Kitchen Aid for the next 20 years...

The name Kitchen Aid has been associated with excellence in food preparation for almost 100 years; for good reason.  Innovation has always been at the centre of the company's success and kept the Kitchen Aid at the forefront for all that time.

I bought my first stand mixer more than 20 years ago, and I can honestly say that in all that time it has never missed a beat.  Countless cakes, loaves of bread, biscuits, meringues, pastries and all sorts of treats have been whipped, beaten, kneaded and mixed by my trusty friend; and it is still doing all effortlessly...

I am something of a magpie and a gadget queen and when the opportunity arose to add to my equipment, my first choice was to add another Kitchen Aid.  I own a cooking school which specialises in teaching home baking to a range  of students, so I look to outfit my kitchen with equipment accessible to everyone, and not a commercial kitchen environment.

The gorgeous KitchenAid Artisan KSM160 Stand Mixer Contour Silver arrived from Everten  in record time, beautifully and securely packaged like a big shiny Christmas present. 

I chose this particular model for several reasons; * the energy-efficient 300 watt workhorse motor * 10 speeds allowing me to successfully blend mix and beat everything from the    lightest to the heaviest of mixtures * full metal construction (many mixers on the market contain plastic parts) *  two stainless steel bowls - the full-size 4.8ltr regular bowl and the smaller 2.8ltr * a full five-year warranty and... the gorgeous silver colour which looks amazing with my stainless steel cupboard fronts...

To see the full range of Kitchen Aid mixers, attachments and other amazing equipment - click here

As you would expect from a Kitchen Aid, all of the components are of the same high quality.  This model comes with three attachments: a flat beater for normal to heavy mixtures - this is the one I use for most of my cake batters and emulsions, as well as combining butter and flour for pastries.    the dough hook will handle all sorts of doughs; from traditional bread to rich buttery brioche, mixing even the heaviest dough with ease.  the balloon whisk attachment comprises 6 individual wires, and beats maximum air into cream, egg whites and custards. 

There is a dazzling array of optional attachments for this workhorse of a machine, allowing you to make pasta, grind flour and much more.

Fluffy Sponge Cake:

The number of recipes and methods for sponge-making is -:  some have no fat, others have no eggs, some are gluten-free... Every recipe has one main aim; to incorporate as much air as possible into the mixture, giving the light and airy texture we all want in a sponge. Here is one of the recipes I use for a simple sponge sandwich, filled and garnished in this case with home-made lemon curd and chantilly cream:

Ingredients: 250gm free-range eggs (at room temperature) 120gm caster sugar 100gm plain flour (gluten free flour can be used) 50gm cornflour (gluten free cornflour can be used)

Preheat the oven to 175c fan forced Prepare 2 x 20cm cake tins by buttering the sides and base of the tins, then lining the base with baking paper. Butter the sides of the tins and shake out the excess (this gives the mixture something to 'cling' to as it rises.

Method:

Place the eggs and sugar into the bowl of your mixer and,using the whisk, beat on high speed until the mixture is well aerated and pale in colour.  Once the volume in the bowl has tripled, reduce the speed to low and continue to mix for another 2-3 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl; mix the flour and cornflour together in a separate bowl and sift 3 times - incorporating as much air as possible into the mixture.

Fold the sifted flours into the egg mixture very gently - having just made the effort to incorporate as much air as possible into the mixture, you don't want to knock it all out now!

Gently pour the mixture into your prepared tins and bake at 175c for 20 - 30 minutes until golden brown - test with a skewer to make sure they're cooked through, but don't open the oven until after the 20 minute mark as you don't want to risk deflation!

Turning out and filling:

Turn onto a cooling rack covered with a sheet of baking paper to avoid patterns from the rack being impressed into the sponge and sticking.  

Fill with your favourite combination of cream (whipped into feather-light pillows with your Kitchen Aid) and jam, curd or whatever your heart desires...