Skip to main content

For Find Out Friday - Was Baked Alaska Created in New York City?

As I mentioned the other day, I want to discover who is behind the mysterious dessert I had at Delmonico’s (; the baked Alaska.

Delmonico’s alledges that they were behind this creation. 

But is that true? 

Or is it one of the oldest urban restaurant legends in existence?

Surprisingly there is a lot of data out there about the origins of the baked Alaska and all of it seems to be in agreement. That is a rarity!

But before we get to how it came to be, let’s be clear about what constitutes a baked Alaska. 

The dessert has many varieties and recipes, but at its core it is ice cream over cake topped with browned meringue.  

All accounts do indicate that Delmonico’s pastry chef Charles Ranhofer was the man behind the cake, so to speak. He created this dessert, originally called “Alaska, Florida” (because it is both hot and cold) to celebrate the establishment of the forty-ninth state in the union; Alaska.

Alaska was purchased by the U.S. from Russia on March 30, 1867 for a whopping seven million dollars, about two cents an acre at the time. 

The original concoction consisted of walnut spice cake, banana ice cream, and toasted meringue. At the time it was created, in 1867, making this dessert required A LOT of effort. Back then there were no electric mixers or blow torches. Instead it took a full kitchen staff along time and a lot of hard work to create just one. It also included bananas which had to be imported from Central America. That explains the forty dollars it cost!! Thus, only those who could afford such luxury got to sample any. 

Despite the consensus on its origin, the baked Alaska was not the first dessert to combine cake and ice cream. That is thought to have occurred about sixty years or so earlier and a very famous founding father is behind it. That would be our country’s third president, Thomas Jefferson.

Although I could not find a date for the name change from Alaska, Florida to baked Alaska, it appears to have first been printed under that title in “The Original Fannie Farmer”. This was a cookbook that came out in 1896 authored by Fannie Farmer, obviously. I like to think it was the #dinneralaDonna of that era.

So while I might not have been wild about my first experience with baked Alaska, knowing there is a true, historical story behind it makes me more inclined to try other versions in the future.
For More Information:


  1. In accordance with your shared article, you spent a lot of fun time! How interesting and priceless this information has been!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

For Find Out Friday - Why Do Emery Boards Make My Skin Crawl?

You know that sound a fingernail makes when it scratches against a chalkboard?  You know that feeling the sound of that action gives you? I, like most people, hate that sound.  I instantly feel like scrunching my shoulders up to my neck and closing my eyes.  I feel the exact same way when I am using an emery board to file my nails. This annoying sensation has a name: “grima” which is Spanish for disgust or uneasiness. This term basically describes any feeling of being displeased, annoyed, or dissatisfied someone or something.  It is a feeling that psychologists are starting to pay more attention to as it relates to our other emotions.  Emery boards are traditionally made with cardboard that has small grains of sand adhered to them. It is the sandpaper that I believe makes me filled with grima.  According to studies that are being done around the world, it is not just the feeling that we associate with certain things like nails on a chalkboard or by using emery boards

For the Perfect Appetizer Dinner: “Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue”

Have you ever gone out to eat and wished that you just ordered a bunch of appetizers?  I have.  It is actually my preferred way to eat. I like to get a taste of a bunch of different things rather than one big plate. I am much more interested in the kinds of foods we eat as appetizers versus lunch or dinner. Desserts hardly ever register on my radar. At the beginning of this year, right before I was set to release my annual to do list , I stumbled upon a photo of the most beautiful plate of brisket nachos I have ever seen. I instantly wanted them. Naturally the establishment behind said nachos, Morgans Brooklyn Barbecue, earned a spot on my list. The week leading up to my visit all I could think about was “would those nachos be my entire meal or just my appetizer”? Sure I love all kinds of barbecue food: the ribs, the brisket, pulled pork, and don’t even get me started on those sides!! Any restaurant that serves mac and cheese, corn bread, and creamed spinach us

For Find Out Friday - How Do You Milk An Almond?

Despite my affinity for cheese and other dairy products, occasionally (actually a few times a week) I like to go dairy-free.  During those times I rely heavily on my favorite brand of almond milk, as seen in the picture above.  Though I know there is no dairy in this product, I constantly wonder: “how does one milk an almond”? Logically I am aware that no actually “milking” is taking place.  I also know that almond milk can be made at home, although I have zero interest in attempting to make it despite my love of spending time in my kitchen. So, what is the actual process?  How long does it take?  When / where / who was the first to successful develop this product? When talking about this kind of “milk” what we are really talking about is plant juices that resemble and can be used in the same ways as dairy milk. Plant like juice has been described as milk since about 1200 A.D. The first mentions can be found in a Baghdadi cookbook in the thirteenth