I grew up and somewhere along the way learned that Baked Alaska was sort of like an ice cream cake covered in baked meringue. Definitely fun and exotic. It’s been something I’ve wanted to make for a while, to see for myself what it’s all about, and when I saw that it was an option for this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge, I got really excited.
Plus it meant I finally had an excuse to bust out my new kitchen torch.
Now that I’m in the know, let me tell you, it is awesome. At least this particular one is. You’ve got a delicious layer of brown butter pound cake, followed by the most amazing strawberry ice cream I’ve ever tasted, all topped with scorched meringue. And look how beautiful it is!
I haven’t seen many desserts as beautiful as this one. Or as delicious.
Strawberry Baked Alaska
For the brown butter pound cake:
- 19 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the strawberry sour cream ice cream:
- 1 lb fresh strawberries
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vodka
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the meringue:
- 8 large egg whites
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Cut out a round of parchment paper to fit the bottom of an 8 inch cake pan. Butter and flour the cake pan and line with the parchment circle.
- Place the butter in a skillet over medium low heat. Brown the butter until golden brown and it smells nutty, but be sure to watch it so it doesn't burn. Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer for 10-15 minutes until the butter is slightly solidified.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, mixing after each, then mix in the vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
- Pour into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.
- Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
To make the ice cream:
- Combine the sliced strawberries, sugar and vodka. Stir until mixed, cover, and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of a blender, add the sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon juice. Pulse briefly until almost smooth but still slightly chunky. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.
To make the meringue:
- Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar gradually in a slow stream until stiff peaks form.
To assemble the baked alaska:
- Put the ice cream in a medium sized bowl with an eight inch wide mouth that's been lined with plastic wrap. Place the cake upside down on top of the ice cream and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for 3 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap from the top and invert onto a serving platter. If the ice cream is sticking to the bowl, soak for a few minutes in hot water. Remove the plastic wrap lining.
- Immediately cover with meringue, making peaks with a spatula. Using a blow torch, brown the peaks of the meringue, or bake the meringue-topped Baked Alaska in a 500 degrees for 5 minutes until golden brown.
- Slice and serve. Store in the freezer.