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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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Latest Queries

  • Baking Disasters - Microwave Combi Oven

    Whatever I bake seems to be getting ruined - the end result of the careful preparation is a hard cake with big pores in it. I use unsalted butter for preparation and i just can't figure out why my cakes turn out this way. I never get melt-in-the-mouth cakes. I bake in a microwave oven in combination and check whether its done with a cake tester. Please help. What am I doing wrong?

    From the nigella team:

    From the description it sound to us as if the cakes are becoming over baked. A cake which is baked for too long will become dry and hard (and eventually scorched at the edges). Large pores in the cake can be a result of the raising agents (baking powder/bicarbonate of soda/baking soda) not being mixed in properly so they should be whisked thoroughly or sifted with the flour before the flour is added to the cake batter.

    If you are using a combination of microwave and convection oven to cook the cake then we suggest that you switch to only using the convection function on your oven when baking cakes as this is likely to give the best results. Cakes can also be baked on microwave function only (we suggest you check your handbook for guides on timings) but using the two functions together could be causing the over baking, particularly if you are cooking to the timings in a conventional recipe. It is also worth noting that convection ovens tend to cook more quickly than conventional ovens so you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20c/50F or use a shorter baking time - again you handbook should give some guidelines.

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