Almond Chiffon Cake

Almond Chiffon Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

There are several perks to writing a food blog, the best being the excuse to have delicious cakes, like this almond chiffon cake, in the house at all times. The only person who has an issue with this is my personal trainer, but I just remind him what job security it is for him. I also have an extensive (300+) cookbook library that I attribute to “research” when my husband asks where we will put them all, now that my book shelves are over flowing. Then there are the products companies send me to critique and review. I have received everything from peanut flour (which I adore) to a confectionery funnel (which is for portion control of pancakes and other runny stuff. Really, you have to make your pancakes the exact same size???). I will never review or endorse a product I don’t actually love and find value in. As I mentioned, my shelves are overflowing and I need to make room for several books that I got for Christmas. So, I’m going to do a series of giveaways to make space. Admittedly this first giveaway doesn’t take up any room at all, but it was an awfully generous gift from Williams-Sonoma and I think you should have it. They sent me two gift cards. One for $50 and the other for $100. They are yours if you leave a comment about the strangest piece of kitchen equipment you own. Do you ever use it? I will pick two random winners next week. The first pick will get a $100 gift card and the second a $50 gift card to Williams-Sonoma. WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN!

Now back to the baking…this cake was inspired by my trip to Italy this past summer. The man who owned the home we rented introduced me to his favorite cookie, the ricciarelli. They are made from almond paste and egg whites baked into little rich clouds and dusted with pure white confectioners’ sugar. I was completely addicted to them after the first bite. They are available all over Tuscany and when baked fresh you want to sing their praises. The stale ones you buy in the tin are to be avoided and unfortunately that is what most of us have tried. After writing this description I realize I need to create and post a recipe for the actual cookie, but for now I have a cake that it inspired. It is light and spongy, but at the same time decadent because of the almond paste. The cake is great on its own with a cup of coffee for breakfast or with ice cream or coulis for dessert.

For recipe

Ricciarelli cookies on the counter in San Gimignano | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Ricciarelli cookies on the counter in San Gimignano (the best I had).

A typical day’s sampling of the local Tuscan bakery.

(My average breakfast when traveling. Now you see why I need the personal trainer.)

Ricciarelli (rich-ee-a-relly) Chiffon Cake

2 cups King Arthur Flour Unbleached Cake Flour (this is a very exciting relatively new product from my favorite flour company. If you can’t find it then use Bleached AP)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

7 ounces Almond Paste

5 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil (I used 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup vegetable oil)

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

8 egg whites

confectioner’s sugar for the top

To make the cake: preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. Cream the almond paste until smooth and then add egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, oil, water and extracts. Cream together until smooth, about 3 minutes, set aside.

Egg whites and sugar whipped to stiff peaks | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Whip the egg whites until foamy then add 1/2 cup sugar and whip until stiff peaks, they should be stiff enough to hold onto the whip when lifted out of the bowl, but the peak will be soft enough to flop over like a dairy queen ice cream cone. (If you over whip the egg whites they will not have any elasticity left to rise when they get to the oven.) Sift 1/3 of the flour mixture over the whites and fold it in gently using a rubber spatula. Repeat two more times with remaining flour.

Folding egg white mixture into batter | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Fold the egg white mixture into the almond paste mixture, again in 3 additions.

Almond Chiffon Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Place the batter into an ungreased 10-Inch Tube Pan

Bake for about 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Almond Chiffon Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Remove almond chiffon cake from the oven and invert the pan over the neck of a bottle to cool. This guarantees that the cake will not collapse while cooling.

Almond Chiffon Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Dust almond chiffon cake with lots of confectioners’ sugar and enjoy!

To enter the Williams-Sonoma gift card giveaway leave a comment below about your oddest kitchen tool or just your favorite one. I will pick TWO random winners next week. WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN!

332 thoughts to “Almond Chiffon Cake”

  1. probably the strangest kitchen gadget I have are those little Japanese molds that you slip a hot hard-boiled egg into and it comes out later shaped like a star, or a hello -kitty face or whatever. I used them once.

  2. I wouldn’t say “odd” but rather “most hilarious.” My sweet friend gave me a wooden spoon for my birthday this year, where the spoon bowl is shaped like a heart. I unwrapped it and squealed, and then turned it upside down and said, “It looks like a butt.” (IT TOTALLY DOES) She thought my response was a rather hilarious illustration of me in general. 😀 I love stirring bread dough with my butt-spoon!

  3. I have a miniature whisk, rubber spatula and silicone brush. Amazingly, they sometimes get more use than the full-size versions!
    This cake looks so good. I will have to have some friends over and try it soon!

  4. The strangest thing in my kitchen is the bagel slicer. It makes no sense to me STILL that my boyfriend would by an entire gadget to do the exact same thing a knife does.

  5. The oddest tool we have is an old wooden spoon. It was hand-carved from a slightly bent piece of wood, so there is a slight curve to the handle. The bowl of the spoon is off-center, as well, so one side of the bowl is bigger that the other. However, it’s a great spoon! It fits your hand better because of the slight curve, and you can get into the bottom of pots to stir better because of the off-set bowl! It’s usually the first one I reach for when I’m at the stove.

  6. My mom is a fan of odd kitchen utensils and she always gets me random miniature whisks, little spoons and even tiny measuring spoons for a “pinch” of an ingredient.

  7. Favorite useless gadget that I can’t do without has got to by my infared laser thermometer. I don’t need to know that the temp of my WFO to the tenth of a degree… but it sure is cool to know.

  8. I don’t have the room in my tiny apartment for anything too odd, but my whoopie pie pan is probably the most specific kitchen object I have! Mmmmm whoopie pies!

  9. I wouldn’t say the oddest tool is my egg slicer, but I use it all the time and even to slice things like strawberries….I love it.

  10. My oddest kitchen gadget: my Hello Kitty stuffed sandwich maker. Do I use it? Sometimes, when the kids need a lunch to take to school. It was a fun purchase, though.

  11. I don’t have too many odd gadgets in my kitchen, but I do have an unhealthy number of cake pans and cookie cutters. They won’t even fit in any of my cabinets, so they’re all over. And my stand mixer and zester are by far my two favorite tools.

    What do you do with your peanut flour? I found a small bag at my grocery store recently with the idea of making PB&J macarons, but now I don’t know what else to make with it. Any suggestions?

  12. I have a couple of Rachel Ray’s “Mopines” Not sure why she calls them that. They are “Dish Towel/Hot Pads…a two in one thing. It seems like a good idea, but when you wash them the hot pad part just bunches up into a blob.

    Can’t wait to make this cake. I have everything in my pantry to make it…oh wait, I will go buy the King Arthur cake flour first.

    P.S. you are so right King Arthur Flour and Red Star Yeast make your bread recipes shine. (I’ve tried others…this is best)

  13. Oddest tool in our kitchen is a “banana saver”. You put it on the cut end of a banana to “save” it for later. It doesn’t work. Lesson learned about buying uni-taskers.

  14. The oddest thing in my kitchen is an egg separator! I got it in my stocking several Christmases ago and have yet to use it. Who needs an egg separator when I have two hands?

  15. My oddest kitchen tool I own is what looks like a set of silicone jacks, but is meant to be used instead of a trivet. It works, but I get the funniest looks when I pull them out.

  16. I have a little plastic orange peeler that is worn like a ring to start the peel and a tiny funnel for filling salt and pepper shakers. Surprisingly useful, both of them…. I’m coveting that angel food cake comb in the final photo, but will make do with a serrated knife when I make this cake!

  17. Hmm… I can’t really think of any odd kitchen tools, although I have definitely been sucked in by the cheesy late-night infomercials. I saddly do have the crazy onion slicer, onion goggles (I’m sensing a trend here), Slap Chop, etc. hiding around my kitchen. To redeem myself, haha, my favorite is definitely my Kitchenaid. =)

    (ashleyso2030@gmail.com)

  18. I would say a cherry pitter (from W-S). I used to work there (holidays) so I got some stuff that I thought I would use. But, I have only used it once.
    I try to keep only useful tools in my small kitchen (but well-stocked).
    W-S gift cards are awesome! Thank you!

  19. My father in law gifted my hubby with “Lettuce Knife” – a bright neon green plastic knife that is supposedly not going to turn lettuce brown… We have them sitting in the drawer.

  20. Hi!
    My strangest kitchen appliance, which actually gets alot of use, is my bagel guillotine. It deftly slices through bagel while protecting your fingers. Wholly satisfying… or is it hole-y? I have given many as gifts.

