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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

    Hi, I baked the Devil's Food Cake from Kitchen (p253) recently and I have to admit it was delicious! I followed the recipe very closely, however, my frosting was very runny. I left it in the refrigerator overnight as well. Is there something I did wrong or is there any thing else I can do to correct it? I'd love to bake it again. Thank you!

    From the nigella team:

    The frosting from the Devil's Food Cake is quite runny when it is first made but should thicken up as it cools to give a spreadable consistency. It doesn't ever set hard but in the fridge it will become quite firm - if you refrigerate the cooling frosting then it should thicken very quickly and you usually need to keep a close eye on it so that it doesn't become too thick to spread easily.

    If it has remained very runny then it would most usually be that too much water has been added. But if the recipe has been followed carefully then it could be that the frosting was over heated when it was being made. This will tend to cause the chocolate to "seize" and it would become grainy and may mean the frosting will not set as well. Water added to melted chocolate can also cause it to seize so the chopped chocolate does need to be added to the melted butter, sugar and water rather than melted separately. Make sure also that the chocolate is one with a high level of cocoa solids (preferably 70%) as lower levels of cocoa solids may not set as quickly.

    If you try the frosting again heat the butter, sugar and water until bubbling then take it off the heat and let it cool for a few seconds before adding the chocolate.

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