Baked Alaska for The Daring Bakers Challenge – Brown Butter Pound Cake with Brandied Peach Ice Cream

Baked Alaska for The Daring Bakers Challenge – Brown Butter Pound Cake with Brandied Peach Ice Cream

I know that my schedule has been a bit off kilter over the last few weeks and that I have been writing less and putting posts out on odd days. We are exactly two weeks away from Food Blog Forum Atlanta, so things are rather hectic here in the South! I am running about like a chicken with its head cut off a very professional business person trying to pull everything together. Once the big event is over, I promise to be a little more consistent in my posting.

In the meantime, maybe you will forgive me if I post a spiffy version of a timeless classic – Baked Alaska. This lovely dessert is this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge. I was excited about making more homemade ice cream after making it for last month’s Daring Bakers Challenge. You can never have enough ice cream desserts (unless you are the Bunkycooks and then the cake and ice cream stuff must definitely come to a screeching halt after this month)! In case you don’t remember or weren’t here to read it, last month’s challenge was the Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake with “Liquored Up” Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream! Does anyone have a treadmill I can borrow??

Don’t you think the one in the back looks like Casper?

The Daring Bakers Challenge for August was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking (she’s actually 18 now, but I guess you can’t change your blog name every year). Jen of Sugar High Friday partnered with Elissa on this challenge and chose brown butter as this month’s theme ingredient (that’s kind of like Iron Chef, but…not!). Elissa then chose to showcase it in the form of brown butter pound cake. Since it’s Summer and August is sooo hot, we were also asked to make homemade ice cream and make either Ice Cream Petit Fours or Baked Alaska combining the two ingredients.

As already mentioned, I chose to make the baked Alaska. The version I used to make many years ago when I was just a kid had chocolate cake or brownie, vanilla ice cream and meringue. That was the traditional way it was made and it was very tasty and impressive to look at. Everyone loves torching food or seeing someone else torch their food! I thought it was pretty nifty when I was young and still do..

This Baked Alaska looks better than some of the others I made!

Since we were required on this challenge to make a brown butter pound cake (19 tablespoons of butter, no less!), I thought that the Brandied Peach Ice Cream would be a nice compliment to the nutty and buttery flavor of the cake. Those two ingredients and a little meringue and there you have it! Baked Alaska!

Well, of course, in the Bunkycooks house, nothing is ever easy, so naturally, I was out of my Brandied Peach Ice Cream (who eats all of this stuff?) by the time I got around to making the cake. So then, I ran to the store to get peach ice cream. It’s August and I live in Georgia (which happens to be the “Peach State”) and I can’t find peach ice cream! You’ve got to be kidding me! I was also amazed that the peaches for sale in the grocery store were from California. What is up with that?! Thankfully, I had success at the next store. Problem solved, so I got over it.

Everything was now going well…cake made and cut into rounds, ice cream frozen in molds and perfect meringue. I assembled everything and we were looking good, but as I piped the meringue from the pastry bag after the first Baked Alaska, the meringue was getting softer and not holding it’s shape very well (can you say humidity?), so some of my little cakes look like Casper the Friendly Ghost! Check out the picture towards the top!

I think this is fun! Does that make me a pyro?!

I have to say that these are pretty little desserts and lovely for a dinner party. I liked the brown butter pound cake (who wouldn’t with all that butter?!) and know that I would have preferred it with my own ice cream, but the Breyer’s peach ice cream was okay. I found the meringue a bit too sweet for my taste. I liked it well enough when I was a kid, but I guess my tastes have changed. I also liked Fluffernutter back then too, so what?

After trying this newfangled version, I think I would stick with the old-fashioned one that I used to make with chocolate and vanilla (just call me boring), but it was fun to revive an old classic and change it up a bit!

Thank you to Ellisa and Jen for hosting another fun challenge!

This makes a really impressive dessert!

Baked Alaska with Brown Butter Pound Cake and Brandied Peach Ice Cream

Makes 4 3-inch individual cakes

Brown Butter Pound Cake
Makes a 9′x9″ pan

Brandied Peach Ice Cream
Makes about 2 quarts

Ingredients:

Cake
19 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups sifted cake flour (sift before measuring)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Ice cream
3 large, ripe peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Peach Brandy

Meringue
8 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar

Directions:

For cake:
Preheat the oven to 325°F and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” square pan.

Place the butter in a 10” 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.

Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. 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. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” 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. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

For ice cream:
Place the sliced peaches in a blender with the lemon juice and salt. Puree and then set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the sugar into the eggs until they are thick and pale yellow. Beat in the flour and set aside.