  21. I too have a mini whisk. I use it all the time too. I have mini cupcake spatulas which also are really handy. I don’t have a pickle pincher which I always thought was the funniest gadget. You cant just use a fork or your fingers?

  22. I have a mechanical sifter that you squeeze with your hand – it’s great for sprinkling icing sugar on things. I stole it from my parents who have had it for over 30 yrs.

  23. I have my grandmother’s tofu maker (press?). I think it’s probably from the 50s and isn’t new but is in its original box. I’ve never used it but can’t bring myself to get rid of it.

  24. Oddest=set of measuring spoons that read “pinch” “dash” “dab” etc. Not that wacky, and not terribly useful either, but sometimes silly is enough 🙂

  25. During a recent kitchen renovation we got “Eggy”, a gadget to make hard boiled eggs in the microwave. It worked, but I only used it once after I read some scary reviews about eggs blowing up!

  26. I have this egg cracking thing that is supposed to keep your hands clean. However, the shells get stuck and you end up having to touch raw egg anyway, so it has been stuffed into a corner after one use.

  27. While I wish I had some strange kitchen appliances like the people commenting on the post, I do not.
    My favorite tools to use are a medium sized wooden spoon and a large whisk. They do everything.

  28. I have a tiny little skillet just big enough to cook one egg. That’s it. It’s cute, but I’m a scrambled egg fan, so it just gets moved around from place to place in the kitchen every time I attempt to organize.

  29. My most useless/oddest kitchen tools would be either my cherry pitter (used one time), egg separator (duh – hands or the shells work just fine) and my Japanese dumpling steamer (have yet to use that one!)

  30. My strangest kitchen tool is the strawberry-deleafer. Seriously. I don’t need a gadget to pull the leaves off the strawberries. But thanks!

  31. I have a silicone baking sheet that is for miniature flower shaped something or others. I don’t know what to make with it – teensy quiches? Bite sized brownies? It’s cute to look at but intimidates me.

  32. My favorite favorite favorite kitchen tool is my 6-inch Ateco offset spatula. I use it for everything from removing cookies, icing cakes and cupcakes, removing muffins, flipping fish and delicate meats. It’s my go to tool. I even carry one in the glovebox of my car. =)

  33. A portable knife that a cooking school sent to me for a review. It has a cheap plastic handle which might break even if I try to cut some butter!

  34. Hi Zoe

    that cake looks amazing! I have never made a chiffon cake before, you make me want to go right in the kitchen and bake one!
    I think the strangest piece of kitchen equipment I have is a restaurant grade meat hammer, it looks more like a serious weapon than a kitchen meat hammer.

    Cheers
    Dennis

  35. My latest addiction is to my long zester….I seem to find lots of uses for it. I’m pretty much a gadget nerd….I adore them all. My mother-in-law gave me a green bean frencher(is that a word) a zillion years ago and I didn’t know what it was. I have used it countless times now. My daughter just bought one for her home. Probably because she was given that dinner chore when she was growing up.

  36. Like Judy I use dental floss in the kitchen, but to slice cheesecake! It’s way easier than using a knife.

    But the oddest thing in the kitchen (that I DO use) us a cake lifter, which looks like a giant round spatula (or a small pizza peel). It’s heavy duty and perfect for sliding layers of cake on and off durface without destroying them. People who walk into my kitchen think it looks like a torture device.

    The other odd piece of equipment I hope to own, and use, is a pastry fork. (I think Julie Child called it a “granny fork”.)

  37. I’m with Anna…I too have an unhealthy (LOL) amount of cake pans and assorted other baking supplies on hand! They run over to a 6 shelf metal unit in the garage. But I couldn’t part with a one even though I swear I’ll never do another wedding cake!

  38. I tend to pick up anything I run across that’s food oriented with a red bakelite handle and I think my favorite thing is a little two pronged gripper for picking up drink garnishes like olives and onions and whatnot. Very impractical for my lifestyle, but it’s freaking adorable. 🙂

  39. The oddest thing we have in our kitchen is a set of graduated scoops, presumably for flour and sugar, made from Yak bone. My husband picked these up on one or other research trip he took, and they are the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. Plus they smell, and no way would I ever use them do scoop out dry goods much less anything else, but he won’t throw them away. (sigh)

  40. My oddest kitchen tool? I guess it would be a cheese slicer that never gets used. Though, I’m not sure that that qualifies as odd, or just useless!

  41. My all time favorite kitchen tool is my Kitchen Aid Miixer, I know that it is not a creative, but I love it! I love using it, looking at it, and cooking with it. I makes my life easier and for that I am grateful!

  42. It’s not so much an odd kitchen tool, but my favorite conversation piece is a copper lobster-shaped cake mold. It seems so silly to have a copper mold of a sea creature.

  43. I have little egg dishes to make poached eggs. Too bad we don’t love poached eggs, but since they were a gift, I have a hard time giving them away.

  44. I have two (TWO!) teeny-tiny (really really small) box graters. They’re supposed to be for grating ginger or garlic, but they would take off your fingers. I use the microplane for ginger, and then I have a ceramic oroshi from Japan for garlic (so why don’t I get rid of the tiny graters???).

  45. LOVE W-S! I guess my weirdest piece of kitchen equipment would be my ball whisk or my pumpkin shaped pocket pie mold. Ha. Or maybe my popsicle mold. I use all but the pie mold, but I plan to use it as well! Just haven’t gotten around to it just yet 🙂

  46. My oddest utensil is my soy milk maker. While nursing I couldn’t have any dairy so I started making my own soy milk all the time. Since I can have dairy again, it has rarely been used. BUT maybe again someday.

  47. My oddest kitchen tool happens to be a small pan, only because I use it as a lid for our pots because we have no lids for them. So a giftcard would mean pots with lids! And pans returned to their usual usage.

  48. Fondue forks. No fondue pot, just the forks. It is still one of the weirdest presents I have received and I got them when I was 16. I haven’t found a use for them, but still lug them with me every time I move. Maybe this time will be different…

  49. I suppose the oddest “tool” I use in my kitchen is baby spoons. I use them to stuff manicotti and such. Thanks for the great tip on cooling the cake over the bottle to prevent collapsing!!

  50. The strangest thing I have is an olive oil mister. I received it for a gift for my birthday last year and it sat on my shelf for a whole year until I realized I could use it to make pita/tortilla chips. Now I use it to mist pizza crusts. Before this I just used a pastry brush.

  51. I love my little cups/bowls that I use for mis en place(sp). I use my egg poaching cups and oil dipping bowls for mis en place too. I have all kinds: stainless steel, ceramic, etc. Stephanie

  52. So, a meat tenderizer probably isn’t super strange, but as a vegetarian of over 20 years, it looks a little out of place. And yes, I was a vegetarian when I acquired it.

  53. Strangest piece of kitchen equipment is one of the simplest, new set of pots and pans and the lids don’t fit, I guess inspector 23 was out that day. Great web site..

  54. Hmmm… I would say my mini food processor – it is great for chopping nuts, but otherwise it just takes up space. I use my larger food processor much more often.

    The pics from Italy – yum, yum and triple yum!

  55. Well, the strangest gadget I have (I think it’s strange) is an old timey nutmeg grater – it’s a little wooden mill with a turn-around handle. You put the nutmeg in the center, square-on the shaver, and turn. The only thing is, it wastes a lot of nutmeg. I much prefer my tiny micro-plane zester.

  56. I have a tiny curly little whisk. I find I use more than I would have expected. I’m taken with your site – I love to bake and you teach me things I didn’t know were even things to learn. Thanks.

  57. Well, I do own TWO cherry pitters and TWO springerle rolling pins… but that’s about as strange as I can think of. Madeleine pans aren’t strange, right?

  58. I love my utensils that are shaped like animals. My favorites are a vegetable peeler that looks like a monkey and a pizza cutter that looks like a shark.

  59. The strangest gadget is my Parmesan grater – it’s like the kind that restaurants use when they come around to see if you want fresh Parmesan on your salad or pasta. I used to use it a lot, but decided it’s a lot of work and a pain to clean, so it’s been sitting up on a shelf for a couple of years!

  60. I too have a miniwisk–for salad dressing–but the weirdest is a mesh glove that keeps me from cutting myself. It’s especially good to wear when you’re trying to grate the last little bit of Parmesan off the rind.

