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”.
Brown Butter Pound Cake
200g sifted cake flour (sift before measuring) (2 Tbsp cornflour in the bottom of 1 cup measure then fill as normal with plain flour works as a substitution)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.(I just used a round tin, because that's what I had)
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.
I sliced the round cake in half, because it was too thick for my liking, and then topped it with a generous amount of the Dulce de Leche ice cream I made the other day, and set it into the freezer.
Then I realised I had no more eggs, so the next part had to wait till the next day so I could buy more eggs.
Meringue (for Baked Alaska)
4 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup 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.
Pipe, or spread with a spatula, all over the cake and ice cream, and return to the freezer for an hour, or up to one day.
Bake the Alaskas on a rimmed baking sheet in a 260°C oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Serve immediately.
It was delicious - the unique flavour of the dulce de leche ice cream really married well with the nutty cake, even though the cake wasn't so nice either texturally or taste wise once frozen. This cake is really at it's best when eaten hot, or at the very least, room temperature straight after cooking. The kids loved it though. The meringue was very ahh-worthy, perhaps I should make it more often? Miss Four informed me that she knew how to make meringue: "You take the sticky white part of the egg, and then you do something with it... and then you cook it and it's meringue."
Cooking lessons from Postman Pat - It does happen!