Stop, you’re cutting your birthday cake all wrong. Here’s how to do it right.

Cutting a cake seems easy enough, if you don’t happen to eat the entire thing yourself. Grab a knife, cut a few slices, then pop the rest in the fridge. Well, according to science, we’re doing it wrong.

In a new video by British author Alex Bellos, also known as Numberphile, Bellos notes that cutting a triangle slice out of a cake from the center (the classic way) can lead to dry areas where the cake is left exposed. Or as Bellos says, “You’re not maximizing the amount of gastronomic pleasure.”

Hmm, maximizing gastronomic pleasure sounds like a good thing. To do so, Bellos suggests cutting slabs out of the middle of the cake instead of triangular slices. He credits British scientist Francis Galton with coming up with the technique in the early 20th century. Galton wrote about his method in a letter to the editor in Nature magazine titled “Cutting a Round Cake on Scientific Principles” in 1906.

In the letter, Galton describes cutting the cake down the middle. You then make a parallel cut down the middle again, creating a slab of cake from the center. Remove the cut slab of cake, then simply push the two halves back together before storing. You can view the method in the video above.


Bellos shows how to cut the cake on day two, three, four and so on to ensure no areas of the cake are exposed. He also uses a rubber band to keep the cake together. We’re thinking you can just use some plastic wrap.

And if we’re really being realistic, you shouldn’t need that many days to eat a cake anyway.

Like quirky food news? Me too. Follow me for more at @Jenn_Harris_