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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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  • Substitute For Water In Chocolate Cakes

    Hi, I would like to know if I can substitute water with milk in chocolate cakes, or if there is any other substitute for water. Thank you, Mayanka

    From the nigella team:

    Many chocolate cakes, such as Nigella's Devil's Food Cake (from Kitchen) use water in the cake batter. One of the reasons for this is that cocoa absorbs significantly more liquid than regular flour and a chocolate cake can be a little dry if you don't add extra liquid to help conteract this. In addition, many recipes mix the cocoa with hot water and let it stand for a while as some believe this can help the cocoa to "bloom" which improves the chocolate flavour.

    You can replace the water with milk but bear in mind that this will change the fat content of the cake slightly. You may find that the cake will be slightly less light, but the extra fat will make it more moist. However the addition of milk won't give more of a "milk chocolate" taste, the cake will still be fairly dark.

    It is also possible to use liquids such as buttermilk, yogurt and orange juice, but as these liquids are more acidic than milk or water you may need to start adjusting the leavening agents in the cake batter. Therefore we would suggest using these with care.

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