Q. Is it possible to alter the enclosed recipe for [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]

A. Although the cake masquerades under another name, it is none other than pound cake, prepared on both sides of the Atlantic for hundreds of years. Pound cake has a simple recipe, although it is not so easy to make. It uses equal weights of butter, sugar, flour and egg. And although it is possible to alter the ratio somewhat to increase moistness, an ingredient ratio that differs greatly from the norm will produce a defective product.

The ingredient ratio of your recipe is skewed heavily toward eggs and sugar: 12 ounces butter, 15 ounces egg, 12 ounces flour and 18 to 20 ounces of sugar. This kind of ratio is characteristic of a "high-ratio" cake, such as the box cakes one buys in the supermarket. To succeed with such a ratio, one should use shortening containing emulsifiers such as monoglycerides and diglycerides, and one should use only cake flour, which absorbs moisture early in the baking process because its starch granules have been damaged by bleaching.

When a high-ratio cake doesn't succeed, it is soggy and underbaked. The reason is this: During the heating of the batter, flour starch granules absorb moisture and pull the free water out of the batter. This sets the cake's structure and gives it the characteristically "done" texture. Sugar delays the moisture absorption, and enough sugar will make the batter unbakable.

Here is the revised recipe, assuming that you want to stick with butter and you want a less soggy cake:

GERMAN BUNDT CAKE (Makes 1 bundt cake) 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) softened, lightly salted butter 1 3/4 cups sugar 1 1/2 cups beaten egg (about 7 large eggs) 3 cups cake flour, unsifted 2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream slightly softened butter with sugar on medium speed for 10 minutes or until fluffy and light. Scrape sides of bowl regularly with rubber spatula so all the butter is of uniform lightness. Alternately blend in beaten egg and flour,, adding half the egg first, then half the flour, then the remaining half of egg and the remaining half of flour. Blend only enough to obtain a smooth batter, add the vanilla, and transfer to a greased non-stick bundt pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center emerges free of adhering batter or crumbs. Cool in the pan 10 minutes before unmolding onto a cooling rack.