The Easiest Ways to Cut and Serve Cake

You may be doing it all wrong.

<p>M Treasure/Getty Images</p>

M Treasure/Getty Images

If you've put all the effort into making a gorgeous dessert, you definitely want the individual servings to come out picture perfect. But cutting and serving cake can sometimes be a bit of a messy, fingers-in-the-buttercream affair.

Related: 17 Easy Cake Recipes That Require Minimal Prep

If the ideal triangular cake slice eludes you, you're not alone. Which is why creative cake serving ideas have taken off on social media, with all kinds of new cake cutting hacks that are definitely intriguing. We put a few of the newest ways to cut cake to the test—and reached out to the pros for the best methods to ensure a lovely slice of cake every time.

The Wine Glass Cake Serving Method

You've probably seen a TikTok or 10 extolling this cake serving method. You put out a set of stemmed wine glasses, which people turn upside down and push through the edges of the cake to slice off a serving.

Test Results

The wine glass went pretty easily through a thin three-layer cake with buttercream filling, but it took a second try before we were able to flip the wine glass back upright. There was a smear of buttercream and some crumbs on the outside of the glass.


  • Guests can take as much (or as little) cake as they want.

  • It's an easy DIY method that doesn't require you to be stuck serving cake to every guest. (Great for bigger parties!)

  • It's kind of a fun way to serve cake—and makes it easy for people to walk around or stand and eat.


  • It's a messy cake serving method, with crumbs and frosting both inside and outside the glass.

  • Unless you use very sturdy, unbreakable wine glasses, you run the risk of broken glasses if people put too much pressure on the glass when they "cut" their serving.

The Dental Floss Cake Cutting Method

Dental floss has uses outside the bathroom (some people use it to clean hard-to-reach cracks and crevices around sinks, for instance). It's been suggested as a great way to create clean, perfectly straight slices of cheesecake and other creamy desserts—but now, people are using it for traditional cakes as well. Note that there's a similar variation where you use a piece of fishing line instead.


Opt for unflavored dental floss to avoid passing on a touch of mint or cinnamon into your dessert.

Test Results

We had to really push the floss through the cake—and it missed cutting through the bottom of the last layer. The cake slices looked a little more ragged than some of the other cake cutting methods. This seems to work best for perhaps marking slices on the frosting of a cake before you cut, rather than actually cutting the cake.


  • You can pre-score the slices with the floss to make sure everyone's getting a fair share

  • You can cut the cake a bit faster because each down movement cuts through the entire cake


  • Had to use force to get it through the layers (and it missed the last bit)

  • Floss will be even trickier to use for taller, multi-layer cakes

  • A flavored floss could potentially affect the flavor the cake

The Vertical Cake Cutting Method

Generally, people slice cake by pushing the knife through the cake from top to bottom. This cake cutting method turns that on its head, by holding the knife vertically and cutting from the outside edge of the cake straight to the middle.

Test Results

When we cut the cake vertically, it was easy to cut through all the layers, and it seemed to prevent the cake from shifting or sliding, despite the fact that the buttercream in between the layers was pretty soft.


  • You're still using the cake knife—so you won't look so weird breaking out the floss.

  • It produced one of the best looking slices of cake.


  • People might look at you a little weird—until they see that cake cutting magic.

The Grid Cake Cutting Method

Triangular cake slices can be notoriously hard to slip out perfectly If you want to look like a pro cutting your cake—and make it super easy for you to give everyone a perfectly sized slice—follow this method from celebrity cake artist Ron Ben-Israel.

Rather than cutting the cake into triangular slices, cut a grid into the cake, creating slices about an inch thick and two inches wide—giving each person roughly the same amount of cake. You can simply use the knife or spatula to tip each slice onto a plate, or use a cake server to move it over to the cake.

Test results

This produced beautiful, rectangular slices, but the cake did crumble a bit as we were trying to serve it. Next time, we would combine this method with the vertical cuts for an ideally sliced cake.


  • It's easier to get nice looking, uniform slices.

  • You can serve more people from a standard round cake.


  • We had a little trouble serving the cake this way, with the first corner slice collapsing slightly.

  • Bad news for frosting fans: Some slices only get the cake interior, and not the extra edge frosting.

Pro Tips for Cutting and Serving Cake

No matter which cutting method you use, there are a few cake cutting tricks that'll make it easy to get a good slice.

Choose the right kind of knife for the job

Ben-Israel swears by a fish slicing knife, with a long, narrow, smooth blade. Other experts suggest serrated knives, like a tomato or bread knife, which can slice through the delicate cake crumb with minimal mess.

Heat up the knife

A hot knife can make slipping through buttercream much easier. Just dip the blade into hot water for a minute or two before you start, then dip again between cuts.

Clean the cake knife off in between slices

Any frosting or cake crumbs left on your knife when you cut the next slice will just make that one look messy. Dip the knife back into the hot water, and use a dish towel to wipe it clean before you make each cut.

Consider wearing gloves

If you have a hard time handling a slice of cake with a cake server or spatula—and don't want to dip your bare fingers in your guests' buttercream icing—wearing a pair of latex gloves when you serve can make it more hygienic and less messy to handle the cake slices, Ben-Israel says.

Jazz it up with a little extra something

To bring your dessert to the pro level, offer a little extra something to sweeten the deal. You can plate it with a sprig of herbs or a bit of fruit, a drizzle of a complementary sauce, or a sprinkle of chocolate shavings or powdered sugar.

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