Ask Nancy Archives

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I'll be answering ten questions each month... and if your question is chosen, I'll post a personalized response!

Submit Your Question

Do you have a baking, decorating or celebrating question for Nancy? Now is your chance to have it answered.

Check here each month, Nancy will select ten questions submitted by viewers and posting her answers here.


General Baking Questions

How do you make a champagne cake, and champagne frosting?

Lorraine - from Azusa, CA

Is it easier to decorate a layered cake or to bake with a deeper pan and get a taller cake that is all one layer?

Megan - from Corbin, KY

I baked two 8" round cakes side by side in the oven. The sides of the cakes baked away from the sides of the pans. What could cause this?

Paige - from Independence, KS

How can you make sure your layers are perfectly level when stacking a cake?

rose - from monongahela, PA

How do I roll up jelly rolls without them tearing apart? Do they need to cool completely or still be warm?

Carla - from West Liberty, OH

Why do my cakes tend to sink in the middle?

Rosalie - from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

I have a few recipes that call for pastry flour. What is pastry flour?

Sue - from Paatrick, SC

I really want to learn how to bake cakes. How do I go about it?

PRECIOUS - from Enugu, Enugu state

I am making a red velvet cake and want to know if I can use pink icing color in the cake mix since I don't have red icing color. I really don't want to buy a red one when I'm only going to use it once. I use pink more.

terri-ann - from oshawa, Ontario

Times are not what they used to be and I would like to teach my children how to bake a simple, inexpensive cake. Will you be posting your Depression Cake Recipe or showing on your show how to make once more?

Benita - from Las Vegas, NV

Can you use whipped cream instead of icing to make cake pops?

Valeria - from Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia

At home I bake 1 pecan pie for 50 min at 350 degrees farenheit. If I put 2 pecan pies in the oven, what temperature and how long do I bake them?

Paul - from San Rafael, CA

Which cakes stayfresher for longer? I want to make a chocolate and vanilla wedding cake and need to know what ingredients keeps a cake fresher.

DIANNE - from pietermaritzbur, south africa

Can I add cake flour to a boxed cake mix?

katrina - from indianola, MS

I have a cake I made Thursday morning with crusted cream cheese covered with fondant. How long can I leave it out?

Raquel - from Bronx, NY

Can i bake and ice 2 pound cakes (one 6" and 10" round) two days in advance of an event?

rudi - from Stoke-on-Trent, United kingdom

Can I freeze heavy whipping cream in its original container and for how long? i never use up all the cream and would like to freeze it to use for another occasion.

Mary - from Charleston , SC

I need to make a cake but without much fat. Can replace some ingredients like butter?

Giselle - from Caracas,Venezuela, Caracas

Our local PBS station has stopped airing your show. How should i approach this? I really miss it.

linda - from sharpsville, PA

In an 8inch pan do you pour all the cake batter in or just half?

tracey - from edmonton, KY

Why mayonnaise in chocolate cake? I have never heard of this.

mellie - from caguas, puerto rico

I'm making cream puffs for tomorrow. I would like to make the shells today. Will they get hard or soggy before I use them?

Sandra D. - from Mahopac, NY

How do I prepare doughnuts and doughnut glaze?

mayra - from trujillo alto , puerto rico

I would like to know if there's a school to learn how to make cakes?

Dalila Torres - from Concord, CA

Can I use regular all-purpose flour instead of cake flour when making cakes? Does it really make that big of a difference? If so, why?

maureen - from Lisbon Falls, ME

Is it okay to subsitute baking powder with baking soda and what are other things you can subsitute with baking powder?

Sarah - from Tustin, CA

When baking a cake, whether it is in a rectangle pan or round pan, it always comes out with a hump in the middle. WHY?? Can I "prevent" this and if so, how?

Julie - from Ottawa, OH

Nancy, Can I use unsalted butter in my buttercream?

nathaniel - from panama, panama

How many cups of batter are in a made from scratch 3 layer cake?

Terri - from Williamsburg, VA

On today's program you were preparing a moist cake with strawberries. What is the name of that recipe?

