Nothing Says “Birthday” Like Baked AlaskaPosted: March 21, 2012
True statement: I will follow the Sedaris siblings (ok, at least David and Amy) anywhere they lead me. David decides to stop using human characters and to form his tales as animal fables? I mean, I’ll miss the family dirt, but I’m game. Dude could write the alphabet and I’d read it cover to cover. His sister, Amy, decides to shed her fat suit (you’ve seen “Strangers with Candy,” right? RIGHT?) and transform into the hostess with the mostess? Then I guess it’s time to throw a party. There are few people I think could actually take Martha Stewart down, and Amy Sedaris is one of them. And yes, I’d pay to see that fight.
Anyway, my super awesome brother S was staying with us last week. It rained–no joke–all day, every day. It was the only rain we’ve had all winter, so it was definitely good to get, but it really put a damper on outdoor exploration and city meandering. Fortunately, S likes to eat as much as we do, so the week basically turned into a food tour of our area. It. Was. Awesome.
In addition to unrelenting downpour, S’s birthday also coincided with his visit. John and I love nothing more than preparing obscene birthday feasts, so John promptly set about making the best g-d ribs he’s ever made (like, seriously) and I set about making Baked Alaska, a cake I’ve been wanting to make ever since I was gifted this fantastic tome a few years back:
Baked Alaska just seems so marvelously kitschy and ridiculous to me. It’s ice cream and cake and meringue; it takes a bunch of time to make (mostly inactive on your part, so don’t be deterred!); and, in the end, it is amazingly ugly.
No, really. It’s one ugly lump.
But you get to torch that lump and, if you’ve never torched an ugly mound of egg whites, let me tell you something: GET EXCITED.
It was hard to stop myself. I could’ve torched that cake into oblivion. But it was S’s birthday, so I stopped when it looked like this:
Ugly and delicious. That’s something I can really get behind.
So, I got the idea to make Baked Alaska from Amy’s book, but then S and I made a few changes. For one, I made an Angel Food cake instead of the cakes Amy calls for because S really likes it. Click here for Alton Brown’s recipe that I used. Secondly, I used just coffee ice cream because, again, it was S’s preference and preferences are honored when it comes to birthdays. For the assembly and the meringue, though, it was all Amy. Below is the hybrid recipe, minus the Angel Food cake.
1.5 quarts ice cream
whites of 6 large eggs
1/2 tspn. cream of tartar
1 c. sugar
for the ice cream:
Pack an 8- or 9-inch bowl or round container with your favorite ice cream and refrigerate for 8 hours or until solid. You might want to line the bowl with Saran Wrap or even foil just so when you have to remove the ice cream, it’s easier.
for the meringue:
Mix the 6 eggs white with 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar. Beat until frothy, beating in the sugar. Beat until meringue is stiff and glossy.
Set oven at 500 degrees F. Place the cake(s) on a board, then on a baking sheet. Loosen the ice cream from the bowl and invert bowl over the cakes. Cover the cake and ice cream completely with meringue. Put the assembled cake into the broiler (if the broiler is on top of the oven) for 3-5 minutes or use a torch and torch it all over.
Here’s a crappy pic of S blowing his candles out because, well, I just really like that guy and I’m really glad we got to celebrate his birthday together.