Bring the milk to a low simmer in a medium heavy saucepan. Slowly beat the hot milk into the eggs and sugar. Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook until custard thickens slightly. Do not overcook or let it come to a boil as the eggs will scramble. Remove from the heat and pour hot custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl.

Once the custard has cooled slightly, add the peach puree and heavy cream. Cover and chill until cold. I prefer to let mine sit overnight.

When ready to make the ice cream, stir the Peach Brandy into the custard mixture and place in your ice cream maker, freezing according the manufacturer’s directions. * Note – This recipe will require that you make it in two batches if you have a smaller ice cream maker.

This is best served fresh from the ice cream maker, but you can freeze it to serve later. Soften before serving.

For meringue:
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.

For assembly:
1. Line 4 3-inch ramekins with plastic wrap, so that plastic wrap covers all the sides and hangs over the edge. Fill to the top with ice cream. Cover the top with the overhanging plastic wrap and freeze for several hours, or until solid.

2. Level the top of the brown butter pound cake with a serrated knife or with a cake leveler. Cut out 4 3-inch diameter circles from the cake. Discard the scraps or use for another purpose. (Nibbling is a good thing!)

3. Make the meringue (see above).

4. Unwrap the ice cream ramekins and invert on top of a cake round. Trim any extra cake if necessary.

5. Pipe the meringue over the ice cream and cake, or smooth it over with a spatula, so that none of the ice cream or cake is exposed. Freeze for one hour or up to a day.

6.Burn the tips of the meringue with a cooking blow torch or bake the meringue-topped Baked Alaska on a rimmed baking sheet in a 500°F oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Serve immediately.

65 Responses to “Baked Alaska for The Daring Bakers Challenge – Brown Butter Pound Cake with Brandied Peach Ice Cream”

  1. 1

    Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — August 27, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

    I have never made a Baked Alaska; I know I would love it because I love all things meringue but I’ll tell you this…that cute little torch I have for making creme brulee will not cut it; I’m after the real deal like you have. Then maybe I’ll bake an Alaska, not before!

    • bunkycooks replied: — August 28th, 2010 @ 11:03 pm

      Hi Barb,

      I left you a comment yesterday and it went away – poof! So, here it goes again! Mr. Bunkycooks has the serious torch that could burn the house down. We use it for creme brulee and dishes that require burning the alcohol off. I bet your cute little torch would work fine. Another option is to pop the Baked Alaska in the oven before serving. That works well, too!

      Gwen

  2. 2

    Monet — August 27, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

    This is the first post I’ve seen on this challenge, and I must say that I now have very high expectations! This looks beautiful, and I’m sure it tastes even better. I’m sure you have been busy getting things ready for the conference, but I know that it will be an amazing event and well worth your effort!

    • bunkycooks replied: — August 28th, 2010 @ 7:57 am

      Thank you Monet. I had forgotten how pretty Baked Alaskas are and they are nice to do for a dinner party since you can make them a day ahead. Yes, the conference has kept me busy, but is it shaping up to be a great event!

  3. 3

    Chef Dennis — August 27, 2010 @ 10:48 pm

    Gwen
    what a perfect baked Alaska!! What a great challenge for this month, and you certainly rose to the occasion! It is stunning, and I know it was delicious!!! You really amaze me with your creations!

    • bunkycooks replied: — August 28th, 2010 @ 7:59 am

      Hi Chef,

      Thanks for the comment. The Daring Bakers is so much fun to do, but it always seems like it gets down to the wire before it gets made, so I am happy this one turned out so well!

      Gwen

  4. 4

    Belinda @zomppa — August 27, 2010 @ 11:18 pm

    Is this even legal? Little Casper is gorgeous! I would love to sink my teeth…

    • bunkycooks replied: — August 28th, 2010 @ 7:59 am

      Hi Belinda,

      LOL! Casper is pretty darn cute! :)

      Gwen

  5. 5

    Paula — August 28, 2010 @ 6:21 am

    everything looks great here! even that cute dotted plate :)

    • bunkycooks replied: — August 28th, 2010 @ 8:02 am

      Thank you Paula. The little plate is pretty cute, huh? :)

  6. 6

    Patricia Turo — August 28, 2010 @ 9:33 am

    They look so pretty. I’ve enjoyed making Baked Alaska in the past but haven’t made it for a very long time. Thanks for reminding me and next time I’ll try your recipe.

    Regards,
    Patricia

  7. 7

    Brian @ A Thought For Food — August 28, 2010 @ 9:34 am

    This looks fantastic! I have to admit, I’ve never had Baked Alaska before… but I can only imagine that your version of it is nothing short of sublime!