LOURDES - from San Juan , Puerto Rico

In the Top 10 Questions, you directed Connie to the website to get the recipe for the "Quatro Leches Cake." I was curious, so I went into the website to read the recipe. I was fine until I got to the last paragraph of the recipe about assembling the cake. Do I understand from these instructions that buttercream icing is spread on top of the cakes that have had milk poured on them? How in the world did they accomplish this?

Judy Cannon - from Mishawaka, IN

Is a jelly roll pan the same as a cookie sheet?

Denise - from Kincardine, Ontario Canada

How can I keep the sides of my pound cakes from getting too brown while the middle and top are continuing to bake?

Jane - from Rocky Mount, NC

I cannot find the recipe for cake batter with condensed milk poured over the cake, after it was baked. It appeared on Detroit Public Television the week of April 16.

Connie - from shelby twp, MI

Hi Nancy, I was wondering how to make a soccer ball cake?

- from , WA

Why do my cakes have a soggy center or bottom? I make sure I mix the batter thoroughly and not make the batter too thin, and I do not underbake.

Gladys - from Singapore, Singapore

When baking pound cake it cracks in the middle. Why?

Alma - from Riverdale, IL

For chocolate beet cake, do you include the juice from the canned beets when pureeing, or drain the beets?

Dorothy - from Philadelphia, PA

Why do some recipes use almond extract in addition to vanilla extract? Why not use just vanilla extract? (for example, roll out cookies)

Ilene - from Toronto, Ontario

I would like to know how I can make a diamond shaped cake. Where can I get instructions on how to make this cake?

Mary - from Grove City, OH

How do I stop a 9 in. x 13 in. sheet cake from rising in the middle?

betty - from Fitchburg, MA

Hi Nancy! Love your show. I want to prepare cookie dough, but I don't have a food processor. What can you recommend?

Carmen Julia - from San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA

I am looking for a recipe for moist layered cakes that do not loose height. What type of cake should it be? My sponge cake always looses height. I use the sponge cake for special birthday cake themes. Is this the right type of receipe to use? Please can you help as I do a lot of birthday cakes that need layering, carving and all sorts of decorating but I loose height on the sponge cake receipe.

cecile - from Kempton Park, South Africa

I have to bake a sheet cake for class and do not have a perfectly square sheet pan but cannot afford to buy another sheet cake pan that is perfectly square. Is there any way I can square it off perfectly without getting another pan? Thanks Beatrice

Beatrice - from Richardson, TX

I want to buy all the baking & decorating supplies & equipment that you use on the show(s). Where can I get them? Money is no object. Please advise. Thanks!

Cheryl Smith - from Los Gatos, CA

Nancy, I bake an awesome carrot cake! God the recipe from ALLRECIPES. Use a 13x9x2 pan and cake gets a bit hard on the end. What can I do about this?

Marcia - from Philadelphia, PA

What type of pans do you use when making a two tiered cake? (one round cake on bottom and a smaller one on top)

Jayme - from Farlington, KS

How to make sugar cookies taste like almonds? I need them to have a strong almond flavor but not have them be too expensive to make.

Amarilis - from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico

After removing my pound cake from the oven, as it cools in the pan it cracks on top. Why does this happen? I do not cover it while cooling.

bernice - from chicago, IL

I am trying to find the recipe for the strawberry cake you make on show 907 where you made a filling with various kinds of milk and put in fridge for awhile before puting cake together.

Glenda - from Grovertown, IN

I want to know if all the cake recipes can be done as cupcakes instead of complete cakes?

Nieves - from Mexico, Mexico

1. Hi Nancy. I haven’t watched your program but would like to know what channel/station it’s on? I would also like to know if you recommend any classes/schools one could attend. I’ve always loved making cakes but the only ones I can make are simple rectangular from the box ones! Need I add store bought icing! I’ve always loved watching shows like Cake Boss and wish I could do the same thing for a living. I would love to start off small, as in part-time weekend work, and hope that could blossom into a business. Somewhat far-fetched, but I am very passionate about it! Please write back!

