Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

The Best Way to Cut Cake Slices

Dessert

  • Please log in to reply
23 replies to this topic

#1 Qui

Qui
  • participating member
  • 62 posts

Posted 25 October 2006 - 05:02 PM

hi all,
What is the best way to cut cake slices like Opera. I guess what I'm looking for is to get a clean cut without having the layers looked like it has been smooched and chocolate/ganache bleeding into buttercream - sloppy looking.

I've tried leaving the cake out at room temperature, then cut it with a warm knife - didn't really work.

Thanks for your help!

#2 highchef

highchef
  • participating member
  • 1,129 posts
  • Location:Louisiana

Posted 25 October 2006 - 05:13 PM

hot water and a hot clean knife. Between slices, clean the knife and slip it down into very hot water.. works like a charm.
This works very well if you have an automatic hot water heater. Just another reason to get one of these most wonderful gadjets...they do a heck of a job with drip coffe and tea is instant! If you're handy you can get them for less than 300 bucks or so at the big box shops.

#3 Patrick S

Patrick S
  • participating member
  • 2,233 posts

Posted 25 October 2006 - 05:45 PM

Also, cakes usually cut much better when they are cool or even frozen, depending on the type of cake, because that minimizes the difference in firmness between layers. Thin knives are better than thicker knives. And you knife should be as sharp as possible.
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#4 JFLinLA

JFLinLA
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 988 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 25 October 2006 - 06:10 PM

Just to clarify . . . yes, hot water & clean knife. But, after wiping your blade clean from the previous slice and dipping in hot water, wipe it again before the next slice. No need to drip water and get your cake soggy.
So long and thanks for all the fish.

#5 highchef

highchef
  • participating member
  • 1,129 posts
  • Location:Louisiana

Posted 25 October 2006 - 06:57 PM

Just to clarify . . . yes, hot water & clean knife.  But, after wiping your blade clean from the previous slice and dipping in hot water, wipe it again before the next slice.  No need to drip water and get your cake soggy.

View Post



and yes, you know not to drip on your cake, right?

#6 kitchenmage

kitchenmage
  • participating member
  • 161 posts
  • Location:a fog valley off the Columbia River

Posted 25 October 2006 - 07:10 PM

Also, cakes usually cut much better when they are cool or even frozen, depending on the type of cake, because that minimizes the difference in firmness between layers. Thin knives are better than thicker knives. And you knife should be as sharp as possible.

View Post



This raises one of those questions I've wondered about. What are the "rules" on freezing various fillings/frostings/icings? Having been surprised at how well some things freeze, there is clearly stuff I am missing. What can you freeze and what just dies when you do that?

Patrick (or one of the many other sages here), care to enlighten me?

thx
~km

#7 Qui

Qui
  • participating member
  • 62 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 05:49 PM

Thanks for the input.
One more question, when I cut the slices, should I push the knife down or pull it towards me? I was told that pulling towards me would slice better, is that true?

so, for a cake like opera, with buttercream and ganache, is it still better to slice them cool? how about butter cakes? like a devil's layer cake, where the cake gets pretty firm when it's chilled, it wouldn't be too difficult to cut when cool?

#8 highchef

highchef
  • participating member
  • 1,129 posts
  • Location:Louisiana

Posted 26 October 2006 - 06:06 PM

Thanks for the input.
One more question, when I cut the slices, should I push the knife down or pull it towards me? I was told that pulling towards me would slice better, is that true?

so, for a cake like opera, with buttercream and ganache, is it still better to slice them cool? how about butter cakes? like a devil's layer cake, where the cake gets pretty firm when it's chilled, it wouldn't be too difficult to cut when cool?

View Post


Slice straight down. pull out and clean. warm again and slice. sliced cool is good. almost frozen is better. Sharp knife, thin knife, hot knife, clean knife between slices. That is it. Now, go and be good.

#9 Patrick S

Patrick S
  • participating member
  • 2,233 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 06:33 PM

Also, cakes usually cut much better when they are cool or even frozen, depending on the type of cake, because that minimizes the difference in firmness between layers. Thin knives are better than thicker knives. And you knife should be as sharp as possible.

View Post



This raises one of those questions I've wondered about. What are the "rules" on freezing various fillings/frostings/icings? Having been surprised at how well some things freeze, there is clearly stuff I am missing. What can you freeze and what just dies when you do that?

Patrick (or one of the many other sages here), care to enlighten me?

thx
~km

View Post


To be honest I can only recall a few problems from freezing things. I've had Herme's chocolate glaze crack on me once when I froze it on a cake. But the vast majority of things I've frozen -- including a lot of different kinds of mousses and buttercreams-- have frozen just fine.
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#10 reenicake

reenicake
  • participating member
  • 210 posts

Posted 27 October 2006 - 01:54 PM

it also depends on how "frozen" you take things; a home freezer will not be as cold, or as drying, as a commercial one.
To cut opera, in addition to the directions above, you might want to cut in strips first, then crosswise. We used to assemble and freeze, then do long strips, return all but one to the freezer, then take crosswise cuts. For ala carte service, we would keep the cut surfaces together to keep them from drying out.

