(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”.)


This is my first official month doing the Daring Baker challenge.  I made the Chocolate Pavlovas from last month, but I wasn’t signed up and I did it a month late, so that didn’t really count. 


This month there were two choices, Baked Alaska or Petit Fours.  I’ve made Baked Alaska before – I have a great recipe for a lemon version in a pie crust I need to post some time – so I did the Petit Fours. 


This started with a browned-butter cake.  Besides the browned butter, there wasn’t anything particularly different about the cake.  I’ve done some interesting desserts with browned butter before – I have another un-posted recipe for browned-butter Rice Krispie Treats – so I knew better then to leave it alone even for 2 minutes. Once the butter was browned and cooled, it got mixed with the standard cake ingredients and baked:


Brown Butter Cake


it came out smelling wonderfully nutty, if not particularly photogenic. 


The ice cream was next – I did two batches.  One of them was the vanilla bean from the Daring Baker recipe – I’ve also made that before, because my copy of the Perfect Scoop rarely gets back on the shelf in the summer, and this is one of my favorite recipes from there.  It’s creamy and full of flecks of vanilla, and it was too good to wait for:

Vanilla Ice Cream

After that, I made a quick batch of strawberry shortcake ice cream – most of one quart of strawberries in the food processor until it turns into pulp, some cream cheese, and a can of sweetened condensed milk.  Sort of like this recipe, only with strawberry instead of cherries.


I split the cake in half, filled it with the ice cream, and reassembled it in the freezer and left it overnight.  The next day, it got trimmed into squares and then dipped in the ganache:



Then back in the freezer to set again.  They were good right out of the freezer, but they were better after an hour or so out of the freezer.  When the ice cream was slightly melted, it soaked into the cake, and pulled all the flavors together.

Would I make them again?  Probably not.  I wasn’t really impressed with the cake – it smelled better then it tasted.  The ice cream was already a favorite, and I didn’t think it added much to layer it with the cake.  Next time I want to wrap something around ice cream, I’ll make little thin brownies and call them ice cream sandwiches.

( see the recipes )