Mayra - from Russellville, AL

Ok I am a novice "cake-maker". I tried my skills at my first sheet cake 12 x 16 last night. I did one box mix of white and chocolate so it was half and half. Is it possible to pre-heat your oven too much? I set my timer for 30 minutes and checked it at 17 minutes and the white side was done, the chocolate seemed done but when resting it sunk in and seems gooey? How do I fix this and what are some tips for next time.

Kayla - from Akron, IA

every time I make a chocoate cake from scratch, it flows over the pan...a lot. Why does this happen when I put equal amounts in each pan?

Michelle - from Aliso Viejo, CA

Can i use the yellow cake recipe as a base for other flavors? How can I change it?

anais - from Toa baja, puerto rico

How can I modify the Chocolate Lover's Dream Cake to make a two tier 50th birthday cake for my father-in-law?

Danielle - from Opelousas, LA

Have made same pound cake for over 40 years. Since moving 5 years ago, cakes don't want to "let go" of pan (sometimes chunks stick to pay) and the crusts are soft and sticky and very light brown. I'm using same recipe, pans, methods. Oven temp. seems to be working properly and altitude is about the same as before. Any suggestions? Cakes taste fine, just look bad.

Ro - from Denver, NC

Hi Nancy... I like to make novelty cookies for kids parties. I love the sugar cookie cut outs decorated, but I always run into the same problem. When I cut the shape out of the dough, whenI bake the cookie, it expands in size and looses its shape and ends up not looking like the shape at all. What am I doing wrong?

Tereze - from Philadelphia, PA

I have been reading several of your cake recipes. For instance - orange cake. The recipe says to spray the pan with vegetable pan spray. My question: what kind of pan? Same for lemon cake: what kind of pans? Have I missed something? Thank you so much for all the info in your websight - very helpful!

Marilyn - from Louisville, KY

Hello Nancy, i have a problem with the size of my tin and the recipe. i have round cake tins of 22, 24 and 26 cm and square cake tins of 24, 26 and 28 cm. How can I adjust the recipe for my cake. And, what is it in inches and the servings as well? Thanks a lot.

Mantha - from london, united kingdom

Who makes the sample cakes you feature on the show and your website?

Jane - from Santa Rosa, CA

When I bake a cake, it's always has that dip in the center, and sometimes the bottom is not fully cooked.

Annie - from Vallejo, CA

Nancy, in your pina colada cake the recipe asks for buttermilk, if I don't have buttermilk which ingredient can I replace it with?

Zuly - from Bushkill, PA

Hi Nancy, Whenever I bake cakes, they always seem to rise higher in the middle than the edges, and usually form a crack along the side. My batter isn't too thin. What am I doing wrong?

Angela - from Santa Rosa , CA

Hi Nancy: Why in some recipes for 12 or 14 inch cakes it's specified to bake at 325 degrees.

Luann - from Aibonito, Puerto Rico

Hi Nancy, whenever I do a cake with a springform mold, the cake drips, what can I do?

Maria Carlota - from Charlotte, NC

When a recipe calls for four large eggs can I use medium eggs or instead five medium eggs. How much is the difference?

Dildred - from Carolina, Puerto Rico

1.When a recipe calls for milk, can I use skim milk or do I have to use whole milk all the time? 2. If a recipe ask for unsalted butter, can I use bar butter and omit the salt from the recipe?

Claudia Hamilto - from Wilmington, NC

How do I keep my cookies from getting "hard" once they cool out of the oven? I find that when I make chocolate chip cookies, they are so delicious when they are warm from the oven but once they have cooled, the texture changes and they become "hard" and really crispy. I use brown sugar and bake the cookies a couple of minutes before the time indicated. How do "name brands" keep their cookies soft? Also, I have read the you could add pudding (boxed) to the cookie dough? Please help. Thanks so much Nancy.

Joanne - from Miller Place, NY

Hi Nancy. Can you please tell me how to prevent curdling the butter and why this is happening?

Rosy - from Redwood City, CA

I have tried tapping my pans and I still have holes in my cake layers. Do I beat it too much, or what?

Mary - from Atlanta, GA

On your Black Forest Cake, why do you not use the drained cherry juice for water in the cake mix? I have made this same recipe for years, using the cherry juice and it is so much better.

