There are no words.
I refuse to speak of that monstrosity—that thing that took up hours and hours of my life that I’ll never get back.
Nope, not talking.
Fiiine, if you insist I will tell you that 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”.
Okay, I’ll tell my tale, but it shan’t be brief.
Upon learning about this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge, I immediately decided to make the Ice Cream Petit Fours, seeing as I don’t have a kitchen torch and didn’t fancy the idea of trying to brown the meringue under the broiler. From there, I chose a truly excellent flavor of ice cream for the filling—cinnamon. Even though the rest of this project was beyond shambolic, that cinnamon ice cream was divine—probably one of the best ice creams I've ever tasted.
After selecting a mouthwatering ice cream flavor, I decided to go along with the spicy cinnamon theme and make the petit fours’ chocolate glaze out of Mexican chocolate. Combined with the nutty, rich, browned butter pound cake, I knew this recipe would be a hit.
To start, I make the brown butter pound cake. Please enjoy the following visual representation of my journey. You, like me, can sit and marvel, wondering where it all went wrong.
I hate to interrupt the sugar-filled reverie that you’ve undoubtedly slipped into, but my inner nerd forces me to inform you that the above photo is of the chilled browned butter, brown sugar, and white sugar.
There, inner nerd appeased. Moving on.
Making that pound cake looks so much easier now. During the course of working on this challenge, I made that pound cake three times, once to simply see how it tasted so I could figure out if the cinnamon ice cream would work, then to make the petit fours, and when those failed, then to make the Baked Alaska. Suffice it to say, if I ever see one of these pound cakes again, it will be too soon.
After making the pound cake, I proceeded to make the cinnamon ice cream, using the fabbity fab cinnamon that I got on my Rani’s run.
I’m considering becoming a hand model. Thoughts?
Once I had made the ice cream base, I popped it in my handy-dandy ice cream maker—which happens to be the coolest thing ever—and got it all chilled, then placed it in the freezer overnight. Then I was ready to assemble the petit fours.
Once those little beauties—so full of promise—were formed, I set about making the chocolate glaze.
I added in a bit of milk chocolate chips along with the Abuelita chocolate.
While the glaze cooled, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to make some icing that I could use to decorate the tops of the petit fours. What I didn’t take into account was how the green food coloring would stain my fingers.
I should’ve seen this as a sign of future disasters.
To make a long, depressing story short, my petit fours were a catastrophe. The cake and ice cream fell apart when I tried to dip them in the glaze, which was ridiculously thin. After a few failed attempts with the glaze, I tossed the rest of the unglazed petit fours back into the freezer and melted some chocolate, having decided to simply coat them in chocolate and call it a day. Unfortunately, after dipping them in chocolate, they were impossible to bite into without cracking a tooth. So, in the end, I decided to just try out a Baked Alaska instead, since there was still a little bit of time before this post was due and I had a leftover container of my cinnamon ice cream.
Here’s a photo of my ill-fated assembly.
Despite having a terrible time with the meringue coating, I was determined to press on and finish this. Even though half of my design was smudged in transit to the baking tray, I had moderately high hopes.
Until I bumped the tray, causing it to flip off the counter and plop my unbaked Baked Alaska onto the floor.
By then, it was all I could to just clean up the floor and repeat to myself, “I will not cry over meringue. I will not cry over meringue.” Unfortunately, this mantra proved ineffective once I realized that my Daring Bakers post was due in less than a day.
At this point, I was faced with a decision—dive into a marathon baking frenzy for the rest of the afternoon, desperately trying to recreate three days of work in a matter of a few hours, or simply submit the marred, gnarly, hot mess that my Baked Alaska turned out to be.
For the sake of my messy kitchen and my sanity, I chose the latter.