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.