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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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  • Icing For Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

    I am baking the Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes for a party along with a few other things so I'm trying to be organised, can I make the icing a few hours ahead of time? And if so do I store it in the fridge?  

    Hi, I made the Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes last night and they turned out pretty good, except for the fact that the icing seemed a bit too runny in spite of following the instructions meticulously. I waited for it to cool to see if it would thicken but ended up having to add an icing sugar and cornflower mixture to thicken it. I did use double cream so I was wondering what I might be doing wrong? Should I have taken it off the heat sooner? Thanks, koli4u2nv.

    From the nigella team:

    The icing on Nigella's Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes (from Domestic Goddess) is a chocolate ganache - that is a mixture of chocolate and double (heavy) cream. Ganache usually becomes more solid as it cools and it should thicken up as the mixture is whisked.

    It is possible that the chocolate became overheated and separated slightly, which could affect the setting of the icing though usually a ganache will re-emulsify if you whisk it. It is most likely that the cakes were in a warm place and the ganache didn't get a chance to cool enough to thicken. You can refrigerate the mixture for about 10 minutes, but make sure that you check every couple of minutes and stir the mixture so it cools evenly. But do this carefully as some of the ganache can start to set hard. Another, slightly fiddly, alternative is to set the bowl over another bowl filled with ice and stir until the mixture thickens.

    Next time you make the ganache bring just the cream to a boil in the saucepan then remove it from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted. This will redice the risk of the chocolate overheating.

    You can make the icing in advance and if it is only for a couple of hours then it can be stored, covered, at room temperatre. We suggest whisking it just before using. If the icing becomes too solid then you will need to carefully re-melt it in short blasts in a microwave or over a saucepan of warm water.

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