Southern Living
Active Time
30 Mins
Total Time
2 Hours 5 Mins
Yield
10 to 12 servings

“Impressive” best describes this dessert! A single cake layer—brownie at that—is topped with a mound of vanilla ice cream and coated in meringue. It’s baked in a very hot oven less than 5 minutes, just long enough for the meringue to brown and crisp.

Baked Alaska is your run-of-the-mill ice cream cake’s flashier, more ostentatious cousin. Yes, it’s a little high maintenance, what with its showy meringue finish and all, but ultimately, you’ll be happy to see it at the holiday table. While the truest, most traditional form of the celebrated dessert has a sponge cake as its base, our playful take includes a rich brownie layer that makes the hot-cold dessert feel especially indulgent, and even a little more kid-friendly (though we won’t blame you if you don’t want to share the culinary delight with the younger set). Plus, it’s a smart move for holiday hosts who want to work ahead: You can keep the meringue-sealed ice cream and brownie layers in the freezer for up to a week, then pop them in the oven for those golden-brown meringue peaks just before serving.

How to Make It

Step 1

Line a 1-qt. bowl (about 7 inches in diameter) with plastic wrap, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides. Pack ice cream into bowl, and freeze until very firm.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat butter and 1 cup sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl; add to butter mixture, blending well. Stir in vanilla.

Step 3

Spoon batter into a greased and floured 8-inch round cake pan. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove to a wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

Step 4

Increase oven temperature to 500°F. Place brownie layer on an ovenproof serving dish. Invert bowl of ice cream onto brownie layer; remove bowl, leaving plastic wrap on ice cream. Place cake in freezer.

Step 5

Beat egg whites at medium speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually beat in remaining
1 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves. Remove cake from freezer. Remove and discard plastic wrap. Spread meringue over surface, sealing edges.

Step 6

Bake at 500°F for 2 to 3 minutes or until meringue peaks are lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Chef's Notes

After meringue is sealed, the dessert can be returned to the freezer for up to 1 week and baked just before serving.