March 30th is Seward’s Day in Alaska -the day the US bought Alaska from Russia, so I thought I’d make this delicious Baked Alaska to celebrate. Baked Alaska can come in a variety of flavors and forms, but I went with a classic yellow cake and neopolitan ice cream combination. You may use any flavor you wish – the technique is the same and will work no matter your flavor cake or ice cream. I found that the secret to a really good finished dessert is to make sure your freezer is extremely cold – the colder your cake and ice cream, the more impressive the meringue will be, nicely toasted and warm on top. Follow the directions carefully for best results.
1 box Better Batter Gluten Free Yellow Cake, batter prepared as per box instructions PLUS add one extra egg (you should use 4 eggs total), and baked into two 9 inch cake round as per box instructions
1/2 gallon neopolitan ice cream, slightly softened
1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
4oz egg whites at room temperature (you may use reconstituted dry meringue powdered whites if you wish)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Prepare a 9 inch round 2 quart mixing bowl by wrapping/lining the interior with plastic wrap very well.
Prepare 2 nine inch cake rounds by greasing and flouring them and lining the bottoms of each with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit. Prepare the batter for the cake as per instructions on the box, adding the extra egg during the mixing process, to help create a more chiffon-like texture. Pour the batter evenly into the two 9 inch cake rounds and bake as per instructions on the box. Allow to cool.
While cake is cooling, allow ice cream to soften slightly at room temperature. Unmold the ice cream by cutting away the container it comes in and place it into the prepared bowl, smooshing the ice cream slightly to ensure that the ice cream makes contact firmly with the rounded interior surface of the bowl and fits securely into the bowl with about 1/2 inch headroom. Try to maintain as neat a line as possible in the ice cream.
Unmold the cooled cake rounds, and place one cake round on the surface of the ice cream, pressing gently to adhere the cake to the softened ice cream. Peel off the layer of parchment paper. Cover the surface of the cake lightly with plastic wrap and freeze the cake at least an hour or up to overnight.
If you do not have a propane torch, you will need to actually Bake the Baked Alaska! To do this – you will need to preheat the oven to 500 degrees at this time. If you have a propane torch, ignore this step.
When you are ready to finish and serve the dessert, prepare the meringue: combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup in a heavy medium saucepan over high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Bring to a boil and cook without stirring about 12 minutes, or until the syrup just reaches 240 degrees.
While the syrup is boiling, stir the egg whites, salt, and vanilla on low speed until they begin to be foamy – about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer to medium speed and whip the eggs whites for about 4 minutes. Turn the mixer to high speed and whip the egg whites until they reach medium peaks, about another 4 minutes.
As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 240 remove it from the heat. Turn the mixer speed to low on the egg whites, and very gently pour a thin stream of hot syrup into the egg whites, about 2-3 minutes. Once all the syrup has been incorporated into the egg whites, turn the mixer to high speed and beat again for another 10 minutes. The peaks should be quite stiff and firm from this process.
Remove the bowl containing the ice cream/cake from the freezer and remove the top cover of plastic wrap. Invert the contents onto a heat-proof baking dish/platter. Peel away the plastic wrap. Working quickly spread a 1 inch thick layer of the meringue all over the frozen dessert. It is very important that every single inch of the dessert is covered- do not allow any gaps on the dessert or in the place where the dessert and the platter meet!
Use a small propane torch and brown the meringue evenly on all sides.
If you do not have a propane torch, return the dessert to the freezer as soon as you coat it with meringue and allow to set/chill for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the freezer and place in the very hot 500 degree oven and bake for 2 minutes or until the meringue begins to brown. Serve immediately.