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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

  • Cakes Uncooked In The Middle

    I have tried if most of the cake recipies from your site and always always hve the same problem - the cakes cook from the sides but stay uncooked in the middle. If I try to cook it further for a few minutes then the result is it that the sides over cook and harden and the cake becomes hard.  What am I doing wrong? Please help! Much Love, Arpita.

    From the nigella team:

    Not all of the cake recipes on the website are Nigella's, many are posted by other site members and are not tested by us. If you are consistently experiencing undercooked cakes from many different recipes then we would suggest that the problem may lie with your oven and it may be running a little cold. Oven thermometers are relatively inexpensive and are useful for checking oven temperatures. Test the temperature in the centre of the oven, the front and the back. The oven itself may be running slightly "cold" or the oven may have hot and cool spots. 

    If the temperature of the oven is out then you may need to get it serviced, or you will need to set your oven temperature higher or lower to compensate. If the oven has hot and cold spots then you may need to rotate the cake pans during the cooking time. Also make sure that there isn't anything stopping the air from circulating in the oven. For example, if you have put foil on the bottom of the oven to keep it clean then the foil should be removed.

    If you are baking in a very humid environment then this can very occasionally affect the way the cake bakes and it would be better to make cakes early in the morning when the air is coolest.

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