Many cake charts show what I refer to as "The Dreaded Circle Method" of cutting a cake. I've not yet met someone who can cut a good circle with a knife and I find this method just messy and inefficient.
I've been cutting cakes for 30 years and I can cut and serve a cake for 200 in under 15 minutes .... in less time if I have a helper.
Here are some step-by-step photos of how to cut a wedding cake. This method can be used on round or square cakes and coordinates with the Wilton Wedding Cake Serving Chart servings, based on an industry standard 1x2x4" dessert sized piece of cake.
First, I disassemble the entire cake so I can cut the largest tier first. Why? Because if there is any cake leftover, it will be the smaller, easier to store, tiers that will fit in your freezer instead of a partial big cake that won't fit anywhere.
Then cut a 2" strip of cake down the side.
This part is optional, but easy. When pushing the knife down on the icing part of the cake, this can cause a "squishing" effect and some of the filling can be pushed out, creating a messy piece of cake to serve to your guests.
Using a gloved hand (or I highly recommend the cake cutting comb as shown in the photo) and the knife, gently lay the 2" strip on it's side. It won't fall apart, I promise. I do it all the time. And it really helps eliminate the "squishing" effect.
The easy part.... just begin cutting the 2" strip into 1" pieces.
Helpful hint: Did you know that if you bend your thumb, the distance between the bent knuckle and the end of your base nail is about one inch? So you always have a ruler handy to know how wide one inch is!!
Using a cake cutting comb or a gloved hand is a sanitary way to move the cut pieces of cake to the serving plate. Less messy, too!
Many decorators and venues have emailed me from across the country to let me know they've printed out these photos and left them on the cake table so those cutting the wedding cake will know how to do it. It is extra helpful when a bride has family cutting the cake rather than a professional caterer (and I've even met caterers who have confessed, "We don't know how to cut a wedding cake!"). So feel free to link to this page or print it out for your brides to help them ensure a smooth cake cutting at their event!
Debi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org