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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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Please note, we are only able to answer questions selected for publication and aren't able to enter into personal correspondence.

Latest Queries

  • Baking With A Slightly Larger Pan Size

    Hi, I have a question about baking. I love your baking recipes, and have followed many to make cakes, pies, cookies, scones, etc.  However I only own two 9-inch round pans with which to cook. Occasionally, you will call for an 8-inch pan which would allow the finished product to have a bit more height. I've not run into any problems using 9-inch pans, but, the cakes do sometimes look flatter and a bit less glorious than the finished photo in your many cookbooks. I realize that not all cakes would function in the way I am about to ask this question, and while I could easily purchase 8 inch rounds, I've been lazy, and not done so yet. If I wanted to add some height to the finished product, is there a general rule of thumb for upping the ingredients to create the desired effect. Again, since baking does call for a modicum of precision, would altering deter the final process? I was curious if you had any advice so that I don't have a flat cake. No one is complaining, and since I'm only cooking for my partner, family, and friends, I've yet to have someone say, that two tier cake looks a little short. Any suggestions? Or should I succumb to the purchase of two 8-inch rounds.

    From the nigella team:

    Unfortunately scaling cake recipes is not straightforward and this is one of the reasons we can't give scaled up recipes or guidelines, unless it is a fairly straightforward switch from one type of pan to another. Also in the UK a 20cm/8-inch pan size is most common whereas in the US a 23cm/9-inch cake pan is probably the most common (as many boxed cake mixes are for 9-inch cakes). However it is fairly easy to find 8-inch round pans in the US (Wilton do a good selection) so it is worth purchasing the smaller size at some point.

    If you want to increase the height of a layer cake the other alternative would be to add an extra layer. With only 2 pans you would need to bake one full recipe of batter, baking it in the two pans as normal, then make a half quantity of the recipe and bake one more layer (making sure the pan is fully cool and is washed before re-using it). You would need to allow for some extra frosting too and we would suggest making 1 1/2 times the frosting quantity to make sure you have enough.

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