Daring Bakers: Ice Cream Petit Fours

This challenge sure snuck up on me…like many other Daring Bakers challenges of the past.  Thankfully I remembered enough in advance to get this dessert completed in time!  We had an option this month to complete one or both of these desserts; ice cream petit fours and baked Alaska.  One day I will try baked Alaska, but I chose to make the petit fours only.

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”.

There are a few components to this dessert.  You must make ice cream, brown butter pound cake and some kind of glaze for the petit fours.  I chose a strawberry ice cream and used the pound cake and chocolate glaze recipes from the challenge.  The ice cream recipe makes quite a bit.  I had to freeze it in two batches in the ice cream maker since it wouldn’t fit in all at once.

The pound cake is easy and so very delicious.  The petit fours require two even, flat, level cakes so I had a nice top layer to snack on.  Ginger also tried a bit from the kitchen floor and continued to give me those big puppy eyes the rest of the night in search of more little bits…which I gave her.  If I give in this quickly to a dog, there’s no telling what a pushover I’ll be with our baby.  The cake is dense, sweet and buttery.  There is nothing quite like brown butter.  It might be one of my favorite things.

Since you have to layer the ice cream between the cake layers, give yourself enough time in between all the freezing.  All the layering, cutting and glazing will be easier if the ice cream and cake are frozen solid.  I froze the cut up petit fours for about 6 hours, and even when I was covering the cakes in chocolate glaze I had to stop after half of the them were done because the ice cream started to get too soft.  Time and the freezer are your friends.  The heat of August, however, is not.

Now to the fun part.  Time to eat these lovely little treats.  The chocolate was not quite solid after 2 hours in the freezer, but it was hard enough to photograph and soft enough to eat.  My layer of ice cream was thicker than it should have been, so it kind of oozed out the sides when I cut into the petit four, but it still tasted spectacular.  I liked the combination of bitter-sweet chocolate, fruity ice cream, and rich, buttery cake.  The cake tastes best when it’s not frozen solid, but the ice cream melts pretty quickly.  So, let these sit for a few minutes out of the freezer before enjoying them, but don’t leave them for too long.

Here is the brown butter pound cake recipe, the recipe for the chocolate glaze, and the strawberry ice cream recipe which is pretty great.  If you have any strawberries that need to be put to good use I highly recommend you try this one out.

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.

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.

Chocolate Glaze


  • 9 ounces (250g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (250 ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (32g) light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract


  1. Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate.
  3. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.
Very Berry Strawberry Ice Cream

Courtesy of The Food Network


  • 3 pounds fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 eggs, or 1 cup egg substitute (recommended: Egg Beaters)
  • 2 cans condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 1 quart half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons vanilla extract


  1. Wash, core and slice strawberries. Gently mix with sugar and lemon juice.
  2. Let strawberries sit for at least 1 hour.
  3. While the berries are waiting, mix remaining ingredients and refrigerate.
  4. Heat berries on stove in heavy saucepan until boiling. Turn heat down and let simmer for 5 minutes. Cool strawberries.
  5. Put cooled strawberries in food processor and process until you have small bits or puree.
  6. Mix berries and milk mixture together and freeze according to ice cream freezer instructions.
Assembly Instructions – Ice Cream Petit Fours

1. Line a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) pan with plastic wrap, so that no sides of the pan are exposed and so there is some extra plastic wrap hanging off the sides. Spread 1 ¾ to 2 cups (450ml to 500ml) ice cream into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze several hours.

2. Once the brown butter pound cake has completely cooled, level the top with a cake leveler or a serrated knife. Then split the cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers.

3. Unwrap the frozen ice cream. Flip out onto one of the layers of cake and top with the second layer of cake. Wrap well in plastic wrap and return to the freezer overnight.

4. Make the chocolate glaze.

5. While the glaze cools, trim ¾” (2cm) off each side of the ice cream cake to leave a perfectly square 7.5” (19cm) ice cream cake. Cut the cake into twenty five petit fours, each 1.5”x1.5” (4cmx4cm).

6. Glaze the petit fours one at a time: place a petit four on a fork and spoon chocolate glaze over it.

7. Place the petit fours on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for one hour.