Forget everything you know about cake cutting; this new method could turn the seemingly straight-forward practice on its head.
As British mathematician Alex Bellos explains in a fun video from his Numberphile series, the traditional approach to divvying up a cake, cutting a series of wedges, just doesn’t cut it from a scientific standpoint. Or from the standpoint of flavor.
“You’re not maximizing the amount of gastronomic pleasure that you can make from this cake,” he says in the video, adding that once you cut out a wedge, you expose the inside of the cake to the air — and it dries out.
A better way, Bellos says, has existed for more than a century. In 1906 the journal Nature ran a letter from Francis Galton in which the celebrated British polymath offered, “for his own amusement and satisfaction”, what he considered a superior method of cutting a cake.
The goal, he wrote, was to cut it “so as to leave a minimum surface to become dry.”