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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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  • Cupckes for a wedding...

    My sister and I are making a cupcakes for a wedding cake. We cannot seem to make cupcakes so they rise evenly (they all peak)!....any ideas from the expert?

    From the nigella team:

    Most cupcakes will rise slightly in the centre but if they are peaking drastically then your oven my be running a little too hot - the outside of the cupcake cooks and sets too quickly causing the batter in the centre to be pushed upwards into a peak. If you are baking the cupcakes at 200c/400F then you may find it helpful to reduce the temperature to 180c/350F and allow a couple of minutes extra baking time to compensate for the lower temperature. Check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer and make sure you are baking the cupcakes in the centre of the oven and not on a higher shelf. Also you may have a little too much raising agent in the mixture, particularly if it contains added bicarbonate of soda, so you may need to reduce that a tiny bit to prevent peaking. A classic victoria sponge recipe usually gives a fairly flat top so you could try that too.

    If you are using a buttercream frosting then peaking can be hidden by crowning the cupcakes with a good swirl of frosting (either use a large star nozzle or go freehand with a small offset palette knife/spatula). If you are using a glace or royal icing and want a flat top then you can always put a little less batter in each paper cupcake case (about half full rather than two-thirds to three quarters full) - the top of the cake shouldn't rise above the top of the cake and you can then flood the top with icing to give a flat surface before decorating with sugar flowers.

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