Elsie Clees of James Island wants to make a cherry chip cake, like one that she remembers from years past that was made with a box mix. She says she hasn't seen the mix at the grocery store for some time.

Ann Strawser of Arlington, Texas, e-mailed to say she remembered using Betty Crocker Cherry Chip cake mixes. Ann checked online to see if they are still available, and found them for sale, a dozen in a case plus shipping, on Amazon.com.

"That doesn't appeal to me as who wants 12 at a time? Well, maybe someone would," Ann wrote. "I'm wondering if local grocers could special order them. At least we know they still make them. There used to be a matching icing mix as well."

I also looked on the Internet. General Mills, the maker of Betty Crocker products, has a Web site that allows you to order the cake mix directly from the company, either two boxes or 12. Cherry frosting also is available. Visit http://generalmills.elsstore.com/.

And, a number of recipes for "cherry chip cake" showed up online when I Googled the name. That's not to say they're not good, but I would rather hear from readers who can vouch for a recipe because they've made it.

At any rate, Ann says she has a great recipe for a Maraschino Cherry cake. She has this note in her computer about it:

"I'll never forget the time my aunt Betty and I made this cake when we were just kids. She is just a year older than I am, and this was about 55 years ago. The original recipe called for 1 cup milk and in the notes at the bottom said 'If desired, for a pink and more cherry-flavored cake, substitute 1/4 cup of the cherry juice for 1/4 cup of the milk.'

"Well, we had already added the 1 cup milk but Betty wanted the 'pink and more cherry-flavored cake' so she added the extra 1/4 cup cherry juice.

"Well, it was a mess! We ate it anyway. I'm glad it flopped as I probably would not have remembered the experience so vividly, and I love my aunt Betty to pieces and we still laugh about it. As I recall, we frosted it with seven-minute icing. Any vanilla icing would be fine. Chopped Maraschino cherries could be added to the icing."

Ann adds, "I adapted the recipe so that wouldn't happen again."

Maraschino Cherry Cake

18 maraschino cherries, well-drained and finely chopped

1 1/2 cups walnuts, finely chopped or substitute mini chocolate chips, if desired

2 1/2 cups sifted flour

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons almond extract

4 egg whites

Line two 9-inch round pans with wax paper or grease and flour (bottom only) a 9x13-inch pan. Drain cherries well and finely chop. Finely chop walnuts.

In mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

In a measuring cup, combine the milk and maraschino cherry juice.

Add the shortening and 3/4 of the milk and juice mixture to the flour mixture.

Add the vanilla and almond extract; beat 2 minutes.

Add the egg whites and remaining liquid and beat 2 minutes.

Blend in chopped cherries and nuts. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake at 325 to 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes depending on oven and pan size. Test with toothpick for doneness.

Ann's notes: "I never grease the sides of a cake pan. The cake batter needs to adhere to it to rise evenly. It will pull away when done or you can easily run a thin knife around the sides before turning it out onto a plate."

Also, "I've never had a cake recipe that calls for 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, but it seems to work in this one."

Zany zucchini

Mary Mikanovich of Summerville asked for a chocolate zucchini cake recipe. Several readers obliged.

"This is my favorite Chocolate Zucchini Cake," wrote Charlene Bell of Mount Pleasant. "It was given to me by a friend along with several zucchini from her bumper crop."

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 1/2 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

3/4 cup shortening

3 cups sugar

3 eggs

3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups shredded raw zucchini (about 3 medium zucchini)

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bundt pan. Sift together first five ingredients.

Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs. Blend in melted chocolate.

Combine milk and vanilla and add to mix, alternating with sifted dry ingredients. Add zucchini and chopped nuts at the end.

Pour into the greased and floured bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool 15 minutes before turning out of pan.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

We also heard from Beth McNeer of Hampton, whose recipe calls for chocolate chips and a bit of buttermilk. "This recipe came from Aberdeen, S.D., newspaper in the early 1980s. Kids of all ages love it," Beth says.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 cup oil

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 cups grated zucchini

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup chopped nuts

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Cream margarine, oil and sugar; add eggs and beat well. Mix in zucchini, then flour, cocoa, soda and salt alternately with buttermilk. Add vanilla.

Spread in greased and floured 9 x13-inch pan; top with chips and nuts. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Also thanks to Kathee Hering and Barbara Pasquino of Summerville.

Cabbage redo

Joanne Milkereit of Charleston read the recent recipes for cabbage casserole with interest, partly because, she notes, "one head of cabbage between two people goes a long way!"

But Joanne, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant, was dismayed by some fatty and highly processed ingredients in those recipes. So she modified one of those recipes, Stuffed Cabbage Casserole, with health and taste in mind.

"I've been altering recipes to increase their nutritional value for over 30 years," Joanne wrote. "Since March is National Nutrition Month, maybe this is a good time to encourage others to do the same."

One change to the casserole was browning the meat and draining the fat. She also added some seasonings, saying that "when cutting down on the fat in a recipe, one needs to add other flavors."

She continues, "One of my rules in using recipes is never use a can of soup. Canned soup is notorious for being high in sodium, as well as other additives that I like to avoid. I just check the ingredients on the label of a can of soup to see what I need to use as a substitute. I found that canned tomato soup is basically tomato puree, water, sugar and salt. I may even have saved a little money by using tomato puree. Tomato paste has no salt added."

She also wants to try substituting brown rice for white in the future.

"This will add fiber and nutrients but will require a longer baking time."

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

Makes 6 servings

1 small head of cabbage; cut into bite-sized pieces

1 pound lean ground beef

1 small onion, diced

3/4 cup uncooked rice

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Garlic powder to taste

1 tablespoon Italian seasonings

Pinch of crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

2 cups stewed tomatoes, crushed

6 ounces tomato paste

Cook cabbage in a small amount of water until tender-crisp. Drain cabbage and reserve cooking liquid. Add enough water to the liquid to make 2 cups.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet; pour off accumulated fat. Add onions and cook until onions are soft.

Put cabbage in a 9x13-inch casserole. Sprinkle beef-onion mixture over the cabbage. Sprinkle rice over all.

Next sprinkle the seasonings and sugar over the rice. Pour tomatoes over all.

Mix the tomato paste with the 2 cups water and pour over the top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the rice is done.

Who's got the recipe?

--Francis Darwin of West Ashley is looking for a recipe for Rice O'Brien, which includes black olives and green onions.

--Brenda Doebler of North Charleston says she lost a great recipe for Salisbury steak during a move. She would appreciate a replacement.

--Anita Singletary of Goose Creek is trying to find a recipe she once had for barbecue hash made with chicken, not pork. She says the recipe used meat from a whole chicken and included chili sauce and bottled barbecue sauce.

--Pass the word in Walterboro: A reader e-mailed, hoping we can track down a recipe from the old Keith's Red Barn in Walterboro. "They had the best chopped pork ever. The sauce was rather thin and it was not a mustard-based sauce."