For Seamless Cake Slices, The Fridge Is Your Friend

There's no denying that a delicious slice of cake can brighten anyone's day. While we look forward to how it tastes, the appearance of your slice is what you notice first and foremost. Sometimes the cut looks so precise, it gives the impression that it was done with a complicated set of lasers or surgery scalpels. Something about a perfectly meticulous cut on a baked good can make the already wonderful experience even better ... but how do you get a flawless slice every time when the texture and consistency of cake and frosting can vary so wildly? 

The answer is chilling! Not in the scary way, of course, but in terms of temperature alteration. Refrigerating your cake before slicing and serving it, along with proper cutting instrument maintenance, can help you smoothly slice your knife through the layers and achieve a clean cut on every piece. It's an extra step, sure, but with professional bakery-level results, you'll find it's worth the time! 

A quick chill is enough

Thankfully, popping your cake into the fridge before you serve it doesn't necessarily mean you'll be giving your guests an ice-cold dessert. Your cake only needs about 10 to 15 minutes of fridge time, any longer is unnecessary and could lead to your cake frosting becoming more dense than you'd prefer. After that quick chill, the frosting should have set to a consistent, slightly cooler temperature which is less likely to smear as you bring the knife through it. The fact that the frosting has become slightly more solid will create a better base to cut through without a mess. To aid with this, you can also use a little cornstarch to avoid runny frosting

It should be noted that the cake won't remain cold for long and adapts to room temperature not long after its final plating. If you're still concerned that what you're about to serve may be too cold, you can leave the now safely sliced cake at room temperature for 5 minutes before unveiling dessert to any dinner guests. It certainly never hurts to be cautious, and your friends will reap the benefits of your careful planning when you serve them up something beautiful! 

A clean knife results in a clean cut

Another way to help ensure a crystal-clear slice each time is by simply wiping your knife after each cut. This guarantees that any excess frosting or crumb residue that may have stuck to the knife is safely cleaned away. Rather than running your knife to the sink between each slice, have a towel or cloth napkin at the ready for a smooth transition between each cut, washing it off with hot water periodically as needed. An uncomplicated wipe-down of your cutting implement each time can make a world of difference, and if you do it enough, it will become second nature, and you'll have added another to your growing list of basic knife skills. Also, be sure you're using a serrated knife to do the cutting, which when moved gently through the cake in a sawing motion (rather than straight down) will reduce the risk of squashing the slice.

If you keep your cake cold and your knife clean, there won't be any chance your dessert will be ruined by errant smeared frosting. Plus, all you really have to do is make that good first impression, because after your guests take that first bite, all bets are off. If a cake tastes good enough, they'll forget all about whether it's pretty or not!

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