What are cake mixing tools and why are they important?
Cake mixing tools are essential for any baking venture because without these tools it would be difficult to get the perfect batter or dough for baked goods. Some of these cake mixing tools are manual while others are motorized or electric. Most if not all of them are utensils that homemakers already have in their kitchen.
These tools include but are not limited to the following:- mixing bowls, hand or stand mixer, blender, food processor, whisk, wooden spoon and spatula.
For the benefit of those who are new to cake making or decorating, we would discuss these cake mixing tools in detail. We would also give you tips on how to choose the best one for specific tasks.
Note that as your cake decorating skills grow, so also would you have to upgrade some of these tools.
Mixing Bowls- An Important Cake Mixing Tool
A mixing bowl is a deep bowl that is ideal for mixing ingredients. Mixing bowls are made from different materials and come in different sizes. These materials include stainless steel, ceramic, glass, and plastic.
It is essential to have at least three mixing bowls of graduated sizes; this is so that you’ll be able to mix dry and wet ingredients separately. The different bowls also come in handy because you might need to mix several batches of ingredients at the same time.
The material a mixing bowl is made of has its advantages and disadvantages. Which means that no material is best or worst; each material is suited for specific tasks.
As you progress in your cake making venture, you’ll discover that you’ll need at least one mixing bowl made of each material. For starters however, you would do well with stainless steel and plastic mixing bowls.
Advantages of Plastic Mixing Bowls
The following are the advantages of plastic mixing bowls:-
(i) Plastic mixing bowls are microwave safe.
(ii) They do not bend out of shape or dent. Or would always return to original shape if bent.
(iii) Plastic bowls are highly acid – resistant.
(iv) They do not rust and cannot be corroded by chemicals.
(v) Since plastic bowls are made in molds, they come in different shapes and can be shaped for more convenience. An example of this is mixing bowls that have pouring spouts.
Disadvantages of Plastic Mixing Bowls
The following are the disadvantages of plastic mixing bowls:-
(i) Plastic mixing bowls retain grease so cannot be used for other tasks after being used consistently for fatty recipes. That is why the best mixing bowls to be used to cream butter and sugar are metal or glass.
(ii) They cannot be used for hot recipes or as double boiler over a pot because they are not heat resistant.
(iii) Plastic mixing bowls cannot conduct heat which makes is inappropriate for recipes that require heat.
(iv) They are not as dense as stainless steel and might not have much stability.
Advantages of Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
Stainless steel mixing bowls come with the following advantages:-
(i) Stainless steel bowls are long lasting and are quite affordable.
(ii) They are versatile and can be used for several tasks. If you get the right size for your saucepan, you can use it as a double boiler.
(iii) The weight of stainless steel mixing bowls makes them ideal for those who have mobility issues.
(iv) Stainless steel bowls do not retain odor or grease so can be used for multiple tasks. one of such tasks is whisking eggs or egg whites.
(v) They conduct heat which makes them appropriate for recipes that require heat while mixing.
Disadvantages of Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
Stainless steel mixing bowls have the following disadvantages:-
(i) The recipe prepared in a stainless steel mixing bowl can take on a metallic taste. This can happen if the mixer or whisk scrapes repeatedly against the side or bottom of the bowl.
(ii) Stainless steel mixing bowls are susceptible to rust or getting bent out of shape.
(iii) Because it conducts heat, a stainless steel bowl can burn the user if used for hot recipe.
With these points in mind, you can ascertain which material of mixing bowl would work best for you. As we earlier said you can even get both types because they would both come in handy for different tasks.
Whisk – A Manual Cake Mixing Tool
A whisk is a cooking apparatus that can be used to mix ingredients till they are smooth or to incorporate air into a mixture. The process through which this is done is known as whipping or whisking.
A whisk can also be used to mix dry ingredients such as baking powder, cocoa powder and flour.
There are several designs and categories of whisks and each design is ideal for specific tasks. They come in different sizes and can be sold individually or in sets. Because there are so many designs of whisks, we would give a brief summary of each. This is to help you know which design would work best for you.
Different Types of Whisks
Please note that these types of whisks that would be discussed below go by different names. You may come across an exact type of whisk but notice that the name is different from the one used here. That might be as a result of brand, region or manufacturer. The most important thing is to recognize the whisk and know which tasks it is best suited for.
The Balloon whisk is the most common type of whisk and is an essential tool that every homemaker needs. it is even more important for a budding cake maker/decorator. This type of whisk has wires formed into large wide loops with rounded shape. It is this rounded shape that informed the name balloon whisk.
