Dear Barbara: I have a question for you. Why do some cake recipes say grease bottom only, and others say grease bottom and sides? I was just curious why they would be different. — Sue from Lodi
Dear Sue: How you prepare the pans would depend on what type of cake you are baking
If you were making an angel food cake or a chiffon cake, you may not want to grease the pan at all. By not greasing the pan, the light batter will rise higher because it has something to grab on to. If you are making a cheesecake with a graham cracker crust, you wouldn’t have to grease the bottom because there is so much butter in the crust that it is not necessary.
It used to be that they would only grease the bottom of the pan if you were making brownies. It helps them to rise, and they just naturally pull away from the sides slightly when they are done. Now they generally say to grease and flour the brownie pan.
Regular cake pans are a little different in that you grease and flour most all of them. Greasing helps to release the cake from the pan, and flouring gives the batter something to hold on to so that it will rise higher.
The only time I don’t use flour is if I am making a type of chocolate cake that I am not going to cover completely in frosting. Then I substitute cocoa powder (not hot chocolate mix), because flour leaves a white ring on the outside of the cake and that is not very appealing!
Dear Barbara: I’m newly married and am giving my very first holiday cocktail party ever! I’ve been looking through all the magazines for appetizers I can serve, and I am confused about the difference between “crostini”, and “bruschetta”. They look just alike in the pictures; are they? Also, how much liquor should I buy for the evening? — Jan from Galt
Dear Jan: The major difference is the bread. Crostini are small, very thin slices of toasted bread. They are quite hard.
Bruschetta, on the other hand, are a little bigger, a little thicker, and are usually rubbed with raw garlic, drizzled with olive oil, topped with a savory topping and served warm. They are toasted on the outside, but are softer on the inside.
I have found that my guests seem to handle the bruschetta a little easier. When you bite into the crostini, they seem to break into several pieces, which is awkward for guests.
As far as how much liquor to get, I can only give you a few suggestions. A bottle, or ‘fifth’ of liquor usually contains 28 ounces. A drink normally would contain 11⁄2 ounces. That means you would get a little more than 18 drinks per bottle.
Assuming that your guests would average about one drink per hour, take the number of guests you expect to come, multiply that by the number of hours your party is going to last, and that should give you about the number of drinks you would be serving.
Knowing that you will get a minimum of 18 drinks per bottle should tell you how much to buy. Some will drink a little more, some a little less, some not at all, but it all averages out.
Congratulations to the newlyweds, and have a great time at your cocktail party!
Barbara Spitzer is a Lodi home cook who also develops recipes for specific consumer products. Do you have a cooking question? Send it to Barbara Spitzer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and city.