Sometimes I get in over my head. Like when I decided to make baked alaska for our adopted college student and then transport it to his dorm. Yes, I successfully (barely) transported this red velvet baked alaska in the car for a 15 minute ride to celebrate a birthday. Making the baked alaska cake was actually less difficult than you would imagine, it was transporting it that was not my wisest decision (baked alaska is filled with ice cream then topped with meringue that is toasted and should be served immediately before the ice cream melts). So, if I can make baked alaska, so can you, I promise, just don’t try and transport it anywhere! My friend Deb shared this detailed recipe in her book Red Velvet Lovers Cookbook, and her step by step instructions made it impossible to fail.
By the time we made it to the dorms, the snow laden mountain was starting to melt all over my jacket, then up the stairs and into a small dorm room filled with students who had never heard of baked alaska and didn’t care about it except for the fact that it was cake. So they tore into the melting mountain and enjoyed it just in time before it all melted away. Our adopted student, being from Africa, was experiencing his first real snowy winter here so I wanted to celebrate with a wintry cake so this was a perfect fit. And good thing for me, he has a sweet tooth, so he was happy and enjoyed multiple slices, melting as it was!
About the cake: Deborah from Taste and Tell came out with this incredible Red Velvet Lover’s Cookbook which inspired this recipe. It’s filled with rich red recipes like this Crepe Cake, Red Velvet Gooey Butter Bars, and Red Velvet Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies. Obviously, this cookbook would make an excellent Christmas gift but also would be great to have around for holiday baking. This Red Velvet Baked Alaska Cake would make a perfect Christmas dessert or Holiday Baking Challenge (but not too hard I promise!).
The cake is made in steps – mold the ice cream, make the cake, top the cake with the molded ice cream then freeze, cover the cake with meringue, then brown the meringue. Bring a little patience with you for this one and focus on one step at a time and I promise you will love what you created!
Besides baking over the holidays here are a few of our favorite Holiday Traditions:
Watching Elf while putting up our Christmas Tree
Making Homemade Marshmallows
Renting several black and white movies from the library
Going out for hot chocolate and churros or making them at home
Finding a new ornament for the tree that signifies our year in some way
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment with one of your favorite holiday traditions for a chance to win a copy of the Red Velvet Lover’s Cookbook
- 1 3/4 quarts 7 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
- 1 1/8 cups all purpose flour, I used whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons red food coloring*
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 large egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
Line a 9 inch diameter bowl with plastic wrap. Pack the ice cream into the bowl, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze until solid (about 8 hours).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment and also spray the paper.
Whisk the flour, cocoa, and salt in a bowl to combine.
Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the egg, then scrape downy the sides of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the creamed butter and sugar, in two or three alternating additions, mixing until combined. Stir in red food coloring and vanilla.
Combine the vinegar and baking soda in a small bowl (it will bubble up). Fold into the cake batter. Pour the cake batter into the pan. Bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched, about 25 minutes. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer in a large bowl until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and salt and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
If necessary, level off the top of the cake with a serrated knife. Place the cake layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Remove the plastic wrap covering the bowl of ice cream and unmold the ice cream, flat side down, on the cake layer. Peel the plastic wrap off the ice cream. Cover the cake and ice cream with the meringue, making sure to reach all the way down to the parchment paper, leaving no holes. Use the back of a spoon to make peaks in the meringue. Freeze the dessert for 2 hours.
Set a rack in the center position and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove the dessert from the freezer and bake just until the meringue is browned, about 8 minutes. Alternatively, brown the meringue using a kitchen torch. Serve immediately.
You will need to buy a whole bottle of red food coloring. The small food coloring set that you probably have in your cupboard is not enough 🙂