I have a confession to make: I’ve just bought myself a shiny, glossy red KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer!
The workhorse of many American kitchens and beloved by cooks like Nigel and Nigella, I’ve been lusting after one of these babies for quite a while. I first fell in love with one I saw in the Cork branch of Meadows and Byrne a few years ago but, after peeking at the price tag, never thought there was going to be a chance that it would ever be sitting in my kitchen.
Then we got married. And one of the lovely things about having a celebration of your relationship is that people give you gifts. So, several of those gifts, in the handbag of a rather giddy girl, made their way to Brown Thomas a couple of weeks ago. Although my hopes were initially dashed as they had sold out of red mixers – and, having set my heart on a red one, who would want an almond-coloured machine instead? – the helpful staff ordered one in and gave me a call when it arrived. The poor Husband got the job of carrying the heavy box, all rapidly-getting-heavier 22lbs of it, home, having been promised future riches of cakes, cookies and breads, and it sat, in its box, in the hall of our Dublin flat – no space for mixers – until this weekend when I finally got to take it down to the cottage.
We barely got in the door before the KitchenAid, together with its shiny stainless steel bowl, dough hook, flat beater and a wire whisk, was taken out from its wrapping and I was finally able to admire it! Looking wasn’t all I did with it, and over the weekend I made a Passion Fruit Cake (perfect with an afternoon cup of tea or coffee on a rainy Irish summer’s afternoon), finally got the chance to try out the Husband’s family’s recipe for Chocolate Chippies, a loaf of bread – I just had to try out the dough hook – and some small bread rolls, which I baked in my Baker’s Edge for maximum crust.
It now sits proudly on the table in the baking corner of my cottage kitchen, below the flour cupboard and right next to the weighing scales. I’ve been revisiting my cookbooks with new eyes, no longer ignoring or skimming past recipes that involve creaming sugar and butter or whisking egg whites! Although it is also useful for kneading dough, if I’m making just a plain loaf of bread, I think I’ll stick to the very successful No-Knead Bread recipe – because of its slow rise, it’s got a lot more flavour than any normal homemade bread.
To read more from some fellow KitchenAid converts, check out David Lebovitz’s article on the KitchenAid factory, other bloggers’ joy at the arrival of their mixers, and some KitchenAid-friendly recipes.
Passion Fruit Cake for Afternoon Tea
Vegetable oil – 2/3 cup
Sugar – 1 cup
Eggs – 2
Plain flour – 2 cups
Baking powder – 2 teaspoons
Salt – 1 teaspoon
Milk – 1 cup
Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
Pulp of 2 passion fruit
Pulp of 2 passion fruit
Icing sugar – 4 tablespoons
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and flour a 10-inch circular pan.
Beat the oil, sugar, and eggs using an electric mixer – or your KitchenAid! – on medium speed for about three minutes, until light and thick.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla extract, beating after each addition, and fold in the passion fruit pulp.
Pour batter into the pan and cook in the preheated oven for 60-70 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
While the cake is in the oven, combine the second quantity of passion fruit pulp with the icing sugar to make a runny icing. After the cake has been taken out of the pan and while it is still warm, pour the icing over.
Serve in thick slices with a cup of tea or coffee.