Zingy and intense, the ice cream for this dessert is flavoured with fresh mint. A baked Alaska is more doable than you might imagine. In fact, you can make it in advance and pop the whole thing in the freezer to effortlessly wow your guests when the time comes to serve. You can freeze the mixture in any small bowl as long as it has the same circumference as the cake base.
MAKES AN 18CM (7IN) CAKE
Start with the ice cream. Pick the mint leaves from their stems and put them into the food processor with the sugar. Blitz until combined to smooth, bright green sugar and then blend with the mascarpone and yoghurt. Stir through the dark chocolate. Line a small 700ml pudding basin with cling film and pour in the ice-cream mixture. Cover and put in the freezer for at least four hours, or preferably overnight, until firm.
To prepare the cake, preheat the oven to 180⁰C/fan 160⁰C/ gas mark 4, line an 18cm (7in) round cake tin with baking parchment, and lightly grease a baking tray. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave. Set aside.
Using an electric whisk or handheld beaters, beat the egg and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Pour in the melted butter and chocolate and continue to beat until fully combined. Sift the flour and cocoa and stir until the mixture is smooth and uniform. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 16-18 minutes, until the sponge is well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside the cake to cool.
Once the cake is cool and the ice cream is frozen, you’re ready to assemble your baked Alaska. Remove the ice cream from the pudding basin by pulling the clingfilm. Place on a plate or board and ensure there is no remaining clingfilm. Set the ice cream on top of the cake and use as a guide to cut round the cake exactly the diameter of the base of the ice cream. Keep the cake circle underneath the ice cream and return to the freezer while you make the meringue.
Put the sugar and egg whites in a large, clean metal bowl and set over a pan of simmering water, ensuring that the base of the bowl is not in contact with the water. Cook for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl and stirring occasionally with a rubber bowl until the sugar has melted and the liquid is warm, smooth and slightly cloudy. Pour this liquid into the bowl of a stand mixer or alternatively use an electric whisk. Whisk on high for 10-12 minutes until the meringue is cool to the and forms stiff peaks.
Transfer the cake and the ice cream onto the greased baking tray. Spoon the meringue over the top and sides to cover completely, and use a fork to create peaks. Return to the freezer for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 220⁰C/fan 200⁰C/gas mark 7. When ready to serve, cook the baked Alaska for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Dust with cocoa powder and serve immediately, in slices.
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