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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
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
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 Heath bars, finely chopped