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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Cakes in a Free Standing Mixer

    Please help! Which beater is best for creaming butter and sugar? I have just baked my first cake - a lemon loaf - using the paddle in my Kitchen Aid mixer and am disappointed with the results - the cake didn't rise nearly as much as with my usual Magimix. Any advice appeciated. Thanks, Rachel.

    From the nigella team:

    Most free standing mixers come with 3 attachments - a flat beater (paddle), a balloon-type whisk and a dough hook. The flat beater is the attachment to use for making cake and cookie dough. The whisk is for items like meringues and whipped cream and the dhough hook is for kneading dough.

    The bowl of a free standing mixer can be quite large and whilst it is perfect for making larger quantities of cake batter it can be slightly tricky for smaller quantities as the depth of the butter and sugar in the bowl may not be quite enough for the beater to work on it properly. You can buy smaller bowls for Ktchen Aid mixers (these are usually about 3 litres vs the regular 4.5-4.8 litres) and are useful if you make smaller cakes.

    If creaming butter and sugar in a large mixer then make sure that you beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture looks several shades lighter in colour and has a slightly fluffy texture. This can take 3-5 minutes and you may need to stop a couple of times and scrape the mixture down from the sides of the bowl back into the base (a flexible spatula is good for this) so that it mixes evenly.

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