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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.

Latest Queries

  • Iced Christmas Cake Keeping Time

    Hi, I'm a baking novice and have decided to make Christmas cakes this year, for the first time. I've baked them and am feeding regularly. I want to send one to a friend who is on a tour of duty and for it to get there in time I need to send it by the end of November. What are my best options for icing? Will roll out icing last that long? Or do I use royal icing? He doesn't like marzipan either so I would like to leave that out. Any help would be great! Thanks, Kathy

    From the nigella team:

    If you are not using marzipan on a cake then we suspect that the best option is to use the ready to roll (rolled fondant) icing. The layer of marzipan on a cake partly serves to give a smooth surface on to which to ice the cake. You can use the ready to roll icing and roll it thickly so that it gives a smooth-ish finish to the cake. The cake should last for 5 weeks like this, but bear in mind that as the icing sits it will harden over time.

    It is also worth checking if there are any special rules regarding the shipping of the cake. Some countries have restrictions on what types of foods can be imported. Also if the cake is deep chilled/refrigerated or frozen once it is iced then you will find that the the icing will "sweat", and you may get small beads of thin syrup forming on the surface. The cake is still safe to eat but the icing may have a slightly slippery texture.

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