When I reached out to Zoë François—the host of Zoë Bakes on Magnolia Network and a baker beloved for her impressively beautiful desserts—for a dinner party dessert idea, I knew she would never deliver a boring one. The parameters I provided her were: Dinner guests are showing up in a few hours and you don't have much time to plan. What's an easy dessert you could whip up using ingredients you already have?
Zoë came up with mini marshmallows baked Alaska. It's a cake base topped with a mound of ice cream dipped in mini marshmallows, which you light on fire with a kitchen torch. (The marshmallows are a stand-in for the meringue that envelops classic baked Alaska—a brilliant shortcut!) She suggests that you "pass the blow torch around the dinner party and let everyone torch their own—that's really the fun part."
"You get that toasty s'mores flavor from when you were a kid. It's awesome," says Zoë. It's a showstopper! It's gorgeous! It's dramatic! It calls for only four store-bought ingredients! And it's the easiest dessert you can treat your guests to. In other words, it's perfection.
How To Make Zoë’s Mini Marshmallow Baked Alaska
Here's what you need to make four servings:
- 1 single-layer chocolate cake (See Note below)
- 1 (10-ounce bag) mini marshmallows
- 1 pint ice cream, any flavor
- Powdered sugar, for sprinkling
- Kitchen torch
Note: Zoë uses the devil's food cake recipe from her cookbook, Zoë Bakes Cakes. You can bake your cake—chocolate, vanilla, or any flavor you like—or pick one up from the grocery store. An 8-inch round cake will give you four 3-inch rounds.
Use a 3-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter to cut out four cake rounds. Scoop some ice cream and place it on top of each cake round. You are looking for a domed mound of ice cream—an ice cream scoop would make the job infinitely easier. Gently push down on the ice cream without flattening it so that it adheres to the cake.
Pour the mini marshmallows into a medium bowl. Then, carefully flip the cake with ice cream facing down into the marshmallows. Gently press on the cake so that the marshmallows stick to the ice cream. The ice cream should be fully covered by the marshmallows.
Flip the marshmallow-covered treat on a cute serving plate. Sprinkle powdered sugar all over the marshmallows. Now get ready for the ooohs, aaahs, and wooows. Light the kitchen torch and toast the marshmallows until they are evenly browned all over. Dig in!
Tips For Zoë's No-Fuss, All-Drama Dessert
- If you don't have a biscuit or cookie cutter, use a round glass cup turned upside down to cut the cake.
- Zoë's cake base is about an inch thick. Anything thinner may fall apart easily while you build the treat. It's fine if the cake base is thicker—more cake is never a bad idea!
- My local grocery store does not carry plain sheet cakes, so this is what I would do instead of baking a cake from scratch: Grab a Sara Lee pound cake from the frozen foods section and cut the loaf into 1-inch slices. Then, cut out the cake rounds from the slices.
- Work quickly so that the ice cream doesn't melt. If you can't fight the heat and your ice cream is melting, pop the ice cream-topped cake in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
- This is the type of dessert you should wait to assemble until you're ready to serve. You could cut the cake rounds ahead of time.
All three seasons of Zoë Bakes are streaming now on discovery+ and will also be available on Max starting May 23. Season 3 will make its cable premiere on Magnolia Network later this Summer. You can also watch Zoë on Magnolia Network's Silos Baking Competition premiering May 28 on Magnolia Network with new episodes every Sunday at 8/7c, also streaming on Max and discovery+ every Sunday.