Cutting Cakes in Layers

Appears in

Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague


By Rick Rodgers

Published 2002

A long serrated knife (at least 12 inches) is the best tool for slicing cakes into layers. The ideal way calls for making a series of deep horizontal cuts around the outside edge of the cake; eventually all of the cuts will meet in the center, and the layer can be lifted off.
Hold the serrated knife level at the point where you want to slice the cake into halves or thirds. (If you want absolutely perfect layers and are nervous, you can measure the height of the cake to find the exact point, but usually estimating the point by eye works just as well.) Hold the knife as level as possible, make a horizontal cut about 2 to 3 inches deep into the cake; keep the knife in the cake. Rotate the cake about one quarter turn. Make another deep horizontal cut at the exact same level as the first one. Repeat the procedure, rotating the cake and cutting around the sides until you have cut a deep horizontal ring around the center of the cake. Rotating the cake, cutting horizontally at the ring, cut deeply into the center of the cake to cut all the way through. Lift off the layer, using a cardboard cake round or the bottom of a springform pan as an aide, if needed. If cutting into thirds, repeat the procedure.
Here’s another method: Wrap a long piece of dental floss around the equator of the cake, crossing the two ends. Pull the two ends in opposite directions to draw the floss taut, pulling through the cake at the same time.

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