Georgia - from Elko, NV

I only have one oven. If I need to bake a 3-layer cake is it okay to place one of the baking pans with the raw batter in the refrigerator until the other 2 layers are finished baking? If I place all 3 baking pans in the oven at one time, I have to keep adjusting the baking times to get all three to bake completely.

Sheila - from Baton Rouge, LA

Hi, Nancy, I was wondering, can you give me the recipe for a carrot cake made in a 12 in. square 3 in. deep baking pan?

Jazmin - from San Jose, CA

How can I make cake with cake flour vs. pastry flour?

Bethzaida - from Florida, FL

How long does it take to bake a cake mix in an 8 in. round when using a whole cake mix?

Mary - from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Can I use less egg in my recipes like a cheesecake, a cake or a cupcake?

Hector - from Queretaro, Mexico

How exactly do you cut iced cakes? Whenever I cut a round cake, pieces left and right from the cut break away, because the icing dried so very hard. I’ve heard somewhere to put glycerin in the icing to keep it moist ... is that an option?

Kate - from Stuttgart, Germany

Why does my pound cake crust crack on the top?

Carol - from Greensboro, GA

I have been baking and decorating small cakes only. I would like to bake larger ones but I don’t know how to use a heating core. Please help.

Anne - from The Pas, Canada

Can you use waxed paper or parchment paper over the cooling racks to cool the cake on after you take it out of the pans? Will the cake stick to either of the papers?

Janelle - from Marietta, GA

I am using the 1-2-3-4 cake recipe from the Swan’s Cake Flour box. It advises to pour batter into three 9-inch pans; however, it doesn’t seem like enough batter for all three pans. Is it okay if I filled my pans less than 1/2 full?

Nadine - from Paulina, LA

Do I have to spray a pan before I bake in it?

Hannah - from Chicago, IL

Hi Nancy! I love the lemon cake recipe you have but would like a substitute for the four sticks of butter. Can I use oil?

Mari - from San Francisco, CA

I baked banana bread in a 9 x 13 in. pan and had to leave before it was done. The center was still raw. I took it out of the oven and later re-baked it. Is this unhealthy?

Jill - from Bridgewater, NJ

My cake always gets burned on the bottom and the tops take long to cook. My cake then shrinks after taking it out of the oven. This always happens since I’m using an electric mini oven. What temperature should I set the oven?

Sadiyya - from Johannesburg, South Africa

When I bake cookies, they spread really thin. What am I doing wrong?

Chris - from Danville, CA

What is the recipe for crème de menthe bars?

Hanaah - from Charlotte, SC

Hi Nancy! Can I use salted butter to prepare cakes?

Olgamar - from Barquisimeto, Venezuela

Does the Chocolate Beet Cake look like Red Velvet Cake? Can you taste the beets? I’m looking for a Red Velvet type cake without the food color – is this it?

LaWanda - from Pasadena, CA

Why does my chocolate Capri cake crack around the edges?

Michael - from San Mateo, CA

Can I put parchment paper on the bottom of a springform pan when baking a cheesecake?

Dee - from San Diego, CA

I am from Narajito, Puerto Rico. I have two questions. Can I use instant cake mix for a 3 dimensional giant cupcake? Do I need more than one box of instant cake mix?

Sully - from Naranjito, Puerto Rico

I would like to use cherry pie filling instead of raspberry for filling in a white chocolate cake, would that work?

Carol - from Cecilia, KY

Why is it when I mix sugar, egg and milk to make a cake, it looks like cottage cheese. Please help me, I would like to learn how to make cakes, cookies, and other things.

Amarilis - from Bronx, NY

Why do the mini cakes I make in loaf pans drop in the middle?

Donna - from Poulsbo, WA

How long should I beat the eggs after putting the last egg into the cake mix? Is 5 minutes too long?

Linda - from Selangor, Malaysia

Why does my cake get a big bump in the center that makes it look like a volcano after it bakes?

Nayomi - from Napa, CA

I bought self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour. Can I use it the same as all-purpose for making cookies?

Jane - from Pinon Hills, CA

Can I use a fluted tube cake pan instead of round 9” cake pans when baking a cake?

