Newcastle, NSW, Australia
I’m a former industrial chemist, and after deciding on a career change while at home with my two young children, I’m now a qualified pastry chef. In 2009 I started taking some classes in cake decorating and other pastry-related cookery, and taught myself many more decorating techniques from books and internet resources. In 2010 I started a pastry apprenticeship, studying Retail Baking (Cake & Pastry) Certificate III at TAFE, which I completed with Distinction in 2012. I completed my apprenticeship in December 2013, and am now working as a full time Pastry chef and Cake Decorator at 'Exquisite Cakes by Lennert' in Cessnock, NSW.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

My KitchenAid!!!

Here's something else that should have been blog-worthy at the time it happened... I am now the proud owner of a KitchenAid KSM150 Artisan stand mixer.  When I first started cake decorating I was still using a tired old Kambrook mixer, the first cheapo mixmaster that I bought when I moved out of home.  It died a few cakes later (it had never been worked that hard before!), and my mother-in-law Joanne came to the rescue.  Rohan asked her if I could borrow her mixer for the next cake I needed to do, but as she doesn't do any baking any more, she gave it to me.

I didn't like to complain since it was a gift, but apart from the fact that it had a working motor, that mixer was no better than my old one.  It's the first mixer I've ever seen that doesn't have a turntable that automatically spins the bowl while it's running, and there was also a distinct gap between the bowl and the bottom of the beaters.  While mixing I had to manually turn the bowl with one hand and have a spatula in the other to keep folding the ingredients back in toward the beaters, and I also had to periodically lift the beaters to scrape underneath where they didn't reach the bowl.  But as I said, I couldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, and that mixer was actually accompanied with a promise of better things to come.

Joanne's father had passed away a few months earlier, and Grandy (as he was affectionately known to Rohan and the rest of his grandkids) had wanted Joanne and her brother Phil to spend his money on themselves and their families.  Joanne promised to buy her four boys and their partners each a special gift when Grandy's estate came through, and she said right from the start that she wanted to buy me a new mixmaster and I was to spare no expense in getting the best.  Late last year I made a cake that I called "Roses for Joanne" as a thankyou gift for my mother-in-law... one of the reasons for making her that cake was a HUGE thanks-in-advance for the promise of a shiny new KitchenAid.

I've had my new baby for a few months now, and I absolutely LOVE it!  It's such a refreshing change to be able to weigh and sift my flour WHILE the butter and sugar are creaming!  I haven't tried the whisk attachment yet, but from reviews I've read it apparently does awesome meringue and pavlova.  The only thing I find that it's not so great at is mixing small quantities of indgredients at everything tends to just smear on the sides of the bowl and stay there, but for the most part it's fantastic.  I've still kept the other mixer which I occasionally use for small quantity mixing, and the motor also detaches and can be used as a hand-held, so I can use it if I want to make a zabaglione or anything else that needs to be mixed over hot water.  All-in all, though, I'm VERY happy with my KitchenAid.  I've said it before and I'll say it again... thanks Joanne.

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