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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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  • Cream Cheese For Red Velvet Frosting

    I would like the make cream cheese frosting for the red velvet cupcakes but I was wondering if I could use the spreadable Philadelphia? I heard you can buy Philadelphia in block form like butter. I also heard that the spreadable Philadelphia is technically called soft white cheese. Can you please help me?

    From the nigella team:

    In the UK cream cheese traditionally has a higher fat content (of 45-65%) than the US-style Philadelphia cream cheese and consequently in the UK this ingredient is often labelled as "soft white cheese". However most people think of cream cheese as the US version (where the USDA requires the fat content to be 33% or more). Originally cream cheese was sold in blocks but in the past few years the blocks have become more difficult to find and the cream cheese is sold in plastic containers instead. 

    Whilst there should not be any difference in the ingredient, some people have found that when they make cream cheese fosting it can liquefy. Nigella's buttery cream cheese frosting for the Red Velevet Cupcakes is half butter and half cream cheese which can help to reduce this problem. If you are uncertain then you can beat the icing (confectioner's) sugar into the butter first then add the cream cheese a little at a time.

    Low or reduced fat cream cheeses have become more common but we would avoid using these in frostings as they are made with more liquid and stabilisers and are more difficult to use in a frosting recipe.

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