Cake Making: Electrical Equipment
Perhaps you’re a baking beginner wondering what to invest in first? Perhaps you’re an expert baker who wants to make life easier? Or your new kitchen calls for some stylish new equipment? We’re here to sort the best from the rest. Get your pen ready and start making your shopping list! We've included some handy supplier links for you too.
Basic Electrical Equipment for BakingYou can bake a cake without any electrical equipment at all – a mixing bowl cake tin, spoon and fork are all you need for many recipes. But if you start baking on a regular basis, you might want to get hold of the things that make certain tasks quicker and easier. Here are the basics to start with.
Electric whisk:an electric whisk costs from about £15 and halves the time it takes to cream butter and sugar, whisk eggs or make a meringue topping. There are two types available: the double-action electric whisk and the stick blender, which often includes a whisk attachment. The double-action electric whisk is the classic design that’s been around for a generation or two – it will do a great job beating cream or eggs in minutes. The slimmer version takes a bit longer to whisk your ingredients, but – because it’s multi-function – will save you space and money when you need more equipment.
Electric blender:you can spend as much or as little as you like on a blender. They’re useful for blending cheesecake mixes and pancake batters, as well as delicious smoothies and sophisticated frappes. There are advanced models which do everything from juicing carrots to crushing ice; there are slim, hand-held blenders that TV chefs love to use; and there are very simple milkshake blenders for soups and smoothies. You can buy compact blenders for about £20, or highly advanced models for £50+. Think about what you need to use the blender for, and choose on that basis. For instance, if you make a lot of soup you might want to buy a handheld blender, which will liquidize vegetables in the pan they’ve been cooked in. For cake batters and cheesecakes you’re probably better off with an old-fashioned, stand-alone blender – these have a high capacity and a quick engine - we like the Lakeland EXQ 1.5 litre blender for this reason -, and if you host a lot of cocktail parties, this one has an ice-crushing facility…
Electric Food Processor:Once you’ve bought a food processor, you’ll soon turn to it for pastry, crumble toppings, cake batters and… well, almost everything else. You can spend anything from £80 - £250 on a processor, including those with blenders attached (see above). Magimix is the name trusted by chefs and cookery schools all over the country - tough, durable, and built for serious baking. Whatever processor you choose, make sure it comes with an egg-whisk attachment: this is the magic item that turns your cake batter into something unbelievably light and fluffy.
Desirable Electrical Equipment for BakingNow, there’s a fine line between ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ when it comes to kitchen gadgets. If you bake frequently, time-savers like the KitchenAid and Kenwood Chef could arguably be considered essential. Or at least, that’s what we tell the person who holds the purse strings…
Electric Freestanding Mixer:Not to be confused with a food processor, the stand-alone mixer does everything you’d usually do by hand. If your arm muscles hurt from beating butter and eggs to make a dozen sponges, you need a mixer to do it for you. Free-standing mixers are also excellent for bread, equipped with a dough hook to take all the pain out of kneading.
We polled our readers (many of you are regular cake bakers) on which freestanding mixers are the best. We found you're all quite dedicated to your mixers! Your firm favourites without a doubt (we tend to agree with you here) are: the Kenwood Chef and the Kitchen Aid. Here are some of your comments:
- I have a Kenwood Chef it's brilliant!
- Kenwood chef, the Flexi-beater is great for buttercream
- Kenwood chef: wouldn't be without it
- Kenwood Prospero which I adore and have used happily for several years
- Kenwood Chef and get the "Flexible K Beater" for it...it saves all that scraping down
- I wouldnt be without my Kitchenaid
- Kitchenaid every time now
- KitchenAid for me - love it got the Food Processor and Blender and the pasta machine that fits onto the mixer!
And there were some who simply couldn't make up their minds.
" I had a Kenwood for 32yrs and another one before that. I passed my Kenwood on to my daughter this christmas and we treated ourselves to a lime green kitchen aid. Love both of them but I think the kitchenaid's a bit quieter"
."Love my Kenwood but would love to have a Kitchen Aid too."
Our verdict? We love them both! You'll probably become attached to it, whichever one you choose. If you're unsure about what to look for when choosing a mixer we've tried to give a bit more detail in our article Choosing a freestanding mixer. Do please comment below with your favourites!