Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why you should get an electric mixer if you bake

I have been using my new electric mixer from Christmas and I can see and taste the difference especially on the quality of buttercream icing.

Check out this buttercream I made using a whisk, by hand:

See how it is all grainy and sorta chunky? Well I'm guessing that the power I am putting in with my arms  must be around 40 Watts (tops), and I can only do it at full power for a few seconds at a time (go ahead laugh, but try it yourself).

Now compare it to my new 220 Watt electric mixer:

It is *perfectly smooth*. It makes for a much more pleasant experience in your mouth, texture and flavor wise since all the ingredients are blended much better and are less likely to separate should the temperature rise a bit.

These are strawberry champagne cupcakes by the way. I made a couple dozen today to bring to a BBQ tomorrow celebrating Australia Day.

The recipe is from a blog called Love & Olive Oil, which I use often because the cupcake recipes there seem to be pretty reliable, none have failed so far. A down side is that some of the recipes are lactose free or vegan  (no butter, no milk, no eggs, etc.) due to personal choices of the author. I don't mind at all, but I suppose some people would.

I used slightly over half of the sugar that the recipe called for in the icing. I often cut back on the sugar because most icing recipes will make my teeth hurt :-) You can cut the sugar and will still obtain a pretty nice texture. I always put the icing in the fridge for 10 minutes before I start piping to ensure the buttercream will be stiff enough to hold its shape.

A few notes on the final result:

  • These were the most expensive cupcakes I have made to date because I had to use a whole bottle of sparkling wine (I made double the recipe). Bad idea but too late by the time I realized. The taste of champagne is sort of there but not really identifiable, so next time I will use a more normal/cheaper flavoring.
  • There is a hint of strawberry in the cake itself, but not as strong as I would have liked so I will need to experiment more. 
  • The cake is lovely, spongy, springy and melts in your mouth. I would not mess with the sugar content here, it's perfect.
Lastly, a shout out to my homey Parisa, who made a sweet looking hot pink raspberry cake!


loic said...


Grace said...

No, that looks very plastic-y. The handmade ones look amazing.
I think you might like this:


since valentines day is approaching.

Leo said...

Someone else told me they preferred the rough looking cupcakes... you guys are weird... Thanks for the link! How interesting, that poor cake got butchered :-)