At midnight they went up to the roof—so as not to wake us up—and set off some questionable poppers that my sister bought from a street vendor. I don’t know the details, but word is the poppers were kind of scary.
Rather than a recap of this tumultuous, but ultimately rewarding year, I’ll leave you with this, New Year’s Cake (aka Baked Alaska). Something sweet for the New Year, and a tradition to carry on. Wishing you all the sweetest 2014, I think we’re off to a good start.
• New Year’s Cake (aka Baked Alaska) •
original recipe from Saveur Magazine
For the filling and cake:
2 pints strawberry ice cream, slightly softened (you can use whatever flavors you want, of course)
Unsalted butter, for pan
½ cup cake flour, plus more for pan (cake flour is good but not essential, it will come out fine if you use all purpose)
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. grated lemon zest
For the meringue:
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
4 egg whites
½ cup sugar
Toy penguins (optional, and yes, we know penguins don’t really live in Alaska – you can use caribou or polar bears if you prefer)
1. For the filling: Line a 7″-diameter bowl with a 15″ piece of plastic wrap, allowing excess to hang over rim of bowl. Pack ice cream into bowl, smoothing top, and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours.
2. For the cake: Heat oven to 325°. Grease and flour an 8″ round cake pan; set aside. Whisk together flour and salt in a bowl; set aside. Beat sugar and eggs in a bowl on medium-high speed of a hand mixer until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Stir in juice and zest; fold in flour mixture. Pour into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool completely, invert onto a rack, and set aside.
3. For the meringue: Heat oven to 450°. Place cream of tartar and egg whites in a large bowl; beat on medium speed of a hand mixer until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Add sugar, and beat until stiff but not dry peaks form, about 2-5 minutes.
4. To serve, place cake on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Invert ice cream onto cake and peel off plastic. Cover ice cream and cake with meringue. Bake until meringue begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Using 2 metal spatulas, transfer to a cake plate and serve immediately.