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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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  • Larger Size Chocolate Fruit Cake

    Hi. I'd like to make Nigella's Incredibly Easy Chocolate Fruit Cake (from Nigella Christmas) as the bottom tier of a wedding cake. Nigella uses a 20cm/8-inch tin (which makes 10 'generous slices') but I need to feed 40 people with this bottom tier. Can I double or triple for example the cake ingredients and how long would it take to cook? Many thanks.

    From the nigella team:

    We have had numerous requests for a scaled up version of the Incredibly Easy Chocolate Fruit Cake. Normally we don't scale up recipes as it is not a straightforward process (except for Nigella's Christmas cakes in Feast and Christmas which come in 3 sizes). However we have managed to test a 25cm/10-inch version of this cake.

    To go from the standard recipe for a 20cm/8-inch cake to 25cm/10-inch cake you need to use 1 1/2 times the ingredients listed in the standard recipe. As this would imply using half and egg, which is difficult to measure, we would suggest that you use one egg yolk instead of half an egg. After simmering the fruit mixture let it cool for 45 minutes rather than 30 minutes as the larger quantity takes slightly longer to cool.

    For the tin preparation we suggest that you line the tin with a double layer of baking parchment (parchment paper) as in the recipe but also as this cake can scorch more easily than a normal fruit cake we would also suggest wrapping a double layer of brown paper around the outside of the tin as well (secure it with sticky tape and string or staple the ends together).

    Bake the cake in an oven preheated to 150c/300F for 1 hour then reduce the oven temperature to 140c/275F and bake for a further 2 1/2 to 3 hours (a total of 3 1/2 to 4 hours baking time). When the cake is ready it will look shiny on the surface and when you insert a cake tester into the cake should still be slightly gooey in the centre. Cool and store the cake as described in the recipe.

    For the number of portions it really depends on how generous you are with your slices but at weddings the cake slices tend to be quite small and some cake makers' charts suggest a 25cm/10-inch cake will make  35-38 portions. We would suggest assuming this cake will cut into around 30 slices. You could make a second standard size cake which doesn't have to be displayed but could be cut up as well for extra portions.

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