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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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Please note, we are only able to answer questions selected for publication and aren't able to enter into personal correspondence.

Latest Queries

  • Chocolate Olive Oil Birthday Cake

    I love Nigella's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake and would love to make it for my son's birthday party, but it would be handy to make in advance. Is it OK to freeze? Many thanks!  

    I have made this cake previously (yum) as my grandaughter is allergic to all dairy products. My daughter has asked me to make a duck shaped cake for her 1st birthday next month, so I need to make 2 or 3 layers using a 21cm x 31cm baking tray. I have tried baking for 40 minutes but the cake is too dry. Do I need to change the quanties of ingredients? Please help, thank you. Yummycakes.

    From the nigella team:

    Nigella's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake (from NIgellissima and also on the Nigella website) is popular and it does freeze well. Once the baked cake is completely cold wrap it tightly in a double layer of clingfilm (plastic wrap) and a layer of foil. Freeze the cake for up to 3 months. To thaw the cake, unwrap it and let it stand at room temperature for about 3 hours. You may like to freeze the cake on the tin base for additional protection.

    Unfortunately for a shaped cake it can be difficult to convert a cake recipe for a larger tin and making the cake in a 21 x 31cm tin creates two problems. One is the amount of batter and the second is the baking time for a larger cake and a rectangular tin. Scaling cakes is a complicated process and we have not tested this cake in other sizes so we regret that we cannot give advice on this. However as a rule of thumb, a 23cm/9-inch round cake will work in a 20cm/8-inch sqaure tin so you could try making the cake in this type of tin instead and using this square as a base for cutting out a duck shape. With square tins the corners of the cake can cook slightly more quickly so you may like to carefully rotate the pan after 30 minutes of baking time.

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