So what is Baked Alaska and why do you need it in your life? Christina Lane is here to answer this all-important question. An old-fashioned dessert, Baked Alaska is a slice of pound cake with a scoop of ice cream or sorbet on top and a torched meringue (think: marshmallow) coating. Yes, there are fancier versions of it—with multiple layers of ice cream and sorbets and such — but this is the simple version.
So, you’re going to buy a pre-made pound cake at the store. Check the bakery section or even the freezer for the one that looks the best. Grab a chocolate or lemon one, whatever you like the most. Next, grab your favorite ice cream or sorbet. Lane always reaches for raspberry. And then get those egg whites. Do you have a kitchen torch for making crème brûlée? If so, you’re going to use it again here. If not, Lane recommends you make the investment now. It’s one of our recommended tools to make impressing your Valentine’s Day date fool-proof.
Lane wrote the recipe as if you’re making it for two, but obviously the number of servings you make depends on how many slices of pound cake and how many pints of ice cream you bought. Scale it up, scale it down, whatever you need to do.
Note: If you don’t have a blowtorch, spread the egg whites onto the sorbet, then freeze for 2 hours. Heat the broiler and place the desserts on a rimmed baking sheet a few inches from the broiler until browned evenly. Watch them closely and rotate as needed.
Before dessert, try our Olive and Mushroom-Smothered Pork Tenderloin recipe.
- Yield: 2 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- 2 slices pre-made vanilla pound cake
- 2 scoops raspberry sorbet, slightly softened
- 2 large egg whites
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- First, cut two 1-inch-thick slices of pound cake. Using a 4-ounce ramekin as the size guide, cut out a circle from each slice to fit on top of the ramekins perfectly. Set the cake circles aside on separate plates.
- Next, line two ramekins with plastic wrap. Scoop the sorbet and press it into a ramekin. You can press it totally flat or make it domed on top for the classic look.
- Place the ramekins back in the freezer and chill until very firm.
- Once the sorbet is firm, use the plastic wrap to lift out each scoop of sorbet. Remove the wrap and place the sorbet on top of each pound cake circle. Press it firmly to help it adhere to the cake, cover in plastic wrap, and return to the freezer for at least 1 hour. (You can do this up to a day in advance if you cover it with plastic wrap.)
- Right before serving, make the meringue: Add the egg whites and sugar to a medium-size bowl. Beat on high with an electric mixer until soft, shiny peaks form. Don’t over-beat — soft peaks are the goal.
- Remove the cakes from the freezer. Using a small offset spatula, spread half of the egg white mixture on top of each cake. (For fun, drag a fork through the meringue to make a design once torched.)
- Hold a kitchen torch about 4 inches away from the cakes and lightly toast the meringue with the flame on high. It will almost immediately turn golden brown.
- Stand back and admire your work—it’s very impressive! Serve immediately.