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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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  • Devil's Food Cake Frosting

    I have made Nigella's Devil's Food Cake (from Kitchen) twice and both times I have had to throw it out as the frosting never seems to take on the correct consistency. I use ‘Green and Blacks Dark Chocolate’ and then tried ‘Green and Blacks Dark Organic 72% Cocoa Dark Cooks’ Chocolate’ as I though the cooks’ variety might be the key. It always starts off well and looks rich and glossy however both times I have ended up with a mixture that looks like it has split, is very liquid and grainy. I have followed the recipe to the letter and cannot work out where I am going wrong. Please help!

    From the nigella team:

    Regular dark or bittersweet chocolate is fine for the Devil's Food Cake frosting and you don't need to use cooking chocolate. We suspect that the most likely reason for the frosting becoming too grainy is that the chocolate has overheated. The chocolate should not be added when the liquid in the saucepan is boiling and the pan should always be off the heat. We would not recommend returning the pan to the heat if the chocolate doesn't melt - dip the base of the saucepan into a bowl of hot (but not boiling) water instead if all of the chocolate hasn't melted. Chocolate can overheat at relatively low temperatures and if it overheats it "siezes" and becomes very thick and grainy.

    If the frosting is just too runny then you can refrigerate the cooled frosting to help it to thicken. Put it in the fridge for up to 10 minutes but watch it very carefully as it can firm up very quickly. Whisk it after 4 minutes then whisk and check it every 2 minutes after that until it is a spreading consistency then use it immediately.

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