It’s becoming more popular to celebrate a birthday or special occasion with a round cake. You may have purchased the cake from a local supermarket, or even a local baker. But what is the best way to cut your cake to get the most servings? We’ll give you some helpful tips on how to cut a round cake.
What is a round cake?
When we talk about a round cake, we simply mean a cake that is in the shape of a round circle. You may have previously had a cake which is square or oblong. But for this article, we’re talking all about the round cakes. They came come in all sorts of sizes, depending on the amount of people who are going to be eating the cake. These days, there are even round cakes small enough for one portion. We’re not talking about cupcakes here!
Bakers use the term party slices when describing how many portions their cakes serve. We’ve created a helpful guide of how many portions to expect out of the size of your cake.
If you don’t want to serve all your cake on the same day, half of the entire cake can be refrigerated for 4-5 days in an airtight container or frozen for 3-4 months.
These measurements are approximate for party slices. Party slices are the size of cake slices which would traditionally be served at an event or wedding.
4″ round containing four cake layers (approx 7″ tall) – up to 12 party slices
6″ round containing four cake layers (approx 7″ tall) – up to 24 party slices
8″ round containing four cake layers (approx 7″ tall) – up to 48 party slices
Where did a round cake originate from?
The history of cake dates back to ancient times and were very different to the cakes we eat today. Nuts and dried fruits were often added and they were sweetened with honey. Round cakes with icing were first baked in Europe in the mid-17th century. Round moulds for shaping cakes on a flat tray were very popular. These were often made out of metal, wood or paper.
Why are cakes round?
Food historians have several theories about why cakes are round. A round cake as we know it today, has descended from ancient bread. Ancient breads were made and moulded by hand and relaxed into rounded shapes. The most common theory is that a round cake has drawn on inspiration from a round type of bread many centuries ago. Bakers previously used paper moulds for their cakes. Presumably they were favoured over using tin moulds as they would not rust.
What is a layer cake?
Layer cakes are any form of cake which contain multiple layers within them. They have become more popular in recent years, as people favour the taller style of cake. To get a taller cake, there needs to be multiple layers within them. The layers are then filled with either buttercream, fresh cream, fruits or jams.
Traditionally, a layer cake such as a Victoria Sandwich may only have two layers of sponge. Layer cakes made by modern bakers are now containing around four layers per cake, some even stretching to five or six layers. However, it’s worth noting that the taller the cake, the more likely it will need a structural support inside to prevent the cake collapsing. Check out our helpful guide below on how to cut a round cake such as a sponge layer cake.
How to cut a round cake:
We recommend following our technique to cutting a round cake. This is the best way to get the most number of portions. You may have previously cut a round cake using the triangle technique, and portioning the cake up this way. Whilst this does give people a good wedge of the cake, there may not be enough to go around everyone.
Prepare the tools you need first, we recommend using a long knife with a serrated edge. We prefer to use a bread knife over a long sharp knife. Having a chopping board will also be useful for the cake slices to go onto. Cake cutting does not need to be a stressful experience, you just need to have the confidence on your cutting cake technique. We also have a handy video to demonstrate our technique below.
Warm your serrated knife first by running it under hot water for a few seconds. Dry the knife on a kitchen towel. For the first cut of a slice of cake, prepare to slice through the layer by leaving a gap of 2 inches away from the edge of the cake. Cutting in a slicing motion through the frosting and through the layers of the cake. With your chopping board, the sliced portion can rest flat onto the board ready for serving the pieces of cake.
Clean your serrated knife:
This method works best if you wipe clean the serrated knife after each cut. Repeat this technique to divide your cake further. As you reach the middle of the cake, continue to slice straight portions of 2 inches thick across the diameter. If you wish to have larger portions, then make sure you cut less portions in the next step. Slicing the cake too thin could risk not enough cake being served per portion.
Slice the cake with a good firm pressure, using the cutting motion with the serrated knife. Be careful not to press too hard when you are cutting, as you don’t want to risk the frosting being forced out of the layers. A good way to avoid the cake falling apart is to have refrigerated it for a few hours before serving. The cake can then be taken out of the fridge 30-60 minutes prior to serving.
Once the cake is cut, you can then serve the slice of cake on a plate or cake stand for your guests to have. We always tend to eat our piece of cake with other treats like fresh fruit or ice cream if it’s a special birthday indulgence. Leftover cake is also especially nice warmed up from the microwave.
Round cake recipe:
We’ve already created the best recipe for the perfect sponge cake, and it just so happens that it’s a round cake recipe! This recipe can be doubled into creating a four layer cake, or kept simply as a two layer cake. The sponge is light and fluffy, and can be paired with jam or buttercream to make it extra special. Check out the published recipe here to give you an example of how to make a round cake.
Cake cutting does not need to be challenging. We hope you’ve found out guide useful of how to cut a round cake. The top tip to remember, is warm your serrated knife and know the portion sizes you are aiming for before you begin cutting a round cake.