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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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  • Ground Almonds In Apple And Almond Cake

    Hello, I have seen Nigella use almond flour in various cakes. I used to easily find it in large stores in France. But now I am back in India and I have not seen it here. And I am sure the grocery shop owners would not have heard about it. Is it possible to make it at home? If yes, please share the recipe.

    Is there any good substitute for almond meal in Nigella's cake recipes for those with nut allergies? I find myself salivating over flourless cake recipes all the time, but with my across the board nut allergy I really don't know if there's a way I can adapt them without ruining them. Emage.

    From the nigella team:

    Nigella's Apple And Almond Cake (from Feast and on the Nigella website) contains almond flour (almond meal/ground almonds), which is made from finely ground blanched (skinned) almonds. Almond flour is often added to baked goods to make them moist. Almond flour is used in Indian cookery, it is added to some curries and used in some Indian sweets and desserts, so it is worth asking in your local stores as they may well be able to source it for you. They may also know it under the UK name of ground almonds. It is also worth noting that almond flour can turn rancid more quickly in warm climates so it may be stored in a refrigerator.

    If you can't find the ground nuts but can find whole nuts then you can make your own almond flour. If you need to blanch the nuts then put them in a heatproof bowl and cover then with water from a just-boiled kettle. Leave to stand for 1 minute then drain and, when they are cool enough to handle, slip the nuts from their skins. Dry the nuts thoroughly with paper towels or a clean tea towel. Grind the nuts in a food processor but do this crefully in small batches as the nuts can become oily and turn to nut butter. It may be helpful to grind the nuts with some sugar or flour from your recipe as this will reduce the risk of the nuts turning oily.

    Unfortunately there isn't really a good substitute for ground nuts in baking. However Nigella's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake (from Nigellissima and on the Nigella website) has a version made with almonds and a version made with flour, which you may like to try.

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