You guys, I adore baked Alaska, and I’m not sure why it’s not made more often, so I am here to take any scariness out of the process. It’s one of the most fun, and most delicious, and most celebratory – not only because you get to torch it, which is perhaps the most satisfying culinary endeavour there is, but because it has just the right ratio of ice cream to cake (at least double), is topped with Italian meringue, and you can do just about anything you want with it, flavour-wise. I’ve happily shared a couple wedges at restaurants this week, which reminded me that it really isn’t that tricky to make at home, and is what one might in magazine and internet lingo be described as a show-stopper. (But… who wants to stop a show??) Just imagine, if you will, this baked Alaska with sparklers stuck all over it for a birthday. It looks stunning, and yet there’s no pressure to decorate a cake! Bonus!
The folks at Chapman’s (who are based in Ontario) asked if I’d come up with a recipe using their products, and because a) mango sorbet is W’s favourite, b) I appreciate all support that helps offset the cost of keeping this website designed, hosted and mostly functioning, and c) it gives me a legit excuse to make a baked Alaska on a regular Thursday, I sent Mike out for sorbet immediately.
Of course one of the great things about a baked Alaska is you can use literally any kind of ice cream you like – it doesn’t have to be sorbet, but I love the bright colourful layers. And it makes it easy to do lactose free (with sorbet and non-dairy milk in the cake – they even have a lactose free collection), or gluten-free if you make a gluten-free cake layer or brownie for the base, and of course you can accommodate all flavour preferences. A full-on chocolate experience could potentially incorporate chopped chocolate bars or peanut butter cups or layers of bashed pretzels between the ice cream layers, or you could scatter in some fresh or frozen berries or ripe mango, or go for more layers or no layers (just one 2L container of Chapman’s is the perfect amount – I love that they’re one of few brands that still sells ice cream in 2L containers), and swap out the cake base accordingly.
(My next baked Alaska will be something along the lines of chocolate peanut butter cup + mocha almond fudge on a chocolate cake or chocolate chip cookie or brownie base – really you could bake anything in a round cake pan and use it.)
To make it: line a bowl with plastic wrap and spoon in slightly softened ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet, pressing it up the sides if you want arch-shaped layers, or straight if you just want straight layers… I imagine you could get quite creative with this part. Top it (this will be the bottom) with a round of cake – or cookie, or brownie. Stick it in the freezer until you’re ready for it. (Don’t you love things that can be made ahead, particularly for a party?)
Once you have the process down, and have gotten over any fear of meringue-making or torching or broiling ice cream (if it’s frozen solid, it will take awhile to start to melt-I promise), there’s no end to the potential baked Alaska combinations. (And if you want to streamline things, pick up a pre-baked plain sponge cake layer at the store.) And if you’re looking for an excuse to splurge on a kitchen torch, this is it. (You can watch the torching of this over on my Instagram stories!)