  61. My favorite kitchen tool is my KitchenAid. My weirdest probably has to the the Wilton Mini Wonder Pan, which I used once (on a Corset Cake) and is now probably in the back of the cabinet. 🙂

  62. The strangest tool I own is a garlic press. I got it as a gift but only used it once. So much garlic gets stuck in the press that it takes more time to clean out than just chopping up the garlic with a knife. I also have an egg separator which gets used often because I like that the edge clips onto a bowl.

  63. My mother in law insisted I must own this little plastic tube thing with a serrated end and holes along the sides. I don’t even know what it is called. You shove it into an orange and then squeeze the orange to drink the juice like a straw. I am sure this is a great tool for people who live in Florida or somewhere citrus is dirt cheap, but not in the frozen wasteland I lived in at the time. They lived in my drawer for several years before I threw them away.

  64. Let’s see, maybe it’s the salad dressing thingy I have. It’s a plastic bottle with a top that has a whisk attached to it. you put your dressing ingredients in, put the top on, and turn a little knob to whisk it. Come to think of it, I think I got rid of it. So I’m not sure what my current strange kitchen tool is. Half of my kitchen is up in a bedroom anyway. We are remodeling and there is stuff all over the house. Can’t wait to be done!!!

  65. I should say my oddest gadget is this mini spatula scrapers that I bought which are in a metal ring…I say odd, because I can’t remove them from the ring and can’t use the scraper when one of them is in the way! Now it’s collecting dust…

  66. The lovely Vidalia Chop Wizard that my dad thought I just had to have. It’s so flimsy I worry about the blades shooting out of it and taking off my pinky. Like you said about pancakes, I can live without my onion/tomato/eggs being sliced into identical pieces. It sits sadly in a drawer, taking up space for no good reason.

    But I vote for the Butt Spoon. I gotta get me one of them!

  67. I have a VERY small kitchen, so I have to resist buying kitchen tools and make the best with what I have. Sometimes, it’s absolutely necessary to buy a particular gadget or whatever for something that I need. My two favorite are my ravioli maker (from William-Sonoma of course) and my ice cream maker. I know, totally unrelated, but both get a fair amount of use in my kitchen. Sadly, my ice cream maker’s on it’s last legs so I’d love a WS gift card to replace it!

  68. My odd kitchen gadget is an ancient metal tortilla press for making home-made tortillas. I love it, as my mom had it when I was little, but I’m afraid to use it because it probably has lead and mercury in it and who-knows-what-else. I also have a tiny wooden rolling pin a friend of mine got in India, for rolling out chapati dough. I do use that! Loving that W-S gift card!!

  69. One of my weirdest cooking things is a set of rosette irons for making rosettes shaped like pumpkins, ghosts and spiders.

    And one of my most useful is a chocolate chopper thing — like a big heavy fork with sharp tines and a wood handle. I don’t use it that often but when I do I’m really glad I have it.

    Thanks for your great site!

    Karen

  70. My favorite kitchen tool is my food processor. I have discovered so many ways to use it and it makes my life so much easier. it was the best money I’ve ever spent on a kitchen appliance!

  71. My favorite kitchen gadget is a garlic press. I have tried to use garlic everyday for its health benefits and this beats dicing it by hand.

  72. I have a pan that makes heart shaped, uh, not cookies-too thick; not cup cakes-too small; and definitly not brownies because they stick and won’t come out. (The only time it was used) But I love my pastry and bread scrapers. So handy!

  73. I have a cake slicer- a plastic thing that is supposed to cut even slices. I think I tried it once and it made a mess of my cake. However
    I keep it because my son gave it to me when he was around 9 and did his shopping at the hardware store on the corner. It makes me smile whenever I see it in the drawer.

  74. One of mine that’s not common in most house holds is an IR Thermometer. I’m not sure I’d call it odd though.

    As for most used, maybe the scale or our mixing bowls. I’m slowly editing all my recipes to weight rather than volume measurements. Not only is it more accurate, but I don’t have to clean all the measuring cups after baking.

  75. Strangest? Probably my “onion goggles.” They look pretty silly, but they work! I never realized I needed them until I quit wearing contacts, LOL

  76. My 4 year old daughter -also named Zoe – got a mini whisk for her play kitchen. One day while cooking with her, I couldn’t find our regular whisk, so I quick washed off hers and used it. I fell in love with the mini whisk and had to get my own after my daughter told me to stop using hers. My girl has gotten to be quite the cook and has led to us getting a crepe pan and crepe batter spreader (don’t know the real word) this Christmas so she could make crepes. They’ve already been used quite a bit.

  77. My strangest kitchen utensil is a bread tube that’s shaped like a flower. I used it once and it leaked. I’m not sure why it’s still in my kitchen taking up space, but it is.

  78. I made an impulse purchase of a marked-down scissor-like knife contraption with a build-in mini cutting-board. It’s pretty lame.

  79. The strangest piece of equipment in my kitchen is my husbands “ice shaver”, it is used for shaving big blocks of ice…you use the shaved ice to make snow cones type of drinks…I have no intention of using it and messing up my kitchen with a huge bloc of ice, if he wants to use if he can make the mess in someone else’s back yard as we live in an apt!

  80. I don’t have any odd utensils or tools but I do have an extremely large collection of wooden spoons of all sizes as well as bamboo tools. The oldest wooden spoon belonged to my mother and has to be more than 92 years old.

  81. The strangest kitchen tool I have are those teddy bear shaped terra cotta figures you soak in water and put in your brown sugar so it doesn’t dry out. They work like a charm!

  82. I have a drawer full of odd little kitchen tools many that I inherited from my german grandmother. I have no idea what most of them are but hope that one day someone will open my drawer and explain them to me.

  83. I purchased an Ebelskiver pan from Williams Sonoma. I had so much fun watching the demo that I just had to have it…of course I have not used it, but someday I will! 🙂

  84. I love kitchen gadgets-although my husband thinks they are useless. My favorite are my measuring cups from Anthropologie-as they are soo pretty-pretty useless probably-I would never use them for baking-but I love looking at them.

    I also have a German English cooking translation book-but do not own any German cookbooks.

    That cake and those cookies love pretty good.

  85. I collect kitchen gadgets, so I have quite a few oddballs. I think the Elvis Presley toast imprinter may take the cake. Or maybe the massive collection of pancake molds. I only use them occasionally, but you never know when you might need a slice of Elvis toast or a pirate shaped pancake.

  86. My favorite tool is an old short metal spatula thingy with a wooden handle, made in Japan, to spread mayonnaise, butter, peanut butter, etc. The secret to this tool is that it actually BENDS, unlike the ones you see in the stores today, even though it looks identical to them. Everyone who uses it gets all beside themselves over it, and I have to keep an eagle eye on it so it doesn’t mysteriously disappear. I use it probably every day. It is also serrated on one side, so it’s great for slicing your toast after you butter it.

  87. my husband has a fondness for squirrels… this Christmas, my girlfriend gave him a whisk with the center wires shaped like a squirrel!… very cute, almost too cute to use… but it hangs proudly next to my measuring cups!

  88. I have an old fashioned hand egg mixer that belonged to my great grandma. It’s quite handy but I get questioned everytime I use it.

  89. Given limits on space, I really do keep only what I need. I guess I have a lettuce spinner that is used so infrequently that it ought to be moved out!

  90. My oddest kitchen tool is an antique cast iron cornbread pan in the shape of corn on the cobs. I have two that came from my 100 year old great aunt’s kitchen. I’ve used them once, and the cornbread wouldn’t come out of the the little cob cavities, so I’ve given up. I can’t bear to get rid of them because they remind me of my dear Aunt Alice.

  91. At our local Texas trade days fair, I discovered the E-Z Hook. It is a locally handcrafted, wooden handled stainless steel stick with a curved and very sharp end which is perfect for turning meat on the BBQ. Hard to describe, but they have a website if you are interested. We use ours all the time!

  92. I have to say my strawberry huller. It is quick and I do not waste much of those lovely Louisiana strawberry. I also use on my creole tomatoes!

  93. My weirdest kitchen tool is the Bel Fresh Cream maker, that will tun melted better and milk into cream. I also have a collection of star shaped gelatin molds from the 40’s, in case I want to have 15 people over for tiny gelatins

  94. Probably the strangest kitchen gadget I have is a stainless steel bar that I was given that is supposed to remove the onion and garlic smell from your hands. I’ve never been able to get it to work, and now its just hangs out in the back of my untensil drawer! I also have some cookie cutters given to me by my grandmother that look like ameobas, but I don’t think they are supposed to! I can’t figure out what they are supposed to be!

