I used to make baked Alaska quite often in sheet cake form, but I thought this time it would be more fun if I made this sumptuous ice cream cake in the shape of a couch. It turned out to be even more fun than I imagined.
Why not a couch? After all, it’s a place to relax, unwind and maybe watch some TV. There’s nothing wrong with having some couch potato time after a long day at the office.
This ice cream couch cake was made from one 9-inch by 13-inch sheet cake. The recipe is exactly the same as my earlier baked Alaska; the only difference was that instead of baking the cake in two round pans, I baked it in a sheet pan. I also used the same strawberry vanilla ice cream recipe, but any flavor ice cream would work. Store bought would be fine too.
I was kind of amused by how it turned out so I just had to make another one.
This baked Alaska ice cream couch cake is slightly larger than the first since I was more generous with the ice cream. The first couch cake was about 10 inches tall while this one was slightly more than 11 inches. Ok, this one looks more like an overstuffed armchair but I’ll call it a couch anyway.
Home magazine’s special edition features baked Alaska couches and the latest in lamps for the home. It also features a variety of machine washable slipcovers, pet care tips and so much more.
Seriously though, this ice cream couch cake is pretty simple to make.
And better still, it’s a really delicious couch cake.
The lightness of the toasted meringue mixed with the chocolate cake, strawberry and vanilla ice cream is simply scrumptious.
Who knew couches could be so delicious?
Bake one 9 x 13-inch cake, any flavor. Split it in half so you get two layers. Place one layer back in the pan or dish that you baked it in (cleaned of course). Line the pan first with waxed paper or foil.
Spread a layer of softened ice cream, any flavor, on the bottom cake layer. Freeze for a few minutes, then spread another flavor of ice cream, if you want. I used strawberry and vanilla ice cream. Freeze the ice cream cake until solid, preferably overnight. Then slice the cake into blocks.
You’ll have six ice cream cake blocks to assemble the couch. Some ice cream is needed to glue the blocks together. I found that if I freeze the ice cream in a rectangular dish then slice it into the shape of the block, it was much more efficient in gluing the pieces rather than spreading softened ice cream. Freeze the cake as each piece is added so that the parts are frozen together. Working with ice cream can be a slippery slope. Once the cake is assembled, freeze it again at least overnight so all the parts are fused together. One thing I didn’t do, which I probably should have done, was drive a thin wooden skewer through the top of the couch all the way down to the cake board to secure the back of the couch. So if you decide to make an ice cream couch cake, play it safe unless you’re a daredevil like I am. If you decide to omit the skewer, just make sure all the pieces are stacked perfectly straight.
Cover the couch cake in a thick layer of meringue. As for caramelizing the meringue, I’ve always browned baked Alaska cakes in a very hot oven, but for this couch cake, don’t even bother. I tried it with the first cake and since it’s quite tall, the only part that browned was the topmost part of the back while the rest of the couch was still pale. I had to finish it off with a barbecue lighter which turned out ok. So use a cheap barbecue lighter right from the start.
It’s a generous cake that will yield many delicious servings.
Enjoy some delicious Baked Alascouch!
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (237 g)
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (70 g)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda (9 g)
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder (4 g)
- ½ teaspoon salt (3 g)
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (56 g)
- ¾ cup milk (187 g) simmered
- 1 ½ teaspoons instant coffee (2 g) dissolved in ½ cup boiling water (120 g)
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup regular mayonnaise (170 g)
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (315 g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 recipe strawberry vanilla ice cream (or make whatever flavor you prefer, or use store bought)
- 8 large egg whites (288 g)
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 cups granulated sugar (398 g)
- ¾ cup water (177 g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Spray a 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan or dish with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Whisk then sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Place the unsweetened chocolate in a bowl. Heat the milk in a small saucepan just until simmering. Dissolve the instant coffee in boiling water. Pour the hot milk and coffee on the unsweetened chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs then add the mayonnaise beating until fully blended. Add the sugar beating until well incorporated, then add the vanilla extract.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients alternating with the chocolate coffee liquid in 3 – 4 additions beating until smooth and well blended.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven. Let the cake cool before turning out. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.
- Divide the cake horizontally so you have two layers. Line the cleaned baking pan with foil or waxed paper. Place one layer in the baking pan or dish. Spread a layer of softened strawberry ice cream evenly. Freeze for a few minutes for about 15 minutes then spread a layer of vanilla ice cream on top. Top it with the second cake layer. Freeze the ice cream cake until solid preferably overnight. Leave about 1½ cups of ice cream for assembly.
- Slice the ice cream cake into blocks. Starting from the short end, slice two blocks around 4 inches, two blocks around 1.8 inches and one block about 1.25 inches.
- TIP: You can either spread softened ice cream to glue the blocks together or freeze the ice cream first in a rectangular dish, then slice it to fit the shape of the block you are gluing. I found the latter to be a better method where I used rectangular shapes of frozen ice cream in between each block.
- Place one 4-inch block on a cake board or plate. Spread ice cream then stack the second 4-inch block to make the couch seat. Freeze to solidify the ice cream in between the layers.
- Slice the 1.25-inch cake block in half to make the couch arms. Place the arms on either side of the couch seat with a small amount of ice cream underneath to glue the arms. Freeze to solidify the ice cream.
- Trim one 1.8 -inch cake block to fit in between the arms of the couch. Spread a small amount of ice cream underneath to glue it to the couch seat. Freeze again until the ice cream is firm.
- Finally, place the last piece, the second 1.8-inch block on top of the lower back part spreading a small amount of ice cream underneath to glue it to the lower back. Freeze until solid. When firm, to keep the back of the couch secure, drive a thin wooden skewer through the center all the way down to the cake board. I didn’t support my couch cake with anything, but that was a risky thing to do which I wouldn’t recommend. If you decide to skip the skewer, just make sure all the blocks are stacked perfectly straight.
- Make the Italian meringue: In a stand mixer bowl that has been washed in hot sudsy water, whip the egg whites until frothy then add the cream of tartar. Slow down the mixer speed while making the sugar syrup.
- To make the sugar syrup, place the granulated sugar and water in a small sauce pan. Swirl to dampen the sugar. Turn heat to medium high and let the sugar mixture boil until it reaches 240°F, the sugar has dissolved, the syrup is clear and bubbly. Remove from heat. Turn the mixer to medium. Pour the hot syrup into the egg whites in a very thin and steady stream aiming towards the edge where the meringue meets the bowl and avoiding the wire whip. Turn the speed up to medium high and whip the egg whites until the bowl is cool to the touch and the meringue is thick and glossy with firm peaks. Whip in the vanilla extract towards the end.
- Remove the ice cream couch cake from the freezer. Apply the meringue evenly all over the couch cake.
- Use an inexpensive barbecue lighter, or blow torch if you have one, to caramelize the meringue. (I tried browning the meringue in a hot oven with my first couch cake, but the only part that got toasted was the top edge of the back.)
- Serve the couch cake immediately, or freeze it again. Take it out from the freezer about 15 – 30 minutes before serving if you live in a fairly cool climate, less in a hot climate.
Baked Alaska Ice Cream Couch Cake