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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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  • Cake Tin Size - Smaller Or Larger

    Hi! I generally have 7-inch & 10-inch loose bottomed cake tins. If a recipe calls for an 8-inch tin am I better to use the smaller or larger tin? What would the end result be using either of the tins and would cooking times be affected? Many thanks.

    From the nigella team:

    Unfortunately it is not ideal to use a cake tin which differs in size from the tin specified in the recipe. A different sized tin will affect the baking time of the cake and also the depth of the finished cake. However if you are having to substitute then it would be best to go for the tin that is closest in size - ie if the recipe is for an 8-inch tin then a 7-inch tin is closer in size than a 10-inch tin. Using a 10-inch tin would give a very thin cake.

    The problem with using a smaller tin is that in some cases the cake could rise up over the top of the tin and either spill over into the oven or result in a misshapen top. The cake batter should come no more than half way up the sides of the tin, so if it is higher than that level then you should probably not use all of the cake batter. The cooking time is likely to be slightly shorter than the original recipe, so we would suggest that you start carefully testing the cake 5-10 minutes before the end of the cooking time (for layered sponge cakes check only 5 minutes before the original baking time as if the oven door is opened too early the cake will sink).

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