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3 Mar 2019

Tefal Cake Factory: can this baking machine make perfect cakes?

We tried out the new Tefal cake baker. Find out if it can make tasty treats and prove its worth in the kitchen

Tefal says its new Cake Factory is the ultimate cake-baking machine, giving you perfect home-baked treats every time without the guesswork that sometimes comes with oven baking.

The Cake Factory (KD801840) uses preset programs to precisely regulate the temperature while baking, which Tefal says gives more even results than you would get using an oven.

With more than 200 recipes to choose from, it's designed get your favourites right each time and even have you producing complicated showstoppers you never thought you would attempt.

It's available to buy online for roughly £170, but do you really need another gadget competing for space in your kitchen? Read on to find out if we think it's worth splashing out on.

Tefal Cake Factory: how it works

The Cake Factory is like a mini oven designed especially for baking. It has five preset programs which can be used to bake a wide variety of recipes.

These programs electronically regulate the temperature throughout the baking process for precise results. Experienced bakers can also use it on manual mode if they prefer.

Unlike other cake-baking machines, which tend to make specific products like cupcakes or brownies, the Tefal Cake Factory can make anything from pavlovas and baked cheesecakes to gluten-free banana bread and chocolate lava cakes.

The recipe book included with the Cake Factory contains 22 recipes, and you can expand the selection to more than 200 by downloading the free app on your smartphone or tablet - so you'll never be short on ideas.

It comes with a non-stick baking tray, silicon mini muffin mould and mini cake mould. You can also buy additional moulds for specialist bakes, such as mini eclairs or buttery madeleines, for around £12 each.

Are the recipes easy to follow?

We found the recipes clear and easy to follow. There are recipes for both beginner and experienced bakers, and the level of difficulty is clearly stated.

You can filter recipes on the app by special diets, or by what you already have in your fridge, and save favourites or add them to your shopping list.

One thing to watch out for is that with some recipes the app defaults to making three batches' worth, but for other recipes it doesn't - so be careful of this when adding recipes to your shopping list or starting a new recipe to avoid making more than you need.

Is it easier than oven baking?

Baking is quick and easy with the Cake Factory, and there's no need to monitor it during cooking or adjust the position, time and temperature as you might have to with oven baking.

Clear instructions and simple controls meant we had no trouble getting started and selecting the right program.

When the cooking time is nearly up the display on the machine will show a second by second countdown and beep to let you know it's finished. You can even set a timer through the app to let you know when to come back, if you fancy wandering off while it bakes.

We found the handles on the lid and trays easy to grip, so you shouldn't have any issues getting your bakes out safely when they're done. Cakes popped out effortlessly from the baking tray and silicon moulds, and they were really easy to clean afterwards.

Does it bake quicker than an oven?

At first glance the cooking times don't seem that much quicker than traditional oven baking.But because of its mini size, the Cake Factory is extremely quick to warm up compared to an oven, so doesn't require any time to preheat. So if you're always forgetting to switch the oven on in advance of baking, the Cake Factory might save you a bit of time.

How good are the cakes?

We tried a fair few recipes with the Cake Factory - and then a few more just to be sure - and got good results each time.Our cakes were all well risen with no cracks or burnt edges, and the sponges were light and fluffy.

Both large and mini sponges baked extremely evenly. Our large sponge was golden all over and our mini raspberry cakes (above) were perfectly uniform in colour.

Our chocolate lava cakes were risen and cooked on the outside, with perfectly gooey middles. They were really quick and easy to prepare, ideal for a show-stopping dessert.

However, we did find a peculiar quirk when baking chocolate brownies. Both batches we made developed a large air bubble in the middle while baking. This looked odd and meant that some of our brownies were slightly thinner than the rest. But it didn't affect how well-cooked or tasty they were, and we had no problems with other recipes.

Should you buy the Cake Factory?

If you want a quick and easy way to created baked treats at home, this gadget is worth considering. It could be goodfor baking beginners who aren't that confident judging oven timings, hosts who want impressive-but-easy desserts, or busy households who want to bake more, minus the stress.

However, if you're already an avid and seasoned baker, it may not be for you. It doesn't have the flexibility and control you get with a traditional oven, and you might miss having a viewing window to let you keep an eye on your bakes.

If you're looking for a quick and accurate oven that'll help you achieve the best baking results, headto our round up ofBest Buy ovens.