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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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  • Sponge cakes in muffin tins

    Hi, I like to give home baked goods as gifts and especially love individual cakes as there are so many fabulous wrappers and baking cups available. I wonder if the general sponge cakes in 'Domestic Goddess' and Nigella's other books would be suitable to cook in muffin tins and, if so, are there any adaptations needed and what sort of timing change would you recommend. Many thanks

    From the nigella team:

    Some, but not all, of the sponge cake recipes should be fine to bake in cupcake form. We would not recommend switching fatless sponge cakes (such as the Swedish Summer Cake) as this will stale too quickly or flourless chocolate cakes and polenta cakes as these tend to sink slightly in the centre and will not do well as cupcakes. Vanilla and chocolate Victoria-type sponge cakes are the best for scaling into cupcake or muffin pans. 

    As a rough guideline a 20cm/8 inch round two layer cake recipe will make around 12 cupcakes, however this may vary slightly and generally you want to fill each cup in the muffin pan around 2/3rds full of batter. Most cakes are baked at 180c/350F/gas Mk 4 and we suggest testing the cupcakes for "doneness" after 15 minutes baking - the tops should be firm and a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cupcake should come out clean (test a cake in one of the middle indentations). Some cakes will take longer (20-25 minutes, depending on the amount of liquid in the batter) so if the cupcakes don't feel quite baked after 15 minutes give them another 3-5 minutes and test again.

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