Today is the second in my Desserts 101 series. Last week we looked at how to select desserts. Today we are looking at how to slice cake!
Cakes are my favorite way to celebrate an occasion, and yet, there is something a little unnerving about looking at a beautiful cake and wondering how to slice it successfully.
In most situations, with small to average-sized cakes, the task requires little more than the bravery to just go for it. A sharp knife, plates lined up and waiting, and a dose of confidence will get you to the finish line. Small to mid-sized cakes are best served in wedges.
But when you have a large cake (10-inches or more), you need a different strategy. If you approach a large cake with a knife and cut it into wedges (like you would with smaller cakes), the pieces are going to be gargantuan. No one will finish a slice that large, it will barely fit on small dessert plates, and you are going to waste a lot of servings of cake.
Today I want to share with you the strategy we use at the bakery when slicing larger cakes. This is commonly seen at weddings, where the tiers are usually quite large in diameter. If you use this method on a ten-inch cake, you can easily feed 30 people, maybe more.
The first step is to cut an inner circle in the middle of the cake. Use a small sharp knife, and just go to town with an up-and-down sawing motion all the way around until you have cut a circle.
The next step is to use the knife to slice small pieces from the outer ring of cake. You can make these as large or as small as you wish, and if you make them on the slender side, you will obviously yield more servings.
Use the knife (and clean hands) to lift each slice from the cake and place it on a waiting plate. Whenever I am cutting a cake for a lot of people, I make sure I have a helper whose sole job is to shuttle empty plates my way. It makes the process run smoothly when the plates are waiting for you.
As you can see, this is an appropriately-sized slice of cake. If this were a wedge slice, it would not even fit on this plate...which is way too much cake. (Unless it's your birthday, in which case, there are no rules and you may have as much cake as you like.)
To cut the entire cake, keep working your way all the way around the outer ring. Once all of the outer ring has been sliced, you will be left with the inner circle cake. Slice this into wedges (you will get around six) and pop them onto plates!
Cake cutting success!