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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

  • Guinness Gingerbread dessert

    By all accounts and reviews, this recipe sounds absolutely delicious and I am going to attempt it as soon I get the ingredients. However, I would like to ask if this cake is moist enough to serve hot as a pudding with custard or cream, and secondly could I substitute buttermilk for the sour cream? Many thanks for a lovely website. Softique

    I made this cake last night as the first thing I have made from the book and am very disappointed with the result. The cake is extremely heavy and doughy - not pleasant at all. I did have to cook it for longer than the recipe said - probably about 10 minutes longer but I tested with a skewer and it came out clean. There were quite a lot of ingredients and I feel I want to throw it away. Have a regular ginger cake recipe I use which never goes wrong - so a real shame. Lester27

    From the nigella team:

    The Guinness Gingerbread is indeed an ideal cake to serve warm as a pudding. Custard is always a traditional option though Nigella tends to prefer to serve the gingerbread with a little fruit (mango, pomegranate seeds or the Cinnamon Plums on p140 in KItchen) and some whipped cream or creme fraiche.

    We would not recommend switching the sour cream for buttermilk. Buttermilk is too liquid (the batter is already very liquid) and has a very low fat content (3% or less vs sour cream at around 14%) so the cake could become very dry as the baking time will be longer and the lower fat level will render it less moist. The extra acidity in the buttermilk could also affect the rising of the cake.

    We are sorry that the gingerbread made by Lester27 came out slightly heavy, we have baked this many times with good results and have had many comments relating to the success of this cake from others. The batter is very liquid but the bicarbonate of soda usually works well to make the cake rise, however it may be worth checking the packaging of your bicarbonate of soda to ensure that it hasn't passed any "use by" dates. Ovens vary as well and it may be that an oven that is slightly on the cool side may need to be raised 5c or so or you could try using a foil pan as these do heat up more quickly than a metal pan. A foil pan can be carefully washed and reused if necessary (particularly the Bacofoil ones which are quite robust).

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