Why the "Scientific Way to Cut Cake" is Completely Wrong

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Social Media | October 12, 2015 |


I have several times noticed this being shared on various social media outlets. It is purported to be the “scientific way” to cut cake. I have argued viciously against it, repeatedly, and apparently with complete futility since it continues to be spread like a malicious cancer that has reached the lymph nodes.

Watch the video here:

Look, I take my desserts very seriously. I have issued violent rants on the topic of the best way to make apple crisp, and will brook no argument from the fascistic minimalist crisp crowd. And I love the “I Fucking Love Science” blog, which is a wonderful and consistent celebration of understanding the way that the world works.

But they are so totally wrong in this instance that it justifies anger. Nay, rage most profound.

This method is premised on the idea that the traditional cutting of a round cake into slices is objectively wrong because it exposes a large amount of the cake to the air, and that then allows the cake to dry out faster. They then propose to cut the cake in slices straight across the entire diameter of the cake. They correctly point out that this minimizes the cake exposed and therefore is scientifically superior.

There’s smugness here, dreadful smugness, based on as horrible a premise as national socialism.

Did you know why we cut the cake in slices drawn from the center? It is because that way each and every slice has exactly the same amount of frosting, all else being equal. The proposed “superior” method produces slices with variable proportions of frosting to cake. Some slices will have tons of frosting, while slices towards the middle will have hardly any at all.

Do you want civil war? Because unequal distribution of frosting is how you get a civil war in a home.

These madmen have prioritized cake moistness over efficient distribution of frosting. And this is obvious insanity. What charlatan places the value of the cake’s moistness over the consumption of frosting? Further, what kind of contemptuous miser eats cakes so slowly that they are willing to sacrifice frosting to keep the cake moist? That presumes a base assumption that a cake will be there for more than 48 hours, and sir, that is no household that I have any desire to live in.

This is not the scientifically best way to cut cake unless you are the sort of person who doesn’t like frosting, which exposes a lack of credibility that belongs in the same category as the anti-vaccination movement.

For shame, IFL Science, for shame.

(source: IFL Science)


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