Baked Alaska recipe: no drama required

Following last night's Baked Alaska fiasco on the Great British Bake Off, it's time to revisit this classic dessert. Eunice Power's recipe works every time... just don't try to make your own ice cream while on TV

Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 14:39

   
  • Makes: 1
  • Cooking Time: 15 mins
  • Course:
  • Cuisine: Irish

Ingredients

  • You will need a 20cm/8 inch cake tin, lined with parchment paper
  • For the sponge base:
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • For the meringue:
  • 4 egg whites
  • 150g sugar
  • 1.7 lit /3 pints of your favourite ice cream

Method

It was the hottest day of the year, and contestants in the Great British Bake Off had to make a show-stopping Baked Alaska, with ice cream they’d made and frozen, within three hours. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty, as last night’s episode of the BBC TV show demonstrated. Belfast baker Ian suffered a meltdown in more ways than one, and his Baked Alaska ended up in the bin when fellow contestant Diana removed his sesame seed ice cream from the freezer. With no ice cream to make his show stopper, Ian fled the tent and in a Bake Off first, had nothing to present to the judges.

Don’t suffer the same fate: try this Eunice Power recipe for  Baked Alaska.

Firstly, line a 1.7l or 3lb pudding bowl with a double layer of cling film, then fill it with softened ice cream. If you like, you can layer the ice cream for visual effect. Put the full bowl of ice cream in the freezer until needed.

Pre-heat an oven to 170 degrees/gas 3. Lightly grease and line a 20cm sandwich tin.

Make the sponge base by beating the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on a medium speed for 8/10 minutes until the mixture has trebled in size and has a light, mousse-like appearance.

Sieve the flour, I do this three times as it aerates the flour giving a much lighter finish. Using a metal spoon (a metal spoon is best as it cuts cleanly through the mixture without losing too much air), fold the sieved flour into the whisked egg and sugar. Do this a little at a time, folding gently as each addition is incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Smooth the top and bake in a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees/gas 3 for 15 minutes or so, until the sponge is springy and coming away from the side of the tin. Allow it to cool in the tin for five minutes then carefully turn out on a wire rack.

Make the meringue by beating the egg whites and caster sugar together until stiff, thick and shiny. Put the meringue into a piping bag with a star nozzle.

To serve, remove the ice cream from the bowl, the cling film should allow the ice cream to pop out effortlessly. Turn the ice cream onto the sponge and remove the cling film.

Pipe the meringue onto the ice cream and sponge, ensuring that you completely cover both the sponge and the ice cream. Use a palette knife and smooth it on if you prefer. Return the cake to the freezer until you are ready to serve.

Pre-heat an oven to a very high temperature of 220 degrees/gas 7.

The meringue is a very good insulator, but this dessert is still difficult to bake without melting the ice cream. Bake in the oven for just two to three minutes, or until the meringue just turns golden. Alternatively, use a blowtorch to colour and cook the meringue.

Transfer the Baked Alaska to a plate or, better still, a cake stand, pop a few sparklers on top, turn off the lights, let the sparklers erupt and bellow “Happy birthday to you”. I usually use a knife dipped in boiling water to slice the cake.