presentation Stand / Plate
- c800ml Strawberry Ice Cream
For the Strawberry Sponge
- 60g Butter, unsalted & chilled + extra for preparing the tin
- 60g Golden Caster Sugar
- 1 Egg, lightly beaten
- small Pinch of Salt
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 60g SR Flour + extra for preparing the tin
- 1 tablespoon Milk
- 3g Freeze Dried Strawberries
For the Swiss Meringue
- 5 Egg Whites
- 275g Caster Sugar
3. Preheat the oven to 190℃ / Fan 170℃ / Gas 5. 4. Prepare the cake tin. Grease the whole cake tin. Base line it. Add half a teaspoon of flour into the cake tin. Standing over the sink, swirl the tin around to coat the sides of the tin with flour. Knock out any excess flour.5. Make the cake batter. Place the soft butter and sugar into a good sized bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon or electric beaters until very pale and fluffy. Add the salt and vanilla extract. Beat again to combine. Gradually add the beaten egg a little at a time, beating well after each addition, (see note b below). Add the freeze dried strawberries and mix in. Sieve the flour into the mixture. Use a spatula, large metal spoon or your hand with your fingers splayed to fold this in gently. Add a little milk and gently mix in until the batter has a dropping consistency.6. Fill the cake tin. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin. Spread the batter with the back of a spoon, creating a very slight indentation to the centre of the batter. This will help it bake level. Avoid overfilling your sandwich tin, you're aiming for it to be no more than two-thirds full.7. Bake. Place the cake tin in the centre of the oven and bake for about 16 - 20 minutes until golden brown, and the cake is slightly pulling away from the side of the tin. You may need to check the cake and rotate the tin after 14 minutes of baking. Once baked, remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack. 8. Turn out the cake. Allow the cake to cool for 2 or 3 minutes before removing from the tin. Remove the greaseproof paper. Allow the cake to finish cooling. 9. Store the cake. Once the cake is completely cold, gently wrap in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight container until required.
10. Pre-heat the oven to 220℃ / 425℉ / Gas 7. Consider the height of your Baked Alaska and the presentation stand you're using. Remove and reposition oven shelves as required.11. Prepare to make the Swiss meringue. Ensure that your bowl and beaters are scrupulously clean and free of any grease. Part fill a pan with water and sit the bowl over it to make a bain marie. Ensure the water in the ban doesn't touch the base of the bowl. Set the pan over a medium flame. 12. Make the Swiss meringue. Add the egg whites and all of the sugar to the bowl. Use the beaters to combine the sugar and egg whites. Continue beating. The egg whites will soon start to thicken, turn white and increase in volume. Constantly whip the egg whites to prevent them from cooking on the base of the pan. You're aiming for the sugar to completely dissolve into the meringue mixture. Test this by rubbing a little of the meringue between your fingers - it should no longer feel grainy. If using a sugar thermometer, the meringue should be 73c / 163F. This stage will take around 8-10 minutes.13. Continue beating the meringue. Place a piece of kitchen roll or a clean tea-towel onto your work surface. Once the sugar has fully dissolved remove the bowl from the pan and sit it on the prepared area. Continue beating the meringue until it has completely cooled. The meringue will thicken even more and will be glossy and shiny.
14. Begin to assemble the Baked Alaska. Position your cake sponge onto your chosen presentation stand. Remove the strawberry ice cream from the freezer. Use the excess clingfilm to lift the ice cream from the bowl. Peel away the cling film and greaseproof paper from the ice cream, being careful to ensure that it has all been removed. Place the frozen ice cream on top of the sponge. 15. Cover with meringue. Use a spoon or pallet knife to cover the ice cream and sponge with meringue. Gently run your finger around the edge of the dessert where the meringue touches the presentation plate to ensure the ice cream is completely sealed in. Also ensure the dome of meringue completely covers the ice cream. Use the back of a spoon or pallet knife to create some texture and peaks to meringue if desired. 16. Bake. Place the presentation plate and Baked Alaska into the oven. Bake for 5-8 minutes until the meringue is golden brown. You may need to rotate the plate after 4 minutes.17. Enjoy!
Notes: Cake batter. a) When making the cake batter, consider weighing the cracked eggs first to ensure the batter has equal weight of butter, sugar, flour and eggs. Simply weigh the butter, sugar and flour to the same weight as the eggs. Of course the value may be slightly different to the 60g listed in the ingredients above. b) Consider warming your lightly beaten egg over a bain marie especially if it feels particularly cold. Warm it until it feels lukewarm. This should help prevent the batter from curdling and produce a better cupcake sponge. Meringue. c) Swiss meringue is very thick and marshmallow-y. It's perfect for a Baked Alaska or Pavlova, though feel free to make a French (classic) or Italian meringue (with hot syrup) if you prefer d) Ensure the bowl and beaters used for whipping the egg whites are scrupulously clean. e) Please be careful not to knock your bowl and pan of hot water over whilst beating the Swiss meringue. Assembly. f) Work swiftly when assembling the Baked Alaska. g) Consider piping some meringue onto the Baked Alaska, though use half the meringue to ensure it is completely sealed first. Bake. i) Consider putting a baking tray in the bottom of the oven 'just in case', though if the ice cream is completely sealed in the meringue the ice cream will be insulated and will not leak out. j) You could use a blow torch to colour your meringue if you prefer.