The Daring Baker's August Challenge

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've been thinking about trying to make baked alaska cupcakes for a long time but I never had the excuse. I don't throw
dinner parties and baked alaska must be 'made to order' so I just didn't have the chance. This challenge was my perfect chance!

Browning the butter for the browned butter pancake was a little nerve wracking. It can't be cooked too much or else it will burn and it can't be cooked too little or else the flavor won't be there. The pound cake itself was absolutely delicious- it had a nutty flavor that I have never
tasted before because I've never eaten anything with browned butter!

For the ice cream, I decided to make a soy vanilla type. My mom is lactose intolerant but I wanted her to try this dessert because she mentioned baked alaska recently. I also wanted to tweak a soy vanilla ice cream I had made in the past but it was too sweet. I decided to try a different method for making the ice cream which was "by hand" except with the help of a food processor. I'd call this the food processor method. Instead of freezing the ice cream in a pan and stirring it every half hour, I put the custard mixture into the bowl of a food processor with the blade in. I put the whole thing in the freezer and took it out and just turned it on for a minute or two every half hour. It was an interesting new process and it worked well! The food processor broke up the ice crystals quickly and effortlessly. A plus was that I could easily scrape the bowl with a knife or spatula whereas when I use an ice cream machine, the ice cream gets frozen onto the sides of the bowl.

Finally for the meringue I used a double broiler and cooked the whites and sugar over the stove a bit to make sure to kill anything that might potentially be dangerous (salmonella egg recall here recently).
As for the assembly of the dessert, I divided the batter into some muffin tins with liners and some that were greased and floured. Both worked well and easily came out of the pan. After they cooled, I used the cone method to hollow them out. I then scooped ice cream into the pound cake "cupcake" and piped my meringue around it to get the look of piped frosting. I used a mini blow torch (I've been looking for a good excuse to use it!) and browned the meringue.

The dessert itself is absolutely amazing. The mixture of the cold and creamy ice cream with the nutty browned butter pound cake and sweet toasty meringue is delicious. The dessert itself is not that difficult to make, just make sure you seal in the ice cream with the meringue or else you'll melt it! I'm really happy with my baked alaska 'cupcake' idea and I intend to try more combinations and flavors in the future. As for the pound cake and ice cream, I will also definitely be making those again too! Absolutely love this challenge!

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.[Or, cupcake tins that are lined with papers or greased and floured] 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. [about 15-20 minutes for cupcakes]

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.

Soy Vanilla Ice Cream

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar [Original recipe calls for 1 Cup but it was way too sweet...for my mother's taste =P ]

4 Egg Yolks

1 tsp. cornstarch

2 Cups soy milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1.Put the eggs yolks, sugar, and corn starch into a bowl; whisk the mixture together.

2.Heat the soy milk; slowly pour the hot soy milk into the mixture while continuing to beat.

3.Add the vanilla extract.

4.Gently heat the mixture until it thickens.

5.Let the mixture cool in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

6.Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker; make ice cream following the instructions of the machine.


  1. Your cupcake idea was indeed brilliant! I made a mess cutting out circles from my cake! And it looks so cute, too! Great job!

  2. I've never had soy ice cream before, but it looks delicious :)