Caramel glaze spills down a brown sugar pound cake.

TOP OF THE HEAP: Caramel glaze spills down a brown sugar pound cake. (Bob Chamberlin, Los Angeles Times)

SUCCULENT pork ribs with a spicy chipotle sauce, sweet zucchini braised to a buttery softness, the miracle of a Meyer lemon posset (like a mousse but with livelier flavor and a more elegant texture), a spectacular summer pie packed with nectarines and berries. All of the recipes published in the Food section in 2007 were so appealing that it was especially especially hard this time around to choose the year's 10 best.

We couldn't resist Amy Scattergood's sautéed-shrimp taco topped with a pumpkin seed sauce vibrant with cilantro and chiles. She opened our eyes to making fantastic tacos at home. And we were dazzled by her crostini with English pea purée and Greek yogurt.

And there was Russ Parsons' squid stuffed with Italian sausage and braised chopped tomatoes and fingerling potatoes, exactly what we want to eat right now.

And we loved test kitchen director Donna Deane's lemon upside-down cake -- slices of lemons on top of the cake turned to a jammy richness. But we'd also fallen hard for a brown sugar pound cake with a caramel glaze that spilled down its sides, a recipe from Nancie McDermott's "Southern Cakes." It had it all -- it was luscious, gorgeous and easy to make.

Our new favorite hot-weather treat is the paleta, the Mexican ice pop that comes in every imaginable tropical fruit flavor, which Betty Hallock wrote about in the summer. Noelle Carter won us all over with her hot-and-cold paleta of cucumbers, lime juice and three kinds of chiles.

But what about that spectacular platter-size Pavlova heaped with fresh berries, or that delicious Tunisian lamb shank tagine. . . . ?

This year we couldn't help but pick out our top 10 plus 15 runners-up. The 10 best and runners-up can be found in the "Related Stories" links.

This year we couldn't help but pick out our top 10 plus 15 runners-up. The 10 best follow. Click here for the rest.

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Brown sugar pound cake with caramel glaze

Total time: 45 minutes, plus baking and cooling time for the cake

Servings: 10 to 12

Note: This easy-to-make, delicious cake with a lush caramel glaze spilling down the sides was part of Charles Perry's Aug. 22 review of Nancie McDermott's "Southern Cakes."

Cake

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla