HOW TO: Cut a wedding cake
Let’s set the record straight. A wedding cake is made from scratch. It’s not a light and fluffy “box mix” cake – it’s a dense, moist, rich cake. It’s typically reinforced with small dowel rods inside the cake, to maintain its structure when stacking layers.
I can share horror stories of family members who wanted to bake the wedding cake, and end up making a layered cake out of a box mix. A box mix is spongy and soft, and is NOT made for stacking. If your family member wants to do this for your wedding and doesn’t know about specifically making wedding cakes, PLEASE, for your sanity’s sake, do one of the following things:
Have them make cupcakes! Much safer than attempting a stacked cake, and you can offer a variety of flavors and styles.
If you’re still going do a cake cutting ceremony, you can get a true patisserie to make a small cake for cutting, or your family member can make a small cake that doesn’t need to stack.
Have them make a single layered groom’s cake.
Or let them make a cake dessert for the rehearsal.
If you don’t hire Events by Autumn, if your caterer doesn’t cut the cake, OR if your caterer charges to cut the cake, the below tips will come in handy! Ever wonder how a patisserie can say “this size cake will yield this many slices?” It’s because there is a proper way to cut a wedding cake. If you don’t follow this plan, a 200 person cake can easily be cut incorrectly and only yield 100 pieces. As we mentioned above, a wedding cake is incredibly rich and dense, so the serving size is conservative.
What you’ll need:
6’ Table with no linen
Latex kitchen gloves
Sharp cake knife
Cake serving utensil
Pitcher with very hot water
A half dozen clean hand towels
A helper or two (Too many is not a good thing!)
The correct number of cake plates (pre-decorated for speed)
Cake topper box
We recommend setting your table behind the scenes, where you can cut the cake outside of guests’ view. Number one, you don’t want a linen on this table, so you don’t get icing and cake all over it. It’s a messy job. And a table without a linen is a no-no in your wedding reception. I also personally feel bad when you’ve spent a lot of money on a cake – do you really want to watch someone cut it up? I much prefer to see a beautiful cake, and then miraculously, it becomes delicious served pieces J Following a cake cutting ceremony, I can cut and serve a cake within 20 minutes, no matter the size of the crowd. But that’s only if I can remove it from the reception room and cut it using my method below:
1. WASH YOUR HANDS and then put on service gloves.
2. Place the knife blade in the hot water pitcher.
3. Separate all the layers out on a large table. The top cake layer goes into a separate box and should be labeled and put directly into a freezer (this is your anniversary cake). If you’re at a venue that offers food service, make sure to write the bride & groom’s name on the box, and the date – this can EASILY get misplaced in a large commercial kitchen if unlabeled!
4. Place the first layer you want to cut onto cutting board.
5. Remove all the dowels from this layer. You can typically see them poking out from the icing.
6. Remove the knife from the pitcher and dry it on a hand towel.
Round Cake Cutting FOLLOW THESE DIRECTIONS:
7. Cut it in half. Dip your knife in the hot water, and wipe the knife off on the towel.
8. Cut a “rainbow” arch shape, approximately 2” from the outside edge. Dip & wipe the blade again.
9. Now you’ll begin cutting straight lines, and forming your individual pieces. Most slices should be
about 2” tall and 1” thick to get the correct number of slices from your cake. While you’re cutting your straight lines, if icing starts to stick to the knife, take your time to dip and wipe it!
10. As you’re cutting, your helper (with gloved hands and cake serving utensil), will begin grabbing pieces and placing them on plates. Once you complete one “arch” move on to the opposite side of the cake, so your team can plate efficiently and you aren’t in one-another’s way.
11. TRUST US – don’t be tempted to cut the entire half of the round cake at one time. . .the pieces are
comparatively heavy, and will start toppling over, especially if you have a filling.
Square Cake Cutting FOLLOW THESE DIRECTIONS:
7. Make your first cut approximately 2” from the edge of the cake. Dip your knife in the hot water, and wipe the knife off on the towel.
8. Make your next cut parallel to the first, another 2” into the cake. Dip & wipe the blade again.
Continue making parallel cuts, until you’re halfway into the cake. Dip & wipe the blade again.
9. Now you’ll begin making individual pieces, by making long cuts in the perpendicular position. Most slices should be about 2” tall and 1” thick to get the correct number of slices from your cake. While you’re cutting your straight lines, if icing starts to stick to the knife, take your time to dip and wipe it!
10. As you’re cutting, your helper (with gloved hands and cake serving utensil), will begin grabbing pieces and placing them on plates. Once you complete cutting one side of the cake, move on to the
opposite side of the cake, so your team can plate efficiently and you aren’t in one-another’s way.
If your cake layers are a variety of flavors, you may consider cutting half of one cake, and then moving to another layer, so you are able to begin serving all varieties while you’re still cutting.