A balloon whisk is ideal for whisking whole eggs and fluffing up egg whites. It also works well with mixing bowls that have rounded bottoms.
A French whisk is similar to the balloon whisk but is meant to be used for heavier tasks. The wires of a French whisk form a narrow, oval shape different from the round shape of the balloon whisk. This shape makes it perfect for stirring batters to smooth consistency or reaching corners in bowls or pans with flat bottoms.
If you get a good quality French whisk with stiff wires, you can use it to stir thick cooking mixtures or mix thick batter. The narrow shape also makes it ideal for stirring ingredients in narrow containers such as beakers or jars.
As the name implies, a flat whisk is flat with the wires arranged to form a single layer which turns up slightly at the end. It is different from the round or oval shape of the other whisks that we’ve mentioned before.
The shape makes it perfect for stirring stuff in a sauté pan; it allows you to scrape and stir, incorporating all the flavors and ingredients. The best part of this whisk is that it is easier to clean than the traditional whisk designs.
Ball whisks are very popular with professional chefs and are useful for whipping up gourmet dishes. They are designed with several stiff wires that have metal or silicone balls attached to the ends. These balls at the end of the wires vibrate when you use them.
The balls also allow you to reach every corner of the pot, bowl or pan as you work. This whisk is ideal for sauces and also for mixing dry ingredients; it works well in place of sifting the ingredients.
The tornado whisk is shaped almost like a balloon whisk but the difference is that the wires flatten at the bottom. This gives it a flat spiral shape which makes it ideal for use in large pots or pans. The flat bottom sweeps the surface of your pot or pan and also reaches corners easily.
Those who love to use tornado whisk do so because they insist that it’s ideal for non stick pots and pans. This is because the wires are covered with silicone and would scratch the surface of such pots and pans.
Coiled whisks are also called spring whisks and are specially designed for mixing small quantities of food or batter. A coiled whisk has a small coil that’s springy mounted at the end of a long handle. When you press down the whisk, it flattens a little bit; this helps it to scrape ingredients from the bottom of a flat bowl or the corners and sides of a pot or pan.
This type of whisk is ideal for the same tasks as the flat whisk but in addition to this, it has different sizes. You can get any size you want for any size of bowl, pot or pan.
A twirl whisk is used to make a liquid frothy; it is an essential tool for a coffee house or restaurants. Twirl whisks are not everyday kitchen tools, they are specialty whisks. They are useful for frothing up milk for beverages such as lattes and the likes. You can also use twirl whisks to beat eggs.
Now that you have seen these different whisks and the tasks they are best suited for, we believe you’ll be able to make the right choice for your baking needs.
Another Cake Mixing Tool – Spatula
A spatula is an ordinary kitchen tool that we may take for granted but it is an important part of cake mixing tools. It is used to scrape the sides of a mixing bowl, ensuring that all the ingredients are properly incorporated. You can also use a spatula to clean the sides of your mixing bowl to put all your batter into a baking pan.
Furthermore, a spatula ensures that all your ingredients mixes well whether during the mixing process or cooking.
Spatulas can be made of wood,silicone or plastic. A wooden spatula can be used to stir ingredients that are to be melted or heated before mixing with other ingredients.
Silicone spatulas come in handy for cooking or stirring ingredients in non stick pots and pans.
A wooden spoon performs the same function as a spatula. The only difference is that wooden spoons can be used for hot recipes without fear of it melting or bending out of shape.
Electric Cake Mixing Tools
An electric blender comes in handy in the mixing process especially when you have to grind or puree ingredients to be added to your batter.
There are also manual or motorized blenders that would serve you well in blending cake add-on ingredients.
That said, blenders are not only useful for blending cake ingredients but they are an essential kitchen tool.
A food processor is like a next level blender; it does all that a blender does and much more. Because of the interchangeable attachments and blades of a food processor, you can shred, blend, chop, puree and mix ingredients.
Although you can do your cake mixing without a food processor, there are recipes that would be easier to make with one. This multipurpose equipment helps make your mixing process faster and more convenient.
So if you are in fix between buying a blender or a food processor, you’d do well with a food processor. But in the event that you can afford both, then by all means get a blender and a food processor.
Here’s why; there are things that are better processed in a blender than a food processor and vice versa.
Moreso, as you upgrade your skills and advance in your proficiency level, you’ll discover that you’d be needing more kitchen tools than the basics.
