Trivia in the Kitchen, Number Thirty-Four!

Angel food cake, which is made using a lot of egg whites, is thought to have been developed in America following the invention of the rotary egg beater in the mid- to late-1800s.  Credited to Ralph Collier, the mixer with rotating parts was patented in 1856.  An eggbeater is a handheld device with a crank on the side geared to one or more beaters. The user grips the handle with one hand and operates the crank with the other, creating the rotary action.  And surprisingly enough, you can still find this design today.

What other kitchen gadgets have had the same design of more than 100 years?

What’s the secret to making a great angel food cake?

You’ve got to whip the egg whites until they are stiff, Cream of tartar is added to the mixture to stabilize the egg whites. Then just fold in the remaining ingredients into the egg white mixture. For this to work well, it is useful to have softer wheat flour; actual cake flour is generally a good bet — it has a very light texture. Note: the softer wheat and lack of fat causes angel food cake to be very light in both texture and taste.

Angel food cake should be cut with a serrated knife (a straight-edged blade tends to smoosh the cake rather than slice it), but forks, electric serrated knives, special tined cutters or a strong thread could be used instead.


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