Considering how many things we do “wrong” nowadays (like using ketchup cups, peeling oranges, eating chicken wings like a lady), you can’t help but wonder why we listen to our forefathers at all. Take cake-cutting for example. For as long as we’ve known, people have employed the exact same method for cutting into round cakes: carving off triangular slices and leaving the leftovers to sit in the fridge.
Well, apparently this method sucks.
Earlier today, British mathematician Alex Bellos decided to instruct the world on the most mathematically efficient technique for cake cutting. The problem, Bellos explains in his “Scientific Way to Cut a Cake” video, is that once your individual slice is removed, the remaining exposed insides will slowly dry out. Because of this, “you’re not maximizing the amount of gastronomic pleasure that you can make from this cake.”
Instead, the answer is to cut the round cake like you would a rectangular sheet cake. That is, in cake-long rectangular strips. Then, once your strip is removed, the rest of the cake can be squished and held together with a rubber band to minimize aeration and maximize moist delicious goodness.
It should be noted that the sides of Bellos’s video cake seem to be lined with firm, sugary fondant, which is able to withstand the pressure of the rubber band. We’re not sure so sure how well something like buttercream would hold up.
Though, alternatively, we could just eat the whole cake in one go.