#11 Naftal

Naftal
  • participating member
  • 373 posts
  • Location:SE Michigan

Posted 16 May 2007 - 12:35 PM

Here is the problem: we have this wonderful cake, but no idea how to cut it so as to get nice slices. Is there a special technique?

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)


#12 alanamoana

alanamoana
  • participating member
  • 2,738 posts
  • Location:California

Posted 16 May 2007 - 01:35 PM

1. have a tall container full of very hot water (tall enough that the entire blade of your knife will fit into it) standing by.

2. warm your knife in the hot water

3. dry the knife on a clean towel

4. make a slice in the cake

5. repeat steps 2 through 4 until all the pieces are cut

* if you're uncomfortable cutting the slices free hand, mark the top of the cake lightly with the knife before you actually slice down...still cleaning the knife between marks so that you don't mess up the icing

* if there's meringue (as in a crunchy meringue layer) in the cake, all bets are off as you'll need a serrated knife and you'll have to do a bit of sawing to get through the meringue layer

#13 Pam R

Pam R
  • manager
  • 6,837 posts
  • Location:Winnipeg, Canada

Posted 16 May 2007 - 02:46 PM

Everything Alana said is what I would suggest.

What kind of cake is it? That could make a difference.

#14 K8memphis

K8memphis
  • participating member
  • 2,464 posts
  • Location:memphis tn

Posted 16 May 2007 - 03:39 PM

Some people use unflavored dental floss to cut cake. I've tried it that way but I do it the Alana way. And you want a thinner blade on the knife.

Or

You can just slash it up and then slather it with ice cream & no one will be the wiser. :biggrin:

Edited by K8memphis, 16 May 2007 - 03:41 PM.


#15 Patrick S

Patrick S
  • participating member
  • 2,233 posts

Posted 16 May 2007 - 04:36 PM

Also, depending on the type of cake and how long before serving you need/want to slice it, you may want to refrigerate or even freeze it first. Some types of cakes/frostings/etc will cut much cleaner when cold.
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#16 Naftal

Naftal
  • participating member
  • 373 posts
  • Location:SE Michigan

Posted 16 May 2007 - 06:40 PM

Everything Alana said is what I would suggest.

What kind of cake is it? That could make a difference.

View Post

The cake is made with carmellized(sp?) nuts. That is what is making it difficult to slice. And please feel free to tell me how "that" word is spelled :rolleyes:

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)


#17 JeanneCake

JeanneCake
  • participating member
  • 1,324 posts
  • Location:greater boston area

Posted 16 May 2007 - 06:43 PM

caramelized

so now we know with those nuts, all bets are off. :biggrin:

what kind of nut? whole walnuts? pecans? chopped peanuts as in brittle? Are they on the surface? Inside? On the sides? If they're only on the sides, you are mostly in the clear.

#18 onetoughcookie

onetoughcookie
  • participating member
  • 125 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 18 May 2007 - 06:54 AM

I always give an instruction sheet taped to the box when I have a cake delivered to a client.
In addition to the clean knife technique, I suggest cutting a small circle in the center of the
cake, then cut the slices from the "outer ring", if you will. This makes for foolproof, equal size slices that are neither too big or too small, and keeps everything nice and neat. You also don't waste
cake, there's plenty for everyone, too!

Does that make sense?
www.onetoughcookienyc.com

#19 Naftal

Naftal
  • participating member
  • 373 posts
  • Location:SE Michigan

Posted 18 May 2007 - 08:36 AM

ok gang! here is an indepth discription of my problem: The cake topping is made with pecans, brown sugar, butter and whipped cream. The cake is cooked up-side-down so everything cooks to a praline-type coat. The cake is wonderful, at least it would be if anyone could cut it. I hope this info helps :unsure:

Edited by Naftal, 18 May 2007 - 08:36 AM.

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)


#20 dystopiandreamgirl

dystopiandreamgirl
  • participating member
  • 104 posts
  • Location:the lonesome crowded west

Posted 18 May 2007 - 01:54 PM

damn, that sounds good.

I assume you unmold it while it is still warm? and the topping still somewhat soft? slice through the praline at that point (but not the cake)...somewhat in the style of a dobos torte...

#21 onetoughcookie

onetoughcookie
  • participating member
  • 125 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 18 May 2007 - 01:57 PM

Throw out my instructions for this cake and just dig in!
:wub:
www.onetoughcookienyc.com

#22 reenicake

reenicake
  • participating member
  • 210 posts

Posted 18 May 2007 - 09:40 PM

Add some corn syrup or more cream to the topping so it does not cook up so hard... or maybe make individuals to completely sidestep the cutting thing! Honestly, caramelized nuts will never cut cleanly unless they are chopped up finely; if they are in a pretty solid topping you'll always make a mess because it is so much harder than the cake beneath.

#23 gfron1

gfron1
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,241 posts
  • Location:Silver City, NM

Posted 18 May 2007 - 09:57 PM

After 3 days of discussion that cake better be gobbled up by now! And we don't mind pictures of mangled cake.

Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#24 JeanneCake

JeanneCake
  • participating member
  • 1,324 posts
  • Location:greater boston area

Posted 19 May 2007 - 03:01 PM

can you cut it upside down (flip it so the topping is on the plate and you are cutting down through the cake, and can put some body english into the final cut through the praline) Then you can scoop it all up when you put the piece right side up?)





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Dessert