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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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  • Substitute for Trifle Sponges

    I live in Italy and here you can't find the trifle sponges mentioned in some of Nigella's recipes. What could I use insted of them? Thanks, monicapb

    From the nigella team:

    Trifle sponges are slices of slightly dry sponge cake which are popular in the UK. They are used for trifles as the slightly dry texture will readily absorb some of the liquid from the fruit (and possibly from alcohol) in the base of the trifle. They are usually split and spread with a little jam before being sandwiched back together and used in the trifle.

    In italy the closest comparative will be savoiardi (also known as ladyfingers, boudoir biscuits or sponge fingers) as their dry but light texture is similar to a trifle sponge but not quite as robust so you may find that the base of the trifle will be a little softer and wetter than one made using the sponge cakes.. We would suggest you sandwich pairs of savoiardi together with jam, if required by the recipe, rather than trying to split them lengthways and then sandwich them back together.

    The other alternative is to use a fairly dense, plain loaf cake, such as a Madiera cake or pound cake, or a plain Victoria sponge cake. Cut the cake into slices around 1/2 cm (1/4-inch) thick and leave them on a wire rack for a day or two to dry out and stale slightly. Sandwich the slices of cake together with jam, if required, before using.

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