Alicia - from Harlingen, TX

Hi Nancy, I live in high altitude (La Paz, Bolivia) 3,800 meters above sea level, and I have tried and tried your recipes but I cannot bake one cake…so I would like to ask you what can I do to bake in high altitude?

Ingrid - from La Paz, Bolivia

Why did my cake fall in the center? I just opened a new can of baking powder, however this is not the brand I usually use. I tried the recipe twice today and it happened both times. I’ve made this cake on many occasions and have never had a problem until today. Do you think I got a bad can of baking powder?

Deb - from Moline, IL

Can I use whole wheat flour for baking a cake instead of white flour? If yes, how would I substitute?

Terry - from Wayne, NJ

Why do my cakes sink in the middle?

Luzita - from Logan, UT

Do I have to use a springform pan for making a cheesecake?

Zoe - from New Glarus, WI

What would be a substitute for eggs in a cake? I am a vegetarian.

Shobhana - from Des Plaines, IL

Nancy, love your show! Can you tell me what else I could put the marshmallow popcorn balls in besides the silicone cupcake holders? Would like to make for a bake sale and not sure if they would stick to the paper cupcake liners. Thanks so much.

Barbara - from Peoria, IL

I’ve recently baked the Chocolate Valentine Cake from your website and for some reason it falls in the middle after it starts to cool, any reason as to why? And what is the consistency? It states it will be an "airy" texture but I seem to find that it seems really mushy and almost raw like?....Help!

Jeannette - from Colorado Springs, CO

Why does the perimeter of a cake baking in a 9x13 inch pan bake faster than the center? When I use this size of glass baking pan, my cakes always overcook around the edges and the center stays practically raw! It can’t be my brand-new ovens!

Leah - from Thornhill, Ontario Canada

I have made 2 of your orange dream cakes and both of the sank in the middle. What did I do wrong?

Kim - from Florence, KY

What types of baking chocolate are there?

Rita - from Alexandria, KY

In your Red Velvet Cake recipe, how do I “fold the baking soda and vinegar” into batter?

Cali - from San Ysidro, CA

I would like to use fresh banana for a cake filling. Any suggestions on how to stop the banana from turning black in color?

Nancy - from Gary, IN

After your cake layers are baked, does the bottom layer have the top of the cake turned up, or do you have the bottom faced down. Then, how is the top placed on the bottom layer?

Emma - from Houston, TX

If a full sheet pan is too big for my oven, I've been told to use two 9 x 13 in. pans, but how do you put them together to avoid the crack down the middle?

Diane - from White Marsh, MD

What is the difference between lard and shortening?

Linda - from Canada, Canada

On show #305, you talked about amounts of batter needed for different cake pan and cupcake sizes so it will bake above the rim and you have a good 2 inch cake. Can you please repeat that information?

Dawn - from Milan, MI

What are the different sizes for sheet cake pans, and how are they broken down?

Kiwana - from Houston, TX

I just made a “trial” train cake (the real one will be made in July). Two questions: 1) What’s the best way to transport this cake by auto? 2) I found a strip of underbaked cake when I sliced it. The toothpick came out clean. What caused this?

Sylvia - from Lutz, FL

How do you cover a cake board?

Tammy - from Nashville, TN

When a recipe calls for 1-1/4 cups sifted cake flour, do I sift it before or after measuring the flour.

Pamela - from Phoenix, AZ

I made a jelly roll cake, and everything was okay except the cake cracked and got stuck to the towel as I unrolled it. Where did I go wrong?

Dora - from Highland, CA

I have a good recipe for a sheet cake. Can I use this recipe and make a layer cake?

Alicia - from Harlingen, TX

When filling cupcake liners, should you spray the inside with a little oil to be sure they come out okay?

Pat - from Wilmington, DE

Dear Nancy, how do you separate egg whites from the yolks? I would really appreciate your input.

Violet - from Tampa, FL

When making sugar cookies, how can I keep a nice, clean edge?

Mary - from Jessup, MD

What is the best cake flour to use for cakes?

Gloria - from Southbridge, MA

I have found a good chocolate cupcake recipe. Can I use the same recipe to make vanilla cupcakes if I just omit the chocolate?

