Over the late spring, my better half and I alternated taking our child to out for supper one a weeknight to offer him a reprieve from (I mean, not to point fingers or anything) the periodic hollering/sustenance throwing dinnertime jokes of The Interloper, a.k.a. his more youthful sister.
On one of my nights, he indicated the highest point of one of the numerous mirror-shrouded dividers at the eatery with the menu scribbled over it and said: “What’s a Baked Alaska?”
“Well, son,” I began because let’s not even pretended I don’t live for this kind of stuff, “It’s a dessert in which ice cream is wrapped in a cake and then covered in a marshmallow-y frosting that’s toasted and then they light it on fire…” “CAN WE GET ONE OF THOSE?”
Look, I don’t know what stuff you’re made of, but I consider telling a 6-year-old that ice cream wrapped in a cake, frosting and fire exists but not for them is cruel and unusual punishment. And so we ordered it and I tried to warn him that they might not do the fire thing and maybe it won’t be as cool as I made it sound and then this happened.
And don’t worry, I didn’t, like, text my husband the video and say “You can probably quit now because I just won at Dinner With Jacob” or anything unbecoming and immature like that, nope nope nope. The joke was on me because I bet you know what came next, don’t you? “Mom, can you make me one of these for my birthday?” [Gulp.] “Sure?” [Note to self: Learn how to make Baked Alaska.]
Fast-forward a couple months and boom, his birthday week was here and somehow I hadn’t gotten far on this beyond thinking, what did I get myself into?
I started looking at recipes that involved homemade ice cream and that’s great and all if you wish but as my son is perfectly happy with a good old-fashioned chocolate-vanilla-strawberry trifecta from the store, I decided to save my energies.
Many recipes either had you either make a cake from scratch or box mix or use a store-bought pound cake, but we here have a fondness for frozen brownies (extra chewy and fudgy!) and my favorite recipe is one-bowl and so I made that instead.
The frosting is just a meringue and we’ve totally got that down. Plus, I learned you can frost it and freeze it hours and more before you need it, meaning that it was easy to get a lead on this. Wait, was this… easy?
Wait for it.
Birthday candle time arrived and the lights were dimmed while everyone waited for this masterpiece to emerge from the kitchen, my husband and I were frantically watching YouTube videos on our phones about how to flambé a dessert because — like everything else in parenting and also probably life — we had no idea what we were doing.
The cake was melting on the counter. I was trying to figure out how to warm brandy without cooking the flammable alcohol off, and of course, putting a lit match to a cup of alcohol is terrifying (I rather like my eyebrows and also my home. “How was your 7th birthday, kid?” “My mom burst into flames.”) but it turned out to be a veritable kitten of a flame and you guys, it turns out if you set a whole cake on fire for a kid to blow out, nobody even notices that you forgot to buy birthday candles.
Now, I understand that Turning Seven and Setting Cakes On Fire is pretty exciting stuff. We could stop right here! But we’re not because I’ve been fidgeting in the background all month trying to figure out how to tell you something cool was happening but couldn’t decide how. [Oh my god I am NOT PREGNANT. Just stop it.]
Omigy is a year old. This little website We started in 2015 fully planning for it to be over within 6 months because why would anyone want to hear what a total non-expert had to say about cooking, turned 10 this month. I tried so hard to come up with the perfect way to celebrate this and then got flummoxed and picked 4.
I HAVE QUESTIONS.
You are what makes this site awesome. Without you, well, I don’t know what I’d be doing but it certainly wouldn’t be getting to write songs of fire and ice cream all day. Will you tell me something about yourself? Who are you? I’m assuming you’re on the internet for the reason the internet exists, to procrastinate — what does everyone think you’re doing right now? Most importantly: What’s your favorite thing to cook? Least favorite? (I’ll settle for an answer to any of the above.)
via [Smitten Kitchen]