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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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  • Red Velvet Valentine Cupcakes

    I can' t find buttermilk here in Cyprus and i would like to make the Red Velvet cupcakes (from Kitchen). Should I substitute the same quantity with greek yogurt or make my own buttermilk with milk and lemon? Which alternative is best for this recipe?

    From the nigella team:

    Fortunately for Nigella's Red Velvet Cupcakes (Kitchen, p248) you can use either yogurt or soured milk as substitutes for buttermilk. If using the thick Greek yogurt then we suggest that you use a mixture of Greek yogurt and milk. Normally we woud suggest a 50/50 mixture but for ease in this recipe you could use 100ml yogurt and 75ml semi-skimmed milk. If using regular low fat yogurt, which has a thinner consistency than the Greek yogurt, then you could use all yogurt.

    For a milk-based substitute you can use either lemon juice or white wine vinegar to sour the milk. Use 1 x 15ml tablespoon of lemon juuce or vinegar to each 250ml milk. Stir together and leave to stand for 5 minutes before using. We suggest using semi-skimmed or full fat milk for this as skimmed milk tends to be a little too watery.

    The cupcake batter in Nigella's recipe is also sufficient to make a 25cm cake. Use two 25cm cake tins which have been greased and lined with baking parchment. Bake the cake layers at 180c/350F for around 25 minutes, until risen, firm to the touch and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre. The frosting is enough to sandwich a cake and to allow some for the top - but feel free to make extra frosting.

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