24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
3½ cups flour, plus more for the pan
½ teaspoon salt
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½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup rum
Scrapings from 1 vanilla bean
3 cups sugar
8 large eggs
1 cup regular or low-fat sour cream (do not use nonfat)
For the fruit
1 pound strawberries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan with a little butter, then dust it with flour, shaking out any excess.
2. Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
3. Stir together the rum and vanilla bean scrapings in a small bowl.
4. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed until lightened and smooth.
5. Increase the speed to medium-high; gradually add the sugar, mixing to form a light and fluffy mixture; this will take about eight minutes. Stop a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
6. Reduce the speed to medium. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until the yellow of the yolk is well incorporated.
7. Reduce the speed to low. Add the rum and vanilla mixture to the batter in two parts, alternating with the flour mixture, beating just to incorporate.
8. Remove the bowl from the mixer; stir in the sour cream by hand, then spoon the batter into the pan. Bake for 1½ hours; a toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean. Transfer (in the pan) to a wire rack to cool for an hour before cutting.
9. Meanwhile, hull and rinse the strawberries, then cut them into halves or quarters and place in a mixing bowl. Add the vinegar, sugar and several grinds of pepper, then stir to incorporate.
10. Serve slices of the cake with some of the macerated strawberries.
Nutritional information per serving (with fruit, using low-fat sour cream): 660 calories, 10 g protein, 84 g carbohydrates, 30 g fat, 17 g saturated fat, 210 mg cholesterol, 180 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 53 g sugar
Adapted by The Washington Post from Lee Manigault and Suzanne Pollak of Charleston, S.C.