Slicing a cake is easy, right? Cut out a wedge, serve it, move on.
Well, author Alex Bellos has a better method—thanks to renowned mathematician Sir Francis Galton—that minimizes spoiled, dry cake and makes storage super-easy. Cut slices all the way across.
Let’s be fair—most of us have never really encountered the whole “dry and horrible” problem he describes after we’ve the exposed parts dry out, but slicing all the way across does keep the cut parts in contact with each other (which keeps them moist) and does make the cake easier to store. Both of those are solid wins—as long as slicing all the way across doesn’t make you tempted to eat more cake than you would have otherwise.
If you’re really serious, you could hold the cake in place with rubber bands to maximize moisture and minimize spoilage, the way Bellos outlines at the end of the video. We imagine that could get more than a little messy if you don’t have a cake frosted with something smooth like fondant. Either way, English mathematician and scientist Sir Francis Galton had the right idea with this method, and his letter to Nature on the matter can be viewed here (PDF) if you want to see the original. It’s worth a try the next time you cut a cake—best case, you’ve found a better way to keep it moist and fresh until it’s all gone.