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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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  • Butter Cut Out Biscuits

    What can you use instead cake flour in the Butter Cut Out Biscuits recipe from Domestic Goddess (p212)? I bought my book in the USA and now live in London. Thanks, Tanya

    From the nigella team:

    For the Butter Cut Out biscuits we would suggest that you use plain flour. In the UK version of the book it suggests trying if possible to use "00" pasta flour. This flour is very fine and gives the biscuits a particularly nice, crisp texture. "00" flour can be found in Italian delis but is now becomin more widely available in supermarkets and can usually be found in the baking aisle. We also note that in the UK there is now a type of flour sold as "sponge flour" for cakes but this is not the same as American cake flour as it contains raising agents whereas most American cake flour brands do not contain raising agents. "Sponge flour" should not be used for the biscuits.

    Cake flour is used in the US for very tender cakes. It can be finely milled but the most important thing is that it has a lower than normal protien content. It is this low protien content that gives the very tender cake crumb. In the UK the protien content of plain flour does vary quite a lot across brands so it is worth checking the nutritional information on the side of the package to find a lower protien flour for cakes (in the nutritional information look for the column with "per 100g" and aim for one with less than 9g protien per 100g flour). Alternatively you can switch some of your plain flour for cornflour (cornstarch) to get a flour mixture similar to cake flour - remove 2 tablespoons plain flour per cup and replace it with 2 tablespoons cornflour.

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