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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.

Latest Queries

  • Layered Wedding Cake

    I'm making my sister's wedding cake. Its going to be three layers and my sister doesn't want fruit cake. We have decided on a Mud Cake for the bottom (very popular here in Australia for weddings) and Nigella's Black Cake (a nod to the traditional fruit cake) for the top layer. I'm finding it hard to find a suitable recipe for the second tier. Does Nigella have a suggestion? Cheers Jonathan in Melbourne

    From the nigella team:

    As your cake has a dark chocolate layer and a fruity layer it would make most sense to have a vanilla cake as the third layer, as this should cover most tastes. Wedding cakes need to be fairly sturdy if they are being decorated and stacked and then sliced into small portions, so it would be best to go for a cake with a denser crumb such as a Madiera Cake.

    Nigella has a Madiera Cake recipe in Domestic Goddess (p5) which is also flavoured slightly with lemon. The recipe is for a loaf tin but the quantity of batter in the recipe should be enough for a 20cm/8-inch deep cake tin or springform pan. We woild suggest that you start checking the cake after 30 minutes of baking as the round tin will take less time to cook than the loaf tin. Unfortunately we aren't able to adapt the recipe to accomodate other tin sizes but some cake decorating books contain scaled recipes for various sizes of Madiera-type cakes.

    If you are worried about the cake drying out then you can brush it with a simple syrup before it is decorated. A simple syrup is made from equal volumes of sugar and water - warm them gently until the sugar has dissolved then bring to the boil and boil for one minute then cool before using. A little alcohol can also be added to the syrup for extra flavour.

    If you are stacking the cakes then the lower layers will also need to be "dowelled" to help bear the weight of the cakes above. Plastic and wood cake dowels can be bought from cake decorating specialists and instructions on how to dowel cakes can be found on-line (it is a fairly simple process).

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