The Great British Bake Off has returned to our screens with a fresh batch of aspiring bakers, but which gadgets are gracing the tent this year and are they the best a budding baker can get?
As ever, there’s a definite retro theme to the tent interior, with a whimsical colour scheme of pastel blues, greens and purples – this year punctuated by 2020’s favourite accessory: lots of houseplants.
Kitchen appliances that match the decor certainly look great on screen, but you’ll want them to do the job well too.
Read on to find out what kitchen gadgets are in the tent and if they really are the best you can get for baking, plus the cheaper alternatives to consider.
Check out our kitchen appliance reviews to get our independent verdict on the best kettles, toasters, coffee machines and more
1. The KitchenAid stand mixer
One of the most familiar sights in the Bake-Off tent is the pretty pastel selection of KitchenAid Artisan mixers, so it’s no surprise that it’s back for 2020.
If pastels aren’t your style, you can also find KitchenAid models in a striking red, purple and even on-trend shimmering copper. They don’t come cheap, though, and could set you back upwards of £500 when they’re not on offer.
They certainly add a touch of baking kudos to your kitchen worktops, but how well do KitchenAid stand mixers really whisk, whip and knead, and are they worth spending that little bit more on? Check out our KitchenAid stand mixer reviews to find out.
If you’re not quite ready to part with a large chunk of money, or the KitchenAid stand mixers simply aren’t your style, we’ve found a range of high-performance stand mixers that won’t break the bank.
Want the look for less? The Kenwood kMix (above) is an ever-popular alternative that has featured in previous seasons of Bake Off and has a similar retro vibe.
You can also find it in a range of stylish colours including black, chrome and rose gold, although there isn’t as much choice as the KitchenAid range. You can sometimes pick one up for less than £250 when on offer though, making it a more affordable option.
Head to our stand mixer reviews to see which other models scored highly in our independent tests.
2. Neff Slide&Hide oven
Neff ovens are another regular fixture of the Bake Off tent, thanks to their signature ‘slide and hide’ door, which slots conveniently underneath so you can get closer to check on your creations.
If you opt for a Neff oven, you can expect some high-end features that are sure to impress keen bakers, including steam cooking, pyrolytic self-cleaning and CircoTherm technology. Neff claims that this ensures air circulates evenly around the oven, helping you to create multiple masterpieces at the same time.
They don’t come cheap, though, so you can expect to spend anywhere from £400 up to a whopping £1,600 for high-end models. Take a look at our Neff oven reviews to see how well they performed in our rigorous tests and whether they’re worth splashing out on.
Best ovens for baking
If you’re a baking enthusiast but simply don’t have the budget for an all-singing all-dancing oven, never fear. Fancy features aside, you’ll stand yourself in good stead with an oven that can do the basics well – sticking to the temperature you set and spreading heat evenly to help you achieve those perfect results.
This isn’t a given, though, as in the past we’ve found ovens that veer more than 40°C from the temperature you set on the dial, a fast route to blackened biscuits.
However, we’ve also found Best Buy ovens that can produce well-risen cakes, delicious loaves and golden-brown biscuits for less than £200. Take a look at our built-in oven reviews to discover the best models for your budget.
3. Retro fridge freezer
The Bake Off set wouldn’t be complete without a vintage style fridge-freezer. This year’s choice is a 1950s-style model in a range of pastel blues, with a smaller freezer at the top and shiny chrome handles.
The top-mounted design is pretty common among retro models, meaning the freezer is at eye level rather than lower down. This is ideal for when you need to quickly cool down a bake before icing it, and there’s no need to scrabble around on your hands and knees to load and unload.
It’s difficult to tell exactly which model the Bake Off team has opted for this year, but in previous seasons they’ve featured retro models from Gorenje, Servis and Smeg. Servis models are at the cheaper end of the scale, starting at just over £400, whereas Smeg and Gorenje fridge freezers can cost anywhere up to £2,000.
If you’re absolutely set on a vintage style kitchen, check out our retro fridge freezer buying guide for advice on choosing the right brand for you and how they measure up when it comes to keeping their cool.
4. Magimix food processor
Food processors are handy for speedy chopping, grinding and mixing jobs, such as creating the perfect marzipan that we saw in week one.
This year, the Bake Off contestants are using Magimix food processors, which come with a variety of processing bowls in different sizes – useful when you’re trying to create elaborate bakes with multiple steps.
They also come with a wide range of attachments for everything from chopping and grating to whisking, mixing and blending.
A timeless design certainly matches with the retro vibe of the tent, but these Magimix’s come with a premium price too. Depending on which model you go for, you could be looking at spending anything from just over £200 right up to £400.
Check out our food processor reviews to see if it’s worth splashing out on a Magimix, and how rival brands such as Cuisinart, KitchenAid and Sage compare.
5. Neff induction hob
The importance of a good hob is often overlooked when we think about baking, but it can be essential for whipping up the perfect jam or compote to go inside your Victoria sponge, or handling delicate tasks such as caramel, custard and Swiss meringue buttercream.
This year’s Bake Off contestants are using a Neff induction hob to match the oven, although their slimline version only has just two rings rather than four.
Induction hobs are quicker than other types of hob, which is ideal for bakers in a rush, and they’re cheaper to run too. They create a magnetic field between the induction element in the hob and the pan so that only the pan heats up, rather than the cooking surface.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that they were the most expensive type of hob. But, although you can easily spend more than £600 on a top-end model, we’ve also uncovered some cheap induction hobs that exceeded expectations in our tests.
Take a look at our induction hob reviews to see which ones we recommend, and how they compare with gas and electric versions.
6. Swan Nordic microwave
A microwave may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of baking essentials, but they’re handy for jobs such as softening butter when you’re against the clock.
Bake Off has used Swan microwaves before, and this year is no different as they’ve opted for a striking ‘Nordic style’ model.
At just under £90 they aren’t too pricey, but is this the best microwave for the job or just the one that looks good in the tent? Read our full Swan SM22036GRYN microwave review to find out.
7. Dualit hand mixer
If you only bake occasionally or want to avoid the expense of a stand mixer (or are trying to tackle 16 different tasks against the clock on a national TV show), a hand mixer is a good accessory to have around.
We’ve spotted Dualit hand mixers dotted around the tent.
At £70, these models are on the pricey side – you can pick up a basic hand mixer for around £15. Higher-end models tend to come with extra accessories such as balloon whisks and a sturdy metal design.
Beware, though, as this can mean they are heavier, which could make for tired arms if you’re tackling a bigger bowl of mixture.
Check out our guide on hand mixers vs stand mixers for more on how to decide which appliance is right for you.
Choosing the best kitchen gadgets
The gadgets in the Bake Off tent are certainly aesthetically pleasing, but that’s not always backed up by best-in-class performance.
Some may be worth splashing the cash on, but there are always cheaper options to consider if you don’t have a big budget to play with. Spending more doesn’t always guarantee a better product, so it’s worth checking before you part with your hard-earned cash.
- Not sure which kitchen gadget to choose? Take a look at our guide to choosing between a mixer, blender or food processor.
- Already have the baking appliances you need? Head to our 10 baking tips you need to know to get perfect results every time.