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

      @Patricia
      @Brian

      Thank you for your comments. I had forgotten how good Baked Alaska is!

      Gwen

  8. 8

    Julie M. — August 28, 2010 @ 9:41 am

    Those are beautiful! I can only imagine all the work you’re putting into the conference. I’m so excited to be there in a couple weeks and experience the fruits of your labor! I think a little store bought ice cream is definitely ok, especially when your results are as beautiful as that! Nice work on the challenge!

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

      Hi Julie,

      Thank you! I am looking forward to the conference, too! It will be a really nice event! :)

      Gwen

  9. 9

    Drick — August 28, 2010 @ 10:19 am

    this in one I have never made, eaten a few time though and loved it — I think your peach version is great sounding ’cause I’m like you, love dem peaches … thanks for the tip on the sweetness of the meringue, I will cut down on the sugar… I think casper merinues will definitely lurk at one of my dinners…

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:36 pm

      Hi Drick,

      Thank you for the comment. We just finished up the leftovers last evening with a guest and they really were very tasty. It is a nice combination of flavors.

      Gwen

  10. 10

    Evan@sweets — August 28, 2010 @ 11:11 am

    Yours turned out great! I totally should have gone with the baked alaska.. but first, I need to buy a blow torch :) I really hope next month’s doesnt have ice cream!

  11. 11

    MaryMoh — August 28, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

    Looks beautiful! This is sure challenging. I think too challenging for me! Biting into one must be awesome. Wish you can make for me :P

  12. 12

    Ambika — August 28, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

    Gorgeous!! I will have to try my hands on these soon now and casper is adorable :)

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

      @evan
      @MaryMoh
      @Ambika

      Thank you. You can also bake these at 500 degrees for about 5 minutes. No blow torch required! It’s not quite the same, but it will work.

      Gwen

  13. 13

    Becky — August 28, 2010 @ 9:50 pm

    I have attempted baked Alaska, but yours are beautiful, and I ‘m sure that they tasted as good as they looked. Great Job!

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

      Thank you, Becky!

  14. 14

    jana@cherryteacakes.com — August 28, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

    oh it looks lovely! you did a fantastic job with this challenge!

  15. 15

    Renata — August 28, 2010 @ 11:16 pm

    Your ice cream flavor sounds delicious… Beautiful piping, too! Great Alaska!

  16. 16

    5 Star Foodie — August 28, 2010 @ 11:56 pm

    Wow, your baked Alaska is absolutely gorgeous!!!

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

      @jana
      @renata
      @Natasha

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  17. 17

    Jean — August 29, 2010 @ 10:53 am

    I have never made a Baked Alaska before, nor had one, but this looks wonderful. Peach ice cream sounds great, too.

    Congrats on a well-deserved Top 9!

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

      Hi Jean,

      Thank you for the congrats. Baked Alaska is a really fun dessert that I had forgotten about. That is what is fun about Daring Bakers!

      Gwen

  18. 18

    Kelli — August 29, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

    Your Baked Alaska looks beautiful. The pound cake was delicious wasn’t it? I made the petit fours and loved every bite of them.

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

      The cake was really good. We enjoyed nibbling on the leftovers after cutting out the circles! ;)

  19. 19

    Kim at Rustic Garden Bistro — August 29, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

    Beautiful!!! Hope you saved one for me. And I love that torch. Need to find mine so I can go play with it. Happy weekend! And can’t wait to see what you have planned for Atlanta FBF! Can’t be there in person, but I’ll be there with ya in spirit!

    [K]

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:44 pm

      Hi Kim,

      I wish you could be here with us next week! I am sure you will be hearing about it in blog posts, but we will miss you!!!

      The torch is fun to play with. Just don’t get too carried away! ;)

      Gwen

  20. 20

    Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen — August 29, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

    This looks soooo tasty! I have been thinking about joining daring bakers for a while now…so many fun challenges. :) I have never tasted a Baked Alaska before…I bet it is wonderful! Congratulations on making the top 9!

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

      Thank you Christina! You should join in on the fun at Daring Bakers!

  21. 21

    Debbie — August 29, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

    the meringue is awesome…brown butter pound cake….unique and different!

    Top 9 – good for you!

  22. 22

    redkathy — August 29, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

    Beautiful as always! Baked Alaska always reminds me of my mom :)

  23. 23

    Emily — August 29, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

    This looks utterly AMAZING. I saw it on Foodbuzz and had to stop by. Congrats on making the Top 9!

  24. 24

    Nancy/SpicieFoodie — August 29, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

    Congrats on the top 9! Now wow the Baked Alaska looks delicious, I have to admit I didn’t know what it was before seeing and reading your recipe. Looks yummy and pretty!