  95. My favorite kitchen tool is the lemon juicer that I got for free in a bag of lemons. I bought some lemons to make lemonade during the move into our first home.

  96. My favorite kitchen tool is probably my tomato knife. I know that it’s not that unusual but I find it great for cutting so many things other than tomatoes that I probably use it more than any other gadget I have.

  97. I don’t think I have anything unusual in my kitchen, but I do love small appliances and gadgets. I have a sandwich maker, a George Foreman grill, a potato ricer, and a multitude of other things I could live without but just love using.

  98. My mother-in-law recently gave me her pizzelle maker, which I haven’t used yet but intend to, soon. The other unusual thing I own is a kitchen sponge that looks like a fried egg; the yellow “yolk” pops out to be a tiny sponge. My daughter owned it but thought it was too cute to use, so she gave it to me. I haven’t used it either.

  99. Nothing too odd, but I do keep lots of straws and bamboo skewers in my kitchen 🙂 I substitute the skewers for toothpicks when baking because I don’t like to get my fingers too close to hot cakes…

  100. My favorite is my new Cuisinart food processor because it’s been about 5 years since our old one broke. We can make anything from salsa to pasta sauce, cakes, like the recipe you have on this page. We’re having so much fun with it. 🙂

  101. The oddest kitchen gadget I have and never use is a dumpling/won ton folding thingie. You put a round of dough on it, add filling, then fold it closed and it presses the edges together. Gee, now filled dumplings sound good. Maybe I need to find it and put it to use!

  102. I keep my down-hill ski googles in my kitchen for cutting onions, shallots and even green onions! My eyes are really sensitive and they work like a charm!

  103. Can’t say it is mine but I have to use it in the near future. It is a tandoorer oven to make naar bread. Still try to find out how to use this huge clay oven.

  104. When we moved to Montana from L.A. we were ever-curious to attend one of the many farm auctions that take place on weekends. When a box of vintage kitchen items came up for bid, my hand shot up. Got it for about $20 and it contained the neatest things. Among them, old sifters fluted dough cutters, an old-world butter churn and my two all-time favorite gadgets: A cherry pitter with an upper bucket for cherries that reminds me of a crane jib (I smell clafouti), that is heavy-metal and vice grips to the counter. Ditto, the apple peeler with a beefy hubcap-designed hand crank that also vice grips to the counter. If brought to mammoth scale, either could probably assemble cars in Detroit – being marvels of turn-of-the-century overkill in kitchen gadgetry. Still, I wouldn’t trade them for any flimsy plastic incarnation, and both use and treasure them.

  105. The oddest tool we have was a gift from a yankee swap party. It’s the EZ Cracker Egg Cracker with a bonus egg separator attachment. We’re saving it for the next gag gift party.

  106. My oddest kitchen tool is an olive and/or pickle pincher. It is a tube with metal prongs on one end and a push button control. Very flimsy… It can’t handle anything heavy.

  107. An empty juice can. And I do use it! I bake bread in it because it makes perfect slices for cute little round sandwiches or hamburgers 🙂 And I love it.

  108. My oddest tool is a banana slicer – it is made of plastic and the shape of a large/oversized banana. It then has little bars going horizontally so that you can quickly slice a banana by pushing it down on the banana. Which is funny, because bananas are so easy to slice that I have my 3 year old do it for me (with a plastic knife).

  109. I’d have to say the oddest piece of equipment that I own is a dutch dough whisk. Not only because of its shape but because so few people have ever heard of them. Do I use it? Heck yeah!

  110. The oddest thing I have in my kitchen is a postal scale. I “borrowed” it from my husband since he hardly uses it. I know it works the same way but it doesn’t look “kitcheny” and it makes me laugh every time I get it out. And lately I’ve been using it a lot!

  111. I bought a shrimp deveiner once because a friend was having a party and I had volunteered to devein the 5 lbs of shrimp she bought. It was basically just this red plastic thingy and naturally it totally didn’t work. Needless to say it’s been sitting in the bottom of my cooking utensil drawer taking up space.

  112. The ‘prep taxi’ is the strangest gadget I have. I have never used it as I find my hands are the best tool I use to transport chopped food where it needs to go!

  113. I was looking for a new cheese grater. Unable to find exactly what I wanted I bought a potato grater with huge grating holes. I LOVE IT! It makes such quick work of grating cheese. Twice as fast as using the smaller-holed cheese graters. And it all melts all the same. Would recommend it to anyone. But I’ve never grated potatoes with it.

  114. I would say that the oddest thing in my kitchen is also my favorite…my 4 year old son. He is a little on the odd side (although his parents are too 🙂 ) but he is certainly my favorite…definitely a great kitchen helper!

  115. It’s snowing up here in the northeast and I’m forced to stay home. A good reason to be cooking & baking! 🙂 Well, my strangest kitchen equipment is a small japanese sesame seed grinder – left behind by one of my friends who stayed at my place for a summer. It allows me to choose between “coarse” and “fine”. I never thought I might use it since sesame seeds are small enough already, but hey, it works!

  116. I have an olive spoon. It’s long handled and the bowl is round like a melon baller but with a couple holes in the bottom for draining the brine. But it only holds one olive at a time; far too annoying to use!

  117. A push pin to poke holes in eggs so they don’t crack while boiling. It resides in my casserole dish that holds my condiments.

  118. I can’t think of anything I have that is an odd kitchen gadget, maybe just because I’m used to having everything I have… I do have a Whirley Pop which I love dearly and use multiple times a week.

  119. That cylindrical pasta cooker that was advertised on tv. Never used it. You have to boil the water anyway, just stick the pasta in the pot!

  120. Mine is called an Egg Cuber…if you’re tired of the same old egg-shaped hard boiled eggs, you can turn them into cute cube-shaped hard boiled eggs. I think it’s hilarious and have never used it, but I imagine it would be a real conversation started if I used it to make deviled eggs for a party! You wouldn’t have to worry about them rolling off the plate 🙂

  121. My pair of Onion Goggles! It’s true… Someone gave them to me years ago. I’ve never worn them, but my two boys sure got a lot of use out of them when they were little – still makes me smile remembering their sweet cheeks squished together under my onion goggles!

  122. Hands down, the strangest thing I have was a Valentine’s Day gift from my parents a couple of years ago. It’s a little (and I do mean little–probably four inches in diameter, max) pan for frying a single egg, with a pink silicone handle and the imprint of a pig on its nonstick surface. Because eating a fried egg that looks like a pig would be the coolest thing ever… ? I have actually use it once, and the egg didn’t come out looking all that pig-like.

  123. I have many old things in my kitchen from my mother and one is used to cut potatoes or carrot slices in a sort of rick-rack fashion (it cuts them in a little wavy line). It makes vegetables look very interesting on an appitizer tray.

  124. That is a gorgeous cake and you present it so beautifully! I will be trying that recipe soon. There are no strange pieces of equipment in my kitchen but lots I rarely use. One such piece is a real “tamis” – sturdy and beautifully made, purchased to make a special fish dish. It was wonderful for the fish but anything else I have tried to put through it doesn’t seem to want to go. It is such a good piece that I hesitate to part with it. Thanks for such a great post.

  125. The strangest piece of equipment I have is an apple peeler/slicer that attaches to the counter. It peels, cores and thinly slices at the same time. I used to use it alot then just stopped, not sure why really. But, I have been thinking about getting it out, dusting it off and using it again. I could never part with it in any case.

  126. the oddest kitchen gadget I have is a black and decker jar opener! received as a present a couple of Christmases ago.

    The cake looks awesome! My mother in law passed away a couple of days ago, she loved almond and chiffon cakes. I am making dessert for a family dinner tomorrow night, think the cake would be a great tribute to her! Thanks Zoe!

  127. I have 2 items which are not only unusual but loaded with nostalgia. One is what appears to be a small pair of metal sewing scissors with artistic chicken shaped handles and the cutting edges shaped into hollow circles that fit one over the other. It is for cutting the top off a cooked egg in an egg cup (which I also have!). The nostalgic part is that I grew up on an egg farm in New Jersey in the company of thousands of chickens, still enjoy eating eggs, collecting chicken chachkes and lived in England where we ate eggs in egg cups and tapped off the tops with a spoon when we did not have this device. The second is one half of an old wooden bowl which my mother uses for chopping her gefilte fish by hand. She bought it in Brooklyn broken that way in 1947-ish for a few cents after coming to U.S. from Europe. My mother used this bowl exclusively for hand chopping her gefilite fish. My mother is tiny and the half-size is perfect for her to hold on her lap with one arm while chopping with the other!! She lovingly lets me keep it in my kitchen for her.

