Preserving dessert is a slice of cake

Humans have been slicing their cakes completely wrong for centuries, at least, according to British mathematician Sir Francis Galton. The cake-loving math expert sent a letter to the journal Nature in 1906 outlining the proper way to slice the confection to maximize texture and decrease drying. How often have the cakes you made for your online baking program dried out the day or two after they were made? Now you can ensure your masterpieces stay fresh and texturally pleasing until every last bite has been eaten.

The Galton method of cake slicing
Being a mathematician, Galton knew that to reduce dryness, he must decrease surface area. The more cake exposed to the air, the greater the amount of dried cake. Galton surmised that traditional wedge slices were the worst way to preserve the cake. Picture a slice of cake – it has two exposed sides, both on the slice and in the leftover cake. The air can swirl around in the void the slice left, drying out the dessert. Galton figured out that by changing the shape of the slice, he could seal the remaining cake to prevent air from attacking the confection.

Instead of cutting a wedge, Galton recommends cutting a rectangle from the center of the cake. Simply slice the cake in half, then cut another line down the center. You can lift the long, strip-like slice out from the center of the cake and deposit it upon your plate. That leaves you with two half-moon pieces of the dessert. When you go to store the sweet confection, push the two halves together so the exposed part faces itself. This prevents air from getting to the cake.

The next time you want a slice, do the same thing, but perpendicular to the first slice. This creates an X in the middle of the cake, leaving four wedge-style pieces. Again, shove everything together to recreate the initial round cake structure. Repeat this over and over, creating perpendicular cuts, until the cake is gone.

The method resurfaces
People must not have taken to Galton’s method very well, as it’s been over a century since he introduced it and most people still cut their cake in wedges. However, one YouTuber has reintroduced the mathematically driven cake-slicing method: author Alex Bellos. He created and posted a video detailing Galton’s method. While the video has become an international hit, many people remain skeptical. Commenters have pointed out that the Galton method doesn’t maintain a good ratio of frosting to cake. Others simply prefer wedges because they are familiar.

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