Equipment review: kMix from Kenwood and Annabel Langbein’s Ultimate Chocolate Cake
During the three months that I spent at Ballymaloe Cookery School, I saw Kenwood mixers – the workhorses of the kitchen – put up a lot of punishment. Mixing cakes from morning to night? Not a bother. Making the finest mashed potatoes known to cookery school? In minutes.
Kneading bread dough was just another easily-tackled job even when, one memorable morning, it was a brioche dough and the energy of the mixer kneaded itself right off the worktop. We picked it up, plugged it back in – and it continued to work the dough.
The only problem that I had with the Kenwood was how it looked. In a small cottage kitchen, a mixer has to live on the worktop. I wanted something a little more stylish so I ended up getting a KitchenAid.
Then Kenwood Ireland gave me the opportunity to test drive their kMix stand mixer and now I could be converted. With a sleek, retro-styled black/grey body containing a 500W motor and large stainless steel bowl, it’s a good-looking beast of a machine, which I am more than happy to have sitting out on display.
Looks aside, it’s been getting a good work out over the last week. Its arrival co-incided with a review copy of Annabel Langbein‘s The Free Range Cook landing on my desk. It didn’t stay there for long. Last Monday, Little Missy and I tried a Blackcurrant Crumble Cake, adapted from her Blueberry Crumble Cake. On Wednesday I made what Annabel calls her Ultimate Chocolate Cake as a special treat for the Eight Degrees Brewing boys and my weekend visitors were treated to a nectarine, plum and almond version of the Vanilla Plum Cake.
Little Missy has been fascinated by the mixer, gazing at it, hypnotised, as it effortlessly creams butter into sugar while I get on with weighing out everything else. For that alone I have to give it full credit – child-distracting is a very useful skill around here! On the work side, the kMix is brilliant. Solid and strong, it didn’t splash ingredients around the counter – the bane of my life – and I especially love the folding in setting. There’s a video about the kMix here where you can see all the attachments and colours available. The raspberry looks good…
I had the opportunity to use the kMix for a month thanks to Weber Shandwick, PR company for Kenwood.
Annabel Langbein’s Ultimate Chocolate Cake
Butter – 200g, softened
Boiling hot coffee – 250mls
Self-raising flour – 375g
Muscovado sugar – 500g
Vanilla extract – 1½ teaspoons
Cocoa powder – 75g
Natural yoghurt – 250mls
Eggs – 3 large
Chocolate ganache icing:
Dark chocolate – 500g, roughly broken
Cream – 500g
Preheat the oven to 160°C (150°C fanbake). If you have a 30cm cake tin, grease and line the base of it. If not, you can use 2 x 20cm round cake tins or, as I did, use a 23cm round tin and a 1lb loaf tin.
Put the butter and boiling hot coffee in the bowl of your mixer or food processor, then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well until no streaks or blobs of butter can be seen.
Transfer to tin or tins. Bake the 30cm cake for about an hour, the smaller cakes for between 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes clean. Cool on a wire rack before icing with chocolate ganache…
To make the icing, heat the cream in a large pan almost to boiling point. Add the broken chocolate, allow to stand for a few minutes, then stir well until all amalgamated. Allow to cool until spreadable then cover the cake/s.
Serve with fresh raspberries. Serves at least 16 people – or a couple of very hungry brewers.
Firstly, that cake looks beautiful!
Secondly, so envious. I’ve been looking at them for ages but may have to wait til college ends to afford it. It’s always been between this and the kitchenaid, but with all the good reviews from the foodies, I’m siding with this! 🙁 Til then tis the wooden spoon and whisk, with occasional hand mixer for the really tough ones. Great physio for the wrist that was broken though!
I barely got to take the photo of the cake – there were people grabbing it almost before I had it iced!
I did the wooden spoon mixing for a long time and, like you, used it as physio after an accident (broken collarbone). Still, there’s a time in every cook’s life that they need to get a decent stand mixer…
Very interesting!! I’ve been toying between the kenwood chef (sensible), the kitchenaid (it just looks so good) and the kmix (? Poor imitation of the kitchenaid). I think you’ve finally helped me make the decision!! Plus it’s so much cheaper! Thanks!!
For yourself – or for someone else? I’ve been hearing you make great cakes!
For me!!! Yes, I am rather partial to something sweet!!
DO NOT PURCHASE A KITCHENAID – I BROKE THREE OF THEM – 2 were the 500 series and prof600 series. Two of them in a year time. The first kitchenaid the classic -after years of use had the gears replace. My daughter has it now.
Kitchenaid replace the all metal gears with a mixture of plastic they just not hold up to heavy use. I hope this helps who thinking of purchasing a kitchenaid.
That’s good to know, Wendy – wish I had talked to you before I got my KitchenAid. Hoping to take it to mixer hospital this week so fingers crossed they can do something with it.
I mourn my Kenwood Chef which unfortunately went with the restaurant. I bought a Kenwood Patisserie which is fine for cakes but too weak for bread. I will be interested when you try that beast on bread and particularly on amounts of flour it will handle.
Unfortunately I had to send it back before I got a chance to try making some bread with it. In retrospect, getting it in the middle of doing a cottage renovation wasn’t the best of ideas – I’ve been spending too much time on the road checking out door handles, wooden kitchens and the like!
I’m dying for a mixer- Always knew Kitchen Aid back in the States but will certainly consider the Kenwood now but for now I’ll have to wait, just don’t have enough time to do too much baking
I would recommend the Kenwood but, if you’re interested in the mixer’s looks, the kMix is definitely the only on worth having out on the counter.
Hi there, I got mine recently. It is great! The only problem, which I’ve managed to discover so far: kMix would be the best for big amounts…as whisking 2 whites only wasn’t possible (seems that the bowl is too low, or rather whisk to high to reach the bottom of the bowl…) Any experience with sth similar? Maybe is just a machine failure?
I’ve had a similar problem with the KitchenAid. I’m not sure these machines are great for working with small amounts. Anyone else dealt with this?
Hi I’ve noticed you said it makes great mashed potato. I just bought a kmix and I’m not good at mashed potato, could you tell me how to use my kmix to make great mashed potato? Thanks : )
Also have you tried adjusting the height of the beater as shown in the instruction book, helps with reaching small amount of ing.
When I studied in Ballymaloe, mashed potato was made in the mixer all the time. I never did it myself – I’m more of a potato masher person – so I wouldn’t have exact measurements but I do remember hot milk and lots (lots) of butter being added as the mixture went slowly around.
Thanks for that tip about adjusting the height of the beater. Never thought of that!