Dear Sun Spots: I’ve been reading all of your good things as you help people to find that they are looking for, and I thought maybe you could find me a good recipe for Red Velvet Cake. I would so much like to have it. – L. Adams, Lisbon.

Perhaps some readers out there have some favorite recipes they’re willing to share with you. In the meantime you might like to try the following:

Ingredients: Makes one two-layer cake. ½ cup butter, 1½ cups sugar, 2 eggs, 1½ teaspoons vanilla, 1 teaspoon salt, 2½ cups sifted cake flour, ¼ cup cocoa, 1½ teaspoons baking soda, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*, 1 tablespoon red food coloring, 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, cinnamon, cocoa and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add gradually to creamed sugar, alternating with milk. Dissolve soda in vinegar and fold very carefully into batter. Stir to combine, but do not over mix. Pour into prepared baking pans and bake about 30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched with finger. Cool in pans on wire rack for five minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely before frosting. Chef’s note: To make sour milk, just add one tablespoon of white vinegar to a cup of milk and let it sit for a few minutes. This is in addition to the vinegar used in step four of the recipe.

According to, although the details are sketchy at best, Red Velvet Cake is not as Southern as many think. The story, which began circulating some time in the 1940s, claimed that Manhattan’s elegant Waldorf-Astoria granted a diner’s request for the recipe, then a short time later sent her a bill in the amount of $100. The angry woman, apparently with revenge in mind, then began circulating the recipe along with the story. Another “baked” legend with the same story line is about a $250 Neiman-Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

Red Velvet Cake. Ingredients: ½ cup shortening, 1½ cups sugar, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons cocoa, 1½ ounces red food coloring, 1 teaspoon salt, 2½ cups flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 teaspoon soda, 1 tablespoon vinegar. Method: Cream shortening; add sugar gradually. Add eggs, one at a time; beat well. Make paste of cocoa and coloring; add to creamed mixture. Add salt, flour and vanilla alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Sprinkle soda over vinegar; pour vinegar over batter. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Bake in three 8-inch pans or two 9-inch pans for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Dear Sun Spots: I enjoy your column. A few years ago WeedEater made a rechargeable grass clipper. I believe it was called Clip Stix. Would this still be available? Also, I am looking for a store that carries Sharp vacuums. – No Name, No Town.

Sun Spots was unable to find your clippers but perhaps readers familiar with this product might be able to assist you.

Regarding your second question: Sun Spots talked to Gary Bazinet, owner of the Vac Shak, 485 Pleasant St., Lewiston, near Exit 13 of the Maine Turnpike, (800) 834-2902, (207) 783-2902, who says he can special order a Sharp vacuum for you. Bazinet would be glad to look one up for you and get a quote for you. He also has Sharp parts available should you need them also. The shop is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

Dear Sun Spots: You have helped me and a lot more people. I need help again.

Where can I find some hearing aids? Mine broke, and it will cost $200 to get fixed. I can’t afford it. Please help me to find a new one. – No Name, No Town.

Try contacting SeniorsPlus, 465 Main St., Lewiston, (207) 795-4010 or 1-800-427-1241, and request information on how to qualify for a hearing aid at a reduced cost.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at in the Inform Us section under Press Release.

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