Do I really need an electric mixer?

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Assistant Cook
Dec 31, 2010
Sorry but I'm really new to baking. I wanted to bake cakes in the past but all the mixes I saw in the store indicated that I would need an electric mixer that has different settings in order to mix the batter. I can't really afford to invest in a mixer right now, and I really don't need the clutter of an extra gadget. Is there any technique I could employ using a hand wisk that would give me decent results? TIA
Don't know how toned up and strong your arms are, but many cake mixes call for whipping eggs and sugar until light and fluffy, which can take up to 10 minutes using a mixer. That could be quite a workout by hand.

However, instead of investing in a stand mixer, which you say is not in your financial cards right now, take a look at some of the lesser expensive hand mixers. I have a 5-speed KitchenAid one that is a real trooper and it can be had at a reasonable price if you shop wisely. Especially if you surf Internet sites.

You might go that route until you can get a stand mixer.
I'm sure you can make a cake without a mixer. After all, cakes are older than kitchenaid mixers. I really like my kitchenaid though. If you are looking for something inexpensive why not get a cheap hand mixer. But what you can achieve with a mixer, you can do with a little muscle.
I always use my hand mixer for my cakes. I only pull out my kitchenaid stand mixer for big batches of cookies or pizza dough. You can get a decent hand mixer for around $35-$40. There are cheaper ones in the $20 range but I've never been very impressed with less expensive ones.
My grandma had two pots, two frying pans and one baking dish. No electric mixers were even available. I still do not know anybody who can cook or bake better than she did.
As long as you can wisk really hard and really fast you are good to go without one.
Don't believe anybody that you need one.
Yard sales are a great place to look.

Omigosh! Absolutely. I've gotten some of my nicest and most expensive (if purchased new and in a retail store) appliances at yard sales and thrift stores. Plus most users manuals can be easily downloaded from the Internet if those are missing. I can't believe I forgot to recommend this avenue for you.
If you can get a 70's era hand mixer or older in good shape, it will likely last you forever. My mom only had a hand mixer and did just fine.

I learned to make everything with a bowl and wooden spoon in a vocational school. I also learned to whip egg whites and cream with a whisk.

If you are only going to give a mixer light or occasional use, they are handy to have especially for the whipped cream and egg whites, go with a cheap one. If you are going to give one any serious use, go for something in the $40-50 range.
Perhaps you might like something like this - found on Amazon for $14. Not a lot of money and will fit in a drawer, so no clutter.
Do you need an electric, is it handy to have one? Yes. I would go to yard sales, auctions, thrift stores and look for one. Let friends and family know you want one. Someone might have spare one kicking around. As s/one has already mentioned, you can download the manual on line. And, since Christmas is coming, you could do what I did when I was young, I gave my family a list of kitchen items that were on my wish list. My brother still buys me pieces of XMas Spode for Christmas and my birthday. I identified the brands I wanted, what I wanted, and made sure that there were things on the list that were inexpensive (a stainless steel "little" strainer--under $10, probably $5) to expensive (Spode, bread machine, knives). It took the challenge out of shopping for me, but also gave them a sense of what I would like and let them pick. I didn't get XMas presents I didn't want. Parents on the list (or grandparents/aunts/uncles/godparents) If you have kids in your life in their early '20s-30s who are not married, doing this is kinda like a bridal registry. Heck, even at my age, there are still things on my wish list! And, my list was used for YEARS. My godparents used it, my uncle, my aunts, my friends. It was great.
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I got a kitchen aid mixer for Christmas and I LOVE it!!!! I use it almost every day, so i get its use out of it for sure. As everyone else has said, an electric mixer is not necessary but is way more convenient and easier. I would also recommend just getting a hand mixer as the stand mixer is a bit bulky and space consuming, not to mention they are very pricey if its not in the budget right now, but if you do bake a lot you will for sure gets its use out of it!!
For cake mixes, puddings, etc. you could use your blender if you have one. I got tired of setting up, then cleaning up the Kitchen-Aid for small jobs, so I picked up a hand mixer at Walgreens for less than ten bucks, and it came with a plastic case that held the chord and beaters and snapped on to the bottom of the mixer, making one neat package. I just keep it on the prep table behind my Kitchen-Aid.
I think the Kitchenaid stand mixer, past and present, is a beautiful and useful machine, especially for avid bakers. That said, I don't own one and don't intend to, as I rarely bake. I use my little handheld mixer, also a Kitchenaid, but it takes up very little space and is easily cleaned.
Yard sales are a great place to look.
Yep Yep .. I got a Vintage Kitchenaid 4-C stand mixer for $5! .. I had to spend $30 for a bowl .. still much less than $75+ I see them for sale on the internet.

I'd also recommend Waring Pro WHM100 Professional 10 Speed Hand Mixer. Sure you can get a Kitchenaid handmixer .. but I've seen too many bad reviews that the worm gear or summat gets stripped in not-so-heavy loads.
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If you end up not getting an electric mixer, get a metal bowl for beating egg whites until they're stiff. They stay cooler so they get stiff faster ;)
If you end up not getting an electric mixer, get a metal bowl for beating egg whites until they're stiff. They stay cooler so they get stiff faster ;)

If you can find a copper bowl (for egg whites) at a yard sale or thrift store, get it and chill it before you whip. Be sure to scrub it with salt and lemon juice/vinegar, rinse and dry before you chill.
gadzooks said:
If you can find a copper bowl (for egg whites) at a yard sale or thrift store, get it and chill it before you whip. Be sure to scrub it with salt and lemon juice/vinegar, rinse and dry before you chill.

Actually room temperature eggs whites whip better than cold ones, you get more volume. Chilling the bowl works best when whipping cream.
I dont have one of those kitchen bench mixers, I've only got a electric hand mixer and that works great, relatively inexpensive as well I think mine was $15AUD (not even on sale) and it been years, never had to replace it yet. I really think a electric hand mixer is useful. I've tried whipping cream with normal whisk, and omg, it took forever!

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