Dear Heloise: What is the difference between a plain chocolate cake mix and a devil's-food cake mix? The ingredients on the boxes are the same. How is a German chocolate cake mix different? Linda B., via e-mail
What a great question! We called a leading manufacturer of cake mixes, and here is what a representative had to say:
German chocolate is usually a milder chocolate flavor and a lighter color than other chocolate varieties.
Devil's-food cake mixes have a stronger, richer cocoa flavor to them and are darker in color.
Plain chocolate mixes are usually a milk-chocolate flavoring.
Note: A lot of times, these varieties are different because of the frostings used. German chocolate cakes usually are served with a coconut-pecan frosting, while devil's-food cake has a fudge or white frosting. Plain chocolate cakes can have a variety of different frostings. So, bake a cake today and enjoy! I have a cake pamphlet filled with family recipes, including a chocolate sauerkraut cake. To receive a copy of the four-page pamphlet, please send $3 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (63 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Cake, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Use cocoa on the bottom of the cake pan when baking a chocolate cake. This keeps the bottom from looking white from flour. Heloise
Dear Heloise: I use buttermilk for baking, but no one in my family drinks it. As a result, I threw out a lot of buttermilk until I came up with the idea to freeze it in muffin tins. Each tin holds about 1/4 cup. When frozen, I remove the buttermilk chunks from the muffin tins and put them in a freezer bag for later use in a recipe. They are easily removed from the muffin tins. Just let them sit out for a few minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the frozen milk, and they pop right out. Reba from Arkansas
Reba, good hint, and for others who seldom use buttermilk, there is also de-hydrated or powdered buttermilk. Heloise
Dear Heloise: My hint is for all who bake. I buy the cheapest, flimsiest paper plates I can find. When measuring dry ingredients such as flour, sugar, brown sugar, nuts, etc., I place the measuring cup on the paper plate. If the cup overflows, I fold the plate and pour the excess into the original container. I pour the flour, salt, etc., onto a paper plate, and it is very easy to pour into the mixing bowl without spilling. I also use paper plates when breading meat and fish for frying. The plates are easily used and thrown away. Gerry B. from California
Dear Heloise: I saw where a reader asked how to clean a manual can opener. I have another method for cleaning it and always mention it to my cooking classes. You simply run a double-folded paper towel through the can opener, then turn the handle back and forth several times. The blade and the gear can be cleaned in this easy way. Rebekah in Virginia
Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to (210) HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com.
King Features Syndicate