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Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR Review

The Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition HM680CR is a sturdy hand mixer with some stand mixer features

Verdict

The Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition HM680CR is a hand mixer and a basic stand mixer in one. On its own, the hand mixer is on the heavy side – but it’s also sturdy and powerful. And while the price is higher than that of an average hand mixer, you're getting a stand, a stainless steel bowl, a splashguard and a spatula, in addition to the usual array of accessories.

Pros

  • Hand or stand option
  • Bowl and splashguard included
  • Sturdy build
  • Dishwasher-safe tools

Cons

  • On the heavy side
  • No whisk attachment
  • No recipe booklet

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £84.98
  • 3-litre stainless steel bowl with splashguard
  • Two beaters and two dough hooks
  • Spatula
  • 350W motor
  • 5 speeds and pulse function
  • H27 x W34.5 x D39cm
  • 1.45m cable

The Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR is part of a special-edition range of mixers, designed by Kenwood in collaboration with the food writer and former  Bake-Off host, Mary Berry.

Also in the range are the Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM535CR and the Chef Elite Mary Berry Special Edition KVC5100C stand mixer. The Chefette HM680CR falls somewhere between these two products.

While it’s a hand mixer by its name, it also comes with a stand and a bowl, making it a good entry-level appliance for anyone making a choice between a hand mixer or a stand mixer. 

Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR – What you need to know

  • Beating – Using settings 1-3, an all-in banana bread mix took just 1min 45secs to blend on the stand until smooth and fluffy. Combining ingredients for a chocolate cake took 2mins 55secs. There were bits of unmixed batter on the sides of the bowl, which required the use of the handheld mixer for a further 10 seconds 
  • Whisking – Five large egg whites formed soft peaks following 1min 15secs on speed 4; whipping to stiff peaks took a further 45 seconds on speed 1
  • Kneading –  Following 3mins 30secs of using the pulse function to combine flour and chopped butter, the mixture still needed some further manual rubbing. Kneading the dough took 3mins 50secs, with another 1min 30secs required after adding fruit. The mixer coped well with this heavy-ish dough, but the stand became wobbly, so I had to hold the mixer for much of the process.

The Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR Design – Successfully combines qualities of both hand and stand mixers

Decked in the same glossy cream with grey accents as the other mixers in the Mary Berry special-edition range, the HM680CR comes with a stand, a 3-litre stainless steel bowl, a transparent splash guard and a larger-than-average hand mixer.

While it obviously occupies more countertop space than a hand mixer, it functions as a light stand mixer, too – and takes the hassle out of finding the correct bowl. (It’s preferable to use a deep bowl with a hand mixer to avoid any spillages, but deeper bowls can be hard to come by in an average supermarket.)

When using the HM680CR as a hand mixer, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s heavier than regular models I’ve tested. At 1.04kg (with beaters attached), it’s 130g heavier than the special-edition Kenwood HM535CR and the Russell Hobbs Desire 24672 hand mixer. But it still manages to be lighter than the Swan Fearne 5-Speed hand mixer. 

Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR Stand

You can use the mixer on a stand or in your hand

Docking and undocking the hand mixer from the stand is done at the push of a button; it can be found on top of the stand. The rear of the stand is home to a lever for raising the top part of the mixer, with or without the mixer attached, to allow for easy placement or removal of the bowl. 

For those who have concerns about storage, at least the cable here can be neatly rolled up on the back of the stand while the main mixing unit is stored there.

Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR cable tidy

The power cable can be wound out of the way when it isn’t in use

The stand itself doesn’t have a motor – but a plastic gear on the stand passively interacts with another plastic gear on one of the beaters or dough hooks  to make the mixer more stable in docked mode.

Since the HM680CR isn’t a stand mixer, the tools here don’t rotate in a planetary circuit – meaning something mimicking the manual rotation of the bowl during hand-mixing is needed. So, the bowl is designed to rotate during mixing, ensuring ingredients are combined properly. While this was the case in some instances, stickier and/or heavier mixtures required that I remove the hand mixer from its stand to get a better reach in the bowl.

Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM535CR rotating bowl

The bowl is designed to rotate to ensure all ingredients are mixed properly

The HM680CR’s speed control switch doesn’t suffer from the same laxity as that of the HM535CR hand mixer. The mechanism on the former is precise enough not to let the switch slide down too far – meaning you won’t overshoot the mark and end up on speed 4 instead of 1.

Otherwise, the design is similar, with a grey eject button on top, and a sliding speed control switch with the pulse function on one side of the “off” switch and speeds 1 to 5 on the other. The mixer handle is rubberised, allowing for a firmer grip and helping to avoid any mishaps with greasy hands.

Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR hand mixer controls

The hand mixer has its own set of speed controls

Included are two pairs of stainless steel tools – beaters and dough hooks – that are slightly bigger than average, to reflect the larger frame of the mixer. A whisk would have been welcome, but the beaters managed to fluff up egg whites without too much effort.

Disappointingly, there are no special Mary Berry recipes accompanying the HM680CR. Only four Kenwood recipes are provided within the manual: three for beaters and one for dough hooks.

Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR Performance – It copes with stand and hand mixer tasks well

First, I used the banana bread recipe from the HM680CR’s manual. The mixture was super-fluffy after just 1min 45secs, increasing the speed from 1 to 3, while keeping the mixer on the stand.

Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR

Next, I set my sights on a Sachertorte recipe by Mary Berry. On the stand, butter fluffed up nicely following 30 seconds on speed setting 1. I then gradually added sugar over 1min 45secs on the same speed as the bowl rotated.

It took 40 seconds to mix in melted chocolate at speeds 2 and 3. Slight unmixed residue remained at the edges of the bowl, so I removed the hand mixer from the stand to combine any content left along the edges of the bowl on speed 1 for 10 seconds. Finally, I added egg yolks, which took a further 20 seconds to combine.

Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR

I then whisked five large egg whites separately on the stand. These started foaming almost immediately at speed 4 and formed soft peaks after 1min 15secs. In order to better gauge the texture of the egg whites, I opted to do the final bit by handholding the mixer for a further 45secs at speed 1. A total mixing time of 2 minutes is pretty fast.

Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR

The stand proved a little less useful when kneading dough for a sweet bread. However, the HM680CR’s manual does advise to remove the mixer from the stand for heavier mixes and re-kneading.

I started off by trying to use the mixer to combine flour and chopped butter – something that’s usually advised to be done either in a food processor or by hand. While regular mixing on the stand for 2 minutes at speeds 1 and 2 did very little, I had somewhat better luck using the pulse function.

Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR

After 1min 30secs of handheld mixing with pulse, I placed the mixer back on the stand for another 2 minutes. It seemed to make little difference (and it’s easier not to have to hold the mixer).

Since the mixer was becoming a little warm, seeming to struggle with the final bits of butter, I finished off rubbing the mixture into a breadcrumb-like structure by hand.

Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR

I next combined all the ingredients, stirring slightly, and set the mixer to knead on the stand. Following 20 seconds on speed 1, it became obvious the mixer was way too wobbly. So, I removed it from the stand and continued to knead for 3mins 30secs on speeds 1 and 3.

Once the dough had come together nicely, I mixed for another 1min 30secs on adding the fruit. I initially tried to blend in the fruit on the stand, but after some protesting sounds from the mixer, I went for the handheld option again.

Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR

While there were a few stray raisins I had to push further into the dough by hand, I managed to get a relatively even spread overall – although due to the thickness of the dough, the raisins tended to stay slightly towards the edges rather than moving further in. Still, the bread came out with a good rise and a nice texture.

Should you buy the Kenwood Chefette Mary Berry Special Edition Hand Mixer HM680CR?

If you’re trying to decide between buying a hand mixer or a stand mixer – or you’re looking to take the first step towards owning a stand mixer without committing to a pricey machine – the HM680CR is a great entry point. While it might not be heavy-duty enough for a seasoned baker, it’s a step up from your average hand mixer, both in terms of sturdiness and price.

However, if it’s precision you’re after then the KitchenAid 9-Speed Hand Mixer with its greater range of speeds is more likely to hit the spot.

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