A Tale of Two Mixers

Throwback to another Facebook post from a few years ago. However, it seemed worth sharing.
Monday, 12 April 2010

There was royal icing; there was color flow icing. There was the reality of me having a cheap hand mixer and the dream of a Professional 600 Kitchen Aid Mixer. There was my stupidity and pride, and there was my boss’s benevolence.

And in the end, there were pretty flowers, basket weave designs, and 3-D objects on my cake.

Rather than a butter cream icing, I and my fellow cake decorating novices were to make royal icing for the next class. Royal icing is basically powdered sugar and water with a few tablespoons of meringue powder; of course, Wilton specifies that you can only use their meringue powder as powdered egg whites from someone else is just outright! [Okay, done with rant, back to the subject at hand.] This icing is about the consistency of toothpaste and is fairly easy to work with except that it dries fast. And I mean fast!

I was instructed in the previous class that royal icing needed to be mixed (with a hand or stand mixer) for 7-10 minutes, and that for the first 5 minutes, the mess would not look like icing. I was not informed that it would be similar to mixing concrete.

My mixing beaters already needed to be replaced, but I didn’t see how a few small batches of icing would hurt anything before I attempted the warranty mess with Black & Decker.

The ingredients were measured in the bowl, and I turned on the motor. Not too bad, but this was MUCH thicker than butter cream. My instructor was right, this did not look anything like icing. Some promise of an edible substance started to emerge, when I heard some rattling that gave me concern. I stopped mixing and saw my mixer was having some tine tangling due to the welding coming apart, but I thought I could make it through until the end of this icing round.

I was mistaken. Actually, I was completely wrong.

I turned the mixer back on only to hear an increase in clicking and mixer awkwardness. I turned off the motor and proceeded to step back and aim the beaters away from me as shards of metal flew out of the bowl and onto my kitchen floor. It was epic!

I had to finish the icing, so I switched to whisk attachments. Why didn’t I use those earlier? Well, whisking adds air, which in itself is not horrible, but not ideal for the icing I was making. Yet, this icing was not going to give up without a good fight! My trusty whisk attachments were bent after about 2 minutes!

I kept going because I needed the icing for class and this was my only chance to get it finished. Then the motor started making odd clicking noises. It was then that I knew my hand mixer was gone…gone…gone.

This was one of those few instances where I was thoroughly elated that I kept my receipt well after others might have thrown it away.

On the brighter side, we learned how to make lots and lots of flowers that week in class. Daffodils, Victorian Roses, pansies, apple blossoms, violets, and daisies. Flowers make me happy! Also, royal icing flowers are to be dried then used in decorating, therefore you can make these one day to two months in advance. See all the fun I can have?!?!

A few days later, I finally had time after work to return my mixer to the store. On my way out the door, I mention my errand along with the incident which sealed my need for a new hand mixer to my boss. She laughs and then offers her cheap stand mixer to me since she doesn’t use it anymore. Lo and behold, the next day, a stand mixer appears in the office. And it was mine.

No, it isn’t a Professional Model Kitchen Aid. I’m still saving up for one of those beauties. I’m not joking about the professional model, and preferably in green or other bold color. But I now have a stand mixer that saves my hand-held and my arm much pain and suffering.

Oh, I was also able to replace my mixer at Bed, Bath & Beyond rather than deal with Black & Decker. The manager at the Eastside store is my hero.

The final cake of Level 2 was to include the royal icing flowers:

…and the color flow bird:

Thus, I had a delicious, beautiful and sweet ending for the icing fiasco which started as a royal pain and a royal mess.



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