The Best Way to Cut Your Birthday Cake, According to Science

Science has now answered life's most important question: How do you cut a cake so perfectly that each slice brings a tear to the eye? (Because the cake is moist.) (Also because you made it with onions because you're an awful human being.)

It turns out that instead of cutting your cake into triangles, what you should really be doing is cutting a strip from the middle of the cake, mashing the rest of the cake together, and then quickly putting a rubber band around the whole thing in order to keep it squashed together and moist on the inside. This does sound like more hard work then just shoving the cake in the fridge with a piece of plastic wrap kind of wadded over the top, but it's supposed to ensure that your cake is just as moist on day four as it is on day one.

Of course, this method also assumes that there are people out there who are either incapable of or unwilling to eat an entire cake in one sitting. Or that there are people who don't cut tiny slices out of a cake but grab handfuls and stick them joyously into their gaping mouth holes. I don't have any experience with this — none — but if I were writing my thesis on the proper way to cut cake, that would absolutely go into the section on limitations and future directions.

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Stephan Zielinski

Science has now answered life's most important question. . .

For a value of "now" equal to "107 years ago." Galton's letter to Nature (PDF) (one long paragraph plus a diagram, much faster to read than to sit through the video) is from 1906 Dec 20— back before plastic wrap or mechanical home refrigeration were options.

Galton was also specifically addressing "given a round tea-cake of some 5 inches across, and two persons of moderate appetite to eat it, in what way should it be cut so as to leave a minimum of exposed surface to become dry?" Early 20th century "tea cake" wasn't much like modern birthday cake, but was instead what today USAens would call "coffee cake": a sweetened soda bread, prone to crumbling into dust if it dries out. The diagram he provides is for the case of the two people taking three days to eat the cake.