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Oven Temperatures and Fan Ovens

Asked by Jendee. Answered on 26th May 2011

Full question

Hello Nigella Team, Would you please tell me if the recipes in Nigella's books use a Fan Forced oven or not. Thank you. Jendee.

Hi, I've tried cooking both the Lemon Meringue Cake and also the Spruced Up Vanilla cake and they both browned off far too quickly at the temperatures recommended. I do have a fan assisted oven though, so should I lower the temperatures? And if so to what? Thanks, Lon

Our answer

In all of Nigella's books the temperatures stated (in celsius, fahrenheit or gas mark) are for standard ovens and not for fan forced or convection ovens. Generally the temperature would be reduced by 20c/50F for a fan forced oven but as ovens do vary we suggest that you check your manufacturer's handbook for more specific instructions. Fan forced ovens can be quite strong so we suggest also that you start checking your cake or dish for "doneness" slightly earlier than the cooking time stated in the recipe. If something is browning too quickly in the oven then you can cover the browned parts with foil to help to reduce the risk of scorching.

Fan forced ovens should have a fairly consistent temperature throughout so the positioning of the dish or cake in the oven should not matter too much, though the centre of the oven is usually the ideal location. For regular ovens the temperature will be slightly hotter at the top and cooler at the bottom so we would suggest that pastry and souffles are cooked on a higher shelf, baked custards, cheesecakes and quiches are cooked on a lower shelf and other items are cooked on the middle shelf of the oven.

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