Cook’s Corner

Willard Scott’s brown-sugar pound cake a winner


Sleuth’s Corner

Q. I hope one of your readers knows the recipe for the Ensalada Francesa that was served at a small Jewish restaurant in Old Havana in the 1940s. Even though I was a small child, I remember that one of the ingredients was beef tongue and also beets. I would like to make it for my 101-year-old mother. Our parents used to take my sister and me there for Sunday lunch when we would go from our home in La Vibora to visit friends in La Habana Vieja.

Raquel Bakalar

Main Dish

Beverly’s Mango Chicken

1/3 cup oil (or less)

1 medium frying chicken, cut up

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup ripe mango slices

Heat oil in frying pan and brown chicken on both sides. Pour off all fat and add soy sauce, garlic and salt and pepper to taste, turning chicken to coat. Cover and cook on low until almost tender (about 45 minutes). Add mangoes and cook 10 minutes more. Serve hot with rice. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 516 calories, 45 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 34 g fat, 59 percent of calories as fat, 0.7 g fiber, 136 mg cholesterol, 1,148 mg sodium.


Willard Scott’s Brown Sugar Pound Cake

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup shortening, such as Crisco

5 eggs, at room temperature

1 pound plus 1 cup light brown sugar

3 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup milk

For the frosting:

1 cup chopped pecans

1 stick butter

1 pound confectioners’ sugar

Milk to thin

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a tube pan.

Beat butter with shortening until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in brown sugar.

Sift or whisk together flour and baking powder. Beat into butter mixture alternately with milk.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until cake tests done. Let cool on wire racks before frosting.

To make frosting, toast pecans in butter in a thick broiler pan in oven until they brown well. Let cool a little. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in confectioners’ sugar. Add enough milk to make a spreading consistency. Spread on top of cake and let it drip down sides. Makes 16 servings.

Per serving: 638 calories (42 percent from fat), 30.4 g fat (13.6 g saturated, 9 g monounsaturated), 105 mg cholesterol, 6 g protein, 87 g carbohydrates, 1.4 g fiber, 200 mg sodium.

Dessert sauce

Praline Sauce

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup half-and-half or heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup pecans, toasted (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, bring butter, brown sugar, half-and-half and salt to a boil. Cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add pecans and vanilla, mixing well. Pour on top of cake. Makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce.

Per 1/4 cup: 207 calories (74 percent from fat), 17.6 g fat (11 g saturated, 4.6 g monounsaturated), 48 mg cholesterol, .7 g protein, 12.7 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 110 mg sodium.

Main Dish

Atkins Beef and Asian Vegetable Stir-Fry

1 pound sirloin steak, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips

1/3 cup tamari

1 tablespoon unsweetened rice wine or dry sherry

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon peeled, minced ginger

1 teaspoon sugar substitute

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced

8-ounce can bamboo shoots, drained

8 ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed and halved diagonally

2 scallions, sliced on the diagonal in 1-inch pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons dark (toasted) sesame oil

Combine steak, tamari, wine, garlic, ginger and sugar substitute in a sealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least 3 and up to 12 hours.

Remove meat from marinade, shaking off extra liquid; reserve marinade.

Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat until oil shimmers. Add meat and stir-fry until slightly colored, about 1 minute. Add bell peppers and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add bamboo shoots and peas and stir-fry until just soft, about 1 minute. Add scallions and stir-fry 1 minute longer. Transfer beef and vegetables to serving bowl.

Add reserved marinade to wok; boil until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sesame oil. Pour sauce over meat and vegetables and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 370 calories (53 percent from fat), 22 g fat (4.6 g saturated, 12.2 g monounsaturated), 75 mg cholesterol, 29 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 3.4 g fiber, 1,215 mg sodium.

Claire Miller lost a recipe she believed was from the Today Show for a brown sugar pound cake. Readers were quick to respond.

“The recipe is from Willard Scott, who was the weather guy for many years, and now does the birthday greetings for 100-year-olds,” said Anne Beamish. “I think the recipe was originally contributed to a celebrity cookbook by Willard Scott,” said Terry Wayne Larkin. “But I got it from a friend who’d gotten it from a neighbor.”

For pound cake lovers, this one is a keeper. The brown sugar gives it a lovely molasses-like flavor that is wonderful with fresh fruit. Beamish says she serves the cake unfrosted with fresh peaches on top, splashed with a bit of rum. Larkin uses a cream cheese frosting.

B. Corrigan makes an apricot glaze for her pound cake by mixing 1 cup apricot jam with 1 cup sugar. “Bring to a boil in a small saucepan then reduce heat to simmer until mixture coats a spoon (about 10 minutes). Spread on cake with a brush.”

Norma A. Orovitz clipped her recipe from a box of Dixie Crystals brown sugar, and it is topped with a praline sauce I had to include, even though it is not part of the requested recipe. It is so delicious you’ll have trouble not eating it from the pan. It would be equally wonderful spooned on ice cream.

Phyllis Redding, whose recipe is from her mother-in-law in North Carolina, says the cake is “even better the next day. We all love it and I never put icing on it. It is good just to cut into and eat as is.”

Q. A long time ago, you had a recipe called Beverly’s Mango Chicken. I have moved several times and I can’t locate it. Can you please send me a copy?

Lee Bell

This recipe, which dates to the early 1980s, was in our Top 10 requests for many years. Our files, unfortunately, do not tell us who Beverly might have been. With mango season here, I’m happy you reminded me of this delicious dish.

Cookbook corner

The New Atkins for a New You Cookbook by Colette Heimowitz (Touchstone, $19.99), is helpful if you’re watching carbohydrates, whether you are a follower of the diet or not. The recipes have a prep time of 30 minutes or less, most use fewer than 10 ingredients and nearly all use ingredients readily found in supermarkets.

The easy stir-fry recipe here can easily be adapted to use whatever vegetables you like. The sesame oil gives it a nice punch of flavor. Make sure when you remove the meat from the marinade that you shake off excess liquid to avoid spattering when you drop it in the hot oil. Don’t wipe the meat or you’ll lose the flavor.

Send questions and responses to or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.

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