Monday, April 20, 2009

Eggs twice her age

My daughter turned four a couple days ago. We made her lime chiffon birthday cake together. In a chiffon cake recipe, egg whites are beat until stiff, and then folded into the batter before it’s poured into cake pans. The fluffy egg whites produce a cake with a wonderfully light texture.

The recipe called for eight egg whites. So I set my daughter up with an egg separator – a small plastic utensil that is placed over a cup/ramekin. When an egg is cracked into the egg separator, the white drips through the holes in the bottom and the yolk stays in the utensil.

Now, for a little girl who is a few days away from being four, it is quite an exercise in concentration to keep all the steps of separating the yolks and whites of EIGHT eggs. First, there is the whole egg cracking process. I remember the first time, a couple months ago that I let my three-year-old crack an egg. I was prepared for egg carnage all over the kitchen. In actuality, she was so careful, she didn’t crack it hard enough for the first several tries.

When cracking eggs into an egg separator, my daughter had to remember to place the egg separator on top of the ramekin BEFORE cracking the egg into the cup – otherwise the yolk must be fished out of the ramekin with a spoon – defeating the entire purpose of the egg separator. If the egg separation has been successful, she then had to remember to dump the egg yolk into the bowl with egg yolks and the white into the bowl with other whites, and NOT visa versa and BEFORE she cracked another egg into the separator. Like I said, it took a great deal of concentration.

We had a few mishaps along the way; a few fishing excursions for egg yolks. But in the end, I was impressed. My daughter completed the egg separation process eight times. And then we measured, dumped and mixed our way through the rest of the recipe.

The resulting birthday cake was light and fluffy with a light lime flavor to complement the texture. To top it off, we didn’t use artificial whipped topping as specified in the recipe. We used real whipped cream and flavored it with lime zest and powdered sugar. However, after all that, I think my daughter liked blowing out the candles even more than eating the cake; such is the magic of having a birthday when you’re four.