Daring Bakers Do Baked Alaska

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

Let me say right off the bat that I was unable to but the heart and soul into this months challenge as I would have liked.  This month I was remodeling, well repainting my entire house, including the kitchen.  I had actually decided that I was not even going to participate this month, until I saw what it was.  It looked fantastic and I had to try it.  It was whipped together pretty quick as I needed to get it finished before the kitchen was turned into a kerfuffle.

Baked Alaska

Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.

2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.

( at this point I needed to try it.  I have always heard of browned butter, seen it made on TV, but have never tired it.  WOW  it was wonderful!  I spread it on bread, such flavour! I will definitely be making this again.)

3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.

5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.

6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter.

Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Meringue (For the Baked Alaska)

8 large egg whites
½ teaspoon (3g) cream of tartar
½ teaspoon (3g) salt
1 cup (220g) sugar

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form

Beat in the sugar gradually in a slow stream until stiff peaks form.

Assembly Instructions – Baked Alaska

1. Line four ,4” (10cm) diameter tea cups with plastic wrap, so that plastic wrap covers all the sides and hangs over the edge. Fill to the top with ice cream. Cover the top with the overhanging plastic wrap and freeze for several hours, or until solid.

I used left over ice cream from last months challenge, see recipe for Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Shavings here

2. Level the top of the brown butter pound cake with a serrated knife or with a cake leveler. Cut out four 4” (10cm) diameter circles from the cake. Discard the scraps or use for another purpose.

3. Make the meringue (see above.)

4. Unwrap the ice cream “cups” and invert on top of a cake round. Trim any extra cake if necessary.

5. Pipe the meringue over the ice cream and cake, or smooth it over with a spatula, so that none of the ice cream or cake is exposed. Freeze for one hour or up to a day.

Excellent challenge!  This is something I would have never dreamed of making, but it went fairly well.  If I had of had more time I would have played around with more interesting ice cream flavours, instead of using leftovers and been more creative with my presentation.

I really enjoyed the brown butter cake, I will be making this in the future, everyone loved it!  The flavour was amazing, hard to describe but so tasty.

Probably not a dessert I would make again, strictly because I really do not like meringue.

Thank you for a great challenge and opening my eyes to browned butter!

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14 thoughts on “Daring Bakers Do Baked Alaska

  1. You have no idea how happy I was when I opened the “completed challenge” thread and saw your gorgeous baked alaska – first one done, and so beautiful! I’m so glad you enjoyed the challenge, even if you don’t like meringue.

    (PS How cool is it that we have the same teacup?)

  2. I lover cherry ice cream. Bet it was delicious with the brown butter pound cake. If you ever get a chance – try David lebowitz candied cherry and toasted almond ice cream. We are hoping to move within the next few months so i guess i will be up against similar challenges whilst trying to fit in a daring baker challenge too!

  3. Ooo… your baked Alaska looks uber-cute! I love the cherry ice cream idea… it adds a nice color to the dessert when you cut through it! Great job on this month’s DB challenge.

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