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Baking Spruced Up Vanilla Cake

Asked by HB456. Answered on 21st March 2017

Full question

Hi, I baked Nigella's Spruced Up Vanilla Cake yesterday, I followed the recipe exactly and baked the cake for the exact time stated in the recipe. I even bought the Nordic Ware Pine Forest tin especially for the cake. But when the time came for me to cut into the cake the inside was completely raw. So I decided to make the cake again, making sure to cook it for an extra 40 minutes. Yet when It came to slicing into the cake it was completely raw in the middle yet again. I have a new oven and used the special cake setting too.

Spruced-Up Vanilla Cake
Spruced-Up Vanilla Cake
Photo by Lis Parsons
Spruced-Up Vanilla Cake
By Nigella
  • 14
  • 2

Our answer

Nigella's Spruced Up Vanilla Cake (from NIGELLA CHRISTMAS) is a cake that is rich with eggs and yogurt and Nigella calls it Eggy Vanilla Cake outside of the festive season. The cake has a fine crumb and is slighty more dense than a regular sponge cake. The cake takes about 1 hour to bake but it can be as quick as 45 minutes and as long as 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on the oven. A cake tester should come out clean and we suggest for this larger cake to test in 2 or 3 points towards the centre of the cake.

If the cake tester is clean then the cake is baked, but if the cake has a set, custard-like texture in the centre then check that the bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) has been included as even though it is a small amount it is important for the texture of the cake. Also make sure that the bicarbonate of soda is still active if it has been in the cupboard for a while - it should bubble slightly if you drop a teaspoonful into a cup of warm water. Make sure that the oven is preheated before you mix the cake batter as the cake should be baked as soon as the batter has been mixed. New ovens can take some time to get used to and if possible bake a couple of cakes that you have made several times before to check if you think your oven bakes more slowly or quickly than your old oven. If the oven runs on the slow side then the cooler oven can cause the centre to be baked too gently, giving a custard-like texture. In this case the oven temperature may need to be rasied by 10-20°C (10-25°F ).