This week I’ve been in my kitchen celebrating the arrival of my shiny new K-Mix – the very generous first prize from Kenwood for my Polish Spiced Christmas Cookies for Let’s Make Christmas hosted by Vanessa Kimbell. I am a very lucky girl indeed and I was super-shocked to hear that I had won out of one hundred and ten entries! Gifts were exchanged and prizes had been won at the Fortnum & Mason Gift Swap, but Vanessa had also opened the competition up to all by hosting an on-line event to run along side. You can see all the entries in Vanessa’s Ultimate Guide to making your own gifts here. Seriously, you would actually have to start making your Christmas gifts now if you even wanted to scratch the surface of all the edible treats that were on offer, including Jams, Pickles and Preserves, Drinkable Gifts, Sweet Gifts and Baked Goods. I was half hoping for a Let’s Make Valentine’s Day…but I think we might have to wait until Easter for another gift-themed blog event.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I decided to make my inagural ‘K-Mix’ a batch of cupcakes. A little pot of basil sat staring at me on my kitchen windowsill and although I know it’s not a logical combination, I really wanted to use some of it to flavour my cupcakes. My thinking (hear me out) was that during the summer, basil and strawberries work really well together, so perhaps raspberries and basil would do too. I then started thinking of ice-cream and of how we love a drizzle of raspberry sauce and that led me to think that raspberry ripple cupcakes would be a lovely way of cheering us all up. Can anyone follow my thinking?!
So, although British raspberries are not in season, I usually have some homemade raspberry coulis stored in the freezer, from the lazy, hazy summer or even late autumnal days gone by, but really, any good quality shop-bought raspberry coulis will work here.
As for the basil, just use a tiny amount, chop a few leaves and add them to the buttercream, or if you are not feeling brave enough, just add a spring for decoration along with your raspberry drizzle.
K-Mix v Kitchenaid
The K-Mix is a dream to use and it is a very welcome addition to my kitchen. Having used a Kitchenaid Artisan stand mixer before, I was able to compare the two. I noticed that the K-Mix is a lot smoother when you first switch it on to mix, no sudden burst, no clouds of flour or icing sugar in your face. You get a K-Beater, dough hook and a whisk and a splash-guard that seems to fit onto the actual machine a lot better than the splash-guard on the Kitchenaid. There is a little lid you can lift on the K-Mix splash-guard so that you can add icing sugar in spoon by spoon and when making buttercream, the whole process seemed a lot cleaner and smoother. There is also a fold function, which is very handy as it means that the K-Mix will very gently fold your flour in, rather than mixing it in and causing the gluten to over-work. All in all,the K-Mix also seems to be a lot more streamlined, meaning that there are less nooks and crannies to clean. I am seriously impressed and were I to be in the position of looking to buy a stand mixer, I would have to think very carefully about my choice. The K-Mix is also British made…you can see how the ticks are stacking up in all the boxes.
Thank you to Penny at Kenwood UK for arranging delivery of my prize and to Vanessa Kimbell.
I’m also sending these pretty cupcakes over to Kate at What Kate Baked who is hosting the February Tea Time Treats Challenge (alternating with Karen from Lavender and Lovage) – with the appropriate theme of Romance!
The cupcake recipe I used is adapted from a BBC Good Food recipe for Rose Cupcakes (which would also be romantic) – regularly cited as being one of the best cupcake recipes around, made with yoghurt to keep the crumb lovely and soft.
Cupcakes are a perfect rainy (or in our case, snowy) day activity. As usual, I was battling with the stealing little hands who were as ever, eager to pinch these lovely little morsels as soon I had taken a few snaps…
Ren these look amazing and I am imagining the flavours already. I definitely want to try these. Xx
Thanks Kate, you can use just a bit of basil or quite a bit!
These look adorable – I especially like the little hands popping in to grab one! xx
Thanks Sarah! Yes, *almost* impossible to take snaps while they are around!
Jeanne @ CookSister! says
If I said I totally get where you are going with the basil raspberry combo, would you send me a couple?? ;o) Gorgeous pics and inspired combo!
Ha ha thanks Jeanne, strictly speaking this should have been a summer-time recipe but the basil was speaking to me! x
I think Valentine cupeakcs are bteter than the actual size cakes because you can decorate them anyway you want. Small, sweet & lovely!
