A cake tester that excels at so many other things.
Welcome to One Simply Terrific Thing, our ongoing series highlighting the small tools and kitchen goods that make life better!
Like many tools that I’ve had for a long time, I don’t remember exactly when I got this OXO cake tester ($5), but I do know that, over the years, it’s become a favorite tool not for testing a cake’s doneness (the irony!), but rather for all kinds of other cooking uses.
You know all the times you pull out a fork or knife to test the tenderness/doneness/cooked-through-ness of something? Use a metal cake tester instead!
The advantage of a metal cake tester over a fork or knife is that the tester’s tiny pinprick doesn’t let steam or juices escape prematurely (crucial if you’re testing the softness of a foil-wrapped baked potato or roasted beet and it ends up needing more time) or leave behind a noticeable slit or three-pronged poke in your food that can compromise the structure of a delicate piece of fish, for example.
It’s great for quickly and lightly checking tenderness on roasted vegetables, especially all kinds of squash, root vegetables, and baked potatoes; steamed vegetables (did that broccoli go long enough?); and yes, fish and meat as well!
I wrote a couple weeks ago about my love for the instant-read Thermapen, and while that’s still my go-to for checking internal temps on meat and fish, a cake tester provides a handy workaround if you don’t have an instant-read thermometer.
- For meat, just insert the cake tester into the center of the meat, hold it there for 3 seconds, then remove and touch the tester to your wrist. If the metal is warm or the same temperature as your skin, the meat is medium-rare. If it’s hot, the meat is well done and cooked through.
- For fish, do the same thing, but in this case a cold tester means the fish is not cooked, a warm tester means it’s just right, and a hot tester means it’s probably overcooked!
Cheers to good tools!