A mixer is one of the cake mixing tools that makes life so much easier for bakers. It uses a gear-driven system to turn a set of beaters in a mixing bowl containing the food to be prepared. The automatic repetition of stirring, whisking or beating incorporates air and properly mixes all the ingredients. When the beaters of a mixer are replaced by a dough hook, it can also be used to knead dough.
There are different types of mixers; hand mixers, stand mixers and commercial mixers. Hand mixers are handheld while in use while stand mixers are attached to a stand which holds the bowl. Commercial mixers are stand mixers but adapted for heavy duty mixing.
A recipe can be marred by improper mixing. Every experienced baker knows that the mixing time of a recipe is what determines how fluffy the end product would be. Mixing by hand can be very tiring and frustrating but a mixer saves you all that hassle and stress.
Before you go out to buy a mixer, let’s share some of the advantages and disadvantages of both hand and stand mixers. This would help you know which type would work best for you.
Advantages of Hand Mixers
A hand mixer helps to make cake mixing easier and faster. It mixes up all your ingredients in a jiffy. Now you can try out your hand on those recipes that you have been shying away from. With a hand mixer, your baked goods are light and fluffy, with less manual effort from you.
The great thing about a hand mixer is that it is not restricted to just mixing cake batter, it helps you with different tasks in food preparation. It provides convenience that frees you to experiment with different recipes.
Ease of Use and Cleaning
A hand mixer is a simple cake mixing tool that’s easy to use and clean. It doesn’t have any complicated moving parts that one has to assemble before use. All you have to do is place your ingredients in a mixing bowl, fix the attachment to the head of the mixer and plug to electricity.
When you are done mixing your ingredients, you detach the attachment from the head of the mixer and wash with warm soapy water. It’s that easy!
For one who bakes once in a while or in little quantities, a stand mixer would be cumbersome to use. However, a hand mixer is just ideal for whipping up those little one cup recipes or whisking a few egg whites.
There are hand mixers that have attachments that are dishwasher safe; this makes the hand mixer even much easier to clean.
Portability and Ease of Storage
A hand mixer has smaller footprints than a stand mixer. This means that you don’t need to have much storage space. It doesn’t even need much space on your countertop. All that’s required is space in a drawer when not in use.
The light weight of hand mixers also make them portable. You can carry your hand mixer for onsite jobs and other occasions when you want to have your cake mixing tools with you. This is ideal for professional cake makers who need portable cake mixing tools.
A hand mixer comes with or without a mixing bowl; a mixing bowl is not deal breaker. This is true because you can use a hand mixer with any mixing bowl. In fact this is what makes the hand mixer versatile. It can be used in a pot, a mixing bowl or pan of any sort as long as it’s the right fit for the mixer.
A hand mixer is not limited to the capacity of a mixing bowl unlike a stand mixer that works only with the mixing bowl that comes with it.
A hand mixer is a functional cake mixing tool to have. This is because it comes in handy for tasks that would be lost in a stand mixer. An example of such a task is whisking egg whites.
Another occasion when you find that hand mixers are very functional cake mixing tools are those days when you don’t have the time or patience to set up your stand mixer. This is especially true if the recipe you are making is just a small cake batter or batch of cookie dough.
If you have a recipe that you feel is too much for your hand mixer, you can divide it into two batches. This is better than not having an appliance that you can use for small recipes.
Even if you are a professional baker whose stand mixer is a permanent fixture in the kitchen, there are recipes that only a hand mixer is suited for. One reason is that the beater of the stand mixer won’t reach all the ingredients of such a recipe. If you use a stand mixer for these recipes, it would be more bothersome than functional.
However with these kinds of recipes, a hand mixer can be maneuvered to reach all the sides of your mixing bowl and incorporate all the ingredients.
Disadvantages of Hand Mixers
Although hand mixers have some advantages, there are also some disadvantages that you’ll experience with its use. They include the following:
(i) You have to hold the hand mixer while in use; this means that you cannot multitask when working with a hand mixer.
(ii) A hand mixer is not designed for heavy duty mixing so it’s only ideal for homemakers who don’t bake very often. It can best serve as an add on tool to your stand mixer .
(iii) It cannot work for a long stretch of time.
Advantages of Stand Mixers
Hands Free Operation
A stand mixer offers you hands free operation. With this type of mixer, all you have to do is place your ingredients in the mixing bowl, set the stand mixer and let it do the work. The design of stand mixers allow you to add your ingredients even while the mixer is working.
