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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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  • Flourless chocolate cake - too eggy

    Hi, I made Nigella's Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake from Kitchen and when I took it out of the oven, it seemed like all the eggs had sunk to the bottom! There was a sort of omelette on the bottom of the cake. I thought that perhaps I had not beaten the eggs enough, but I've seen recipes that say just to mix them in without beating them, so I'm not sure that's it. It was my first time making a flourless cake. Thanks for your help.

    From the nigella team:

    We suspect that it is likely that the cake was not quite mixed correctly at some stage, so the eggs did not combine fully and separated slightly from the remaining mixture. The whisking of the eggs in this cake is very important as this is the only leavening (raising agent) the cake has.

    In the Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake the eggs are used whole and whisked with sugar. When you are whisking here you need to get to the stage known as the "ribbon stage". The eggs will have turned very pale yellow, look slightly moussey, should have tripled in volume and when you lift the beaters the egg falling off will do so in a thick ribbon and leave a trail on the surface of the whisked eggs for a few seconds. The eggs at this stage will combine smoothly with the other ingredients. It is easier to whisk eggs that are at room temperature.

    There are some flourless cake recipes where the eggs are separated, the yolks are mixed into a chocolate mixture and then the whites are whisked to soft peaks and folded in, but again the whites here need aeration as they will help the cake to rise.

    It is also possible that the chocolate had been over heated and "siezed" - which will turn it grainy and means that it doesn't incorporate fully. Make sure the bowl doesn't touch the hot water. Remove the bowl from the pan of water while there are still a few small lumps of unmelted chocolate as the lumps will melt in the residual heat and it reduces the risk of the chocolate overheating.

    Finally make sure that all the ingredients are folded together fully. It is best to do this by hand so that the air is not knocked out of the mixture. Check that you are getting to the bottom of the bowl when folding so that there isn't unmixed egg in the mixture.


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