Vanessa Kimbell says
No ren .. not Lucky .. just brilliant ! Really .. your blog is fabulous, beautifully written and superb photo’s. Your recipes are lovely and I am utterly delighted that you won .. it was a tough competition!
Well done !!
Aah thank you Vanessa and thank again to the folks at Kenwood UK for offering such a fabulous prize and to you for hosting.I really hope there is a Let’s Make Easter 🙂
Congratulations on your awesome prize! The cupcakes look gorgeous – love the flavour combination and the photo with the little hand 🙂 I already have a kitchenaid so won’t be investing in another mixer. The K-mix sounds really good and I’m getting mixer envy 🙂
Thank you so much, Ros. He he the little hand always makes me laugh. I set things out and they go missing!!! Glad you enjoy mixing with your stand mixer, hope you have an exciting colour?!
Hiya, just replied and the reply went missing! Claire who writes Things We Make (blog) did a very in-depth comparison. She is @ClaireTweet on Twitter so you could look up her posts too. Someone said that the Kenwood Chef was also worth looking into, but I haven’t compared the prices etc on those. Glad you like the post, thanks for commenting 🙂
Beautiful Valentine’s cakes. Thanks for the Kmix/Kitchenaid comparison.I’m wanting to buy one of them and have been researching online. Your comparison is great and buying British is a great reason to get the K Mix.
Fuss Free Helen says
I love my K-Mix, and the fold function and clow start are fantastic.
The other main difference is that when you open the top of the machine the K Aid keeps going, but the K Mix has an auto stop. Fantastic for not coating your kitchen with batter.
The K mix does not have a beater blade, I am hoping that I can end that sentence with a yet, and there will be one soon.
Hi Helen, yes I like the slow-start function and the fold function – very clever. I don’t think I’ve noticed the auto-stop yet but good point. I’m sure I once saw a beater blade for a Kenwood? But in any case, it isn’t too bad to just use the platic soon they provide and give it a little scrape by hand. I found that the beater blade on the Kitchenaid was quite harsh when in use, so I think it knocks more air out…there are always pros and cons! Have a lovely weekend x
Congratulations, my dear, well deserved prize!
I have a Kitchenaid classic, it was only £149 new so at that price, I didn’t worry about which to get.
If I were looking again, I would take your comments, and price differences into account.
The K Mix looks beautiful!
Wow Kavey, that’s a brilliant price, I think you can do so much more with them too, for example, with the dough hooks etc, I tend to only think about making cakes!! I quite like that there are lots of funky K-Mix colours now, like the stripey ones 🙂 But this baby blue one is very beautiful. I’m a very lucky girl to have won!
Magnolia Verandah says
Love your little cupcakes – lucky you took some photos before they disappeared. Must try yogurt in sponge recipes.
Ha ha, yes there are always little hands and fingers creeping in, moving things around! I am very used to taking photots very quickly!!
I am lucky enough to have a very old green Kitchenaid so would always go with that as I know it lasts a lifetime. I have had it for a long time and it is a joy to use.
Your cupcakes are a delight, love the ripple effect and agree with you that yoghurt is such a good idea in sponge recipes 🙂
Thanks Laura, the BBC recipe I linked too is a real winner and they stay nice for a few days although they never last that long in our house!!
Congratuations again on winning that lovely prize! What gorgeous cupcakes! They are so pretty.
Thank you so much Jayne 🙂 Hope you have a lovely weekend x
Mark Willis says
I think Basil goes really well with soft fruit, so I’m sure I would enjoy those cup-cakes. They are contraband in our house though. Since my wife is diabetic we don’t normally eat sweet things. 🙁
Mark, I seem to keep making things/offering giveaways that are contraband in your house! Sorry about that, will think of some nice seasonal, non-fish recipes soon for that lovely veg plot of yours 🙂
These are beautiful! I love the ripple – so pretty for Valentine’s Day but simple and delicious enough to please the men. Wonderful recipe. And as for the mixers? I have never been lucky enough to own a stand mixer 🙁
Happy Valentine’s Day, Ren! xo
Thank you Jamie. I can’t believe you don’t own a stand mixer with ALL the baking that you do!!
Love cupcakes, always such a treat, I don’t make them often enough. They always make everything seem better!
Have a wonderful weekend