Cooking From Every Angle

The Best Cake Slicer Ever

May 18, 2010 • 29 Comments

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Angel Food Cake Slicer

- Merrill

My friend Naomi always serves excellent desserts. One night after dinner, much to the delight of her guests -- myself included -- she produced a gorgeous chocolate layer cake. But it was the unusual-looking instrument she subsequently wielded that really caught my attention. It looked like a large steel comb with about twenty long, sharp tines and a silver handle. When I asked about it, she said it was a "cake breaker," designed specifically for angel food cake; the comb doesn't compromise the delicate, airy texture of angel food the way a regular knife can, although it does leave even vertical streaks running throughout each slice of cake, kind of like a rake in sand. Naomi explained that although the slicer is meant for angel food, she finds that it works well for any sort of cake.

Then, this past weekend, at my bridal shower, Naomi gave me a cake breaker of my very own! Not only that, but mine has a fabulous kelly green Bakelite handle. (She found it on eBay, clever girl.) Above are some photos of the slicer in action, and below is one of my favorite recipes for angel food, from The Joy of Cooking, with a simple toffee-laced whipped cream icing my mother used to make. If you're interested in buying a cake breaker for yourself, you can check out eBay for a vintage version, or go here for a new one, sans Bakelite handle.

Angel Food Cake with Heath Bar Whipped Cream Icing

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking and Veronica Stubbs

Serves 12

For the cake:

  • 1 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites (from about a dozen large eggs)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
 
For the icing:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Heath bars, finely chopped
 
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the cake flour, 2/3 cup sugar and the salt. Repeat.
 
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with 1 tablespoon cold water, the lemon juice, cream of tartar and vanilla on low speed for one minute. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the whites just hold very soft peaks, one to three minutes. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup sugar, one tablespoon at a time, on medium speed. At this point, you should have soft, glossy peaks -- do not beat until completely stiff.
 
3. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the whites in small increments (about an eighth at a time), making sure there are no streaks of flour at the end, but being careful not to over-mix. Pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan and gently spread to level the batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool upside down in the pan (set on a bottle or suspended over 4 glasses) for an hour and half or so. Slide a thin, sharp knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake and unmold onto a rack. Invert the cake and cool completely.
 
4. To make the icing, whip the cream with the sugar until it forms soft peaks and fold in the chopped toffee. Ice the cake and refrigerate until read to serve.
 
Jump to Comments (29)

Comments (29)

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over 1 year ago Soozll

I have one of these also. I was taught to use it to brace the cake so you could slice it. Just stick the tines into the cake and run your knife along the tines. It braces the cake so it won't crush as you cut. It's handy for a soft crumbed frosted cake and even for a soft crumbed bread.

Merrill

over 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Hilarious. It's a cake breaker revolution!!

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over 4 years ago dymnyno

ebay must be wondering why everyone wants a cake breaker!! Me too! ( I bought one too on ebay)

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

SCORE!! Got one on ebay--sterling silver! Thanks, Merrill!

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over 4 years ago Adele

And thank you Merrill for sharing. I can't believe that this is the first I've heard of this tool. I'm totally buying one asap.

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

I want one too! More importantly, Merrill, how was your bridal shower, and what fabulous food was on the menu??

Merrill

over 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Whoops, just saw this. See my Watermelonade post for menu items!

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over 4 years ago cheese1227

Mrs. Wheelbarrow had one of these (a family heirloom, I think) that she used at the DC potluck. We all marveled at it then. NOW I remember what I was going to ask for for Mother's Day. Too bad it's too late as I would have certainly preferred this to the green Wellies I did remember to ask for!

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over 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

That's right, we used it to cut Kelsey's Chocolate Bundt Cake. Actually, I have TWO cake breakers. One in sterling that was my paternal grandmother's and a Delft china and sterling silver breaker with matching pie server that's late 19th c. Dutch. I love angel food cake, but use the breaker for nearly any cake, just as an excuse to bring it out.

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over 4 years ago Teri

Speaking of equipment, can you make an angel food cake with a regular bundt pan, or do you have to have one of those nifty tube pans specially made for angel food? A small flat cake slicer is one thing, but my pantry can't take many more bakery tins! (p.s. Don't you love that we're still learning new things no matter how much time we've spent in the kitchen?!)

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over 4 years ago Teri

Maybe it's a southern thing, but, as a child, I remember seeing this cake slicer in the tool drawer of every woman in my family, even my grandmother who never made a cake in her life. If one was on the table at a family gathering, we knew cakes would shortly follow.

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

You could be right, Teri, I'm from the South, too.

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over 4 years ago Jestei

I have now spent 30 min on Ebay looking at these. Was momentarily seduced by a sterling silver number, then got outbid and became hysterical, now hope for a brown Bakelight mama.

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

good luck!

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over 4 years ago Khanh

I had been searching for a cake cutter for a while and never found one that I liked enough to add to my wedding registry last year. But I just bought a cool breaker on eBay. Thanks for the tip!

Merrill

over 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

You're welcome!

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over 4 years ago EpicureanTuckie

Cake breakers are now the new champagne sabers. Excellent find!

Merrill

over 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Glad you like it!

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over 4 years ago FortWorthGuy

OK....now what do you do with 12 egg yolks left over from the cake recipe? 2 or 3 yolks I can deal with, but a dozen egg yolks all at once?

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over 4 years ago Veronica

A sublime Creme Brulee?

Merrill

over 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

I was going to suggest the same thing!

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over 4 years ago Adele

What about a large batch of spaghetti carbonara before the angel food cake ?

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over 4 years ago dymnyno

I remember that the guys who had the biggest afros used to stick the "cake cutter" in their hair and walk around that way...I didn't know if really had a use other that for fluffing an afro!

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over 4 years ago jafi

When I a kid my grandmother would get very upset with me when I would pretend to comb my hair with her cake breaker. My mom has one as well that she received as a wedding gift in the 60's.

The other thing was the glass coke or pepsi bottle to invert the angel food pan over while it was cooling. I would always offer to empty a bottle to use:-)

Merrill

over 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Hilarious!

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Merrill, my grandmother had one of those--in sterling silver! Right after Hurricane Katrina we were cleaning out her apartment--my sisters, my cousins and I--all looking for the coveted cake cutter (as we called it). My sister Linda found it and claimed dibs. Thanks for the ebay hint--going there next!!

Merrill

over 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Wow! That must have beautiful. Hope you find a good one on eBay -- the Bakelite comes in a few different colors.

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over 4 years ago AnneF

Cool. When I was a girl, Afros were really in style & the cool boys used to carry "cake cutters" in their back pockets: big, long-toothed combs, with wide-set tines just like this one. I have never seen a cake cutter that was for cutting cake!

Merrill

over 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

How funny!