Category Archives: Cutting a Cake

How to Cut a Cake

This is one of those tasks most people assume they already know how to perform. However after receiving some emails about slipping and/or sliding glazes during Sacher torte week, I think a tutorial on this subject is warranted. For indeed as with most things, there’s a right way to cut a cake and a wrong way. Here’s the wrong way…

…which is to say stabbing it in the center from above. (Here the cake is represented by a stack of two upturned cake layer pans). Why is that the wrong way? Because it puts pressure on the center of the cake. I know, you think you have a good sharp knife there, but if the surface of the cake or pastry is at all rigid, the result will be compression which means cracking, slipping or stretching of the top coating. Even in the case of a soft buttercream top, the drag of all that surface area will pull the center of the cake downward, to no good effect. Proper cutting of a cake starts from the outside edge and continues in an arcing motion down to the plate. Allow me to demonstrate.

Start by angling the knife at about 45 degrees relative to the tabletop, and cut inward toward the cake’s center. The very tip of the knife should be the last thing that slips under the surface coating of the cake.

As you reach the middle of the cut, roughly the level of the bottom layer, the knife should be about parallel with the table.

Finishing the cut, you want to land the knife tip at the very center of the cake plate.

Then all you need to do is withdraw the knife, tip still down on the plate:

Done! Dip the knife in a nearby bowl of warm water…

…wipe it…

…and you’re ready for the next cut. Easy.

Filed under:  Cutting a Cake, Techniques | 2 Comments