Is This the Best Way to Cut Your Cake?

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

You might think cutting your birthday cake — or really any cake — is a pretty straightforward ordeal, but I’m here to tell you that you might be doing it wrong. Don’t believe me? A new cake “hack” on Instagram made its rounds on the internet last week that you need to know about.

Shared by Australian baker Katherine Sabbath, the video shows a person using a cutting board to cut slices of a circle cake into little rectangular pieces. Sabbath says in her caption that this technique results in “responsible servings,” allowing guests to come back for seconds or thirds, if they wish.

The technique is pretty simple to understand: Cut a cake in half and then hold a cutting board at a 90-degree angle against the flat surface of the cake. Then slice parallel to the cutting board and let the piece gently fall flat to the surface using the cutting board as a safety net. Then slice the large rectangular piece into smaller slivers.

But as Food52 points out, the technique is already readily used by the food industry: It’s not totally new, but it’s a friendly reminder of a step that can make life easier at your next celebration. Plus, the footage is a thrill to watch — the video’s 1.3 million (and counting) viewers would presumably agree.

If you’re looking to perfect your cake-slicing game, using a knife dipped in hot water allows for slicing through ice cream cakes seamlessly. And dipping in between cuts cleans off the knife as well. Or use butter on the side of the blade.

And if you’re curious about the scientific way to cut cake, there’s a technique you should know. According to mathematician Sir Francis Galton, as pointed out by YouTube channel Numberphile, triangular slices are not as optimal as you may expect since they leave the exposed surfaces of the cake left to dry. Instead, it’s rectangular slices that better preserve a cake’s flesh.