When I was a child, this was my birthday cake of choice. I've said before I'm not really a huge cake lover and I've never been fond of icing as a child but sweet tooth? Yes, I put my hand up proudly. Bombe Alaska was 'the' dessert of the 70's along with crepes suzette - but of course no-one wants to give flaming crepes to a child on their birthday do they? Mmmm crepes suzette...
I have been asking my Mum for YEARS to make one for me and it never has eventuated. I made this and worked out why. It's not as easy as it looks - but let me say this - it's totally worth it. You need to be feeding a crowd or cut the recipe in half (learn from my mistakes - thank goodness for next-door neighbours with teenagers!) and you need to eat it straight away. There's no leftovers for later.
So hubby knowing how much I wanted one and never having eaten one before requested one of his own for his birthday last week. I took on the task with enthusiasm and nostalgia.
The verdict is it's very sweet but utterly delicious. You need to be quite organised at the tail end - it needs to be assembled minutes before you serve it. Totally worth it for the wow factor.
1 sponge cake (or use my custard sponge recipe)
1 litre vanilla icecream (or other flavour if you prefer - as a child I liked strawberry)
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1 tb liquid glucose
Make your sponge and set aside. Lick the beaters and spatulas thoroughly. If time poor just buy one!
Wash your strawberries and half them. Set aside.
at least 3 hours before serving
Wash the tin you made your sponge in or find one roughly the same shape as your sponge.
Line with clingwrap and spread your partially melted icecream in the bottom. Pull the sides of the clingfilm over to cover the top and return to the freezer to freeze hard. (It does need to be hard)
Beat eggwhites until stiff, leave on the stand mixer or just set aside whilst you heat the sugar.
In a saucepan, place sugar and glucose syrup and enough water just to make the sugar slushy. Put in your sugar thermometer and heat until you get to 121 degrees, quickly remove from heat and take over to your egg whites.
Whilst continuing to beat egg whites, gradually pour the sugar mixture and beat at a high speed. The mixture may seem to flatten a bit but continue to beat for about 6-9 minutes depending on the speed of your mixer until it becomes a thick meringue.
Cover bowl of meringue and put in the fridge to cool or place in piping bag that's been closed at one end. (personally in hindsight I'd just put in the bowl).
5 minutes before serving
Put griller on the oven and place your tray down low.
Line a large baking tray with aluminium foil and place your sponge on it.
Cover the sponge with strawberries
Unwrap the disk of icecream and place on top of strawberries.
Pipe on, or spoon on meringue until it totally covers the cake and icecream, on all sides - be QUICK.
Place under the grill until the top crisps up a little (do NOT answer the phone) and watch it carefully.
Serve with sparklers for birthdays as candles won't stay upright!
Serve quickly and DEVOUR!
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