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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 On Multiple Racks

    Hi, I use a convection oven with a fan. I have read on the internet that cakes can be baked on multiple racks of such an oven at the same time without affecting the texture of the cakes. I just wanted to know whether that is true? If not, please suggest an alternative solution to baking cakes on more than one rack in the oven. Thanks, Pooja

    From the nigella team:

    Convection and fan assisted ovens have fans which circulate the hot air around the oven space and this leads to a much more even temperature through the oven, compared with conventional ovens where the top shelf is generally hotter than lower shelves. Therefore it should be possible to bake cakes on different shelves in the oven in a convection or fan assisted model. However fan assisted and convection ovens will still tend to have spots that are slightly hotter or cooler so you may still find that cakes bake slightly more quickly in certain places in the oven. To test for hot spots you can lay slices of white bread on the oven shelf, bake them at 180c/350F/gas mk 4 for 20 minutes and check how evenly they brown.

    If you have a conventional oven then you can rotate the pans part of the way through the baking time. If you have two pans on the same shelf then turn the pans 180 degrees. If you have pans on different shelves then you need to swap the pans between the shelves. You do need to do this carefully as the pans and the door and sides of the oven are hot, so protect your hands and arms with oven gloves. You also need to make sure that the cakes are sufficiently set so that they don't collapse if you move the pans. We would suggest that if you just need to rotate the pans on the shelf then this can be done around 2/3rds of the way through the baking time but if you need to swap shelves then wait until around 3/4 of the way through the baking time. Cookies can be swapped half way through the baking time.

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