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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

  • Chocolate Guinness Wedding Cake

    Hi, I am getting married in Italy in July and I would like to have the Chocolate Guinness Cake as my wedding cake. I really need help with scaling the recipe for a 3 tier cake for 80 people. I would also like to have each tier divided into 2 layers with a filling in the middle. Since the cake is pretty moist, should I add more flour to be able to do it? Many thanks for your help. Kind Regards Chiara

    From the nigella team:

    Nigella's Chocolate Guinness Cake and Chocolate Frut Cake are both popular choices as alternatve wedding cakes but unfortunately scaling cakes is quite a complicated process and we are unable to give scaled recipes. There are some recipe scaling charts available on-line but results can be variable. We would also caution on making a sponge cake larger than 23cm/10 inches in a domestic oven as they can have a tendancy to sink in the centre. We would also be cautious about adding extra flour to the recipe as it will change the ratio of raising agents to other ingredients which could cause the cake to be flatter and heavier than the original.

    Our best suggestion would be that you make one 23cm/9-inch cake from the original recipe and then maybe make another quantity and divide this between a 15cm/6-inch tin and a 7.5cm/3-inch tin. The baking times would be roughly 25 minutes for the smaller cake and 35 minutes for the 7cm cake, but you would need to keep a close eye on them. Please note that we have not tested these sizes so you may like to do a test run before the big day. Then ice the tops and sides of the 3 cakes with roughly 4 times the quantity of icing from the original recipe. If you are stacking the cakes then you must also insert dowels in the lower 2 levels of the cake to prevent them from collapsing under the weight of the layers and you will need to make sure that the cakes themselves are set on thin cake boards before stacking to provide support.

    Cake portions tend to be small at weddings so a 3 tier cake like this would probably feed up to 40 people. We would then suggest making 2-3 extra regular sized cakes to cut up and serve to guests (these could be kept "behind the scenes"). If you are serving the cake as dessert then portions will need to be larger and you will need to make further extra cakes. The cake, un-iced, will freeze for up to 3 months if wrapped tightly in a doble layer of clingfilm (plastic wrap) and a layer of foil so you coulkd make several cake sin advance if necessary.

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