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Baking with Mary Berry & Kenwood | A Spiced Fig & Hazelnut Autumn Cake

One of my favourite childhood baking memories was baking with my mum and being handed the whisk from the hand-mixer to lick as payment for my “help”. That hand mixer was a Kenwood, as I remember using it in my late teens when my obsession with cupcakes began.

Fast forward several years and when I moved out and into a place of my own, a Kenwood hand mixer and food processor were two of the first things I bought myself. It was then that My Kitchen Drawer was born, so Kenwood really has played a huge part in where I am today.

Equally, Mary Berry has been a huge influence on me as a baker! Her mission to get everyone baking, and her enthusiasm during the early Bake Off series sparked my passion for a hobby I’d always enjoyed, but never taken seriously. I realised I could do more than just cupcakes and Mary’s regular comments that “everyone should start baking more” spurred me on to try new things. 

Today these two British household names; the UK’s most loved baker and the most trusted small home appliance brand, have teamed up together and launched a special edition range of baking mixers available exclusively at Lakeland. 

Designed by the Queen of Baking herself, the Chef Elite, Chefette and Hand Mixer come in an elegant new colourway with special Mary Berry branding which they carefully selected to ensure it would look great in all kitchens, both traditional and modern. Mary and her team wanted to ensure that each piece of the range was made suitable for bakers of all levels and this shows in their features.

So let’s take a look at the range:

The Chef Elite

The Chef Elite (£399) is your showstopper of the three pieces and currently sits proudly on my work surface. It features a 4.6 litre stainless steel bowl, a 1200W motor with 6 speeds, plus a pulse and fold setting. Your baking options are also endless as it comes with the classic Kenwood K-beater, dough hook and Mary’s personal favourite, the balloon whisk. To make this even more special it even comes with a free Mary Berry Fast Cakes Cookbook full of some of Mary’s favourite and most loved cakes which can all be made using the Chef Elite. 

The Chefette

The Chefette (£85), my personal favourite of the three, is a 2-in-1 handheld and stand mixer with a 350W motor, 5 speeds and a pulse function. It features stainless steel beaters, kneaders and a 3 litre bowl. The multi use aspect of the Chefette makes it such a diverse and useful mixer. Handheld for when you want to keep your eye on the mix but then a mini standing mixer for when you want to multi task. Its the perfect entry level standing mixer for those who don’t quite bake enough to warrant the price for the Chef Elite, or have the space for one in their kitchen. It’s my hero piece of the whole range. 

The Hand Mixer

Finally, the third piece of the collection is the classic Hand Mixer (£32). A lightweight hand mixer with 5 speeds and a pulse function. Like all the others it comes with stainless steel beaters and dough hooks so even with the smallest mixer, baking bread or doughnuts is an easy task. 

What I love most about this range is that Mary and Kenwood have ensured that whichever of the three you use, you can be transformed into a brilliant baker whatever your budget, or level. 

When asked about the collaboration Mary said: “My first experience of baking was when I was a child, using my mother’s Kenwood Chef. It was top of my wedding present list when I married over 50 years ago! As the family grew and my career developed, I added the Kenwood Major to my kitchen. Now this wonderful new range has been a joy to develop.”

Well, Mary, they have been a joy to use! 

I tested out the Chefette and Chef Elite on this autumnal cake. Find the recipe below!

Spiced Fig and Hazelnut Cake

Inspired by Autumn this spiced fig cake filled with cream cheese icing and decorated with dried orange and blackberries is a real crowd pleaser.

Course Dessert
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 4 dried figs chopped into small pieces
  • 75 ml hot strong coffee or espresso
  • 100 g blanched hazelnuts
  • 200 g slightly salted butter very soft, plus a little for greasing
  • 225 g light muscovado sugar
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 4 large eggs

For the icing

  • 250 g pack slightly salted butter very soft
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste
  • 400 g icing sugar
  • 250 g tub full-fat cream cheese

To decorate

  • 3-4 Dried orange slices
  • Handful of Blackberries
  • 2-3 Rosemary sprigs
  • Handful of Hazlenuts
  • Icing sugar to dust

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 3 cake tins with baking paper

  2. Put the dried figs in a bowl and pour over the coffee. Leave to soak for 30 mins. 

  3. Tip the hazelnuts onto a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-8 mins until golden brown and aromatic. Tip 75g of the nuts into a food processor (set aside the rest for later) and leave to cool for 10 mins. 

  4. Blitz the cooled nuts until finely chopped then add the soaked figs and any remaining coffee, and mix again to a paste.

  5. Add the paste and remaining sponge ingredients to the Chef Elite with a good pinch of salt and mix until well combined, scraping down the sides once or twice and mixing again.

  6. Pour the batter equally between your cake tins and bake for 30 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. 

  7. Leave it to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then flip onto a wire rack, peel off the parchment and leave to cool completely. 

For the buttercream

  1. Put the butter, vanilla and half the sugar into a bowl and mix together until smooth using either a hand mixer or the Chefette. 

  2. Add the cream cheese and the remaining icing sugar, then mix again until smooth.

To decorate

  1. Lay one layer of sponge onto a cake board and top with a 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture. Spread it over evenly then top with a second layer. Repeat the process again until all three layers are stacked. 

  2. Top the cake with the final 1/3 of buttercream, then decorate using pieces of dried orange, fresh blackberries, whole hazelnuts and a few sprigs of rosemary. Dust with a little icing sugar and serve immediately. 

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