Dear Heloise: I am looking for a cake recipe that I believe has SAUERKRAUT in it. Can you help? -- Helen D. in New Jersey

Absolutely! Heloise’s Chocolate Sauerkraut “Surprise” Cake is moist and tasty. Just don’t tell anyone the “surprise” ingredient until he or she tries it. Gather the following ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar

2/3 cup shortening or butter

3 eggs

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cocoa

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup water or beer

1/2-2/3 cup sauerkraut, chopped, rinsed and drained

Cream together sugar and shortening. Add eggs and mix well. Next, add vanilla, salt and cocoa. Mix together.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Alternating, add the dry ingredients and the water or beer, a little at a time, to the other batter.

Fold in the sauerkraut by hand. Bake in a greased and floured pan (13 by 9 inches) or cake pans (for a two-layer cake) for 35 to 45 minutes at 375 F. Frost with your favorite frosting (sour-cream or cream-cheese frosting is my favorite on this cake). This is one of many recipes available in my cake pamphlet. To receive it, send $3 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Cakes, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Let cake cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack BEFORE you take it out of the pan. Enjoy! -- Heloise

P.S.: You can use a box cake mix in place of the dry ingredients for a quick recipe.

BROCCOLI HYBRID

Dear Readers: Broccolini is showing up in more and more grocery stores. With long stalks and florets on top that resemble broccoli, it looks like a hybrid of broccoli and asparagus. However, it actually is a natural hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale.

It’s found in many produce sections, and it costs a little more than broccoli. With a very subtle, sweet flavor and a touch of pepper flavor as well, the entire vegetable can be eaten either raw or cooked your favorite way. It definitely is a vegetable worth trying, especially since it is available year-round. -- Heloise

COOKIE CLUTTER

Dear Heloise: Cookie cutters can look messy floating in drawers, and can pose a safety hazard for kids if they aren’t stored correctly. I have found that a simple way to store them is to stack them on a standing paper-towel holder. It is decorative and adds a cozier feel to a kitchen when sitting out, but can be safely stored away when the kids are around! -- Brenda D. in Texas

CORING LETTUCE

Dear Heloise: Here is a hint to take the core out of lettuce. Take your hand and place it on top of the head of lettuce, with the core facing down. Bang it somewhat hard on the counter. Take the core, twist it and pull it out. Now you don’t have to slice off the core. Just pick off the leaves you don’t want. -- C.P., via e-mail

Send a 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.

2012, King Features Syndicate