Q. I am having a dinner party for members of the clergy from my church. I would really like a showstopper of a pound cake for dessert - one that would be the highest, lightest cake ever. I also would appreciate a recipe for a creamy frosting, as opposed to a sugary frosting. Please help me! Sincerely,

- Joan V.

A. Talk about pressure from the highest, or is it pressure from on high? Either way, I sure would hate to get to those famous gates when it's my turn to go, only to be detained and questioned about how I handled your request. I can see it now: "Chef Coleman, it seems that you have tried to help others, and your overall intentions were good (though you weren't always successful in staying out of trouble). All that being said, we do have a red flag next to your name from just one incident, and it's keeping you from joining the others in eternal bliss behind these gates."

At this point, I'm pleasantly surprised that they only have a single reservation about my admittance. After going through my laundry list of what I imagine this assignation could be, a puzzled Peter (I'm only guessing his job hasn't been outsourced) comments that there appears to be a mysterious amount of pages missing from my file. However, he tells me that the red flag that is keeping me from passing through those pearly gates is "the pound cake that Joan V. recreated from your recipe. It wasn't the show-stopper she requested - it was just a stopper, as in stopping you, Chef Coleman, from getting in and getting your standard issue harp."

Can you tell I feel the pressure here, Joan? What I am giving you is a combination of three pound cake recipes, all of which I like. So now it's up to you. As far as the "highest, lightest cake ever," I feel like this isn't a good time to stretch the truth. Pound cake, which derives its name from the original recipe that consisted of a pound each of butter, sugar, flour, and eggs, was never intended to be considered light. The recipe became a favorite because the majority of cooks couldn't read, and remembering that the cake called for a pound of every ingredient was easy. Now that we have the use of artificial leaveners (baking soda and baking powder), the pound cake has become slightly lighter. I think the recipe I am sharing is as light as it can get and still be called a pound cake. I'm not going to lie for you, Joan - it goes on the record, you know?

The final issue is the frosting. I know that you are looking for something other than an "icing." However, not being sure exactly what you wanted, I am sharing three frostings - none of which are real sugary, but all of them are creamy. They have different consistencies, so play around with them to find or create your favorite. And Joan, if you happen to meet Peter before I do . . . put in a good word for me, OK? *