With three layers of ice cream domed on top of a fudgy chocolate cake, our version of the classic Baked Alaska cake recipe is sure to wow your party guests. Any crowd will be amazed by this retro dessert, whether it’s your family, your classiest friends at a dinner party….or your demanding spouse (cough Handsome helper cough) requesting a time-intensive dessert for his birthday.
Fair warning: a Baked Alaska cake is definitely a labor of love and not for the faint of heart (a Baked Alaska recipe can take up to 3 days to complete start to finish…at least that’s how long it took us. And we didn’t even make homemade ice cream!) but you get to play with a blow torch in the end… and how fun is that?!
For our Baked Alaska recipe, we started with the ice cream dome, using a nutty, fruity, and vanilla ice cream for each respective layer, made extra special by sprinkling our chopped Chocolate Chip Brownie Soft-Baked Biscotti between each layer for some yummy texture. Then you make a rich, fudgy chocolate cake to use as your base of the Baked Alaska cake. Put it all together and top it all off with an igloo of freshly whipped meringue to complete this showstopper!
Biscotti Baked Alaska Recipe (adapted from Saveur recipe & NYT “World’s Best Chocolate Cake” recipe)
For the ice cream
- nonstick cooking spray or butter, for greasing
- 1 ½ cups (13 oz) nutty ice cream, such as pistachio
- 1 box of Chocolate Chip Brownie Soft-Baked Biscotti
- 3 cups (24 oz) fruity ice cream (not sorbet), such as strawberry
- 2 cups (20 oz) vanilla ice cream
For the cake
- 1 cup plus 1 ½ Tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks plus 1 ½ Tablespoons), at room temperature and cut into ¾ inch/2 centimeter cubes, plus extra for greasing the pan
- 7 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) chopped into ¾ inch/2 centimeter pieces
- 1 ½ teaspoons instant coffee granules, dissolved into 1 ½ cups boiling water
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups plus 2 Tablespoons self-rising flour
- 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus 1 ½ teaspoons for dusting
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the meringue topping (adapted from Saveur recipe)
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp (7oz) superfine sugar
- pinch of cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup over-proof spiced rum (optional)
At least 1 day and up to 1 week before serving this Baked Alaska recipe, assemble the ice cream dome:
- Transfer all of the ice cream to the refrigerator for 15 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, lightly spray a medium freezer-safe bowl with cooking spray, then line with 2 long sheets of plastic wrap, placed perpendicularly to fully line the bowl with a few inches overhang on each side; press to smooth.
- Remove the nutty ice cream and scoop into the prepared bowl; using a rubber spatula or small offset metal spatula, press the ice cream into the bottom of the bowl, smoothing the surface into an even, smooth layer. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of chopped chocolate, pressing lightly to adhere, then transfer the bowl to the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up slightly.
- Remove the bowl and the fruity ice cream flavor from the refrigerator; spread into an even, smooth layer. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons chopped chocolate evenly over the ice cream layer and press lightly to adhere. Transfer the bowl back to the freezer for another 10 minutes.
- Finally, remove the bowl from the freezer and add the vanilla ice cream. Smooth it over the chopped chocolate into an even, smooth layer. Gently fold the plastic edges over the ice cream to cover. Freeze until completely solid, about 10 hours.
- A few hours before you are ready to serve this Baked Alaska recipe, remove the bowl of ice cream from the freezer and the cake from the refrigerator. Unwrap the cake and uncover the top of the ice cream. Using the plastic wrap around the sides, lift the dome of ice cream from the bowl. (if it sticks, dunk the bottom of the bowl in large bowl of hot water for a few seconds to help release). Place the ice cream dome, centered and flat-side down, atop the cake. Remove the plastic wrap from the dome and transfer the Baked Alaska cake back to the freezer.
Prepare the cake:
- Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9 inch round spring form pan with butter and line with parchment paper, then set aside.
- Place butter, chocolate, and hot coffee in a large heatproof bowl and mix well until everything is melted, combined, and smooth. Whisk in sugar by hand until dissolved. Add eggs and vanilla extract and whisk again until thoroughly combined and smooth. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt together into a bowl and then whisk this into the melted chocolate mixture. The batter here is liquid, but don’t think you have missed something; this is how it should be.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the cake is cooked and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few dry crumbs attached. The top will form a crust and crack a little, but don’t worry, this is expected. Leave the cake to cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pan, then set aside to cool completely.
Make the meringue topping:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the 4 egg whites; beat on medium speed until the whites begin to turn foamy, 30-60 seconds. Add the 2 tablespoons of sugar, the cream of tartar, and the vanilla seeds and continue beating until silky, soft peaks begin to form 2-3 minutes. Reduce to medium-low speed and gradually add the rest of the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the sugar is completely incorporated and the meringue holds glossy, stiff peaks.
- Immediately remove the Baked Alaska from the freezer. Using a rubber spatula, scoop the meringue evenly over the ice cream in decorative swoops and swirls. If flambéing, gently nestle the half eggshell into the top of the meringue dome. Transfer to the freezer.
- Half an hour before you are ready to serve the cake, transfer the Baked Alaska to the refrigerator to soften slightly. To serve, use a handheld torch (you can usually purchase them at your local hardware store) to evenly brown the meringue (if it starts to catch on fire, gently blow out the flame and continue toasting).
- Optional: to flambé the meringue, in a small pot over low heat, warm the rum for 1-2 minutes (do not boil). Place the Baked Alaska on the table to serve and, using a small metal ladle, carefully pour 2 tablespoons of rum into the eggshell. Use a long match or grill starter to light the rum in the eggshell, then, slowly and carefully ladle more rum into the shell, allowing it to flow down the meringue like a volcano. Once the alcohol has burned off and your guests have been adequately impressed, use a warm knife to slice the Baked Alaska cake into wedges and serve immediately.
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