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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

    Hello! I'm Prajaktta from India. I tried the Spruced Up Vanilla Cake recipe (from Christmas) two times, but the cake didn't rise up when baked. I weighed the ingredients according to the measurements given in the recipe. I mixed all the ingredients in a processor as directed. My cake tin was slightly bigger, though, can that affect the cake? Also my cake batter had some white spots in it, yoghurt I think, but they wouldn't mix in. How long do I need to mix the batter in the processor? Any ideas what I did wrong while making the cake?

    From the nigella team:

    The Spruced Up Vanilla Cake is a very moist and slightly dense cake - more like a madiera or pound cake texture rather than a Victoria sponge. So although it rises it may not have risen as much as you expected. The slightly deeper tin will also affect the cake slightly. It will make the cake appear shallower, but if the sides of the tin are quite high then the cake may take longer to bake and if it is taken out of the oven too early then the cake could also have sunk back a bit. A cake tester should come out clean when inserted into the cake.

    The cake should only be mixed in a food processor untiil the ingredients are just combined. If it is processed for too long then it can lead to the cake becoming slightly less tender. We suspect that the white flecks of yogurt may be caused by using a "set" type yogurt. In the UK most yogurt is fairly liquid, whereas in other countries the yogurt can be slightly firmer and is often referred to as "set yogurt". It is still possible to use this yogurt but we would suggest giving it a good whisk, to get a pourable consistency, before adding it to the food processor. 

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