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FAQ and Disclaimer

I hope this page answers some of your questions about the recipes on my site. It also covers some of the more common cooking questions I've received. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Are these your recipes?
Most of these recipes are not "mine" and I did not originally create them. The majority of these recipes came from the MasterCook mailing list and other cooking related newsgroups. The rest came from friends, family, visitors to this site, and recipes I've picked up and tried along the way.

Have you tried all these recipes?
No. I like to collect recipes and share them with others by making them available on my Web site. I don't test out each recipe (I'd weigh 500 pounds if I tried all those cheesecake recipes!) and many times I don't even read through the recipe because the title is intriguing enough to make me want to save the recipe to try later. Although I have not tried every single recipe, I have tried many. I'll do my best to answer your questions.

Are you a professional cook?
Hardly. I'm a technical writer and this Web site is my hobby. I mainly like to bake desserts and try out new tasty recipes for dinner. Growing up, I watched my dad cook and learned from him, but I still have a lot to learn.

I tried a recipe that was great/awful. Do you want to know that?
Yes, definitely contact me. I really depend on people who write back with comments to improve the site. The best feedback I receive ranges from "that was great" to "it was good, but I changed a few things to make it better...here's what I did" to "that recipe simply did not work and here's why." On the other hand, please refrain from sending me angry e-mails about recipes you've tried that were not successful. I will ignore e-mail from people who blame me for ruining their dish. It's fine to be upset, but don't take it out on me.

How do I save or download a recipe?
Refer to the instruction I've provided on how to save/download recipes.

Why is this page also called a Disclaimer?
According to the Cambridge International Dictionary of English, a disclaimer is a statement that something is not true or intended. In other words, if you are a company or person who has a registered trademark or copyrighted material, and you have found me in violation of trademark or copyright infringement, contact me immediately and I will take the appropriate action necessary to comply with the law. I maintain this site because I enjoy it, not to steal business from others.

Hey, that's my recipe! Why are you posting my recipe?
I want to give credit where credit is due. If I miss someone please accept my apologies and contact me so I can correct the mistake by either removing the recipe or by giving you credit. This includes errors in accidental trademark or copyright infringement.

Is that really an Olive Garden recipe?
Probably not. The Olive Garden recipes on this site are known as "copycat" recipes, which means someone created a recipe to recreate an original recipe.

Do you have a recipe for the Olive Garden's Pasta e Fagioli?
If you are looking for a copycat version of the Olive Garden's Pasta e Fagioli, refer to Top Secret Recipes. I'm not permitted to post their recipes for legal reasons.

I own a Web site and would like to use one or more of your recipes. Can I link to or copy the recipe?
I have no problem with you copying recipes from my site and posting them on your site. If you would prefer to link to a recipe on my site directly, that's fine too, but please note that the next time I update my site, the URLs might change and you might find a broken link on your site. If this happens, contact me along with the exact name of the recipe and I'll give you the new URL. Also, do not link to every single recipe on my site. A few links is flattering, but when your entire recipe site consists of just linking to all the recipes on my site, that's poor Web etiquette.

I want a Web site and would like to copy your files. What will happen if I do this?
Don't do it. I will send you a polite e-mail letting you know that you cannot steal the HTML files from my site and to remove those pages from your site immediately. The recipes may not be copyrighted, but my Web site is. People who steal portions of my site and then pass it off as their own work are in violation of copyright infringement. I do not take these matters lightly. See the Wall of Shame for examples.

Can I use one or more of your recipes in my publication?
It really depends on a recipe by recipe basis so it's best if you contact me so we can discuss this further.

Cooking Questions

Cakes, Baking a Butter Cake

Q: I'm a cake-baking newbie. What do I need to know making a chocolate birthday cake (or some other type of butter cake)?
A: Here are some tips on making a butter cake:

  • PREPPING THE PAN: Refer to the recipe on how to grease and flour the pans. I usually rub butter inside the pan, add a little flour, shake it until every area is covered with a thin layer of flour, and then shake out the excess flour.
  • DONENESS CHECK: See if the cake has started to pull away from the pan. Next, lightly press the top. It should spring back if it's done. Finally, insert a wooden toothpick in the center. It should come out clean and dry.
  • COOLING: Remove your cake from the oven and let it rest in the pan on wire racks for 10 minutes to cool. Next, remove it from the pan by sliding a knife around the sides of the cake. Place the wire rack on top of the pan and carefully flip. You may need to shake the pan a little to remove the cake completely. Finally, turn the cake right side up onto a second rack and cool completely before frosting.
  • Also see Solving Pound Cake Problems.
Cakes, Baking a Sponge Cake

Q: What do I need to know to make an angel food cake (or some other type of sponge cake)?
A: Here are some tips on making a sponge cake:

  • EGGS: Overbeating the eggs for a sponge cake does not make the cake better. For best results, make sure your eggs are at room temperature before beating them. Depending on what the recipe states, egg whites should be foamy or make peaks when you remove the beaters. If you are folding beaten egg whites into a mixture, do exactly that: fold. Do not stir or beat the mixtures together or you will loose the fluff.
  • PREPPING THE PAN: In general, you should not grease pans unless the recipe states otherwise.
  • DONENESS CHECK: A sponge cake should be golden brown. Lightly press the top. It should spring back if it's done.
  • COOLING SPONGE CAKES: The challenging part is preventing the cake from falling. Gravity is your friend. Remove your cake from the oven and if possible, invert the cake pan by resting the center tube on a bottle, cup, or some other surface that allows it to cool in the pan. Remove the cake only after it's cooled completely.
Cakes, Cracks and Splits

Q: How do I prevent my cakes from cracking on top?
A: In addition to placing the cake in the center rack of a uniformly heated oven, the best way to prevent cake cracks is make sure the oven temperature is not too hot. An overly hot oven can cause the outside of the cake to bake and form a crust too quickly. If this happens, cake center continues to cook and rise, and eventually bursts through, causing the top to crack.

Cakes, Types

Q: What kinds of cakes are there and how are they different?
A: There are two types of cakes: butter cakes (think pound cake or chocolate cake) and sponge cakes (think angel food cake). The main difference between these cakes is how they rise. Butter cakes need baking powder or soda whereas sponge cakes rise because of the air beaten into the eggs.

Cheesecake, Cracks and Splits

Q: I hate how the top of my cheesecake cracks. How do I prevent this from happening?
A: Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you grease the sides of the pan first, the surface will not crack when the cheesecake starts to shrink on cooling.
  • Use a metal spatula around the edges immediately after removing the cheesecake from the oven.
  • Avoid overmixing and drastic temperature changes. For instance, don't stick a warm cheesecake from the oven in the refrigerator.
  • See Preventing Cheesecake Cracks and Preventing Cheesecake Cracks - Water Bath for more hints.
  • If all else fails, throw some fruit or topping over the cracks and no one will ever notice!

Cheesecake, Freezing

Q: Can I freeze cheesecake?
A: Yes. See Freezing Cheesecakes to learn how.

Sour Milk

Q: I found a recipe that calls for sour milk. Is there a product called sour milk? That sounds awful! Can I use butermilk instead?
A: The idea of using sour milk goes back to when milk spoiled easily and nothing was wasted. There is no product called sour milk. I think buttermilk is too rich and sweet to be used instead of sour milk, but according to The Cook's Thesaurus, you can use buttermilk instead. You can also "sour" milk intentionally by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice.


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