Baked Alaska—ice cream–covered cake, topped with toasted meringue—has a fun, retro quality that makes it feel like an event. The key to good Baked Alaska is browning the meringue quickly without melting the ice cream. A few minutes in the oven does the trick, but some Chowhounds cite better results with a kitchen torch. Just make sure you take your prepared Baked Alaska out of the freezer about half an hour before serving to temper the ice cream, treb says (no need to do that when using the oven method, says rabaja).
Other Chowhounds remain faithful to oven browning, but jeanmarieok says there’s no need to choose one or the other. Start your Baked Alaska in the oven, then break out the torch to touch up any areas where the meringue didn’t brown.