Alicia - from Harlingen, TX

I have found a good chocolate cake recipe. Can I omit the chocolate and make a vanilla white cake?

Janie - from San Benito, TX

How do I measure out butter or margarine without having to count it out in tablespoons?

Gwen - from Vanier, Ontario, Canada

What's a springform pan all about?

Chris - from Lorton, VA

Is there anything you can use as a substitute for shortening?

Mary - from Alexandria, VA

Why put applesauce in cakes?

Lisa - from Chicago, IL

When I bake a cake it always burns on the side. I have never been able to have a light brown color on my cake. What is happening?

Mirna - from Fredericksburg, VA

If I make a tart and decorate it, are there some tips I can use to pipe the cream cheese mixture, or is it better just to spoon it on?

Martin - from Robstown, TX

How do I determine sheet pan servings?

Tammy - from Omaha, NE

When measuring the cake batter for the pans, is it best to use a glass measuring cups used for liquids or metal or plastic used for measuring dry ingredients?

Janet - from Lansing, MI

How long after making your cake mix can it sit out before you need to bake it?

Kimberly - from Pacifica, CA

Can you add baking soda to a cake mix to make a fluffier cake?

Maria - from Pelham, GA

If I reduce the sugar in a cake recipe, will it affect the texture of the cake after is has been baked?

Dhanya - from Fremont, CA

My daughter wants a chocolate cake for her birthday. What is the difference between Devil's Food, German Chocolate and a regular chocolate cake?

Tiffany - from Round Rock, TX

How long do you mix a cake before placing it in the pans, especially if the recipe does not state a mixing time? For some reason the middle of my cakes are falling and I am not sure why.

Denise - from Bronx, NY

I'm never quite sure how much batter to add to different size pans. What is the best and easiest way to know?

Pauline - from Toledo, OH

What size cake pan do I need to buy to make a 1/4 sheet cake? I want to make a cake for my mother's and husband's birthdays both of which are soon.

Diane - from Fall River, MA

What kind of flour besides all-purpose flour can be used to bake cakes from scratch? Can whole wheat pastry flour be used?

Alicia - from Harlingen, TX

What size cake pan do I need to buy to make a 1/4 sheet cake? I want to make a cake for my mother's and husband's birthdays both of which are soon.

Diane - from Fall River, MA

I sometimes like to use a simple syrup mixture to moisten cakes, but I'm not sure how much to use. Can you help?

RiRi - from Northwest, IN

How many minutes do you bake the "Diva" cake?

Daniel - from Houston, TX

How do you melt chocolate and Candy Melts?

Abigail - from Houston, TX

What is the normal height of a cake?

Joy - from St. Thomas , Virgin Island

Does the type of spatula you use affect the result of your cake?

Cindy - from Houston, TX

How do I keep my cake from cracking as it bakes?

Rose - from Castro Valley, CA

I need to bake four cheesecakes for my mom's birthday. I want to bake 2 days before the party. Can I freeze the cheesecakes, and if I can, are there guidelines for freezing?

Dawn - from Prophetstown, IL

When I make cakes, they are always very moist and hard to frost. How do I make a denser cake?

Jenny - from Royal Oak, MI

What can you do to a cake that is so moist that it is difficult to ice? Can you let it sit out and air dry for awhile? Will anything help?

Betty - from Fulton , IL

When baking a cake from a box or from scratch, can applesauce be added instead of oil?

Alicia - from Harlingen, TX

Every time I make a 9 x 13 sheet cake with a box of cake mix, the texture and taste are fine, but it doesn't rise high enough. What's wrong?

Robyn - from Houston, TX

I want to cut a recipe in half, and it calls for 3 large eggs. How do I do this?

Tom - from Brookfield, WI

You never say what size pan or type of pan a recipe on your website makes. Why?

John - from Spring, TX

Because butter is very expensive, can I substitute margarine for butter?

Tina - from Jakarta, Indonesia

How do you convert cup measurements to grams? For example, what is the gram equivalent of 1 cup of flour or 1 stick or butter?

Gloria - from London, United Kingdom

When a recipe calls for pure vanilla extract, can I use imitation vanilla? Will it change the taste of the recipe?

