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A Cake That Only a Flake Could Forget

May 02, 1996|BETTY ROSBOTTOM | Rosbottom is a cooking school director and author of "First Impressions" (William Morrow)

This recipe for coconut pound cake was sent to me by my aunt years ago. Although it was one of her favorites, I had tucked the recipe away and forgotten about it until a couple months ago. On rediscovering it, I realized I've been missing out.

The cake is made with traditional pound cake ingredients--butter, sugar, flour and eggs--but it also includes grated coconut. And it can be made two days in advance.

It has a dark crust and is golden yellow inside. With my first bite, I discovered how rich and moist it is.

There are many ways to serve this cake. It could be sliced and mounded with fresh strawberries and a garnish of mint.

Or you could offer slices topped with scoops of good vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, then sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes and pour warmed store-bought caramel sauce over it.

You might like to serve the loaf plain--sprinkled with powdered sugar, along with a bowl of fruit--and let guests serve themselves.

COCONUT POUND CAKE WITH FRESH STRAWBERRIES

1 1/2 cups flour plus 2 tablespoons for dusting pan

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter, softened, plus 1/2 tablespoon for preparing pan

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 cup milk (1% or 2% works fine)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup flake coconut

1 quart strawberries, cleaned and thinly sliced through stem ends

Mint sprigs

Sift 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt into bowl and set aside.

With electric mixer on medium speed, beat 3/4 cup butter until fluffy and add sugar in thin, gradual stream. Continue to beat butter and sugar together about 8 minutes more. Add eggs, 1 at time, beating well after each addition.

Lower speed to slow. Add flour mixture, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in vanilla and coconut.

Grease 8x4-inch loaf pan with remaining butter and dust with remaining flour (excess flour should be shaken out before batter is added). Pour in batter and bake at 325 degrees 1 hour. Lower heat to 300 degrees and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove cake from oven. Let stand in pan 10 minutes. Loosen edges and unmold. Cool completely. (Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Keep tightly covered at room temperature.)

To serve, cut cake into 1/2-inch slices and place on individual plates. Mound each slice with sliced strawberries and garnish with mint sprig.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Each of 10 servings contains about:

403 calories; 327 mg sodium; 129 mg cholesterol; 22 grams fat; 48 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.15 gram fiber.

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