Baked Alaska doesn’t need to be difficult – but you do need to be quick at the end bit!
Make these mini versions. Kids will love putting the layers together and it takes no time at all. Dessert done!
Did you know that this dessert was named for Alaska when it was a newly acquired territory for the USA? It was named by a restaurant in New York City.
You will need :
- 1 sponge cake (or any cake, actually, it’s up to you)
- Jam (4 tsp)
- Ice cream (again choose your flavour!) – 4 good ice cream scoopfuls.
- 4 egg whites
- Caster Sugar (8oz/225g/1 cup)
- Ice cream scoop
- Electric whisk
(note: as this needs about an hour freezing time, we found starting this before we started cooking dinner and then finishing off immediately after dinner worked really well.)
- Slice your cake into portion sizes about an inch thick and as big as you can justify. You can use a large cookie cutter if you have it or cut around a cup. We used a loaf shaped cake and trimmed each slice into circles.
- Lay the cake portions on a baking tray covered in baking parchment and spread a layer of jam over each one. This stops the cake getting too soggy from the ice cream.
- Use your ice cream scoop to get a good, full ball of ice cream and put one scoopful in the centre of each cake portion. Try to leave a 1cm gap all around the ice cream and sponge edge. Put the baking tray in the freezer for an hour or until needed.
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200°C/400°F (it must be preheated!)
- Separate your eggs by cracking the egg and passing the yolk from one side of the shell to the other and letting the white fall into the bowl. Cover the egg yolks and leave them in the fridge to be used at a later date.
- Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
- Add the sugar to the egg whites a little at a time whilst still whisking until it’s all combined and the meringue mixture is glossy and forms soft peaks.
- You need to be quick for the next bit – especially if it’s a warm day! Take the cake slices and ice cream out of the freezer and pile the meringue over the top of the cake portions and down the sides. Smooth all over or make it spiky. It’s very important that you cover the entire cake and ice cream with no gaps as this acts as insulation which stops the ice cream melting in the oven.
- Put in the top of the oven for 3-4 minutes just until the meringue is brown and serve immediately before the ice cream melts too much!
- We used a pre-baked sponge but there’s nothing stopping you from making your own. It just adds time.
- You don’t have to cut the cake into circles – it is just for display purposes.
- We used a plain Madeira cake but you can be adventurous and use whatever type of cake you like. Chocolate sponge, fruit cake, swiss roll etc.
- We used vanilla ice cream AND we used soft scoop. It melted enough to leak out of the cake but wasn’t a complete disaster but again you can use whatever flavour you like – we wouldn’t recommend mint choc chip though…! If you can get it, use the old fashioned block ice cream which isn’t so soft.
- If you drop any yolk into the egg white, use a teaspoon to scoop it out at the end. You must get it all out as the egg whites won’t whisk up if there’s any yolk left in there.
- You can use your left over egg yolks in scrambled eggs or as an egg wash.
- Dip your ice cream scoop in water to make scooping easier.
- If you don’t have an electric whisk, borrow one! You’ll be exhausted if you do this by hand!
- Make sure your sugar is ready to go before you whisk the egg whites. Whisk the sugar in straight away or your meringue might flop.
- Be aware that the meringue in this recipe is only partially cooked. Take the normal precautions associated with uncooked or partially cooked egg.