Ang - from Torrance, CA

When I make cakes from scratch, I have a problem with the cake coming out too dense and heavy. I love decorating cakes, yet making the cake is difficult. What am I doing wrong?

Meredtih - from Avon Lake, OH

I recently took some baking classes, and the teacher said to use unbleached flour for cakes. Is this true of all cakes? What's the difference between unbleached all-purpose flour and regular all-purpose flour?

Norma - from Sparks, OK

Do you have any suggestions on what to do with the cake crowns once the cake is leveled?

Gayle - from Dallas, TX

What do you mean sticks of butter?

Mahnaz - from iran-tehran, NY

I love making cookies, however not the hard crunchy ones. How can I make soft baked chocolate chip cookies?

Shandi - from Grand Bahama, Bahamas

Can I bake a cake from a boxed mix in a springform pan?

Sonia - from Louisville, KY

Can you please tell me how do I know when to use baking cocoa vs. unsweetened cocoa in a recipe when the recipe does not specify?

Christine - from North Bethesda, MD

Could you please tell me what is wrong with my M&M and chocolate chip cookies? I've made them for years, and now they spread and are so paper thin you can see through them. Please help!

Pat - from Wadsworth, OH

Which is better to bake in – a gas convection or an electric convection oven?

Linda - from Lafontaine, Ontario

Can vanilla or orange extract be added to cake mix?

Alicia - from Harlingen, TX

Hi Nancy, I love watching your show! The project I'm fascinated with is the teddy bear cake. I don't understand about the baking core in the center, do I need to leave it in and ice the cake or what? I'm really looking forward to making this for my daughter's first birthday cake in February.

Bukkie - from Houston, TX

How do I keep sheet cakes from cracking? I especially have problems with the very big (12x18 in.) cakes.

Linda - from Gatesville, NC

All my cakes are too moist to frost easily. How do I make a denser cake?

Jenny - from Royal Oak, MI

Can vanilla rum replace vanilla extract?

Christine - from Wyoming, OH

When I bake cakes, the center is always high and the sides low, causing the layers to crack when removed from the pan. What can I do?

Dianna - from Columbus, OH

I only make cakes from scratch occasionally. What is the best flour to keep on hand?

Chris - from Virginia Beach, VA

How do I get cheesecake off the bottom of a springform pan?

Alicia - from Houston, TX

How do I get my cupcakes to dome on top?

Tara - from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

I'm a new baker. In looking at your website, I notice in a number of recipes you call for the butter to be softened and "creamed." What exactly does it mean to "cream" the butter?

Nancy Marie - from Houston, TX

What is the best way to bake in an extra large cake pan, for example the large oval (16-1/2 x 12-3/8 x 2")? I don't want an uncooked mess in the middle.

Penny - from Belton, TX

Hi, Nancy. I am a new baker and I am having trouble with baking cookies and breads. My cookies get burned at the bottom and my breads are not cooked thoroughly in the middle but burned on top. What am I doing wrong?

Charlise - from Milwaukee, WI

Why do some cakes use baking soda and others baking powder?

Karina - from Gainesville, TX

Hi! I live in the UK. Is baking soda the same product as bicarbonate of soda or the same as baking powder?

Mandy - from England, UK

Hi Nancy! How much batter should you use in an oval baking pan? I used two pans, and the cake rose really high but it took so long to bake through. Help!

Donna - from Houston, TX

When I bake a pound cake in a tube pan, my cake always cracks, but if I bake it in a plain baking pan, it does not. Can you tell me why?

Sarika - from Chennai, India

What is the best way to marble a cake chocolate and vanilla?

Crystal - from Paragould, AR

When doubling a recipe that calls for baking powder and baking soda, do you do exactly that or can you use less?

Lorena - from West Sacramento, CA

How do I get my cakes to rise higher?

Kathy - from St. John's, Canada

I do a lot of wedding cakes, and I have noticed the cake mixes do not seem to make as much batter lately. Is there any way to increase the amount of batter I get from a cake mix?

Cheryl - from Lincoln, NE

How do you color a cake mix?

Stacie - from Redfield, AR

What is a heating core, and how is it used in baking?

