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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

  • Buttercreams

    I find that buttercream has a yellow base colour, therefore when I try to add colour, say blue, the result is more green than blue. I've heard that you can make buttercream with vegetable shortening, is that correct? If so what is the best sort to buy and what is the taste like? Many thanks Carol.  

    Can you tell me if it's possible to make sugar free buttercream for myself as a diabetic and also for my children to have less sugar. Greenford1

    From the nigella team:

    A simple buttercream is a mixture of butter and icing (confectioners') sugar. You can beat the butter until it is pale but it will still have a slight yellow tint to it. It is possible to make buttercream with vegetable shortening and this will have a white colour. We can't recommend any particular brand of vegetable shortening, but do check that it is not lard as this will have a slightly savoury flavour. The proportions of sugar to fat are usually the same as for a buttercream made with butter, but if you find the frosting to be a little too soft then you may need to add some extra icing sugar. However vegetable shortening will lack flavour and so may need to have flavouring added. If you add flavouring make sure that it is a clear liquid flavouring, as flavourings that are coloured (such as vanilla extract) will taint the white of the frosting.

    We understand that it is possible to make buttercreams with a combination of butter, milk powder, cornflour (cornstarch) and powdered sweetener. Unfortunately this is not something we have made ourselves so we are unable to provide a recipe. However there are several websites on the internet that give recipes and information for this.


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