Cheese Cake Needs More Than Jiggle Test


Dear Reena,

I baked a cheesecake for friends last weekend. I thought the cake was thoroughly baked because the sides were solid, and the middle jiggled a little. I iced the cake and placed it in the fridge. Hours later, I sliced the cake and was mortified when I saw the inside was liquid. What is the best way to check a homemade cheesecake to make sure it is properly baked? — B.

Dear B.,

While the jiggle method is a popular indicator for whether a cheesecake is thoroughly baked, it isn’t foolproof. Consider purchasing a cooking thermometer and gently insert it into the cake. When the temperature reads 150 to 155 degrees, the cake is ready. 

Dear Reena,

I want to share with you a handy tip to remove orange-coloured stain from the toilet bowl, due to iron in well water. Drop a couple of denture tablets in the bowl in the evening and by morning the bowl should be clean. Repeat if needed. Also, do you have a home remedy for cleaning an oven? — Reynold

Dear Reynold,

For people who do not own a self-cleaning oven, the oven mess does not have to become a dreaded chore. The world’s easiest way to clean an oven is to sprinkle the bottom of the oven with baking soda. Pour white vinegar over the baking soda, and let it bubble and soak for 30 minutes. Wipe and rinse with water. In the meantime, put an old towel on the bottom of your bathtub, fill it with hot water and one cup of washing soda. Let oven racks soak overnight and, in the morning (while wearing gloves), rinse the racks and wipe with vinegar. Clean as a whistle. Note: Do not leave water in the tub if small children live in the home.

Dear Reena,

Can you please provide me with a recipe for chocolate chip cookies in a jar? — Alice

Dear Alice, 

You will need a large one-quart jar. Combine 2 cups flour, 1 tsp. baking soda and a half tsp. salt. Into the jar layer half a cup of brown sugar, followed by half a cup of white sugar and then another half-cup brown sugar. Then add one cup chocolate chips. The last layer is the flour mixture. Close the jar and attach a note with the instructions. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Empty cookie mix into a large mixing bowl. Add 2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla and one cup margarine or butter, and stir to combine. Drop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake 11 to 13 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

Feedback from Wise 


Re: Watermarks on wood

Dear Reena,

I read your tips about removing watermarks on wood furniture, and they really work. Here is another suggestion: Heat the watermark using a hair dryer on the high setting. Hold the hair dryer in place, and watch the mark disappear. — Anonymous

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website at Ask a question or share a tip at