You’ve Been Cutting Cake Wrong Your Whole Life

Have you ever wondered how bakers and Instagrammers get that slice of cake to look so perfect? Nothing is falling apart, no frosting is smeared from one layer to the next, it is just picture-perfect. Whether you are making a heart-filled vanilla cake, a Christmas Neapolitan cake, or even a decadent red velvet cake, there is an easy hack to ensure those slices look well-manicured and worthy of being presented to your family or guests on whatever pretty plate you are using. The trick centers on two things: Your knife and where you insert it into the dessert to begin dividing it up.

Most people start at the center of the cake and insert the tip of the knife at this point before bringing it down to make the cut. But while that is done by almost the whole population of the world, it actually messes with your layers of frosting, dragging the thick top layer down through the cake. Instead, to get a far cleaner cut of cake, you need to cut slowly from the outside-in, drawing your knife into the center rather than away from it. You also hold the knife vertically for the whole cut so that any movement of frosting is horizontal. Ensure the knife cuts all the way through on both sides before trying to remove the slice for serving. Using this technique will ensure the knife doesn’t draw your frosting downward which is the root of the messy cut. 

Use the right knife

Slice of layered cake

Make certain you select the right knife to cut your cake. Before you practice this new cake-cutting method, be sure you have a serrated knife on hand to do the job. Sure, most knives, including a good chef’s knife will be up for the task, but a serrated knife will allow you gently saw back and forth if needed, which prevents the cake from squashing. This works well with an angel food cake or other confection on the more delicate side. What you will appreciate about this out-to-in slicing technique is you can still use a warmed knife to slice cake to prevent tearing as an added safeguard.

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Of course, there are other precautions you can take to ensure a beautiful slice every time. Some people like to place their cake in the fridge for 20 minutes before cutting it up. This can help prevent crumbs and allows the frosting to stiffen up so it doesn’t smear against the knife. Just make sure you plan accordingly so your cake slices can warm up to room temperature before serving. And if you’re interested in more slicing tips, do read our hacks to cutting cake that you wish you’d known sooner.

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