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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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  • Mixing The Chocolate Malteser Cake

    The Chocolate Malteser Cake has a very liquid batter and when I fold in the flour I can't help but get lumps. I have tried sifting in dry ingredients or adding a third at a time but I'm still getting lumps so then I'm over mixing to remove them & although the cake tastes great I'm sure the texture could be better. Is there a technique or wee trick I should be doing to fix the problem. I have this trouble with some other very liquid batters as well. Thanks team.

    From the nigella team:

    Nigella's Chocolate Malteser Cake (from Feast) does have a slightly liquid batter but this is necessary for the cake to have a moist texture once baked. The dry ingredients are folded in at the very end to reduce the risk of the gluten in flour being over-worked, which could cause the cake to become tough. If you are using a free-standing mixer than you can usually mix in the dry ingredients gently by using the lowest speed setting.

    If you are folding in the flour by hand then you can try using a large metal spoon, or you could try gently mixing using a large metal ballon whisk. Sometimes the whisk can help to break up any small lumps. If you are adding the flour in batches then you could try a method favoured by many American recipes which is to mix in 1/3 of the dry ingredients/flour mixture, half of the liquid ingredients, another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, the remaining half of the liquid ingredients and finally the remaining 1/3 of dry ingredients.

    You may find it is actually the cocoa powder that is forming the lumps. If this is the case then sift over and mix this in thoroughly on its own first, before folding in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

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