2004-04-08 / Arts & Entertainment

Ask BETTY

Dear Betty,
Ask BETTY Dear Betty,

I’d like to make a springtime des-sert for my niece’s shower. Can you help? Denver, Colo.

We’re all waking up from our winter hibernation, hungry for the fresh flavors of spring like strawberries, lem-on and coconut. Below you’ll find some easy dessert ideas that will wow your guests:

Fresh-as-a-daisy meringues: Top homemade or purchased meringue shells with fresh fruit such as sliced strawberries and kiwifruit. Add a dollop of whipped cream flavored with a drop or two of almond extract, then drizzle with dark chocolate sauce.

Lemony pound cake: Cut homemade or bakery pound cake into half-inch slices. Spread each slice with a swirl of lemon curd, then add a scoop of raspberry sorbet or crème fraîche and sprinkle with lemon zest.

Springtime strawberry trifle: For a beautiful presentation, pull out your prettiest clear bowl. Tear angel food cake into chunks and sprinkle with rum or brandy. Layer cake pieces with sliced fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Repeat the layers, then top with whip-ped cream. Garnish with mint leaves, strawberries and toasted slivered al-monds.

Dessert dazzlers: Make the simplest desserts spectacular by garnishing them with edible flowers or strawberry fans. Drizzle dessert plates with chocolate sauce or sprinkle them with cocoa or powdered sugar. Lemon twists or curls add a sunny touch.

My kids want to make a bunny cake for Easter. Help! Americus, Ga.

Hippity hop to the kitchen with the kids for bunny-cake baking fun. You’ll also find instructions and a photo on my Web site.

• Bake a carrot cake from a mix or scratch in two eight-inch or nine-inch round pans. Cool the baked layers about 10 minutes, remove from the pans and cool thoroughly for about an hour.

• You’ll only need one layer. Save the extra one for snacking or make a second bunny to give as a gift. Cut one round cake into two half circles. Put the halves together with frosting, cut sides down, to form the body. Place the "bunny" on a tray or plate.

• Cut a two-inch triangle about a third of the way up the curve to form the head. Use that wedge of cake for the tail; attach it to the body with tooth-picks.

• Frost the bunny with white frosting and sprinkle generously with coco-nut.

• Cut ears out of pink construction paper and attach them to the head with toothpicks. Use jelly beans for the eyes and nose. Surround the bunny cake with Easter grass or green-tinted coconut.

Betty Crocker

Want more ideas? www.BettyCrocker.com

Questions? 1-888-ASK BETTY

Timely Tips

EGGY MESS - If you drop an egg on the floor, use your turkey baster for easy clean-up. Squeeze the bulb to suck the liquid inside. Squirt the mess out into the trash or the sink. If you don’t have a baster handy, you can sprinkle some salt over the egg and let it set. Once it hardens, you can just scoop it up. Janine M.

GRASS STAINS - Warmer weather means your kids will be spending more time playing outdoors. For my kids, that means grass stains. I’ve found that toothpaste is wonderful for getting those stains out. I rub it in and let it set a few minutes before washing the clothes. However, don’t use the whitening toothpastes. They have bleach in them which will discolor the clothes. Nancy C.

MUG MAGIC - To cut down on coffee and tea stains in your ceramic mugs, wash them in a solution of three tablespoons baking soda to one quart of water. Mindy B.

ODORS BE GONE - My husband and I love cabbage, and it’s good for you. However, what’s not so great is the smell in the house as you’re cooking it and afterward. To eliminate this, I’ve found that if I put a small tin cup half filled with white vinegar on the stove near the cabbage, it doesn’t smell. Gina P.

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