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Posts Tagged ‘Baked Alaska’

by Sarah Steimer

Feb. 1 is Baked Alaska Day! I learned from an America's Test Kitchen infographic* that the cake originated in New York's famed Delmonic's restaurant to celebrate the purchase of Alaska.

I made this cake over a period of two days – packing and freezing the ice cream, along with baking the cake base. I also only made a small version of the original recipe. The bowl I used holds three cups.

For the ice cream dome

  • 1 carton of neapolitan ice cream
  • cooking spray

Spray the inside of the bowl and place plastic wrap on the inside. Allow the ice cream to soften a little. Start with one flavor, making sure not to scoop out any of the others.

Coat the inside of the bowl with one flavor, being sure to work up the sides and maintaining the same thickness. Let freeze for at least an hour. Layer the next ice cream flavor inside the first. Freeze again for at least an hour. Fill the remaining space with the last ice cream flavor and freeze for a few more hours or overnight.

For the cake

  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (use the double boiler method)
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • pinch of salt

Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and egg yolks in a bowl with an electric mixer until pale yellow and thick for about 15 minutes – if you’re using a hand mixer and not a standing mixer, this absolutely will not happen so just go for as long as you can or until the texture is right.

Pre-meringued.

Add the vanilla and fold in chocolate, mixing just enough to combine. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the egg whites and salt and whip with an electric mixer until frothy. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and whip until stiff. Add the chocolate and egg yolk mixture to this egg white mixture.

Carefully pour this mixture into a prepared 8-inch cake round – which was either sprayed with cooking oil or coated with butter and flour. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until cake is set and top is dull. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and set the cooled cake on the sheet. Flip the ice cream half-sphere on top of the cake – you may need to borrow an extra set of hands or loosen the ice cream by running a warm cloth over the bowl. Cut the excess cake away from the ice cream sphere and remove the plastic wrap. Place back in the freezer for about an hour.

For the meringue

  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the egg whites, sugar and tartar in a heatproof bowl. Place this bowl over a small pot of simmering water on the stove (double-boiler system). Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch – about 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers.

Remove from the heat and continue whipping with an electric mixer, starting on a low speed and gradually increasing to high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until combined.

Remove the cake from the freezer. Either pipe the meringue onto the cake with a star-shaped tip, working from the bottom-up, or spoon over the cake and swirl with a spatula. If the cake begins to melt, pop the cake in the freezer. Either way, put the cake back in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Once the oven is ready, bake the cake for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the tips are lightly brown. If you have a mini kitchen torch, use that to brown the edges instead.

I wish I could have played around with shooting this longer! But when you're working with ice cream on a randomly warm (55 degree) day in Chicago, you do what you can.

Serves about 6 – depending on slice sizes.

Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart

*Cakes Throughout U.S. History – America’s Test Kitchen infographic

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