  128. Riding my bike for over 2,000 miles through Southeast Asia last year, I passed up many a strange kitchen tool along the way! Nearing the end of my trip, about to cross from Cambodia to Thailand, I finally caved! With bungy cords and various plastic bags I had used to carry my mangoes from the morning markets, I ended up strapping an enormous, 1.5 foot, hand carved, wooden mortar and pestle over the next 150 miles! It was HUGE. I figured the pestle could double as a weapon if I ever got jumped. Well worth the weight, as I use it all the time to make big batches of curry pastes…and as a mini baseball bat 🙂

  129. I have a wood working tool I brought years ago before microplane graters became available. I bought it many years ago for grating parmesan but now use it for grating whole nutmegs.

  130. Maybe my Moulinex veggie grater? I don’t know that it’s strange, but it did take me awhile to find one on eBay. An absolute necessity for making French grated carrot salad the way my husband loves it.

  131. I not only have a hello kitty toaster, I also have a hello kitty waffle iron, hello kitty popcorn maker, and a tiny hello kitty water cooler! But the toaster is the only one I keep out and use!

  132. I have a weakness for all sorts of kitchen gadgets and the kitchen and baking section of a store is where I always gravitate to. I have fallen for everything from garlic peelers, the butlers friend cork puller, cookie guns, silicone egg poachers, heart shaped ice cube molds, and collect quirky kitchen gizmos the way other women collect shoes!My favourite tool tho is a gift from my mother in law – a brass mold for making stringhoppers that we use every time she visits!
    Here is a picture of it – I just love it so!

    http://magpiesrecipes.blogspot.com/2010/09/kerala-kitchen-idiyappam-noolappam.html

  133. The strangest kitchen tool I can come up with that I still use is a double edged serrated grapefruit knife. The knife is even bent at the tip to accommodate for the curved shaped of the grapefruit. Works great! Thanks for sharing your yummy adventures and recipes!

  134. I think the strangest and most unused kitchen gadget I own is a tea bag squeezer. It was a gift, so it makes me feel better that I never use it. It is basically two spoons joined together like tongs, but it is really hard to get the tea bag in between the two spoons. Useless. Who needed to simplify squeezing a tea bag????

  135. I own a hard boiled egg slicer. I don’t think it’s that weird, but a lot of people do:) I have used it a time or two.

  136. My knife rack is a mans body you stick the knives into!

    I’m wondering also about inverting the pan over the neck of a bottle to cool this lovely cake, I’m assuming you haven’t had the cake fall out?
    Thanks

  137. I have a tasting spoon. Wooden spoon, bowl at each end (one bowl smaller than the other), and a channel running down the middle of the handle connecting the two bowls. You dip one end in the hot soup, let it roll down the groove to the other end, and taste it, by which time it has cooled. No burnt mouth, and no germs in the soup. My sister found it in some store and gave it to me. I love it and use it all the time. Never seen another like it.

    I also have the tiny whisk others mentioned (very useful!). My other odd gadget is a measuring cup, bought in France, that converts a weight measure into volume. It has columns of printing on the side, showing what volume of sugar, flour, rice, semolina, cocoa powder, and potato starch to use if you want 100, 150, 200 etc grams. Handy in the absence of a scale, or when precise measurements don’t work. I have scales, but use this sometimes too. It also has liquid measures on the side.

    Thanks for doing the giveaway, Zoe! Love your site, your books, and your bread. Made those doughnuts recently and they were a HUGE hit!

  138. I don’t think they are odd, but I have a lefse griddle (only for lefse) and a lefse turner (it looks like a yard stick that’s been whittled to a thin, rounded end with a handle on the other end) also sandbakkel moulds and a krumkaka iron. My Mother in Law wanted me to keep the traditions of Christmas going…and I do!

  139. The oddest kitchen utensil that I own is a mortar and pestle or the heart shaped frames to make eggs or whatever in.
    I am new to this blog but am falling inlove with it! I haven’t made anything, yet, but the to do list is growing every day I come check it out. I am becoming interested in gluten free baking as well as expanding my cake baking/decorating skills, so this blog is awesome 🙂

  140. I have a tuperware banana saver that I got for Christmas last year- haven’t used it but you never know when you’ll need it I guess! I also have plastic stencils that are supposed to be for dusting confectioners sugar onto cupcakes to make a design- very intricate, but also never used!

  141. My favorite kitchen tool/gadget is probably my garlic press. I use fresh garlic in most of my recipes.Love,love,love it.I love to cook along with my husband,who in the past 3 yrs has become a great cook – but I mostly love to bake, in fact I started actually selling my cakes & baked goods to most of my husband coworkers, because they couldn’t get enough of my cakes, especially carrot cake, chocolate cake & my lemon cake, just to mention a few…

  142. I have a semi-antique bottle opener from the 30’s or 40’s that slips over the top of a bottle. You squeeze the two handles at the top and then tilt the opener, and it grasps the whole bottle cap and pulls it off. Very cool, and so unique. It works great!

  143. I have a little tupperware type container that’s designed to hold one cupcake. I used it a few times to bring a muffin to work before I became a stay-at-home-mom.

  144. A solid wood, mushroom shaped, garlic smasher. That is its only purpose. It lives in the back of my cupboard and has been used only 2-3 times in 10 years. Just so much easier to use the blade of the knife. It is pretty though.

  145. my favorite cooking tools are the mini set of spatula’s that my 3 year old daughter “helps” me make just about everything with . . she adds such a special touch to everything we make together 🙂

  146. The strangest has to be a horizontal springy whisk I was given a long time ago. It is nothing like my other whisks but works wonders when making salad dressing.

  147. Perhaps the strangest tool I have is my most recent acquisition. I’ve eyeballed this tool for a while and decided to order it a few months ago. Boy, it’s great! It’s the dough whisk from King Arthur Flour. You’d think a whisk is a whisk, but this one is totally different. It pulls batter (any type of batter) together effortlessly. I just love it!

  148. I have a tiny electric hand mixer. The body of it is about 5 inches long, and it comes with three attachments; a whisk/wire beater, a regular beater, and what looks like a dough paddle, each one no more than 3 or 4 inches long. I’ve never used it, as I just don’t think it would mix anything, but it is far too cute and unique to get rid of!

  149. I have an avocado masher from W-S that I actually use often to make guacamole. It’s strong and small and perfect for its job.

  150. My oddest kitchen tools include a “wavy cutter” for slicing cucumbers and other veggies into those cute wavy cuts similar to some types of jarred pickles. The list continues….chocolate tempering machine, zoku popsicle maker (really great!), box grater shaped like a lady….
    all useful and fun!

  151. Hrm… I don’t really consider any of my kitchen gadgets “odd” or “weird”, though I suppose the ones people never recognize are my ginger grater (which looks like a v. wee eggplant-shaped spoonrest), oversized cooking chopsticks (best way to flip bacon, ever), and my salad dressing blender (okay, that one is a little weird, but it seriously emulsifies better than anything else I’ve ever used – put all ingredients into the container, blend 30 seconds, done!). ^_^

  152. The oddest kitchen gadget I own was given to me as a gift and I have to admit I’ve only used it once. It’s an avocado slicer and pitter. You need to use a knife to cut the avocado in half and then there’s a strange loopy thing to scoop the pit out and another larger loop that slices. I find it much easier to just use the knife!

    The Almond Chiffon cake looks amazing! I just recently made your coconut layer cake and it was phenominal! 🙂

  153. I think the most unusual kitchen gadget I own is a slotted spoon/ Spatula – it is a two for one! Slotted spoon on one end, spatula on the other end!

  154. I have a egg seperator that never works.. it sometimes too small and the egg yolk cracks.. or the egg is to small and it fall thru… I think its living in oscurity in the catch all kitchen drawer were things go to die….

  155. It took me a good 20 minutes to identify the weirdest thing in the cupboard. It took five just to establish which side was up. According to the internet, it’s an egg poacher. Apparantly. I haven’t used it yet, but I think I will be able to make single serving Flan or flourless chocolate cakes with it since it’s for immersing in water. I will try this out asap not becuase I need or desire any micro flan. Sheer bloody mindedness.

