Don't Microwave Metal - or Cake Mix

Virginia Dougherty of Sonoma, Calif. asks "Whatever happened to Betty Crocker's microwaveable cake mixes?"

Some things take a microwave zapping well, but Betty Crocker decided her cake mix didn't.

In late 1992, the Betty Crocker division of General Mills Foods Inc., discontinued its microwaveable cake mix called "Microrave." Though quick and easy to prepare, the baked result would have given Martha Stewart quite a fright.

"The cake came out rubbery and tough, and the consumers commented they didn't like the baked quality even though it was convenient," says Betty Crocker spokeswoman Pam Becker.

But since there's still a hefty portion of the population without national bake-off aspirations, Betty Crocker developed a similar one-step cake mix called "Stir-N'-Bake." It uses a conventional oven for baking but only requires adding water. Though the directions aren't on the box, Ms. Becker says the mix can be microwaved. (Call Betty Crocker for instructions at 1-800-328-6787.)

Do microwaves and cake have a future together? Becker says microwave technology will have to improve before you'll see "Microrave" back on the shelves.

* If you wonder "Whatever Happened to..." write us at: One Norway Street, Boston, MA, 02115; or e-mail to: whatever@csmon-itor.com

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