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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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Latest Queries

  • Christmas cakes - baking and feeding

    Help! I want to bake my Christmas cake this week.I'm going to bake my mixture in different size tins. The cooking times will vary and I won't have enough room for all the tins at the same time. Unlike sponge mixture, can fruit cake mixture stand in a tin for any length of time without this affecting the result? I read somewhere to brush the HOT cake with brandy; could I also "feed" it whilst it's hot? Deane-Mae

    From the nigella team:

    Christmas cake mixture doesn't contain much leavening agent so can stand for a while before baking, however we would not recommend that you leave it standing in a warm kitchen for too long as the butter in the mixture could start to melt and soften in the mixture too much, which can affect the resulting cake. If you are baking several cakes and can't fit them all in the oven then we would suggest mixing up the second batch about half an hour before the first batch has finished cooking. Then they will be ready to pop in the oven once the first batch come out.


    If baking more than one cake in the oven remember also to swap the pans around at regular intervals. Most ovens have slightly hotter and cooler spots and rotating pans around will ensure that the cakes cook evenly. You can feed a cake that is warm with your chosen alcohol, though if the cake is too hot then the alcohol will evaporate a little as it hits the heat of the cake. However it is very easy to feed a cold cake, just prick a few holes in the surface of the cake with a wooden skewer and brush or carefully spoon the alcohol over the cake. Wrap the cake tightly in a double layer or greaseproof paper or baking parchment (parchment paper) and a double layer of aluminium foil and store in a cool place. You can unwrap and feed the cake at weekly intervals if you like a super-rich cake, just wrap tightly again afterwards.

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