KitchenAid Artisan Cake Mixer

KitchenAid mixer

For my birthday my boyfriend surprised me with the mother of all presents – a cream KitchenAid Artisan Cake Mixer. I had lusted after one in a nearby department store but told him it was way too expensive. He knew I loved it though and so he was really generous and gave it to me as an early birthday present on Wednesday! As you can see, the mixer had quite an entrance, standing between a sea of pink, cream and pearlised balloons.

The mixer is SO sleak and trendy and looks really swish on the kitchen work top. We had Chinese takeaway so I could get to the baking straight away and in no time at all I had whipped up a lemon drizzle cake. I couldn’t believe how quick it was to make in the mixer and I didn’t even read the instructions; the mixer is very easy to use. I took the cake into work as it is tradition to bring in cakes on or near your birthday. My colleagues said the cake was light and fluffy and was a great hit! Apparently, the deal with the mixer is I have to make cakes every week so hopefully I’ll be posting a lot more from now on! Whilst I was out at my birthday afternoon tea yesterday (another post to come!) my boyfriend also used the cake mixer and baked me a lovely red velvet birthday cake from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook with lashings of icing. I couldn’t believe he had made me a cake and I was bowled over!!

Lemon drizzle cake and KitchenAid artisan mixer

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Easter vanilla cupcakes recipe

with mini eggs in pink gingham cupcake boxHaving recently been to the Cakes4Fun cupcake course in Putney, I have continued to use their vanilla sponge and vanilla buttercream recipes. The sponge is light and the frosting is yummy! This time I made a mistake to use Lurpak spreadable butter as the icing wasn’t stiff enough. Next time I will definitely stick to the butter blocks as this tends to give a better result. I made these cupcakes for my friend’s birthday and she was over the moon with them. They make great pressies when you put them in a professional looking cupcake box. I bought this pink gingham one from Cakes Cookies and Crafts. See below for the Cakes4Fun vanilla cupcake recipe. Have a lovely Easter everyone!

Cupcake sponge (makes about 10)

  • 125g castor sugar
  • 125g margerine
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 2 eggs (large)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 2-3 tablespoons of milk as needed

Vanilla buttercream:

  • 125g soft butter (use salted)
  • 250g sifted icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon of water as required

Florentines recipe review

Milk and dark chocolate FlorentinesThese make a great gift for any special occasion such as New Year and Easter. I made these for my relatives and purchased little cellophane bags from Cakes, Cookies and Crafts. I do think the recipe needs a bit of tweaking though, partly because they took quite a long time to make. Firstly, the recipe says to use two baking trays, adding small spoonfuls spaced apart. I found that I needed to use three baking trays and my third tin was a little smaller than the rest and the Florentines did start to merge with each other. If you want to be sure that they don’t merge, I’d suggest either doing tiny mounds or using four baking trays. The mixture only has to be cooked for 10-12 mins so that part is very quick.

The recipe says to melt dark or milk chocolate and then paint it on baking paper and then stick the dried Florentines on to the baking paper. I found this to be an extra step which wasn’t strictly necessary as it wasted chocolate and meant that you had to wait for the chocolate to dry before you peeled off the Florentines from the baking sheet. Once dried, I painted on more of the melted chocolate and used a fork to create a wavy pattern in it. It helps if the chocolate has been left for 30 seconds so the pattern stays in the chocolate. Your hands do get very sticky so it’s handy to have a damp cloth nearby.

I struggled to get perfect circular Florentines but once they have the chocolate on them, they do look quite professional anyway, especially in the little bags!

Here’s the recipe:
75g butter
75g caster sugar
50g glace cherries (or use 25g cherries and 25g glace ginger)
25g raisins or sultanas
25g pumpkin seeds
100g almond flakes
175g good quality dark chocolate – you could probably just use 100g by cutting out the painting on a piece of baking paper first
2 tbsp double cream

Method:
Melt the butter and add in the sugar. Bring to the boil once the sugar has dissolved. Take off the heat and add the almonds, cherries, sultanas and pumpkin seeds. Then add in the two tbsp of double cream. Spoon tiny amounts onto several baking trays (lined with baking paper) and put in the oven at 180degrees for 10-12 mins until lightly golden brown. Leave to cool. Take the Florentines off the baking trays and then paint the melted chocolate on to the flat side of the them. Draw a wavy pattern in the melted chocolate using a fork. Leave to set. Add into little clear bags once the Florentines have dried.

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