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”.
This month’s challenge surprised many Daring Bakers because it involved cake and icecream – AGAIN! Only last month we were challenge to prepare Swiss Swirl Icecream Cake which was delicious! But here we were again with the same components only put together differently and, ok, using a different type of cake – Brown Butter Cake. Cake and Icecream non the less! For those in the Northern Hemispere in the midst of summer, icecream is perfect however for those of us in the Southern Hemispere summer hasn’t quite arrived and icecream wasn’t quite what I had in mind. This is meant to be a challenge so bring it on!
I decided to make a Baked Alaska because it was something I had always wanted to try. My 12 year old son thought he was quite clever asking. “Baked Alaska? How can you bake a country!” 
Baked Alaska is a dessert consisting  of  a bottom layer of cake, topped with a dome of icecream and the whole lot is covered in meringue then baked to brown the meringue. One would think the icecream would melt but the meringue forms an insulation to the heat so the result is rather strange – hot meringue and cold icecream! A real taste sensation! I couldn’t decide on one flavour so I made large, individual bombes with different flavour icecreams –
Cookie Dough,
Turkish Delight,
Chocolate Rum and Raisin
 and Orange Cardamom.
I hadn’t really planned to make the Petit Fours but with cake leftover and Espresso Icecream in the freezer from the previous challenge I couldn’t resist. The Petit Fours were delicious though not a traditional petit four more of an elegant, individual dessert.
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)
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.
Italian meringue for the Baked Alaska
1 cup of sugar + 2 tbsp
1/2 cup water
4 egg whites
Combine 1 cup sugar and water in a sauce pan and boil until it reaches 240 degrees. While that is boiling, start beating the egg whites. Once they start to get foamy add the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar and beat until peaks form. Once the syrup mixture gets to 240 add it to the egg whites slowly drizzling down the side of the bowl. Continue to beat the egg whites until mixture has cooled.
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.
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.
 
Cookie Dough Icecream for the Baked Alaska
Cookie dough
1/2 cup plain flour
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons water
Mix together the brown sugar, white sugar and butter until smoothe. Stir in vanilla and water. Mix in flour until well blended. Shape into a log or loaf and freeze until firm 1 to 2 hours.
Vanilla Icecream
300ml milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
vanilla extract to taste
300 ml cream
Mix milk, sugar, cornflour and vanill well and bring to boil until smooth and thickened. Cool and add cream. Freeze in icecream machine. When ready fold in chopped, frozen cookie dough. Freeze in airtight container.
Turkish delight Icecream for the Baked Alaska
300ml milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
300 ml cream
2 teaspoon rosewater essence or to taste
100g turkish delight, roughly chopped
50g milk chocolate, finely chopped
Mix milk, sugar and cornflour in saucepan until smooth. Bring to boil to thicken. Cool and add cream and rosewater essence. Freeze in icecream machine. When frozen fold in turkish delight and chocolate. Freeze in airtight container
Chocolate Rum and Raisin Icecream for the Baked Alaska
100g raisins
3 tablespoons dark rum
300ml milk
3/4cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
50g dark 72% chocolate
300ml cream
Macerate the raisins in rum overnight. In the meantime mix milk, sugar and cornflour in a saucepan until smooth. Bring to boil to thicken. Remove from heat add chocolate. Stir until well blended and smooth. Cool and add cream and raisins and remaining rum. Freeze in icecream machine.Freeze in airtight container
Orange Cardamom Icecream for the Baked Alaska
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
300ml milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
300ml cream
1 orange, grated rind only
Place the orange juice in a saucepan and reduce over high heat until only about 1/2 cup remains. Cool. Mix milk, sugar, cardamom and cornflour in saucepan until smooth. Bring to boil to thicken. Cool and add cream, grated orange rind and orange juice concentrate. Freeze in icecream machine. Freeze in airtight container
Assembly Instructions – Baked Alaska
1. Line four 3” (7.5cm) 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 3” (7.5cm) diameter circles from the cake. The leftover cake I split in half through the middle to make the Petit Fours.
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.
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.
Thank to Elissa for hosting the August 2010 Daring Bakers Challenge. Check out her site for the original recipe and here for many other creative Daring Bakers!