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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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  • Love Buns - curdled cake batter

    Tried the Love Buns recipe last night - complete disaster, they looked curdled before I put them in the oven, sank miserably and were extremely greasy. Is there a problem with the recipe - as I attempted the recipe twice - should the flour be 250g not 125g???

    From the nigella team:

    we are sorry that you have experienced this with the Love Buns (Feast p138) however the amount of flour is correct at 125g. The cake batter is a basic Victoria Sponge recipe - equal weights of butter, sugar, flour and eggs (if you weigh two large eggs in their shells the weight will be approximately 125g). Normally these ingredients will emulsify together fine in a food processor but it could be that your butter is too cold (so doesn't mix well with the other ingredients) or very soft (so the buns are a little greasy). The butter should be soft enough that your finger will leave a small indent if you press the butter, but not so soft that you can easily press the butter down.

    If your butter is too cold or straight out of the fridge then cut it into 1cm (1/2 inch) cubes, put it into the food processor and blitz for a minute or two until it is smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl with a spatula halfway through. Add the sugar and blitz for a further 30-60 seconds until the butter and sugar are smooth and slightly paler in colour. This should soften the butter enough for the rest of the ingredients to blend thoroughly, so continue by adding the eggs, flour and raising agents and mix again before adding the milk. If your butter is too warm then freeze it for 10 minutes or so, until firm, and continue as above.

    Also with this type of sponge recipe the batter should be baked straightaway and not left standing, so preheat the oven and line your muffin tin (pan) with paper cases (liners) before you start making the buns.

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