Baked Alaska, the meringue-topped and torched layered ice cream cake is a classic restaurant dessert, often served tableside with a fiery effect. Bring the sweet treat home with this simple step-by-step method that takes advantage of creamy (and customizable) store-bought ice creams and sorbets, a simple, buttery pound cake, and just enough time in the freezer between layers to ensure success. Less is more when it comes to swirling the ice creams and sorbets together; for the clearest marbled effect, be careful not to over-mix and blur the flavors.

Anna Theoktisto

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Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary test

active:
25 mins
total:
5 hrs
Servings:
10
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray; set aside.

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  • Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together into a small bowl. Set aside. Beat butter, vanilla, and 1 cup of the sugar with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light, pale, and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well and stopping to scrape bowl between additions.

  • Add flour mixture to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat on low speed until just combined after each addition; do not over-mix. Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth top with a spatula.

  • Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Place inverted cake layer on a serving platter, and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

  • While cake bakes, line a 2-quart (8-inch wide) bowl with plastic wrap. Fill bowl with scoops of chocolate ice cream, pistachio ice cream, and sorbet, alternating small and large scoops. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the ice cream; press down to close gaps between scoops and even out surface. Leave plastic wrap on ice cream, and freeze until firm, about 2 hours. Remove plastic wrap from top, and invert bowl over frozen cake layer, creating a dome shape. Carefully remove bowl from ice cream while leaving ice cream covered with plastic wrap. Freeze until very firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

  • Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed until foamy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Gradually beat in remaining 1 cup sugar on medium-high speed until whites are glossy and stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. 

  • Remove plastic wrap from ice cream. Cover top and sides of ice cream and cake layer with meringue. Use a kitchen torch to carefully brown sides and top of meringue. Slice wedges from cake to serve immediately, or freeze until ready to serve.

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