Tradition with a twist

PAM ANDERSON | 5/4/2010, 3:11 p.m.

SERVES 12-16PER SERVING: 227 calories, 4g protein, 33g carbohydrates, 9g fat (1g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 4g fiber, 14mg sodium3 pounds (about 3 bunches) medium to thick asparagus spears, tough bottom ends snapped off

1 1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper

Put oven rack at highest level; turn oven to broil. Arrange asparagus on large rimmed cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes (shaking pan once or twice). Serve.

SERVES 12PER SERVING: 39 calories, 2g protein, 5g carbohydrates, 2g fat(0g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 0mg sodium2 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

4 tsps. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup milk

3 large eggs

2 tsps. vanilla extract

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened until easily spreadable

2 cups granulated sugar

For glaze

2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk

4 Tbs. butter

1/8 tsp. salt

1/4 cup water

2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

1 tsp. vanilla extractAdjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line base of pans with parchment or wax paper; spray again and dust with flour.For the cake, mix flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix milk, eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl. Using a mixer, beat softened butter into dry ingredients, first at low speed, then medium, until mixture forms pebble-sized pieces. Add 1/3 of the milk mixture and beat batter on low; then add remaining milk mixture in two stages, beating on medium speed just until batter is smooth. Add sugar and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.Bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean,35 to 40 minutes. Set pans on a wire rack; cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around perimeter of pans to loosen the cakes, then remove them onto rack. Cool to room temperature.While cakes cool, make glaze by bringing condensed milk, butter, salt and 1/4 cup of water to a full simmer in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently (it's OK if condensed milk caramelizes on pan bottom, creating nutty brown bits). Off heat, stir in coconut and vanilla.Place one of the cakes on a plate. Spread 3/4 cup warm glaze over cake. Top with the second cake and remaining glaze, which will cascade over the sides; use a spatula to spread a thin layer of glaze on cake sides. Continue spreading until glaze sets. (Cake can be made a day ahead and can be kept at room temperature, covered.)

SERVES 16PER SERVING: 538 calories, 8g protein, 76g carbohydrates, 22g fat (15g saturated), 92mg cholesterol, 1g fiber, 397mg sodium