  156. Whenever we have corn on the cob, each person gets their own little plastic butter pat cutter. Its curved to help rub the butter on the cob. I think they are a little odd, but very helpful .

  157. hmmm, oddest thing in my kitchen is probably the GIANT wok we found at a second hand store, but, thanks to my husband, it gets used quite frequently!

  158. Among my several odd tools is a little metal pronged scooper to remove the ends of strawberries instead of cutting the whole end off and a metal form that sits on top of a stick of butter and as you press down on it, it cuts the butter into perfect pats.

  159. I have hand pie molds from William Sonoma that I have yet to use (but they’re on deck this weekend!) and Mickey Mouse pancake molds, despite the fact that I’m a grown woman with no children (but I love pancakes).

  160. Can’t think of a weird one, but my fave is my lemon squeezer…the kind where the lemon half ends up inside out. Oh and also a microplane zester. Running out of lemons is an emergency in my house.

  161. I’m no packrat, so I don’t keep things that I don’t use. My favorite thing, though is a little wooden handled mini spatula. (Not the kind for scraping batter out of a bowl, but the kind used for lifting things.) It’s perfect for serving desserts like brownies, or bar cookies.

  162. That cake sounds amazing. I love almond paste and I love chiffon cake.

    I don’t think of any of my kitchen tools as odd, but I am sure other people might. Maybe my falafel ball maker? You pull the plunger and fill the cavity with falafel batter and then release the plunger to plop the batter ball in the hot oil. I have never been able to get it to work right.

  163. i can’t wait to try the cake. I think my weirdest kitchen tool is my kitchen scissors. only because they were my sewing shears but they are too dull for fabric now, but still work perfectly to cut herbs or chicken. 🙂

  164. I’d say my oddest kitchen item is probably my tiny cast iron skillet: it’s maybe five inches by five inches, square, and fairly shallow (only a half inch or so). The shape is similar to that of a slice of bread – which is why it’s what I always use to fry my eggs for sandwiches! It fits one egg perfectly, and comes out the same size as the bread!

  165. A veggie rinser, it was a waste of $10 (luckily the gift giver’s waste not mine)..It is much easier to just do it by hand.

  166. One kitchen “gadget” that’s proved its day-to-day usefulness is my inexpensive folding hard plastic measuring spoon. Four spoons are magically hinged around a small square “hub” created by their own handles … hard to describe, but I love how it folds flat to fit in my knife kit, and in the pocket of my chef jacket in class. I was glad I found another one for for home!

  167. Question: do you think this recipe would work well as cupcakes? I have a friend who’s birthday is coming up and she loooooves marzipan and almond flavors… but she wants cupcakes. I think this cake would be absolutely perfect. Any advice?

  168. Right now my weirdest “gadget” is an apron that says “kiss the cook’s *ss.” I think I’ll use it only when family is around.

  169. Love the bottle trick!

    I guess the strangest bit of kitchen equipment I own are egg cups, which I suppose aren’t that strange, except that I never eat soft-boiled eggs.

  170. Not strange to me but guess it might be to others…my disposable gloves! They are a must in my kitchen and can be used for so many things! I always use them when I’m cooking any sort of meat. Raw meat…ICK!

  171. The cake looks wonderful, thank you for sharing the recipe.

    Weirdest item in my kitchen? A Scottish spurtle which was beautifully hand crafted in the USA. 🙂 It looks lovely displayed; but, I don’t ever use it because we don’t actually eat oatmeal for breakfast unless it’s in granola. Still, it’s adorable.

    Williams Sonoma is my favorite shopping destination ~ my heart is currently longing for the Magimix 5200 food processor. deep sigh.

    I have 1,300+ cookbooks and trust me you can find room for them if you need to by constructing furniture from stacks of books, working them into kitchen/dining room/living room and even bedroom decor. 🙂 My current obsession is AU cooks and bakers, particulary Donna Hay. I’m already looking forward to your pizza book.

  172. My live-in boyfriend has a Pizzazz. I had never heard of these before I met him, and very few other people I know have ever heard of them, which perplexes him, because he thinks it’s the most amazing thing ever. It’s a rotating platform that’s heated from above and below to cook pizzas – the kind of thing I would’ve written off as “takes up space unnecessarily as a single-use appliance” – but it turns out you can use it to reheat almost anything, and it makes things crispy, much like a toaster oven (which we don’t have). So, really, I’m learning that it’s a very useful multi-purpose appliance!

  173. I have a little tool that looks like a mini-dustpan, with a rolled edge as a grip. You’re supposed to use it to scoop up chopped stuff — vegetables, fruit, etc. — off a cutting board. Do I use it? Never. It’s just as eat to use the flat of my chef knife and my hand (carefully) to scoop up big slices, and with little slices, I just scrape the cutting board into a bowl. Oh well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. 😛

    Most useful random cooking gadget? The danish dough whisk you recommend — it is so much better at mixing dough for your master recipes I never use a regular wooden spoon or even my mixer any more for that.

  174. A rock! Yes a rock about the size of a small orange. My parents, from the Philippines use it for crushing garlic and I do the same in my home.

  175. OK, so the oddest thing in my kitchen isn’t really a tool for cooking, but I think it still qualifies since I store it there. Once we were married, my husband and I inherited the “fertility beads” that have been passed through each of his 5 aunts/uncles and claim to have a 99.98 % record of conception. It must work as they each have no fewer than for children a piece. The only thing to mar their success (so far) is if they’re frozen. So we keep them in the freezer next to the ice.

  176. The oddest tool that doesn’t get much use in my kitchen is my banana slicer. I’m not sure why I even bought it since bananas can cut so easily with a spoon! My most favorite tool in my kitchen is the cabinet that my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer sits in. There is a shelf that raises to counter height and lowers back into the cabinet when it’s not being used.

  177. I have a small porcelain mold used to make coeur la creme. It is white and heart-shaped with holes to drain the “pudding.” The finished creme is dusted with sugar sparkles and fresh raspberries — it is perfect for a shower or tea party.

  178. The strangest piece of equipment in my kitchen is a wooden rice timbale mold. My mother gave it to me years ago and I can’t bear to part with it now that she’s gone.

  179. I am not sure I would classify it has a ‘strange’ tool, tho I say so only but I haven’t really figured out how to use it yet. It’s a biscuit cutter that rotates a complete 360 degrees. The 2 cutters are attached to a handle, …it looks like you just push the tool over rolled out dough and it cuts the dough into beautiful little squares….a cool antique baking tool

  180. My Grandmother’s egg separator. It looks like a cross between a mini lacrosse stick and a whisk, and it’s antique, but it still does an amazing job separating those yolks and whites. I never win anything, so pick me.

  181. They thing I use the least is my cheese slicer. It slices cheese way to thick. I can slice cheese with my knife thinner !!! Why do I keep it? Reminds me of my mom. She still has that same one in her utensil drawer !!!

  182. i have a dough bowl. not really an odd thing but it is unique for this day in age. it has been a great find, its old and seasoned and i love it!

  183. I have an “Ulu” knife. I got it as a gift when we lived in Alaska. It’s very sharpe and works great. You can skin a fish or just chop nuts or pasley with it…UNIQUE!!!

  184. I saved those little plastic cups the nurses used to give me my medication when I was in the hospital. They have measurement lines on the sides for teaspoons and tablespoons. I have about 6 of them and use them when I have small quantities of liquids to measure and set aside for later incorporation into a recipe. Very useful and probably only cost me a few thousand dollars each!

  185. Someone once gave me one of those Bloomin’ Onion makers. I never have and never will use it but I hung on to the stupid thing for years because it was a gift from my aunt.

  186. My oddest piece of kitchen equipment is a zucchini corer,I haven’t used it yet but still plan too.My favorite piece is my kitchenaid stsnd mixer,I do not know what I did for so many years of baking without it!

  187. An apple peeler. It may not be all that unusual, but I use it all the time. One of those old fashioned crank types that whirls the apple around through the cutter.

  188. I don’t have a lot of utencils in my kitchen, but I do have a “baby whisk”….which I forget about using. I think my mom gave it to me.

  189. My favourite kitchen gadget is most certainly my coffee spoon…without it there is NO way i can make a great cup of coffee. My oddest kitchen gadget is can opener…looks funny, looks like it shouldn’t work…but it’s a pro.

