Baked Alaska with Brown Butter Pound Cake

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”.

The first decision was which to make.  Since there was a birthday in the family, I went with the full sized Baked Alaska and homemade Honey Strawberry Ice Cream.

Honey Strawberry Ice Cream churning

First the ice cream:

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup chopped strawberries

1 teaspoon vanilla

Add the milk, cream and honey to a medium sized sauce pan and warm over medium heat until the honey melts and small bubbles form around the edges of the pan, 3-4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.  Place in the refrigerator until cold, at least 1 hour.  Add the strawberries and place in the ice cream maker following manufacturer’s directions for freezing.

After the ice cream is finished, place it in a medium sized bowl (measure against the pan you are using for the cake so that the top of the ice cream is the same size as the bottom of your cake pan) lined with plastic wrap.  After filling, fold over the plastic wrap to make sure all of the ice cream is covered.  Place in the freezer until hard, preferably at least overnight.

Next the Browned Butter Pound Cake:

I followed the recipe provided in the challenge, which turned out really well.  It looked beautiful and had a nice rich flavor.  I did find that even though the tester came out clean it was still a little underbaked and I realized I had to put it back in for a few more minutes after the top began to sink.

Browned Butter Cake cooling

Brown Butter Pound Cake 



 19 tablespoons (9.5 oz 275g) unsalted (sweet) butter


) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)    200g2 cups (



) baking powder    5g1 teaspoon (


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.  (I used a 9″ round pan with removable sides as I wanted to make one large cake rather than smaller ones described in the challenge.)

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.

Browned Butter

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. (I used a 9″ round pan with removable sides as I wanted to make one large cake rather than smaller ones.) 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.

Browned Butter pound cake ready to bake

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.

8 large egg whites

cream of tartar  ½ teaspoon




salt  ½ teaspoon

  1 cup (220g) sugar    

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.    

Now for the assembly:

Unwrap the top of the plastic from the ice cream and lift it from the bowl using the plastic wrap as handles, then place upside down over the cooled cake.

Baked Alaska Assembly

Remove the plastic wrap and either with a spatula or piping bag, completely cover the cake and ice cream with meringue.

Baked Alaska ready to bake

Place the prepared cake in the freezer for one hour to make sure everything is as hard as possible.


If you have a baking torch, this is the time to get it out, if not, pre-heat your oven to 550 (or as high as it will go).  Place the cake on a sheetpan in the oven just until the meringue begins to brown – it will be quick so don’t run errands or anything, keep a steady vigil!  Take it out and serve immediately!








Baked Alaska ready to slice







The individual components (cake and ice cream) were delicious, although I’m just not a big fan of ice cream cakes – freezing the cake just seems to remove all the great texture for me and I probably won’t do it again.  I will definitely use the cake again, just not frozen.