Joanne - from N. Ridgeville, OH

Can all-purpose, cake and bread flour be used interchangeably?

Maria - from Indianapolis, IN

How can I make the strawberry mousse recipe into chocolate mousse?

Linda - from Bloomsburg, PA

Can I ice my cake with whipped cream before covering with fondant?

Sanaz - from Tehran, Iran

What is the best to use for a shaped pan – a cake mix or a mix from scratch?

Karen - from Brenham, TX

How do I keep my cheesecake from cracking?

Jamie - from Sparkman, AR

I want to make a cake, but have no cake flour, just all-purpose flour. Would that be alright to use?

Victoria - from San Jose, CA

Why does the cake crack in the center while it is baking?

Rose - from Castro Valley, CA

I regularly bake cheesecakes for gifts; any suggestions on how to remove the complete cake from the springform pan bottom before giving them away?

Gina - from Green Brook, NJ

Is there some conversion for baking time and oven temperature when you change pan sizes? I want to use a 13 x 9 in. pan instead of the two 9-in. rounds called for in my recipe.

Eileen - from Chalfont, PA

I have been asked to make my uncle's 3-tier wedding cake. What type of cake would be the best to help support the top layers without the layers sinking into each other?

Ruby - from Yorkton, Canada

Is there a way to ensure even baking if you are making a full sheet cake?

Randi - from Millbury, OH

How do you make apricot glaze? And, how can I keep the fruit looking fresh on the top of my cake?

Kim - from Sugarland, TX

My niece would like to have cheesecake for her wedding cake. Do you have any suggestions and/or recipes for making and decorating a cheesecake for a wedding?

Bronda - from Marshall, TX

Do you have any suggestions with what to do with the cake you remove after leveling cake layers? I don't want to waste it!

Gayle - from Dallas, TX

When baking layer cakes, how do you keep a cake from rising higher in the middle? It never fails.

Daisy - from Cleveland, OH

What is the best way to get air pockets out of your cake mix?

Natalie - from Moss Point, MS

Why do some of the cake recipes say "no pudding in the mix" on your show? What difference does the pudding make?

Jane - from Richmond, IN

Why does my cake crack when I'm trying to move it?

Cheryl - from Richardson, TX

On your show, you mentioned changing the baking temperature depending on the kind of baking pan used - glass, metal, dark metal. Will you please give those instructions again?

Darryl - from Cotati, CA

When making a fondant-covered cake, can I use pound cake and another cake mix together to get a cake that will hold up to the weight of the fondant and taste good?

Lisa - from Shallotte , NC

Why is it important to use shortening when greasing a cake pan? Why shouldn't you use butter?

Iffa - from State College, PA

What do you mean by sifted cake flour? Is that regular white flour or another kind of flour?

Jassie - from Houston, TX

When making a cream cheese fruit tart, or any baked crust tart, how do you get the baked crust out of the tart pan without breaking it up?

Bonnie - from Russell, KY

What can I do to prevent my cake mix from overflowing?

Niley - from Houston, TX

When baking a cake from the box is it better to use water or milk? When a recipe or mix calls for water what is the best temperature to use – cold or warm?

Eliza - from Laredo, TX

I want to make a simple vanilla cake recipe. What is better to use: all-purpose flour or cake flour? What is the difference between the two?

Jessica - from Ottawa, Ontario

Hi Nancy, When a recipe calls for sifted powdered sugar..as in buttercream frosting, do you sift first then measure or visa versa?

Aurora - from Sitka, AK

There are so many ways to grease pans today. Is it okay to use pan sprays?

anonymous - from fayetteville, AR

When I make cake, I often have some batter left over after filling my cake pans; can I save this batter and use it on another day?

Rosalie - from Charlotte, NC

Why do my cakes shrink down after I take them out of the oven?

Judy - from Florence, SC

What does a 2-layer cake mean?

Laura - from Chicago, IL

My cake domes in the middle while baking. How can I prevent this?

Jeff - from Medina, OH

What size pan can be used for a packaged, two-layer cake mix?

Denise - from Woodridge, IL


The Public Television cake decorating show providing easy projects for special celebrations. Not intended to replace instructional classes.