  190. I have a “thing” for kitchen gadgets and utensils. One of the oldest ones I have is an ice cream scoop that looks like a cow and moos when you scoop the ice cream. It was a wedding gift. I never use it because even though it’s cute, it’s made of plastic and not really good for actually scooping ice cream.

  191. My strangest tool but most sentimental is a tree branch with 6 tines coming off the main spoke, all cleared of bark. This was a gift from my Finnish grandmother and it’s used for mixing light batters like pancakes. Since my grandmother passed away many years ago, I don’t use it but display it in my kitchen perched on my Finnish flag clock.

  192. My oddest/favorite kitchen items?
    First the cherry pitter I just found on a clearance shelf. I have yet to use it as its the middle of winter and cherries aren’t exactly in season, I hope it works, but the main reason I bought it was for my husband. Several years ago when we were young married college students and had a toddler (aka living on money fumes) we were invited by a friend to pick all the cherries we wanted off his tree. He hadn’t pruned it which meant a bazillion little cherries instead of a million normal sized ones. We picked and picked as our toddler toddled around the yard. We embarked on making a pie out of these tiny cherries! Little did we know the tedious task that awaited us. My hubby sliced and pitted a 9″ pie pan worth of cherries by hand while I made the crust. His fingers were stained red and we kept thinking there had to be an easier way to do this. And apparently there is, the pie was scrumptious, but we have yet to make another. With 4 kids cherries don’t last long enough to make a pie out of them!
    Another gadget I love? My Barnes & Noble gift card that has been sitting in my wallet for over a year. Why buy when the library is closer than any bookstore? But I am excited to use it to buy your books! And a cookbook about bread is one kitchen ‘gadget’ that will get plenty of use!

  193. The weirdest gadget I have is a beautiful, ornate, hand-carved set of measuring spoons. Unfortunately the metal they are made of has a large amount of lead in it, so you can’t actually use them for cooking, just decoration. Why would you make a kitchen utensil with metal that contains lead?

  194. I have four large SEA SHELLS, about 4 inches in diameter. I cover the outside in foil and then melted chocolate. After removing the foil and the shell, I have beautiful chocolate shells/dishes to serve mouse or icecream. I’ve used them twice in the last 20 years. I bought them in highschool at Williams-Sonoma, and I still have them, taking up precious room in my kitchen drawers. I really should use them more; they make a lovely presentation.

  195. My favorite kitchen tool is my KitchenAid. The oddest tools in my kitchen are many, many cookie cutters since I don’t/won’t make cut-out cookies any more.

  196. I don’t have any particularly odd kitchen gadgets but my favorite is a silver serving spoon that belong to my great-great aunt, it’s actually engraved with her name…Fannie. Great aunt fannie’s spoon

  197. How about I tell you about the mos useless item I have in the kitchen?? I LOVE anything Michael Graves from Target. All of his designs are so modern looking, just my style. Soooo one day I saw the coolest looking potato masher and I had to buy it. Kinda looks like a flower with holes in it. Worst. Masher. EVER. Yes, it mashed potatoes (kind of), but they would get stuck in the little holes in big chunks and literally after every time you mashed it down, you would have to unplug these holes. So, although I never use it, I let it sit in my utensil holder doing nothing but looking pretty!

  198. My oddest tool is the cherry corer that my grandfather gave me. It is wonderful and sturdy though! My favorite is my Kitchenaide mixer and my lovely new food processor!

  199. My oddest kitchen tool is a potato ricer that looks like a torture device and my favorite is my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. I use the mixer for everything, including “mashing” potatoes!

  200. One old gadget I have had for years that I was handed down from my mother is a hand crank ice crusher. I don’t have an ice maker in my freezer so I make my own and just throw the cubes in the top portion and crank that baby – it’s very loud but through the years it has made many people happy. I don’t know what it is but the size of the crushed ice is just right. When my kids were small and if they were sick with a fever I would always make them a big glass of ice with juice. Just good memories of nurturing.

  201. I’m so glad you’re back! Hmmmm…odd baking equipment….I don’t have anything that I would categorize as odd, but I love my Kyocera ceramic slicer and my bird’s beak knife for peeling apples and other fruit. A little unusual, but favorites nonetheless.

  202. Inherited from my mother: about 8 million wooden spoons (not strange except in quantity), two tiny eggbeaters/whisks (about four inches long and no thicker than my thumb at the largest part), and some sort of Swedish pancake maker.

  203. The oddest kitchen gadget that I have is a soft bristle brush in the shape of a mushroom – to clean mushrooms. I don’t use it often!

  204. My best tool is the large steel wok we got in Chinatown, San Francisco 40 some years ago. Moving to Kentucky it tried to rust. Now it is seasoned wonderful tool. Strangest – my husband bought a tool at an auction, iron with wooden handle. One side was diamond shaped, I assume for cubing meat, the other side had a blade like thing, I would guess for cracking bones. It was too diabolical for me, had to go. I love bread baking more than sweets.

  205. I think reading the list was great fun! What a lot of “interesting” stuff.
    I have a glass microwave popcorn popper, but I love the stuff I make on the stove with a bit of oil, so it never gets used and just takes up precious space in my already too full cupboards! Anything with almond paste is just the best!!!

  206. Really nothing too strange in my kitchen … or at least not to me. Maybe I am partial to the odd ones and can’t see past my attachment to them. 🙂

    I love my brand new All-Clad pans. How did I ever cook without these?!

  207. I actually have a package of potato nails. We were going through some boxes that the previous owner of our house left and I found them. Looks like they are from the 50s or 60s. Kind of neat but no I dont use them. *LOL*

  208. I don’t know if I have any “odd” kitchen tools… I just multitask with just about every utensil I own… my favorites are my food processor and my bamboo wooden spoons!

  209. Oddest? those silly garlic peelers that don’t work worth a hoot. An old peanut butter jar works better for me…put the cloves in and shake the hootie out of it. voila. papery peels and whole peeled garlic cloves. I wrote “Magic Garlic Peeling Jar” and drew a happy garlic face on it with a sharpie. My husband says it’s odd we have two stand mixers. I don’t agree. So one has purple flames painted on it… Nothing unusal about that!

  210. I’m pretty good about keeping to the basics and don’t have anything too strange, except two things I never use but haven’t managed to throw out are a garlic press and an egg separator. What a waste! Knives and hands (or egg shells) work just fine.

  211. My strangest piece of kitchen equipment is my sterling silver handle angel food cake cutter (almost like the one pictured next to your amazing looking chiffon cake) that I purchased at an estate sale. I also have another one with a red handle. Most of my friends think the cake cutters are fancy combs for my natural curly and slightly fro-ish hair! (Tee-hee)

  212. The strangest kitchen gadget in my kitchen would be this pizza cutter that plugs in. It’s almost like a power tool! HA HA! Sadly, it never gets used unless my son pulls it out when we have pizza……

  213. my mother in law (famous for her random gifts) gave me a jellied cranberry sauce server/slicer. Not kidding. it looks like a wide crystal butter dish w/ an oddly shaped pie server.

  214. My favorite tools are my hands! Second favorite is my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, although I love that I no longer have to use it to make bread. Now I use your recipes from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day.

  215. What strange and wonderful gadgets you all have! The only thing I haven’t seen on here is a cake tester. It’s a long thin piece of wire attached to a small flat plastic handle that even says ‘cake tester’, in case I forget. Trouble is, being metal and very thin, the undercooked batter doesn’t stick to it… soooo, after pulling out a couple of underbaked cakes, I went back to using toothpicks. I can’t believe that I actually paid for that!

  216. My favorite kitchen tool is probably my little potatoe peeler. It’s a hand me down from my Mother that she had from many years ago and today it is still sharp as ever and very reliable. Lots of memories in that little gadget! 🙂

  217. Years ago a boyfriend decided we needed a melon baller. Since we were university students at the time, and didn’t buy melons on our meager budget, it seemed like an odd purchase.

    I’ve eaten melons since but always prep them with a good knife. The baller has lived deep in various utensil drawers for almost 20 years. Occasionally I find it, wonder if it will ever get used and promptly forget about it for another several months. If it didn’t have a such a cool visual design it would have been tossed in the ‘donate’ box long ago.

  218. Garlic peeler. It’s a tubular piece of silicone that looks like a canneloni shell. Maybe I just haven’t figured out how to use it properly, but it takes forever to get the skins off the garlic cloves.

