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Spruced Up Vanilla Cake

Asked by mariansellar. Answered on 10th November 2015

Full question

I've made the Spruce Up Vanilla Cake successfully twice. Only I have a small problem - I used a fine silicone spray for the tin and this helped the cake turn out of the tin easily, but when I dusted it with the icing sugar it very quickly disappeared into the cake surface hence proud moment turned into dismay! I had to keep dusting it just before presentation to guests. It wasn't so bad using a light spray but more difficult to turn out. The recipe does say to butter the mould - would this really solve the problem?

Hello, I made the Spruced-Up Vanilla Cake for my Mum's birthday but it was inedible. The cake skewer came out clean and it was a good colour on the outside but when I cut into it, it was solid. I checked the recipe and saw that there was bicarb in the ingredients but not in the method. I hadn't included it in the cake as I followed the method to the letter. Is that an error in the book? Should it have gone in the cake?

Our answer

Nigella's Spruced-Up Vanilla Cake (from Christmas and on the Nigella website) is quite a moist cake and on the tender side, so non-stick baking sprays are quite useful for ensuring that the cake turns out of the intricate bunt tin easily. You can butter or oil the tin instead, or brush on a home-made mixture of 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil mixed to a paste with 1 tablespoon of plain (all-purpose) flour. But do this very thorougly, getting into all of the grooves of the tin. However the cake itself is quite moist and this is more likely the reason for the icing sugar dissolving. If it is possible, dust the cake with the sugar just before serving.

The cake ingredients do include bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and although it is a small amount it does help to lift the cake. We are not sure if you used the food processor method or the manual method. For the food processor method it states to add all of the ingredients. For the manual method the bicarbonate of soda should be added with the yogurt. This was omitted in some of the very early editions of Christmas but was corrected soon after. We very much apologize for this error and the correct version is available on the Nigella website.

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