When it’s time to sing “Happy Birthday” and cut into that delicious and tempting round birthday cake, how do you approach cutting it? Well, if you’ve been cutting your round cakes like you’d cut a pie, then you’re doing it wrong— or at least not doing it well enough to preserve the integrity of the rest of the cake! British author and broadcaster Alex Bellos from Numberphile explains why you should swap your cake cutting method for this NEW tried-and true-technique.
So what’s the problem with the old technique? Basically, cutting pieces a triangle at a time leaves the left-behind, uneaten cake exposed to the air. What happens after it sits in your refrigerator overnight? It dries out, of course! A tragic fate for any dessert, but especially cake, and most especially birthday cake. Plus, when you cut a new piece, you end up with a weird combination where one side of the triangle is dry, but the the side that was still attached and covered by icing or frosting is still nice and moist. Not exactly appetizing.
So what are we to do instead? Completely change the way we cut our cake slices, that’s what! It feels, well, just wrong at first, but here’s what we should all do from now on:
- Cut the cake in half, all the the way through, at the widest part of the circle.
- Make another cut parallel to the first cut.
- Carefully lift out the slice of cake you’ve created. Enjoy it, dividing it into portions as you desire.
- “Close” the remaining cake by gently pushing the remaining sides together. Secure it with rubber bands.
- The next day – or hours, or even minutes later; we don’t judge! – create the second slice by repeating the technique. This time, however, make the slices perpendicular to the first.
- Repeat until all the cake is gone!
And there we are! Cutting your cake this way will preserve it for longer, and make sure it’s just as delicious on day four or five as it is on day one.
Make sure to watch the video from Numberphile to see this technique demonstrated in action, learn more tips, and hear the surprisingly-old mathematical origins of this tip! Then come back and tell us what you think and if you plan on giving this new cake-cutting idea a try.
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