You also have the freedom to multitask when working with a stand mixer. You can assemble other ingredients, grease your cake pans or do some other chores while mixing.
More interesting is the fact that you don’t have to get your hands dirty as you work. Nor floury hands from kneading dough or icing splattered fingers.
Stand mixers are also versatile cake mixing tools. They can be used for a number of baking and cooking preparation and tasks. Once you have a stand mixer, you have bought your license to uninhibited creativity in the kitchen.
They usually come with three standard attachments and many more that can be bought separately. This means that your stand mixer can function as a pastry mixer, a cake mixer, vegetable spiralizer or fruit masher. All you need to do is fix the appropriate attachment and you are good to go!
Additional Control and Performance Power
A stand mixer has more performance power than a hand mixer. The different speed options allow you to control the mixing speed as you want. Unlike a hand mixer, a stand mixer has the ability to mix stiff dough as smooth as you want it as well as fluff up your light mixtures.
The several attachments/beaters that it comes with, enables you to adjust it to several tasks and food prep. Stand mixers come with several features that hand mixers do not have; this affords the user more power and control.
Efficiency and Reliability
Most stand mixers are made with stainless steel and a combination of other materials. This makes the stand mixer strong and durable. Given the fact that a stand mixer is meant to relieve the stress of hefting a mixer while in use, the construction should be such that would have stability.
The efficiency of a stand mixer lies in how well and fast it helps in food prep. It saves you energy and relieves the muscles of your arm from the strenuous workout of mixing manually.
A stand mixer is more expensive than a hand mixer but this is only at the point of purchase. Over time and with the use that you get from a stand mixer, you would discover that it is actually more cost effective than a hand mixer.
Imagine how you have to half some recipes so that you can safely use your hand mixer. Or how that you do not even bother with some recipes when all you had was a hand mixer. If you are a commercial baker, a hand mixer can’t make more financial sense than a stand mixer.
The time, effort and energy saved by using a stand mixer add up to the profitability of your cake making business.
Most stand mixers come with good quality stainless steel mixing bowls. These mixing bowls are useful for various tasks and purposes apart from mixing ingredients.
You can use the mixing bowl as a double boiler and the bowls that are deep and narrow as ice cream and cake molds.
Disadvantages of Stand Mixers
(i) Most stand mixers are bulky and require space on your kitchen countertop. You cannot store them in drawers like hand mixers.
(ii) Some brands and designs of stand mixers cannot be used for small recipes. Unlike hand mixers that mixes up one-man recipes.
(iii) A stand mixer is limited to the capacity of the mixing bowl it came with. This is unlike hand mixers that can be used for bowls or pots with different capacity.
Finally, if you bake occasionally, you can make do with a hand mixer. However, for people who want to go into professional cake making, you have to get a heavy duty stand mixer. This is because stand mixers are more powerful than hand mixers and lasts longer.
The truth of the matter is that most professional bakers have both hand mixers and stand mixers. If you are a homemaker who bakes often, you might also need both a hand mixer and a stand mixer too.
These cake mixing tools that we have discussed do not make an exhaustive list of all that there is to cake mixing tools. There some other tools that may come in handy in the mixing process of a baking venture.
When you go shopping for cake mixing tools, you are sure to be bombarded with myriads of tools. These assortments of tools may leave you more confused and unable to make a choice. Bear in mind that while these tool all have their uses, not all of them are necessary for you at a beginner level.
These ones we have discussed are the basic cake mixing tools that would help you get started in your cake making adventure. As time goes on, you would find out which additional tools you need.
Check out these articles for additional information:-
- Cake Piping Kits – A Newbie’s Guide
- Fondant Decorating Tools-Next Level!
- Cake Boards – Covering the Bases
- Best Food Processor For Dough
- How To Use A Bundt Pan
- Best Toaster Oven For Baking
You can also grow your skills by subscribing to some channels on YouTube. Watch tutorial videos where you learn new things.
Cake Mixing Tools – FAQs
Can I Mix Cake In A Blender?
Although there may be some ingredients in a cake batter that you may need a blender for, a cake batter should not be made from start to finish in a blender.
You may attempt to mix cake in a blender but you would not get great results. This is because the way the blades of a blender rotates (mixes) is different from the way a mixer rotates. Blenders are designed to puree or chop ingredients while mixers are designed to ‘mix’ ingredients and incorporate air in the process of mixing.
