Brown Butter Pound Cake
19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
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.
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. [This took longer for me. In fact, it was close to an hour before it was congealed. Granted my freezer was pretty full and it was close to the door but still, a word of caution to plan ahead.]
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 [Ahem, I used a 9" round baking pan here]. 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.
At this point, I had to head to a baby shower...it was a hectic day. My plan for the cake was to finish the meringue and all once my friends arrived for cooking night. When they arrived, the first thing we did was start the meringue.
Step 3: Meringue
She said we could use any meringue we wanted but provided the following recipe. I am often not a meringue fan and figured I'd be having this one for looks and scrape it off before eating the cake and ice cream but this was delicious. Really. I'm not sure what was so different but I'm planning to modify the ratios to match this one the next time I make lime meringue pie. Mmm. To think, I had thought lime meringue pie could have little improvement!
8 large egg whites
½ teaspoon (3g) cream of tartar
½ teaspoon (3g) salt
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.
Step 4: Assembly
Before assembly, I had concerns about a platter to place the cake on that would allow everything to still fit in the freezer and the door to close. I would encourage you to test a few plates and whatnot to minimize the height, should you choose to make a very tall Baked Alaska.While the meringue was being beaten, Becky and I ran downstairs, checked a few plates and got the ice cream out of the freezer. I pulled the cake out of the microwave (where it had safely cooled out of the way of my kitties' interest). I inverted the ice cream bowl, pulled at the plastic wrap and hoped for the best. It popped right out! Pretty as you please...well take a look!
Then we started the process of piping the meringue. The instructions said to be sure to fill in all the gaps. I did mention this was a large cake right?!?! The cake was about a foot tall. It took a while to pipe. We took turns!
Then Rebecca got it in her head that it needed color. Fair enough, what color, I asked. What colors do you have? ....Blue, yellow and green. Blue! I mixed a little blue into meringue in a separate bowl. This was a good thing. It can be easy to get gung ho and make a mess and ruin all your lovely meringue. I made an attempt at blue caramel flavored meringue that didn't work out. Blue meringue in hand, we weren't sure what to do with it. A heart, nah...how about a star? It could be a starfish in the ocean! Both Norway and Alaska are by the ocean! Ok, so I made a star on top. Then we quickly ran the cake downstairs, hoping it would fit. It did. Barely. There was nothing scraping but there wasn't more than 1/4" to spare. Whew! The door closed. Now it was time to wait.
After we'd cooked everything else and eaten, it was time for dessert! We pulled out the cake (which had been freezing for close to 2 hours now...it only required 1 hour) and carried it back upstairs. Rebecca got a new cooking blow torch recently. It took a few minutes to figure out how to load it with butane. (It helped to turn the butane bottle upside down.) Then we flamed it and sliced it up! Whew! Everyone enjoyed it! Success!