You've Been Cutting Cakes All Wrong, According To Science

Everyone used to tell me I should paid more attention in math and science classes, thanks to something called "real world application." I've been waiting for the mythical day where those subjects would help me, and today might be that day. Alex Bellos over at Numberphile finally showed us the proper way to cut a cake to optimize freshness. I guess my teachers were right, because this? I could actually use this.

Take a minute, get your bearings and get over the fact that the pie chart method that you've been using your whole life is wrong. You all good? I'll explain.

Bellos starts by pointing out a problem that we have all, inevitably, run into in the traditional method: The next day you have one side of spongy, moist pastry. But on the other exposed side, it is, without fail, at least a little dried out. In the past we've (literally) just swallowed that truth, powering through the dryness and savoring the softness of protection and icing. But that day is done.

Bellos suggests cutting the cake into a strip method, and while it might make serving as cake technology struggles to catch up, it will result in equitably soft pieces for days.

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Start in the middle of the cake, cutting a slice an inch or two thick across the entire diameter of a round cake (see? Geometry coming into play!). Eat that piece, and when you're ready to store the cake, push the two separate halves together and secure with a rubber band. The next day, the two halves, shielded from drying outside refrigerator air, have preserved each other. For your next slice, cut across the other side, which would now give you four separate pieces, in the same fashion as the first time. Then, when you're ready, push the two parts together again and secure with another rubber band.

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Bellos didn't develop this method on his own. The idea was originally introduced in the science publication Nature in 1906 in a letter to the editor. Out of all of the scientific theories that have been debunked since 1906, how did this one not survive?

Comments on the video do bring up an important point: This is not for a method for serving an entire cake, like you may do at a party. But what the commenters fail to recognize, no, admit is that we have all been the lone cake eater. Tell me that at one point in your life you haven't either made or bought yourself a cake for individual consumption. We've all done it. WE'VE ALL DONE IT.

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So thank you, Bellos and early 20th century cake scientist, for optimizing our experience. If you'll excuse me, I need to go find my apron and get my science on.