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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.

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  • Devil's Food Cake Frosting

    Hi I've made this cake lots of times and it always turns out great. This time the cake is fine and the frosting was all shiny and glossy but just before I started to frost my cake the frosting has gone all lumpy. And has lost its shine! Any ideas how I can stop that from happening please? Thanks! 

    From the nigella team:

    The frosting for Nigella's Devil's Food Cake (from Kitchen and on the Nigella website) is made from a combintion of chocolate, butter, sugar and water. The frosting ingredients are melted together and then left to cool and thicken a little, before being spread over the cake.

    From the description of the frosting - turning matte and slightly lumpy - we suspect that the frosting has become slightly too cold. It can also become very stiff when it gets cold. If you have left the saucepan of frosting in a fairly cold place then it can cool and thicken much more quickly. This can be remedied by very gently re-warming the frosting, stirring it regularly, until it has become liqiuid again. Then let it cool in a less chilly position, whisking it at regular intervals.

    It is also possible that the frosting mixture was over-heated when it was made and this can cause graininess or lumpiness and a matte texture. When you make the frosting make sure that you melt all of the ingredients together at the same time and use a low heat. Also take the saucepan off the heat while there are still a few lumps of unmelted chocolate in the pan. These will melt in the residual heat of the mixture and reduces the risk of the chocolate burning.

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