Dear Readers:

If you bake cakes, here are a few tricks of the trade that might be of interest: When a cake recipe instructs you to flour the pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead. This way, there won't be any powdery mess on the cake -- this is especially true for dark cakes.

For a perfectly shaped cake without broken corners or edges, grease the pan, then line it with greased waxed paper. After baking and when the cake has cooled, carefully invert the pan and peel off the paper.

To keep a cake from sliding around the plate during transit, put a bit of frosting in a circle on the plate before placing the cake on it. The frosting will hold the cake in place deliciously.

When using a boxed cake mix, put the water in the bowl first before adding the powdered mix. This helps prevent those powder pockets at the bottom of the bowl.

Here's a quick strawberry-icing recipe to try: Mix 1 box of powdered sugar, 1 stick of margarine or butter and a 1/2 container of thawed frozen strawberries well, and use to top a cooled cake -- yum!

Dear Heloise:

Here is another idea for storing onions that should help them last for about six months: I like Vidalia onions, so when they are in season, I buy a couple of cases. I string them up in the legs of panty hose, tying a knot between each one, and then hang them up in a cool, dry place.

Lawrence Smith

Eureka Springs, Ark.

This is a hint that we have printed many times before, but it's definitely worth repeating!

Dear Heloise:

For years, I have used a hint that came from your mother -- transferring coffee from the can to a storage canister by using an extra coffee lid with a "V" cut in it. With the new plastic coffee cans, a new solution was needed. So, I don't remove the foil from the can top, but cut a "V" in it opposite the handle area.

Helen Peel, Irving, Tex.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. Please include your city and state when faxing or using e-mail. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

(c)2004, King Features Syndicate