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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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  • Spruced Up Vanilla Cake - Too Damp

    Hi, I made the recipe for Spruced Up Vanilla Cake (Christmas, p198) but I used a bundt pan made from silicone. The cake seemed greasy and more like a firm custard than cake consistency. I have ordered the bundt pan that Nigella used, will that help make it more like a cake? Also I'm from Canada, Nigella mentions that it is 10oz flour yet another website claims it is 2 1/2 cups flour, which is correct? Maybe I did something wrong but the flavor is amazing so I would like to try again. Always a fan!

    From the nigella team:

    Unfortunately we have not tried making the Spruced Up Vanilla Cake in a silicone pan but we suspect this may be the source of the problem. There is also a slight possibility that your oven is running a little cold (which can be due to a faulty thermostat thermostat or a worn out oven ignition on a gas oven) which tends to be more noticeable in larger cakes such as this one and it may be worth checking your oven temeprature with an oven thermometer.

    We have made this cake in the Nordicware Christmas Tree pan and also in a more rounded, regular metallic bundt pan without any problems and any 10 to 12 cup capacity shape should be fine. The batter for the cake is quite liquid and we suspect that the metal pans conduct the heat more easily than the silicone ones, so that the cake cooks through properly. The main advantage of silicone pans is that they release baked goods easily, but a metallic pan should also release well as long as you grease all of the edges and nooks in the pan thoroughly. Baking sprays such as Baker's Joy or Pam For Baking alre also really good for greasing slightly irregular shaped pans.

    For the flour quantity Nigella's UK version of the cake has 350g of plain/all-purpose flour which converts to 12 ounces. For the cup measurements it slightly depends on how you measure the flour as there is a differnce between scooping the cups full and spooning and leveling. Nigella tends to scoop, so 1 cup of flour is 150g or 5 1/2 ounces. Nigella's US version of this recipe (in the US version of Christmas) uses 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour.

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