Hand mixers are fairly inexpensive so it’s best you invest in one if you find it tedious mixing your cake batter by hand.
Is A Whisk The Same As A Mixer?
A whisk is not the same as a mixer. While it is true that a mixer has a whisk attachment, it wouldn’t be true to description to say that a whisk is the same as a mixer.
A whisk is a manual utensil that is used to whip up ingredients and aerate (incorporate air) them. A mixer on the other hand, also mixes ingredients but with a difference; it comes with different attachments. It is those attachments that determine what method of mixing the machine would employ. Please refer to our article on mixers for more information on this subject.
How Do You Mix A Cake Without A Mixer?
It is possible to mix a cake without a mixer; but let us warn that this would require more elbow grease, time and patience. So here is a simple method of mixing cake without a mixer:-
(i) Soften the butter before measuring it into your mixing bowl, and then add sugar.
(ii) Hold the mixing bowl under your elbow and tilt the bowl slightly.
(iii) Then using a wooden spoon, stir/churn the butter and sugar in one direction as fast as you can until the mixture become light and fluffy. Note that the color of the mixture would also lighten up.
(iv) Get a second mixing bowl and whisk your eggs. Then add every other liquid ingredient that you need.
(v) In yet another mixing bowl, combine all your dry ingredients.
(vi) Then start adding the ingredients from both mixing bowls into the butter and sugar mixture. Start with 1/3 of the liquid ingredients and then add 1/3 of the dry ingredient. Continue thrice until all the ingredients are properly incorporated.
If you do not have a mixer, it is advised that you avoid recipes that call for ingredients that have to be airy such as egg whites. It is only very basic cake recipes or one bowl recipes that can be mixed without a mixer. Check out this our article for great recipe ideas: 197 Cake Recipes – The Ultimate Guide.
Can I Use A Mixer Instead Of A Whisk?
You can use a mixer instead of a whisk for recipes that needs to be aerated. But note that you have to use the mixer with the whisk attachment. Additionally, ensure that you do not over beat the ingredients.
Most recipes that call for using whisks do so because you have more control over the mixing with a whisk than with a mixer. This is because a whisk is manual while a mixer is electric. That being said however, you can still mimic a level of control by using the mixer at low speed and watching the mixture carefully and stopping immediately it the ingredients are properly incorporated. This is especially true for brownie recipes.
What Can You Use Instead Of A Whisk?
The most common kitchen utensil that can be used instead of a whisk is a fork. Similarly, the most common ingredient that we often use a whisk for are eggs. So if you do not have a whisk and you need to whip up some eggs, you can use a fork. Note however, that you would have to beat the eggs fast and vigorously.
In case you have to whip up some egg whites, you would need to use two strong forks to work the eggs vigorously. This requires that you pour your egg whites into a deep mixing bowl, tilt it to an angle of 45 degrees, then get to work with the two forks.
Can You Cream Butter And Sugar With A Blender?
You can cream butter and sugar with a blender but you have to add the butter in small slices with 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar per time. Work the butter and sugar for 20 seconds per cycle before adding another few slices of butter and tablespoons of sugar.
When you are done blending all the butter and sugar you need for your recipe, you can add some drops of vanilla and one egg to help loosen up the mixture.
Note that this is the only step in your baking that we can safely advise that you can use a blender. After this point, it is best you pour out the mixer into your mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredient. Then mix up everything by hand.
What Attachment Should I Use To Cream Butter And Sugar?
The best attachment to use to cream butter and sugar is the paddle attachment (flat beater. The flat beater attachment of a mixer is designed to incorporate ingredients without aerating it. The style of rotation of this attachment enables the butter and sugar to be properly mixed until it becomes light and fluffy.
When using the flat beater attachment of a mixer, ensure that you use it at the speed recommended in your recipe. If you go faster than recommended, you would over-mix the batter.
What Can I Use If I Don’t Have An Electric Mixer?
If you do not have an electric mixer, you can use a food processor, Immersion blender, fork, whisk, spatula, wooden spoon or table knife. The use of any of these utensils is dependent on the recipe involved.
You can use a food processor to incorporate ingredients such as butter into flour. You can also use a fork or two kitchen knives to cut butter into flour.
Liquid ingredients can also be mixed in a blender while butter and sugar can be creamed with a wooden spoon.
Finally, ensure that you check out the recipe and the properties of the ingredients before determining which utensil would be best to use.