  219. Maybe not all that unusual (after I’ve read some of the other entries!), but it came to mind right away – a 6″ diameter rubber mat “gripper” for opening lids.

    Thanks for the chance, and for the photos of those yummy cookies and other treats 🙂

  220. A spaetzel maker…only good for one thing! But when I needed it and couldn’t find it, I realized that it’s the only piece of equipment that’ll work for the job.

  221. Oddest for me would be either my mom’s deviled egg platter or a plastic orange juicer that has to be at least 30 years old. I don’t think either have been used in the past decade, but I keep them around because they remind me of her.

  222. I used to collect old, red-handled kitchen utensils. Seriously, I don’t know what half of them were used for! My favorite oddity is a teeny tiny silicone spatula. I bought it from W-S years ago and use it all the time.

  223. Hmmm…it’s kind of embarrassing, because it’s a single-use gadget that I could easily get by without, but I really like my little garlic peeler. There’s something just so satisfying about sticking a clove in it, rolling it, and presto! Peeled garlic.

  224. those cookies look amazing! my good ol’ williams-sonoma spoonula’s are my favorite kitchen tool, i couldn’t live without them. maybe i’ll buy one for all my friends with the gift card! thanks!

  225. The strangest kitchen gadget I have is an english muffin splitter. Honestly . . . I got it from Wolferman’s when I ordered some of their huge english muffins. I maybe used it once!! Thanks for the giveaway.

  226. I love my blender. I couldn’t/wouldn’t have a kitchen without my handy blender. It’s the one thing I would save in a fire.

  227. I have fruit scoops. Kinda like a device that will scoop avocado out of it’s skin. I think they are strange. But they were a gift.

  228. It’s not weird, but I have this electric skillet that I’m not quite sure what to do with. When would I use it that I couldn’t use the stovetop or my handy dandy crock pot?? 🙂

    That cake looks awesome! Love the plates too~

  229. The oddest tool I have is the piece of plastic rectangle that has varying sized holes in it that is used to measure the amount of pasta you need per person. Not sure how many people actually use those.

  230. I have a Coeur a la creme mold that some may not know what it is or do with it, I do use it, made one for Christmas!!! My favorite gadget would be my Kitchen Aid red stand mixer for sure! Love it!

  231. Hey lady!
    Oddest thing in my kitchen…hmmm…it would have to be the little wooden “push stick” that is used to pull/push out the rack in the oven that came with our cabin when we bought it….took about a month before I figured out what it was…probably a Norwegian tool of some sort?? But it works slick! I’ll have to show you! 🙂 xo J

  232. I have a couple of “odd” kitchen tools . One is a plastic pickle keeper that has an inner part with a handle so you can lift the pickles out of the juice. It’s over 30 years old. The other is an aluminum tube that you’re supposed to bake bread in. I may have used it once with bad results.

  233. Nothing odd in my kitchen (okay, there’s me), so I’ll have to go with a favorite – a juicer that belonged to my grandmother. Thanks for the giveaway!

  234. My oddest gadget is one my husband found for me at a thrift store, I believe it is a jar lid opener, but it looks like a medieval torture device!

    It has these jagged metal serrated edges that are stacked in concentric circles on top of each other with a hinge at the top so it opens and closes like a metal nutcracker/lobster cracker! It really doesn’t work that well either!

  235. I’d have to say our strangest tool is a banana hanger. You hang the bunch of bananas off it to keep them fresh. I don’t even know that we’ve used it!

  236. The strangest object I have in my kitchen is one putty-colored microwaveable omelette-maker, a plastic half-moon-shaped container that opens like a book so beaten eggs and other omelette-worthy filling can be poured into one side of the device, which is then closed and microwaved to cook the scramble into a puffy frittata-like shape that in no way actually resembles an omelette.

    This silly thing was my poor better half’s way of appeasing me while he learned to master cooking a perfect classic omelette in the traditional way (something he now executes flawlessly) and before he learned the utter idiocy of such culinary unitaskers. He had just started what has since become an obsession with cookery, and has morphed into an impressive, creative home cook who doesn’t need recipes and wins cooking competitions. We used it only once, whilst I hid my smirk behind my napkin, touched at his attempt to give me a decent breakfast. Needless to say, microwaved eggs taste horrible. We have held on to the ridiculous gadget for posterity, and laugh every time we come across it in the kitchen.

  237. I have a garlic peeler…a rubber tube you fill with garlic, roll with your hands, and voila! I never use it though, because I always have a knife on hand to smash my garlic with…same effect, fewer dishes to wash.

    Thanks, Zoe, and I love ABin5!

    Bethany

  238. Hi Zoe,
    I just tried making this cake. I followed the recipe exactly – down to the King Arthur cake flour – however, mine didn’t rise as much as yours did in the picture. I added the flour mixture – in three parts – to the whipped egg whites, and that’s where I felt I went wrong. Was I supposed to add the flour to the almond mixture instead, then fold the whipped egg whites into that?
    Please post your Ricciarelli recipe soon!

    PS. Love your blog and your cookbooks.

    1. Hi Jess,

      Thank you for trying the cake. Did it rise at all, just not as much. This can happen if the whites are whipped too much. Were they still silky and smooth, but kept a peak, although not rigid? If the whites are too stiff they no longer have any elasticity to them and will not expand when baking.

      Your method of folding the flour gently into the almond paste and egg mixture was right.

      Thanks, Zoë

  239. I finally got the courage to make the chiffon cake. Unfortunately, I over beat the egg whites. I’m glad you explained this baking error for Jess. The picture looks more like an angel food cake. What is a chiffon cake? Is it the same as a sponge cake? Even though my cake did not rise as much as yours, it still tasted very good. I could eat almond paste all by itself. Thanks for the recipes & pictures. They are an inspiration!

    1. Hi Jeannine,

      The two cakes are very similar, but an angel food is only whites with no fat in it at all. A chiffon is a type of sponge cake, but it much richer than say a genoise.

      I will improve the directions to reflect your problems with the egg whites. Thank you very much for the feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed the flavor, but I hope you’ll give it another shot to experience it with a lighter texture.

      Cheers, Zoë

  240. Hi Zoe,
    I have this cake in the oven; it has about 15 minutes left to go. Mine is very, very rounded on the top. Is is supposed to be like that? I see your cake is inverted onto a plate so the top is flat, but I wondered if it bakes with a very poufy top that just flattens out on the plate. Also, mine did not rise as much as yours. Could that be because I used AP flour? I couldn’t find the King Arthur cake flour anywhere.
    Thanks for your help and I can’t wait to eat it. I love all things almond!
    Priscilla

    1. Hi Priscilla,

      The AP flour may have had an effect. That flour has more protein and creates more structure for the gas bubbles to be caught in. This can result in a domed cake. If it didn’t flatten out after baking you can always trim the domed part off.

      Thanks, Zoë

  241. This cake looks great but I have some concerns about removing the cake. When it is cooling it doesn’t fall out hanging upside down on the bottle. How do you then get it out after it is cooled since the pan is “ungreased”? Thanks so much!

    Blessings,
    Danette

    1. Hi Danette,

      It won’t fall out if it is baked properly, but just to make sure be sure to use a regular (not nonstick) pan. You just need to let it sit upside down for the first 15 minutes or so. Until it is no longer hot. When the cake is cooled it may require a little nudging with a knife around the edges, but often times it will just come out. The steam from the cake releases it.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  242. You are so awesome! Thanks so much for responding. It really means a lot to me and I am sure so many others that you take the time to do that.

    Blessings,
    Danette

  243. Whoops! One more question. I can’t seem to find almond paste in my area. Is there an alternative to use for it? Thanks again!

    Blessings,
    Danette

  244. Hi Zoe,

    Can you please tell me if you think this cake will do well as a two layer 1/4 sheet cake filled with strawberries and cream & topped with berries? I have a client that wants just that – this recipe sounds delicious, but not too sure if it has the body to hold up to the filling & topping.

    Thanks so much for your time!
    Stef

    1. Hi Stef,

      I would try baking the layers rather thick in the sheet, so there is some body to the cake. How many layers does your client want? Is there time for a test run? If you try it, let me know how it goes?

      Thanks, Zoë

  245. Hi Zoe

    Will this cake do well if I bake it in a Scandinavian Almond Cake Pan? I am so in love with this pan and would love to use YOUR recipe.

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