The Mathematically Perfect Way to Cut a Round Cake

Using a scientifically-approved method dating back to 1906, you too can serve up an exemplary slice of cake.

There are so many techniques we use in the kitchen that are inefficient and just plain wrong.

For example, many of us don’t think twice when faced with the task of cutting a cake. Most of us, in fact, think we do a pretty decent job at dividing up a round cake into equal wedges.

But in his video for Numberphile, British writer and broadcaster Alex Bellos—who writes books about mathematics and Brazil—finds fault with the common way of cake-cutting. Bellos explains that one of the most brilliant mathematical scientists of this past century, Sir Francis Galton, held the key to unlocking the mystery behind dishing out perfect, uniform slices while maintaining the freshness of the cake.

Let’s take a look at the perfect way to cut a round cake:

1) The cake should be sliced fully, right down the middle. Next, make an identical cut less than an inch away from and parallel to the first slicing:
ezgif save The Mathematically Perfect Way to Cut a Round Cake
2) Set the cut-out cake wedge aside, secure the two sides of the cake with a rubber band, and “close the cake together.”
ezgif save1 The Mathematically Perfect Way to Cut a Round Cake


3) Afterward, repeat the initial cutting process by turning the cake around and making two perpendicular cuts.
ezgif save2 The Mathematically Perfect Way to Cut a Round Cake

4) Again, take out the middle wedges and push together the remaining sides to seal the cake.
ezgif save3 The Mathematically Perfect Way to Cut a Round Cake


5) Wrap what’s left with the rubber band, and next time you bring out the cake to eat, repeat the same slicing process. Below is Sir Galton’s original diagram depicting the steps.
cake11 The Mathematically Perfect Way to Cut a Round Cake

Take a look at the full cake-cutting video above.

[via Neatorama, Numberphile]

  • http://www.rockthedub.com/ khal

    Assuming this would be fine for sheet cakes as well?

  • Francesca Ligtas

    As long as your cake is covered in nasty fondant, otherwise if it’s covered in a nicely whipped frosting it’s going to be pretty nasty. Use a cake covered container. We just had cake and it stayed fresh within the 3 days it was eaten.

Newsletter

Feed your inbox.

Subscribe