Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Daring Bakers...Baked Alaska

I finally got around to completing my Daring bakers challenge. This month the Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers have 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 the Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petite Fours. The sources of Elissa's chellenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop.

I chose to go with the Baked Alaska, mainly because the idea has always intrigued me. Again the recipe was quite laborious with three components to put together (cake, ice cream and meringue). I have never eaten pound cake and think it must be an American cake as I remember it being mentioned on Grey Anatomy once (both entertaining and educational). The process of browning the butter was quite interesting and not something I had ever done before, I think it contributed a wonderful flavour to the cake, and will do it again.

Overall I didn't think too much of the dessert, the meringue was really soft and fluffy, which is not my favourite thing, I find things that are airy in texture make me feel a bit gross when they are in my mouth. The pound cake was quite dry, which I think was caused by sitting in the freezer allowing the meringue to set and then blasting it in the hot oven to brown it off.

I would recommend giving the pound cake a whirl, it was dense and quite rich with a lovely flavour from the browned butter. It would make a good birthday cake if you felt like a change from a plain sponge cake.


275g Unsweetened BUTTER

2 cups cake FLOUR (never heard of, put 2 tbspn of cornflour into your measuring cup and make up to a standard cup with plain flour)


1/2 tsp SALT

1/2 cup lightly packed BROWN SUGAR

1/3 cup granulated SUGAR

4 large EGGS


Preheat the oven to 160C, place a tray in the centre of the oven and prepare a 25cm x 25cm baking tray with some baking paper.

Put the butter into a saucepan and heat slowly. On a medium heat gently brown the butter, it will smell delicious and nutty. Watch it like a HAWK it will burn easily. Once ready allow to cool, transfer to a shallow bowl and pop in the freezer so the butter congeals, but doesn't go completely hard (about 15mins).

Sieve together the flour, baking power and salt.

Beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.

Combine mixtures gently until just mixed. Scrape into prepared baking tray.

Cook at 160C for about 25 minutes or until lightly brown on top and a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tray and turn out on a rack.

You could cut this in half and fill with jam and cream, or ice with a really rich ganache. The cake is quite plain, but a perfect base to impress.

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