2004-05-06 / Arts & Entertainment

Ask BETTY

Dear Betty,
Ask BETTY Dear Betty,

Sometimes when I bake a layer cake, it sticks to the pan. What’s up?

Holstein, Iowa

Your sticky problem has two solutions: 1. Start with pans prepared accord-ing to the directions for what you’re baking. Make sure you follow the pan manufacturer’s instructions too. Some makers don’t recommend using cooking spray because it can build up during cooking and baking.

2. Let the cake cool in the pan only for about 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack. If the cake cools longer than 10 minutes in the pan, it can stick.

The kids and I want to bake something special for their mom on Mother’s Day. Can you help us out with some ideas?

Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Mom will love her Mother’s Day treat, and you’ll love how fun and easy a cake or cookie mix will make your time in the kitchen with the kids. Here are just a few ideas for mixing up a memorable Mother’s Day treat — you’ll find even more on my Web site. (Just remember to clean up the kitchen spic and span!)

• Sparkly sandwich cookies: Stir together 1/2 cup melted butter, an egg and a pouch of cookie mix. Have the kids roll the dough into balls, then into bright-colored sugar sprinkles. Bake, cool, then sandwich the cookies together with prepared frosting.

• Peanut brownie parfait: Stir peanut butter chips into a brownie mix and bake. Break the brownies into pieces and layer in a tall glass with whipped cream or softened ice cream. Top with peanuts and drizzle with chocolate sauce.

• Spring basket cupcakes: Bake and frost a batch of cupcakes. Let the kids decorate the cupcakes with jelly beans or other candies. Cut shoestring licorice into lengths and insert it into the cupcakes to form "handles."

• Confetti ice cream cake: Bake a rainbow-chip cake in a 13x9-inch baking pan. Let the cake cool, then spread with Mom’s favorite flavor of softened ice cream, frozen yogurt or sherbet. Cover and freeze at least 4 hours. Just before serving, have the kids decorate the cake with sprinkles or colorful candies.

• Rainbow angel food cake: Mix the batter for an angel food cake, then divide it into three equal parts. With food coloring, tint one part pale pink, one yellow and the other pale green. Spoon the pink batter into an angel-food cake tube pan, then the yellow and finally the green. Bake, cool and top with a dollop of whipped cream and confetti sprinkles.

Betty Crocker

Want more ideas? www.BettyCrocker.com

Questions? 1-888-ASK BETTY

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EASY REFERENCE - My family loves "game night." We turn off the TV and play various board games. To make it easier, I’ve taped the instructions on how to play the game to the inside cover of the box. This way, when anyone has a question, it’s right there to provide the answer. Elaine Q.

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DOUBLE UP - Whenever I have to do errands, I do them together with a friend. We’re both stay-at-home moms, and this makes it easier for us. One of us stays in the car with the kids while the other shops. To keep them amused, we play little games with them. It’s easier than taking the kids into the store, and it also saves gas. Nicki B.

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FABRIC SOFTENER - Instead of purchasing expensive fabric softener sheets or liquids, I use baking soda. Simply add half a cup to your wash. It softens clothes just as well for a lot less money. Rita C.

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EASY CLEAN - I hate when food gets baked onto my casserole dishes. However, a neighbor gave me this great tip. Soak the dish overnight, but add an old dryer sheet to it. For some reason, it just lifts that caked on food right off. Betty V.

RECYCLE - I save all of the plastic bags my newspapers come in. I then use them for banana skins or small amounts of garbage. I also use them to dispose of my cat’s kitty litter. I save the orange ones all year ‘round to use for Halloween. Joan W.

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