Brown Butter, Baked Alaska, and Petit Fours

27 Aug

As it turns out my ice cream extravaganza last month paid off with the announcement of our next DB 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”.

Since we couldn’t just make one of the deserts (how could we ever choose?), we decided it would be best if split up the recipes; Krista made the Baked Alaska and Nicole the Petit Fours.

S’more Baked Alaska

I decided to get a bit more creative with this month’s challenge recipe and based my creation on the campfire – S’mores!!! To bring my idea to life I added crushed graham crackers to the Brown Butter Pound Cake, and used a rich chocolate ice cream mixed with store-bought caramel sauce. Delicious!

INGREDIENTS– Graham Cracker Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
1 1/2 cups (150g) sifted 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]
1/2 cup (50g) crushed graham crackers [If you don’t want to make graham cracker pound cake, simply replace the graham crackers with 1/2 cup of cake flour]
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

*** I used half of this recipe and it yielded 12 mini-cupcakes***

STEP 1) Pre-heat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a mini-cupcake pan. [This recipe would also accommodate a  9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan]

STEP 2) Place the butter in a 0” (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.

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

STEP 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.

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

STEP 6) Scrape the batter into the greased and floured mini cupcake pan. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

STEP 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.


As I mentioned earlier I used some home-made ice cream I had left over in the freezer from last month. Check out last month’s Ice Cream Extravaganza for some wonderful ice cream recipes.


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

***Again, I halved this recipe and it worked out to just the right amount of meringue for 12 mini cup cakes***

STEP 1) 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.


STEP 1) Line a clean mini-cup cake pan with plastic wrap.

STEP 2) Fill each mold about 3/4 with ice cream.

STEP 3) Place a mini pound cake on top of the ice cream in each mold. Cover and freeze for about an hour. [Make the Meringue while the molds are chilling!]

STEP 4) Remove from pan and pipe meringue over the ice cream and cake. Freeze for an hour.

STEP 5) Using a cooking torch, lightly toast the meringue

STEP 6) Eat and Enjoy!

If there is one thing I learned during this DB Challenge it’s that browned butter is absolutely delicious- particularly when used in this pound cake recipe! I can’t wait to substitute it into some other recipes in the future.

I want S’more!

Petit Fours

Sadly, there is not much for me to write here 😦 My petit fours were a complete and utter failure 😦

I did not take pictures of the process because the brown butter cake and ice cream are the same as used in the Baked Alaska above.

Why were my petit fours such a disaster you ask?…. melting! lots and lots of melting!! The only thing that could have possibly saved my dessert was a walk in freezer that I could have worked in. My ice cream began to melt almost instantly once it was removed from the freezer. Perhaps the ice cream I made was just too soft and a harder ice cream would have been better. Anyway, with ice cream quickly melting I scrambled to get it between my layers of cake before it was too late but my patience quickly ran out (ok… so I’m not the most patient person in the world either :P). I ended up just dumping the chocolate glaze over top all of the squares and melted ice cream then I shoved the whole thing into the freezer. The next day it resembled a chocolate/ice cream/cake volcano…. was it delicious? You betcha’ it was!!! Was it pretty…. errr…. no…. I should have taken a picture of my final “masterpiece” but we actually dug in and ate it before I remembered to.

The verdict… I would try to make this again someday. It tasted great even though it wasn’t assembled properly. I would use harder ice cream and probably make it in the winter when its -40 and not +40 degrees!  lol!

** Ice cream and cake recipes can be found above.

Chocolate Glaze

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

STEP 1) Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil.

STEP2) Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate.

STEP 3) Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.

Petit Fours Assembly

STEP 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.

STEP 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.

STEP 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.

STEP 4) Make the chocolate glaze (see above.)

STEP 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).

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

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

– N&K


Posted by on August 27, 2010 in Cake, Daring Bakers, Dessert, Ice Cream


Tags: , , , ,

2 responses to “Brown Butter, Baked Alaska, and Petit Fours

  1. ericasedibles

    August 28, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Your Baked Alaska looks great! I love that you made little cupcake size ones, very cute. I agree, Brown Butter is my new favourite thing, Try it just spread on bread, wonderful!!

  2. Christina

    August 30, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    What a great flavor combo! Adorable!


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