I was recently challenged by Kenwood to try out their Kenwood Chef against my beloved Kitchen Aid to see how I thought the two machines would compare. I was really keen to give this a go.
Kitchen Aid stand mixers seem to be so popular and have been for many years. They are a lifestyle choice for so many people. What does it say about you and your kitchen to have a snazzy top of the range mixer permanently gracing your kitchen counter? Sounds silly, but I think lots of people see it this way – they can’t be taken seriously as a keen home cook without one, perhaps? I have to say though, they are a complete lifesaver for professional bakers and keen cooks just like me. The stand mixer has completely revolutionized the way I cook, which has been great for me and so many others. Hands free cake and bread making really does speed up the amount of time spent in the kitchen, and especially if, like me, you are in there all day most days, that can make such a difference to your day. Part of me was a little concerned though, after I had accepted this challenge. What if the Kenwood was better than my Kitchen Aid? Having forked out best part of £400 for my mixer, how would I feel about that?
Prejudices well and truly cast aside, I set about choosing my recipe. I was really in the mood for some delicious every day little sponge cakes, so here is the recipe I used:
Gluten Free Coconut & Lime Sponges
Makes 18 sponges in muffin-sized cases
- 8oz butter or margarine
- 8oz caster sugar
- 4 medium free range eggs
- Zest and juice of 2 limes
- 4 tbsp. coconut milk
- 8oz gluten free self raising flour
- 4 oz desiccated coconut
- 1 tsp. gluten free baking powder
1) Preheat the oven to 150C
2) Place the butter and sugar into the stand mixer and whisk until the two are creamed together
3) Add the lime zest, juice, coconut milk and eggs and mix until combined
4) Add the flour, coconut and baking powder and mix until evenly combined
5) Spoon into muffin cases and bake for around 30 minutes until golden
Here are my observations:
- I used the flexible beater attachment on the Kenwood, which is similar to the paddle attachment on the Kitchen Aid.
- The Kenwood’s motor does seem more robust. My Kitchen Aid does sound and feel a bit clunky. Although it is a very heavy machine, it does feel as though the motor is not as robust as you may imagine for such a solid machine. I felt as though I could turn the Kenwood up higher without worrying it might break, which I do with the Kitchen Aid
- The splash guard for the Kenwood does come with a flap, which you are able to open and close whilst adding additional ingredients to the mixer whilst the motor is running. The splash guard is an invaluable feature of the Kitchen Aid, particularly when working with lots of flour or icing sugar as it does tend to coat everything else in the kitchen even with the splash guard on, so I like this idea.
- The attachments for the Kenwood feel really robust and are slightly easier to attach to the machine than with the Kitchen Aid
- I found the Kitchen Aid slightly easier to clean, as there are fewer nooks and crannies to get muck into when baking
- The Kenwood did appear to work slightly harder than the kitchen aid, and worked the dough more quickly, even though visually both mixers appeared to be working at the same speed
- I remain convinced that the Kitchen Aid is the most visually attractive mixer. Given the frequency of use in my home and the weight of the machine, I always keep it out on the work surface, and I have to say, the Kitchen Aid looks more attractive to me.
For me, there really was very little difference in how the machines performed. I used exactly the same recipe with each machine. I do not feel as though the flexible beater worked as well on the Kenwood as the metal beater does on the Kitchen Aid, as the mixture was not evenly incorporated. I had to go round the edges and bottom with a spatula and scrape it down and mix again before filling the cake cases. I did not have to do this with the Kitchen Aid. However, that would be my only criticism.
In terms of taste and texture, I think the Kitchen Aid cakes are slightly lighter – you may be able to see this in the photo of the cut cakes.
I hate to sit on the fence so to speak, but the differences were so minor, it really comes down to which machine you think would work better for you.
The one big difference though, is cost. The difference in price is very significant, with the Kitchen Aid being the best part of £100 more than the Kenwood and having fewer functions. I tried to compare the price of both machines on the John Lewis website, which I thought would be a fair benchmark as they have a price guarantee, and although they sell many Kenwood mixers, they do not stock the exact model, so I link to Comet instead. I should add that the Kenwood Chef does come with other attachments too, it is not just a stand mixer, so it does all sorts of jobs you could not do with the Kitchen Aid. Where I have two or three machines, you only need one with the Kenwood.
So, what do you think? Which machine do you use, if any, and which one do you prefer?
Thank you to Kenwood for the loan of the mixer to review. I purchased my own Kitchen Aid from John Lewis a couple of years ago.
I also tested the mixers to make granary bread. Check it out here.