Kitchen aided

Let’s hope this cake tastes as good as it looks, so that the trial run of the KitchenAid will be proven successful. I’d include a photo, but you know me and photos. They steal your soul and all that. You’ll have to take it from me that this mango upside-down cake is golden brown, and that the mango slices on the top are nestling in caramel that has also run down the sides of the cake so that it has soaked into some of the sponge. As the cake cools, the caramel on the sides will set slightly and provide just the right sweet crunchiness to counterbalance the lightness of the sponge.

(I used the Best Recipe recipe).

In all, I found the mixer quite disconcerting. I know that thousands of people use them every day without turning a hair, but it’s a different way of baking for me. There were the eggs, merrily being beaten to stiff peaks, and there was I, standing at the side, eating a bowl of cereal, reduced to the role of spectator. There is no doubt that moving a sliding switch from 4 to 6 is loads easier than whisking egg whites with a hand whisk, which is the way I used to do it. But at the same time, it feels rather like the cooking equivalent of driving an automatic car. You still get to where you want to be, but the journey is a whole lot less engaging.

I also had not realised how much I rely on the weight and texture of cake batter to tell me if the mixture is at the right stage. When a recipe says that the butter and sugar will be ‘light and fluffy’, yup, beat them long enough and that’s exactly what will happen. Add eggs and flour and beat until smooth, and again, you can see against the spoon that ‘smooth’ is precisely the right word. The repetitious nature of baking vocabulary is soothing to me; it means I know what to expect from recipe to recipe.

But how to tell when the ingredients are whirring round inside a bowl and I’m just looking on? I ended up stopping the mixer, lowering the bowl, stirring a bit with a spoon to judge, then hooking it all back up again. It’s certainly going to require practice for me to feel confident judging by appearance alone.

The verdict on the cake itself is in, though. We both ate two slices and declared the sponge much lighter than I’ve ever managed to achieve by hand. I am emboldened to consider making bread tomorrow.



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7 thoughts on “Kitchen aided”

  1. I love my Kitchen Aide and promise that in time, you too will enjoy sitting back and watching something else do the baking. And this probably goes without saying, but I feel the need to say it: DO NOT FOR ANY REASON PUT YOUR HAND INTO THE BOWL WHILE THE MIXER IS ON!! Particularly if you’re the kind of person who is always hurting themselves doing dumb things, and particularly if your husband is the kind of person who hates that you’re always hurting yourself doing dumb things.

  2. I love my Kitchen Aid, too. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. And the cake sounds scrumptious. Care to repeat it when I’m up there next month?

  3. I, too, swear by the Kitchen Aide! It really gives me Martha Stewart-type cockiness in the kitchen. Mashed potatoes? No problem! Cookies made from scratch? I wouldn’t dream of making them any other way! Fresh whipped cream? Why, I’ve never even heard of Cool Whip!

    Then, of course, I miss an ingredient, forget about something in the oven, or some other kitchen disaster; and I am once again brought down to earth. I don’t even want to think about the drama that would ensue without the great electric mixer.

  4. Raych – A valuable warning. That’s exactly the kind of thing I can see myself doing one day, without really thinking!

    Emily – of course I will make the cake again. Consider it done.

    Tracie – I did have to remember that our oven is much more efficient, so I knocked 15 minutes off the baking time yesterday. Or the result would have been disaster!

  5. On my walk home from work today I paused by William Sonoma and gazed at the kitchen aid mixers…I want one. Badly. And this post and the above comments makes me want it even more…

  6. Courtney – I would never have bought the KitchenAid for myself. But now I have it (and the bread turned out so well), I am pleased with it. I think you wouldn’t regret it.

  7. I too, just recently received a KitchenAid mixer from my mother, who had received a brand-new one from my stepfather so she passed on hers to me. So far I’ve made lots of whipping cream (for fresh strawberries, which everyone including the three-year-old eats) and several batches of cookies, and they are lighter than anything I’ve ever achieved. You’re right though , about judging the batter – I have to stop the mixer and test it, too, by feel with my hand. The kids love the mixer and alway run to watch it (especially because when it’s done with the batter it’s time for the chocolate chips to go in). I like the sound of your upsidedown cake, congrats for making it!!!

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