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

      @Debbie
      @redkathy
      @Emily
      @Nancy

      Thank you all for your comments!

  25. 25

    SMITH BITES — August 29, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

    oh Gwen ~ so pretty and I love the brandied ice cream! but i am not one of those who likes to torch things . . . so I’ll just sit back and watch . . . from afar . . . from quite a long distance away . . . like maybe 2 or 3 States away . . .

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:51 pm

      LOL! You are too funny. Just no wine with the torch…that might be problematic! ;)

  26. 26

    Jenni — August 29, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

    Beautiful job! Your little Casper ghosty alaskas are perfect! Good idea to pair it with peach ice cream. And you are right – its a shocker to find Californian Peaches in Georgia!

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

      Hi Jenni,

      Thank you for the comment. Do do look like Casper, don’t they?

      Gwen

  27. 27

    penny aka jeroxie — August 29, 2010 @ 8:49 pm

    This is an old classic isn’t it? Not too difficult but always make a big entrance.

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

      Hi Penny,

      Yes, it truly is an old classic that I have not seen on a menu in years. I certainly have not made it for a really long time. We had a friend over last evening who thoroughly enjoyed it…to the very last bite! I will definitely be reviving this one!

      Gwen

  28. 28

    The Mom Chef — August 29, 2010 @ 10:48 pm

    Beautiful. I don’t think I’ll attempt the whole thing, but I do have the ice cream recipe printed out and am headed to the store for cream and milk tomorrow! Wonderful challenge recipe, Bunky.

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

      Thank you! :) I hope you enjoy the ice cream. I will make it again before the peaches are all gone!

  29. 29

    Roti n Rice — August 29, 2010 @ 11:54 pm

    This would make a lovely dessert for a dinner party. I’ve never made a Baked Alaska and I am tempted to.

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

      Hi Biren,

      You should do it! It really is perfect and impressive for a dinner party.

      Gwen

  30. 30

    Wizzythestick — August 30, 2010 @ 9:13 am

    Absolutely stunning! Gotta get me one of those flame throwers!

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

      Very funny! :)

  31. 31

    Priscilla - She's Cookin' — August 30, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

    You’re rockin’ the Daring Baker Challenge! But I don’t own a torch and it would be dangerous is I did, so I’ll just watch and drool ;)

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

      Hi Priscilla,

      Thank you! It’s not dangerous…you just have to pay close attention and no booze beforehand! ;)

      Gwen

  32. 32

    Sortachef — August 30, 2010 @ 5:04 pm

    Great job, Gwen. This looks fabulous! And don’t worry about all that butter. During one of Julia Childs’ baking get-togethers, I read that more than 300 pounds of butter was used. So in the grand scheme of things what’s another 19 tablespoons?

    Oh, and as to being a pyro… well aren’t we all?

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

      Hahaha! Thank you for your comment. 300 pounds of butter…oh, scary! I guess 19 tablespoons looks like a pinch!

      Yes, you definitely like the fire…not a good question to ask you! :)

  33. 33

    sweetlife — August 31, 2010 @ 12:35 am

    perfect baked alaska, great job!! stunning pics

    sweetlife

  34. 34

    Christina — August 31, 2010 @ 12:24 pm

    Very beautiful! I love the last photo where you can see the chunks of peach :)

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 6:58 pm

      @sweetlife
      @Christina

      Thank you! :)

  35. 35

    Aparna — August 31, 2010 @ 11:03 pm

    I think your baked alaska looks just great. I have always had a soft corner for Casper anyways.
    And the way many DB challenges are, I’m thinking I would be better off buying that treadmill. :D

    • bunkycooks replied: — September 1st, 2010 @ 7:00 pm

      Thank you for the comment! Yes, a treadmill, a bike and an elliptic treadmill are all on order at my house! Yikes! I need to run around the block thinking about it!

  36. 36

    Sommer @ A Spicy Perspective — September 1, 2010 @ 10:47 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! I want one!

  37. 37

    denise @ quickies on the dinner table — September 2, 2010 @ 8:34 am

    I’ve never made Baked Alaska – just too much to stress over. The year round insane humidity, the tropical heat waiting to turn the ice cream into a puddle :P Brava Gwen! Yours look beautiful!!

  38. 38

    pegasuslegend — September 2, 2010 @ 6:49 pm

    I adore this dessert and what a fabulous presentation!

  39. 39

    Cristina — September 4, 2010 @ 10:57 am

    Hi Gwen: Your Baked Alaska turned out beautiful and lovely caramelization with that very serious torch! I need one of those fun gadgets/tools…I’m just so afraid of ‘em. Congratulations on your DB Challenge.

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