One-bowl chocolate citrus cakes (and a theory)
When I posted about the one-bowl chocolate cherry cake a few weeks ago I also meant to include this photo of the cupcakes I made using the same technique; but with a jar of the (bitter!) grapefruit marmalade I made last winter. I took these to a market stall, where all except one were bought by the one person who was off to lunch at her daughter's house. I kind of hoped she wasn't going to give them to her grandchildren; with dark chocolate, not a lot of sugar and bitter marmalade, these were definitely for adult tastes!
I had an email today from a reader telling me of an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about a one-pot chocolate cake showdown. Recipes were made from recipes by Martha Stewart, Amanda Hesser, Nigella Lawson and Shirley Corriher. The article included the usual criticism of Nigella's recipes I have come to expect from US writers (I'm sorry!!). I find it really interesting that the criticism of Nigella’s recipes generally come from the USA – and I have a theory about this. I feel it's not actually to do with her, but with her American editors who are converting her recipes to American-style cup/volume measurements. Nigella's recipes use the more precise measurements by weight, which, when baking is really what you should be doing. Baking, by its very nature is all about accuracy, therefore you really need to weigh your dry ingredients rather than add them by volume. Volume measurements change depending on whether you "swoop or scoop", the humidity of the day, the altitude etc.etc. They're just not accurate enough, and this was reinforced when I went to my bread baking class this week and we were told always to bake by weight not volume. I do believe this was the case in this article because they complain about having to measure 3/8 cup of sour cream! Hehehe. In my Nigella books all her sour cream measurements are in millilitres, which are much easier to measure.
I find it really funny that the Brits & Aussies/Kiwis generally rave about her recipes and the Americans find them really inaccurate. The measurement systems are different. Doesn’t that say something?!?!?
Now I openly admit that I might be wrong about this, so I'm happy to hear anyone else's opinions - either about Nigella's recipes or the baking by weight VS volume argument.