If you don’t have a stand mixer, it can be tempting to look around your kitchen and see what other appliances you might be able to use in its place.
Most commonly, people look to a blender. From there, curiosity takes hold with many, (myself included) looking to find out if you can mix cake batter in a blender.
I speak from experience when I say, yes, you can mix a cake in a blender. However, there’s a couple of tricks you’ll need to master in order to get the right consistency. This includes adding the ingredients in the right order and using the pulse settings on your blender.
There is a lot of science that goes into perfecting the art of mixing a cake in a blender, and it is probably going to take you a few goes to achieve perfection.
Don’t be disheartened if your first attempts don’t achieve the desired results. This process is all about trial and error, and making the process work for you.
How To Mix Cake In A Blender
As a general rule of thumb, you will want to mix your wet ingredients together first.
This will help to avoid any clumping together at this early stage. However, don’t add any butter at this point! The fats in butter will remain separate from the liquids in the blender and will result in the formation of congealed clumps.
I’d recommend placing it in a bowl over boiling water to slowly melt it before adding it later on. Making sure to select the pulse function, start to mix the ingredients, keeping an eye out to make sure the ingredients are mixing together evenly.
Once you are content that the liquids are thoroughly blended, it’s time to add your dry ingredients. Any salt, baking powder, chocolate powder, or other dry ingredients go into the blender.
Make sure to pulse the mixture in very short bursts as you add each ingredient. Ensure your ingredients are evenly mixed throughout. If you want to add anything fancy to your mix, now is the time. Make sure anything you add at this stage is evenly distributed, using the pulse feature while watching at all times.
If you are making a gluten free cake, replace the last step with adding your specific mixture.
Once you are happy your ingredients are completely mixed together, you are ready to add your flour and butter (as long as your recipe requires it). Ensuring it has softened to a pliable texture, pour it in and pulse for very short intervals. This is the part where you really need to pay attention; over-mix it, or pulse for long periods of time and you risk congealing your mixture.
Once the mixture takes on a smooth texture, let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Check it, and as long as there is no bubbles insight you are ready for the final stage.
Liberally grease a cake tray or pan and pour in the mixture. Place it into a pre-heated oven, and allow it to bake for as long as your recipe suggests at the proscribed temperature. Remove it from the oven, and once cool serve your cake in whichever manner you desire. Well done, you’ve made your first cake in a blender!
Cake Mixed In A Blender VS Cake Mixed In A Stand Mixer
In all honesty, this will all depend on a combination of luck, and trial and error. Chances are you will over-pulse the mixture at some point in the process, which will result in a slightly chewy, dense cake. If this is the case, simply shorten the time you pulse for the next time you use this method.
This technique is sometimes called ‘bracketing,’ and can be used for any process (including outside of baking) that requires a trial and error approach. If the cake doesn’t taste right the second time, either shorten the pulse time again or if you feel it hasn’t mixed properly at all, go for a length of time somewhere in the middle.
It won’t take you too many goes to get it right, and once you’ve nailed it, you’ll end up with perfect cakes every time.
One of the main reasons for the difference in consistency if the cake is over-mixed in a blender is the science behind sugar and cakes. A lot of the magic (oh, go on then, science) behind cake making occurs because of the way sugar reacts according to different circumstances.
For example, the ‘Maillard reaction’ occurs at high temperatures in sugars, causing the crust to form its rich colour and taste. Similarly, caramelisation occurs due to the breakdown in sugars, giving the cake both its consistency and colour.
If the sugars are broken down too much by over-mixing, then the chances are the process will be slightly spoiled, resulting in a less than satisfying mouthfeel.
The second biggest reason for a cake mixed in a blender going wrong is down to gluten. One of the chemicals in flour is glutenin. The relationship between glutenin and your cake is the key one.
If there isn’t enough protein in the flour at the right point in the process your cake will collapse, and if there is too much then it will be too chewy; both of these can occur while adjusting your pulses.
Glutenin forms gluten when the flour is added to the wet ingredients, which is why you absolutely must add the flour last with any butter. If you allow the ingredients to mix for too long together during the blending process, you will end up with far too much gluten, and a cake that resembles more a lump of tasty bread than a fluffy masterpiece.
You might be thinking that you can avoid the issue of a chewy cake by substituting flour for a gluten-free mix, and to an extent you would be right. However, don’t ignore the other steps, otherwise the sugars in your wet ingredients will probably throw a spanner in the works.
And there you have it; a perfect cake mixed in a blender. Sure, it might have taken you a few goes, but where’s the joy in achievement without the risk of failure? All that’s left is to enjoy your creations.