Sunday, April 10, 2011

Where's the Polar Bear?

I feel miserable, hesitant, and busy these days.

Ever since I started taking baking and cake decorating courses, and have my own kitchen, my life has been changed dramatically.

I used to be a stylish girl who enjoyed going to the malls every weekend, spending money and time on cosmetics and reading fashion magazines every month. It's only normal to bring home at least 1 new piece of clothing every month. (No, I was never a big spender) When I was in University, going to the mall is a weekly event. My shopping buddy and I would go to a different mall every weekend to shop. Things only get worse when I rented her basement in my master years that if one of us wake up in the morning and felt an urge to spend some money, we would go wake the other up, get dressed, and jump in the car. I love the non-existent schedule. Those were the days.

Ever since I own my kitchen, things have changed. I started to spend my time and money on groceries and preparing dinner rather than clothes. I started this blog. I stopped shopping at the mall but end up spending my time looking every where in the city to buy plates, cake stands, and flatware. Things definitely started to get worse when last weekend I actually allowed myself to dress in an old t-shirt, jeans that doesn't fit properly and unmatched shoes when I go out. I would never let myself out of the door dressed like that 3 years ago. The only chance that might happen to me, I thought, might be when I have a kid. I was surprised when I looked into the mirror later that day to examine my fashion faux pas. My passion for baking has engulfed me and has taken all my personal time. I am afraid these days that sooner or later my passion for cakes will die down, probably because I hated that there's no time to take care of myself anymore.

That's just my little worry these days. Yet I know this won't happen anytime soon. I still stay up late at night to finish a cake, and sacrifice my sleep to finish icing some cookies. I have no regrets, but maybe drink a few more coffees than I should be.

It's mom's birthday in a few days. Last year I did a mango galette for mom. Since my recent purchase of an ice cream machine, I have decided to make a baked Alaska for mom.

I knew of Baked Alaska when I was little. To me, it's a mountain of ice cream flambe with alcohol. The fire and ice combination fascinated me. Do you know what a Baked Alaska is?

Ok, maybe my version is far from Heston Blumenthal's version. That's just a little bit time consuming to my busy schedule. But here's my simplified version:

Doesn't it look like a burnt floating island? Ah yes, this island has pokey spikes! (C beside me: "where is the polar bear?")

8" Dome Shaped Baked Alaska with Mango Ice Cream
Sponge cake
3 eggs, separated
1.8 oz sugar
0.2 oz cocao powder
1.6 oz all purpose flour
Instructions here.

Mango Ice Cream
Ice Cream base:
8 egg yolks
3/8 cups suar
2 cups milk
1-1/4 cups whipping cream
3/4 cup mango puree
2 tbsp raspberry liquor
Follow your usual ice cream making instructions. When the ice cream is done, hand mix is 1/2 cup mango puree mixed with 1 tbsp liquor of your choice.

Swiss Meringue
5 egg whites
200 sugar
Heat up egg whites with sugar over a hot water bath until it reaches 60C. Mix occasionally. The mixture should feel smooth to touch. Transfer to a mixer and whisk until stiff peaks, 5 to 10 minutes.

Cut the cake into 2 layers. Pick one of the layers and trim to fit the top of your dome shaped mold. (You can omit this step and use the whole cake if you want.)
Line your mold with plastic wrap. Put the smaller piece of cake (if used) at the bottom and put in your prepared ice cream. It's best to coordinate your time and put the ice cream in the mold directly from your ice cream maker. Put the big piece of cake on top of the ice cream, and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 2 hours.
Fill your pipping bag with meringue. Take out your cake from the freezer and flip it over a cake board/serving dish. Unmold and take away the plastic wrap. Pipe the meringue on top of the ice cream to cover it entirely. Using a hand held torch, lightly caramelize the meringue. Serve immediately.


  1. What a beautiful birthday treat!

    I'm sorry you're feeling a bit blue and down, but every stage of life takes some readjustment time, and it sounds like your focus has shifted to something creative and all-consuming. Can be good, but stressful! (Though selfishly I'm super glad to be able to reap -- and read -- the benefits.)

  2. I love it!!!!! I really really want my own ice cream maker, although I have made baked Alaska with store bought before :)

  3. Waw, it's gorgeous!Will have to try...

  4. I love your baked Alaska! Gorgeous swirls and browned peaks! Your Mom is going to love this dessert, yum.

  5. Thanks for all the comments!
    @The Nervous Cook: Thanks for the cheering!

  6. wow, your dessert is gorgeous and I bet it was really good too. Congrats on the top 9!

  7. This is one of the prettiest and unique desserts I've ever seen. Where did you find that mold! Very impressive job and don't worry about the jeans and unmatched shoes. I'm sure you're still a fashionista.

  8. Your Baked Alaska looks quite impressive! I wish I could make mine look half as good. Cheers!

  9. I love baked alaska -- and yours looks wonderful!

  10. That's so gorgeous! I'd love to see the inside. :)

  11. This is unbelievable beautiful! I can't even imagine how to make all those gorgeous swirls.

  12. Stunning work of art! You are inspiring!

  13. @Sandra: believe it or not, I freeze my ice cream in a stainless steel mixing bowl. That's my mold ;)

    @J3nn: the light was too dim at the cake cutting and the picture didn't turn out great. Next time!

  14. What beautiful meringue swirls!

  15. I'd love to try your baked alaska, have had it in the past and it's one of my favourites! However, when I try to "click here" for the sponge cake instructions and it wasn't working - would love to know that recipe too! Thanks

  16. Link to sponge cake recipe fixed!

  17. Hey, nice site you have here! Keep up the excellent work!

    Cake Displays

  18. Is it 200g of sugar for the meringue?

  19. @Karen: yes it is 200g of sugar.



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