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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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  • Spruced Up Vanilla Cake

    i mixed up the ingredients for the Spruced-Up Vanilla Cake (Christmas, p198) in the holiday tree bundt tin, cooked it for the required time, inserted knife after 60 mins which came out clean, so took it out of the oven. The cake very quickly deflated. Please help, I am desperate to make this beautiful looking cake for my mums birthday on Friday. I am not a confident cook, what should I have done as well. If it helps I have a neff u16e74 double oven.  

    Yesterday I made the recipe for the spruced-up vanilla cake. I made it with food processor, oven temperature was 180c and I baked it for for 65 minutes but the outside was cooked and the inside uncooked. How many minutes in the food processor? What size of eggs are used? Can you also use margarine? What did i wrong? Help! Nurma

     

    From the nigella team:

    The cake batter for the Spruced Up Vanilla Cake is fairly liquid and produces, when cooked, a slightly damp cake with a close crumb. It is however quite important that the cake is cooked in a bundt tin or a ring-type cake tin which has a hole in the centre. The heat from the oven can penetrate through the centre of the cake and cooks it from both he outside and the centre and this will dictate the cooking time. Also the cake will shrink back slightly after cooking (it has very little leavening in it) but this should not matter once the cake is turned out of its tin as the slightly sunken top will be now on the bottom. If a regular cake tin has been used then the cooking time will be longer and the cake will sink slightly as it is not designed to be a sandwich-style cake.

    The Neff oven mentioned is a fan forced oven so the temperature probably needs to be reduced  - please see our previous advice on adjusting for fan forced ovens and also check the manufacturer's handbook - and if cakes are overbaked they will shrink back slightly (usually you can see the cake pulling away from the sides of the tin). For regular ovens the cake should be cooked in the centre of the oven. As ovens can vary slightly you may find that the temperature needs to be reduced slightly and the cooking time increased slightly if the cake is browning on the outside but is still raw in the centre as the batter is quite liquid.

    If making the cake in a food processor then you only need to process for as long as it takes to blend the ingredients together - usually 1-2 minutes. The eggs used are UK large eggs (for the US this is equivalent to extra large) - the UK defines a large egg as weighing between 63g and 73g (in its shell). It is possible to use a good quality margarine instead of butter, though butter will have a better flavour.

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