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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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  • Chocolate Guinness Cake

    I have made 3 of the Chocolate Guinness Cakes from Nigella's book Feast and, whilst they are delicious, they are not as dark in colour as the pictures. I am using Tesco own brand cocoa powder. Is this maybe the problem? Should I be using another brand?

    From the nigella team:

    There could be a couple of reasons why the your cake doesn't appear quite as dark as the one in the picture. The first is that generally the inside of the cake won't be quite as dark as the outside edge as the edge is in direct contact with the cake pan and so will colour more than the inside. The second reason is the type of pan used. If your pan is a silver colour then baked goods will tend to come out a slightly paler colour than those baked in darker coloured pans. Darker coloured metals will tend to absorb heat more quickly than shiny ones (which reflect a proportion of the heat away) and so will brown the edges of the cake more quickly.

    The colour of the cake comes more from the Guinness or stout than the cocoa so we doubt that the brand of cocoa makes much difference. But if you are concerned then we would try a Dutch processed cocoa such as Green and Black's which tends to be slightly darker than "natural" cocoa powders (Bournville is a natural cocoa). However if the cake is delicious to eat then we would not worry too much about the colour.

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