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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.

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  • Domed Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake

    I have made the Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake three times and weigh my ingredients out very carefully but every time the cake rises and domes a huge amount so then cracks a lot and then breaks up when I slice it. In the photo Nigella's loaf is very much flat on top, Can you help? I'd love to get the cake right as the taste and texture is incredible. Many thanks!

    From the nigella team:

    Nigella's Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake (from Feast and on the NIgella website) should be fairly moist. In addition, it contains very little raising agent so the top should be fairly flat and should not rise up in a dome. Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) is the only chemical raising agent and only 1/2 teaspoon is used, so make sure that you measure this very carefully using a proper set of measuring spoons (it is 2.5 ml).

    However we suspect that it is most likely that your oven is a little too hot. If an oven is too hot then the outsides of the cake cook too quickly and this pushes the centre of the cake up, causing it to dome. In addition, if the cake is cracking and breaking when cut it suggests to us that it may have dried out a little as it has slightly over cooked. This can be common in fan ovens and we would mention that Nigella's recipes give oven temperatures for conventional ovens. Fan and convection ovens usually need to be turned down by around 20C/50F, but you should check your oven handbook for instructions for your specific oven. It may also help to check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer.

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