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Topic: using a hand held beater, can I get by?
trinidad67 08/21/2011 7:00 PM
If I am only doing small cakes and cupcakes, can I get away with using only a handheld mixer? I would hate to invest in a KA if I only will use it a couple of times a year. But, if it will be too difficult for me to do the frostings etc. then I guess I will need to look into getting one.
What are your thoughts?
ponyjockey 08/21/2011 7:26 PM
I would still consider getting a KA. You can use it for pretty much everything under the sun, cookies, bread, cakes and tons of other things. You might also want to think about getting a less expensive mixer, it won't last nearly as long but you will get better results then if you used a hand mixer.
bunnywoman 08/21/2011 7:37 PM
You can get by using a hand held mixer for buttercream icing. It will burn up the motor if you try making royal icing with it though.

The reason I like a standing mixer is that:
1. While it is mixing I am multi tasking around the kitchen
2. I do not want to have to stand there for 16 minutes holding the hand held mixer to complete a batch of my icing.

Totally up to you as to what you want to do though. Watch the sales. Ask for it for a birthday gift or Christmas gift. Many different makes and models and prices.

whoknew? 08/21/2011 7:58 PM
You say you'll only use it a couple of times a year? Get one anyway, you'll be glad you did, even if you only make buttercream or royal icing a few times a year. I'd never owned one or used one in my life until I took the Wilton classes last year. A KA is the only way to go.

I got mine off Craigslist for $150. It is a red, tilt-head KA Artisan. I wrote a thread with information about buying a KA:

cutedoggie 08/21/2011 9:35 PM
Go for it and get the new KA from Williams Sonoma - THE 7 QT machine! A mixer is for more than cakes! You can do your meat loaf in it, mash your potatoes, do up big batches of recipes, etc. Plus there are some great attachments you can purchase to use with the mixer's hub!

Go to the Williams Sonoma website and look up the KA mixers and attachments. There are videos that can show you a variety of things the mixer and its attachment can do!

I prefer the bowl lift models as they are the ones with the most power!
trecur 08/21/2011 10:16 PM
I have a hand mixer and I haven't had any problems yet. Watts are the key, my mixer has 300 watts and KA starts at 325. The more watts the more power. If you won't use it often then IMO you don't need to invest in a stand mixer until you get more into baking. I've made my cakes for all 3 classes and royal icing with my handheld mixer without any problems. If you have a mixer now I suggest that you use it until you outgrow it (or it conks out). There are zillions of other things that you will be buying as you advance in your baking and I don't see any reason to buy something before you need it. You'll have to stand and hold it while it's running when you could be doing other things but if you are like me and don't have much counter space then that's another consideration. They take up a lot of space.

Whenever you do buy one, buy as many watts as you can afford.
TaysTreats 08/22/2011 1:45 AM
I mainly use my hand held mixer when i'm making cakes and cookies, but I do prefer to use my stand mixer (although not a high end stand's a sunbeam from walmart, and it hasn't died on me yet! haha!) on buttercream. it just gets it smoother than I can with my hand held mixer mainly because I don't want to have to stand there and my arms get tired. haha! lazy, I know, but hey, it works!
trybaking06 08/22/2011 4:02 AM
I had learn how to get my butter cream pretty smooth with just using a hand mixer, my wilton method instructor and a classmate asked me how I did it. I think it was because I had mixed with the old hand mixer for years. I think a hand mixer will work fine, my grandmother used to use this crazy device that looked like beaters but you had to crank it with your hands until my mother bought her a mixer. I do love my kitchen Aid thought, got it 2 years ago. As you get more into cake decorating, and baking a kitchen aid would be a great investment.
baura_l 08/22/2011 8:47 AM
Sure why not?. As someone once told me, your hands are your best tools and you gotta learn to do it with your hands to get the feel of it first. You could even just invest in a really good Hand Mixer, those come in handy.
cakes06 08/22/2011 9:56 AM
You might find after a while that your arm gets very tired of holding a hand mixer and you'll want to invest in a stand mixer. I have two Kenmore (Sears) 350 watt 16 speed mixers and they have served me well over the years. I don't know what they price for now but when I bought them on sale, they were like $70 each.
whoknew? 08/22/2011 12:07 PM
Ya know..... I got up this morning feeling young and happy and full of zest. Then I read the post from trybaking06:

"my grandmother used to use this crazy device that looked like beaters but you had to crank it with your hands".

Now I'm feeling old and creaky and better get my cane and hobble out to the living room to watch a Ronald Coleman movie on the AMC channel.

By the way, for you youngun's, here's the thing she's talking about.
I have one in my kitchen.
That I use.

Sheeesh! You probably don't know about hand-powered potato mashers and ricers, or meat grinders either... Oh, and we used to knead bread by hand! Yup, no dough hooks.

becamico 08/22/2011 1:25 PM
I know I'm in the minority, but I refuse to use dough hooks, and I have one of those hand-cranked mixers, too! (No, I don't use it. My kids think it's a relic, though.) I also have a RECORD PLAYER (45s, 33s, AND 78s!) and a candlestick telephone! (Okay, in a box, in the garage. BUT STILL!)

My KA is my favorite thing in the kitchen. Red, Artisan. Got it earlier this year. It's so preeeeetty...and so powerful...

I think used is the way to go if you're not going to use it a lot. They're SO durable that even a used one will have loads of life left in it!
cakes06 08/22/2011 2:00 PM
whoknew - I use to have one of those hand crank mixers too. Yup, I use to make bread, like triple batches and knead it all by hand. Now, I let my bread machine do the kneading and then I turn it out to form the loaves. Much easier. (The bread doesn't turn out at good in the bread machine if it goes through the entire cycle because my machine is old.)
cakedujour 08/22/2011 6:42 PM
I have one of those crazy devices that I actually use, too. Beating one egg? Easy and quick. Crank it up in hot sudsy water and it cleans right up. I do use the dough hooks on my KA to start kneading my bread but I finish it up by hand, form my loaves by hand and bake in my oven.

All that said, I used hand mixers for several years before I saved up enough to buy my KA. You'll notice I said "mixers." That's because I burned through a few. And I had a Sunbeam Mixmaster that was an incredible disappointment. I had to turn the large bowl by hand. (Yes. I did shift the machine to large bowl mode.) Twenty years later I was given another Mixmaster. Same problem. Use your hand mixers, buy a KA or Cuisinart, or whatever, but do not waste your money on the Sunbeam Mixmaster. For a while you will get by with a hand mixer, but if you get a quality stand mixer you will never regret a penny spent on it.
trybaking06 08/23/2011 10:29 AM
whoknew, you crack me up. Yes, that is like the one my grandmother used. I love the dough hook on my KA, had I know what I was missing I would have gotten a KA earlier. My uncle had one Kenmore mixer, I think it is from the 60's or 70's, I don't remember him doing a lot of baking. I remember one year my sister had gotten a stereo for her birthday, it had a record player, an 8 track, and a radio and we were really excited (she got a couple albums to), technology sure has changed.