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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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  • Softening And Cutting Meringue Gelato Cake

    I'm making Nigella's Meringue Gelato chocolate cake for a dinner party and wondered how long before serving do I need to take it out of the freezer?     

    Dear Nigella Team, I have made the Meringue Gelato Cake twice now and both times when I go to cut it, it just crumbles. I don't know what I am doing wrong. Otherwise it is just a magnificent recipe but the cutting of it slightly spoils the effect. Could you please help? Vanton.

    From the nigella team:

    Nigella's Meringue Gelato Cake (from Nigellissima and on the Nigella website), along with most semifreddos, should soften fairly quickly once it comes out of the freezer. Unmould the cake onto its serving dish as soon as it comes out for the freezer as the clingfilm (plastic wrap) will make sure that the cake releases from the tin easily and the clingfilm will peel off without disturbing the surface of the cake if the cake is still fully frozen.

    You can let the unmoulded cake stand for about 5 minutes before serving. This will give you enough time to check, and adjust if necessary, the chocolate sauce and to decorate the cake.

    Letting the cake stand for a few minutes will also help to prevent crumbling when it is cut. If the cake is made with a whilling cream rather than double cream then the consitency may be a tiny bit more icy and crumbly (as whipping cream has a lower fat content). If you can only buy whipping cream then an extra tablespoon of alcohol may help the texture a little bit.

    Cut the cake with a sharp knife that has been dipped into a jug of very hot water. This will help the knife to cut more easily through the frozen cake, and also gives neat, clean slices. Dip the knife back into the hot water between each cut.

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