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MICROWAVE

Secrets to Baking From-Scratch Cake

September 13, 1990|JEAN ANDERSON and ELAINE HANNA | Anderson and Hanna are nutritionists and cookbook authors specializing in microwave cookery. and

Maybe it's the proliferation of microwave cake mixes, maybe it's frenzied schedules, but whatever the reason, few microwave owners have learned how easy it is to toss together from-scratch batter and bake it by microwave.

There are disadvantages, we'll admit. For example, the cakes don't brown the way they do in regular ovens. And they dry out too fast once they come from the microwave.

But these are scarcely insurmountable problems. First of all, to compensate for the lack of browning, you need only to build a little color into the batter.

As for the drying, that's hardly a problem. All you have to do is store the cake airtight as soon as it comes to room temperature. Our method is to double-wrap it in plastic wrap, then pop it into an airtight cake keeper or tin. That way it stays moist.

CHERRY POUND CAKE

2 cups sifted flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup butter or margarine

1 cup light-brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

4 eggs

1/2 cup finely chopped candied red cherries

1/4 cup powdered sugar, about

Sift flour and baking powder. Cream butter until light. Gradually add brown sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and almond flavoring. Add eggs, 1 at time, beating well after each addition. Mix in dry ingredients just until smooth. Fold in cherries.

Spread batter evenly in greased microwave-safe, 9-inch (8-cup) ring mold. Rap lightly on counter to expel air bubbles. Center mold on microwave oven rack or elevate on microwave-safe, upside-down, shallow bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on MEDIUM (50% power) 10 minutes, rotating 180 degrees at half time.

Rotate mold again 180 degrees and microwave on HIGH (100% power) 2 to 3 minutes, or until wood pick inserted midway between rim and center comes out clean. (Any small moist areas will dry on standing.)

Let cake stand, uncovered, in upright mold 10 minutes. Loosen cake all way to bottom of mold, invert onto plate, ease out and cool to room temperature. Sift powdered sugar evenly over cake just before serving. Makes 16 servings.

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