Aug 26, 2010

Daring Bakers: 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”.
I was really excited to try this months challenge – the pound cake sounded delicious and I love homemade ice cream.  And the use of a kitchen torch on egg whites is one of my favorite things to do (see here, here or here for more of that!)
I ended up making one quarter of the original recipe for the brown butter pound cake – and it fit perfectly into two small crème brulee cups.  Then I used two small pyrex cups to portion the ice cream – which fit perfectly on top of the cakes! 
I also used my favorite ingredient – peaches – in the ice cream.  I used Dorie Greenspans honey peach ice cream recipe (which is so good that it deserves its own post – so that recipe is coming soon!).  The honey/peach flavor really complimented the nutty, brown-butter pound cake.  And the toasted meringue on the baked alaska was the perfect topping.   Such a fun challenge – I can’t wait to see what is next!

Brown Butter Pound Cake

Ingredients (for the entire recipe)

  • 19 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” square pan.

2. Place the butter in a 10” 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” 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 cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar


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

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


Assembly Instructions – Baked Alaska

1. Line four 4” 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 (use any flavor ice cream that your heart desires!). 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” 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 oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Serve immediately.

Thanks Elissa of 17 and Baking for the great challenge this month!  And check out the Daring Bakers blogroll to see how everyone else did!


  1. Ooohh... honey peach ice cream sounds fantastic. And your Baked Alaska looks amazing! Really great job on the challenge.

  2. That peach ice cream is just beautiful...such a subtle peach color. I bet it was delicious!

  3. That is very beautiful. You should be so proud!