For the Cake Layer
- 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk, 2%
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2 eggs
For the Ice Cream Layer
- 1 1/2 quarts ice cream, quality Cherry Vanilla or flavor of choice
For the Meringue Layer
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla
*These values are approximate. Per serving, based on a 2,000 Calorie diet.
Prepare the cake by preheating the oven to 350° F. Grease and lightly flour a 9-inch round baking pan, tapping out the excess; set it aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together to combine. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the milk, canola oil and eggs to the center of the bowl. Whisk until all ingredients are blended. Once blended, beat the cake batter for 3 minutes or until very smooth and airy.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Afterward, invert the cake pan onto the wire rack to remove the cake from the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, remove the ice cream from the freezer and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes to slightly soften. While the ice cream is softening, choose a bowl with roughly the same circumference as the cake pan to use as a mold for the ice cream. Start by spraying the interior of the bowl with baking or non-stick spray. Line the bowl with a double layer of plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch overhang around the edge of the bowl. Scoop the softened ice cream into the prepared bowl. Level the ice cream with the back of a spoon. Freeze for 2 hours or until firm.
Once the cake is completely cool, wrap it in a double layer of plastic wrap and freeze on a level surface for 1 hour or until firm.
When both the cake and ice cream are frozen and firm, take both out of the freezer to assemble the layers. Unwrap the cake and place it on an oven-safe serving plate. Float the ice cream bowl in a larger bowl filled with very warm tap water for 2 minutes to loosen the edges. Remove the ice cream bowl from the larger bowl.
Grab and lift the overhanging plastic wrap around the bowl to release the ice cream from the bowl.
Center the dome-shaped ice cream, flat-side down, onto the cake layer. Use a serrated knife to quickly trim the edges of the cake to be flush with the ice cream. Spread any dripping ice cream back up and around the dome to smooth. Wrap the assembled layers in plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours or until very firm.
When the cake and ice cream layers are almost firm, prepare the meringue by whipping the egg whites and cream of tartar into stiff peaks. Combine the sugar and salt before gradually adding it to the stiff meringue. Stir in the vanilla extract until incorporated.
Preheat the oven to 500° F.
Unwrap the stacked cake and ice cream layers. Work quickly using an offset spreader or knife to evenly spread the meringue to ½-inch thickness over the exposed surface of the layers. Make decorative swirls or peaks in the meringue, as desired.
Bake in the oven for 2 to 4 minutes or until the peaks of meringue are browned with the remaining meringue taking on a dry appearance. Remove from the oven.
Let the Baked Alaska stand at room temperature for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing to serve. Leftovers may be covered in plastic wrap and frozen for up to two days.
Recipe Notes: Baked Alaska isn’t complicated to make but it does take time. Ice cream flavors can be interchanged based on preference, but smooth ice cream is easier to work with than chunky ice cream. Baked Alaska may be fully assembled and baked up to a day ahead of time, if desired, however the freshly baked dessert yields a more dramatic presentation. When made ahead of time, simply wrap and store in the freezer until just prior to serving.