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Nutty and toasty meets cool and creamy...

Daring Bakers
August 2010

Hi Daring Bakers! I’m Elissa of 17 and Baking (I’m now 18 years old Smile ). I joined Daring Bakers last April and have loved every minute of it. I’m so thrilled to be hosting a challenge before I leave for college at the end of August! Jen of Sugar High Fridays chose brown butter as this month’s theme ingredient, and I chose to showcase it in the form of brown butter pound cake. Since August brings the heat, I’ve chosen two desserts that use both cake and ice cream – Ice Cream Petit Fours and Baked Alaska.

The Baked Alaska is simply cake topped with ice cream and swirled with torched meringue – it’s very simple and open to endless flavor profiles. The Ice Cream Petit Fours are definitely trickier, but I’m so excited to see the incredible decorations and variations the Daring Bakers will come up with!

Download the printable .pdf of the challenge HERE!

You can make one or both desserts, but no matter what, you’ll be browning butter and churning ice cream and getting creative.

Recipe Source: The brown butter pound cake recipe is adapted from the October 2009 edition of Gourmet. The vanilla ice cream is from ice cream genius David Lebovitz, adapted from The Perfect Scoop. The chocolate glaze for the petit fours is a larger adapted version of this ganache from Godiva Chocolate and the meringue for the Baked Alaska is a larger version of this meringue from Gourmet, May 1995.

Blog-checking lines: 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”.

Posting Date: August 27, 2010

• The challenge does not require you to make both desserts. If you want to do both, you will need to make two brown butter pound cakes. The amount of ice cream you will need depends on how large you make your Baked Alaskas, but the recipe provided below makes one quart.
• While there is not a great deal of active time, this challenge cannot be easily completed in a day because of freezing time. Make the ice cream first, then the pound cake, then the glaze/meringue as stated in the assembly instructions.
• The pound cake calls for cake flour. You can make 1 cup of cake flour by placing 2 tablespoons of corn starch in a 1 cup measure, and filling to the top with all purpose flour.
• The ice cream can be flavored however you want by infusing the cream, stirring in extracts or mix ins, or folding in purees, sauces, etc.
• Instead of using a tea cup as a mold for the Baked Alaska, you can simply top the cake round with a scoop of ice cream and freeze until solid.
• For the petit fours, you are not required to use the chocolate glaze and can use your own recipe for fondant, poured fondant, royal icing, or marzipan. I recommend the chocolate glaze because it freezes well and balances the sweetness of the ice cream, but it does limit the scope of your decorations.

Mandatory: Whether you make the Baked Alaska, the petit fours, or both, you must make the brown butter pound cake as written and the ice cream from scratch.

Variations Allowed: Both desserts can be made in any size or shape, and the ice cream can be any flavor you can think of! For the Baked Alaska, you can flavor the meringue however you want. For the petit fours, you are not required to use the chocolate glaze, or you can add additional flavors. You can also brush the cake with a simple syrup if desired.

Preparation time:

Ice cream – 45 min active time, ice cream rests/chills for 1 hour then overnight. Without an ice cream maker, the ice cream chills 2-3 hours and must be stirred every 30 minutes.

Brown Butter Pound Cake – 2 hours (includes cooling time)

Chocolate Glaze – 15 minutes

Meringue – 10 minutes

Assembly of Ice Cream Petit Fours – Ice cream must be frozen ahead of time several hours, then the cake and ice cream freeze overnight. After dipping, the petit fours freeze for one hours.

Assembly of Baked Alaska – Ice cream must be frozen head of time several hours, then the Baked Alaska is frozen 1 hour or up to one day.

Equipment required:
• Small and medium saucepans
• Paring knife
• 2 quart (2 litres) bowl
• Electric mixer
• Whisk
• Spatula
• Sieve
• 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square baking pan
• 10” (25 cm) skillet
• Cake leveler/serrated knife
• Cooling racks
• Rimmed half sheets
• Teacups
• Plastic wrap
• Piping bags (optional)
• Ice cream maker (optional)
• Cooking blow torch (optional)


Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (165g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. (If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.)

2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2 litre) bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.

3. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.

4. Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 teaspoon [5ml] if you are using a vanilla bean; 3 teaspoons [15ml] if you are not using a vanilla bean) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

5. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make it without a machine. See instructions from David Lebovitz:


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.

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.

Chocolate Glaze (For the Ice Cream Petit Fours)

9 ounces (250g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (32g) light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract

Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.


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 – Ice Cream Petit Fours

1. Line a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) pan with plastic wrap, so that no sides of the pan are exposed and so there is some extra plastic wrap hanging off the sides. Spread 1 ¾ to 2 cups (450ml to 500ml) ice cream into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze several hours.

2. Once the brown butter pound cake has completely cooled, level the top with a cake leveler or a serrated knife. Then split the cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers.

3. Unwrap the frozen ice cream. Flip out onto one of the layers of cake and top with the second layer of cake. Wrap well in plastic wrap and return to the freezer overnight.

4. Make the chocolate glaze (see above.)

5. While the glaze cools, trim ¾” (2cm) off each side of the ice cream cake to leave a perfectly square 7.5” (19cm) ice cream cake. Cut the cake into twenty five petit fours, each 1.5”x1.5” (4cmx4cm).


6. Glaze the petit fours one at a time: place a petit four on a fork and spoon chocolate glaze over it.


7. Place the petit fours on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for one hour.


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.



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.


6. Burn the tips of the meringue with a cooking blow torch. Or, bake the meringue-topped Baked Alaskas on a rimmed baking sheet in a 500°F/260°C oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Serve immediately.


I made a strawberry ice cream. I made the meringue, chocolate sauce, and brown butter pound cake exactly as written.




Additional Information: - Great article on browning butter with step by step photos - Making Ice Cream without a Machine – Video of how to transfer ice cream from plastic wrap-lined cup to cake (Baked Alaska) – Video on how to glaze petit fours (fast forward to 3:00 minutes. Includes poured fondant recipe) - Poured fondant recipe (Petit Fours) - Simple syrup and poured fondant recipes (Petit Fours) - Poured buttercream instructions

Petit Four decoration ideas:

Baked Alaska decoration ideas:

Gourmet Magazine, The Perfect Scoop, Godiva Chocolate
Gourmet: Paul Grimes & Unknown Author; The Perfect Scoop: David Lebovitz; Godiva Chocolate: Unknown Author