This story is part of Try This, CNET’s collection of simple tips to improve your life, fast.

Reducing a cake will be difficult enterprise. It is troublesome to maintain delicate piping intact, not to mention make items which are proportionate. And good luck discovering an enormous knife at a picnic or workplace social gathering.

Happily, there is a surprisingly efficient approach to minimize a cake whereas preserving its magnificence: Use dental floss.

I do know that sounds bizarre but it surely works surprisingly effectively. I examined various kinds of dental floss on three varieties of cake and the outcomes had been clear slices that might make any skilled baker proud. 

It is also a lifesaver in a pinch, since most of us preserve floss tucked away in a pocketbook, gymnasium bag, workplace drawer or medication cupboard. 

How one can minimize cake with dental floss

A strand of floss is thinner than the typical kitchen knife and it is designed to slip simply by means of tight areas with out inflicting injury. (In case you do it proper, the frosting builds up in your fingers, not on the cake.)

First, make sure that the cake is on a flat floor so you will have room to drag the floss all the best way to the underside. (You would put it on a cake stand to provide you extra room as you slice down.)

Subsequent, spool out a size of floss greater than the widest a part of the cake. I left a number of inches on every finish to wrap the floss round my fingers comfortably. Once you wrap the floss round your fingers, do not make it tremendous tight: You are attempting to chop a cake, not your fingers. 

In case you’re attempting to make every slice the identical dimension, you might need to use the floss to evenly mark pointers earlier than chopping.

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Sq. or rectangular cake: If the cake is formed like a sq. or rectangle, it might be simpler to chop as a result of these desserts are typically shorter than spherical desserts. Utilizing your floss, make your cuts throughout the cake lengthwise, urgent firmly into the cake to chop right through. Now make your cuts widthwise, slicing to the underside of the cake. 

Spherical cake: In case your cake is formed like a circle, it is presumably a layer cake so you might want to use a bit extra strain to make all of it the best way to the underside of the cake. Utilizing your floss, firmly minimize by means of the middle of the cake to create two halves — you might want to maneuver the floss in a sawing movement to totally minimize it. 

cake cut with floss

Floss is healthier for chopping thinner slices of cake.

Katie Teague/CNET

Then, make a minimize that is perpendicular to the one you simply made — it’s best to now have 4 even slices. Proceed chopping throughout the cake till you will have the correct variety of slices.

The thinner you need your slices, although, the more durable will probably be to chop as a result of they will start to crumble.

Professional tip

As soon as you have sliced to the underside of the cake along with your floss, do not pull it again up. That brings crumbs and frosting to the highest of your cake, and you will not get the clear, tidy look you are after. (It additionally makes the floss messier and means you may must get a brand new strand for each minimize.)

As an alternative, as soon as you have sliced right through to the underside, let go of 1 finish and snake the floss out. A lot of the icing and crumbs will wipe off the floss as you pull, leaving a clear strand you should utilize to chop the subsequent slice. 

Which sort of floss works greatest?

I examined two varieties of Oral-B floss, a waxed floss from Kroger and each unwaxed floss and waxed dental tape from CVS on three completely different desserts: A layer carrot cake, a tall sheet cake and a shorter, denser sheet cake.

cake cut with floss

Professional tip: Slide the floss by means of the underside of the cake for a cleaner minimize.

Katie Teague/CNET

All of the floss labored nice and made neat cuts, although the Oral-B Glide sliced by means of the desserts a bit simpler.  (Regardless of worries that it will snag, the CVS model unwaxed floss labored effectively.)

The one one which smeared a bit was Kroger’s dental tape, which seems extra like a ribbon than a thread. It nonetheless made a reasonably clear slice, although, and I would use it in a pinch. 

Flavored vs. unflavored floss?

I used to be fearful utilizing flavored floss would change the style of the cake however we minimize items of chocolate sheet cake utilizing Oral-B mint-flavored floss and none of our 4 taste-testers detected any mintiness.

To be protected, follow plain, unflavored floss for those who can and steer away from cinnamon-, coconut- or bubblegum-flavored floss. 

The place the floss did not maintain up

When slicing the bigger desserts, I observed the floss typically did not minimize all the best way to the underside simply, perhaps due to the elevated resistance. 

I recommend chopping the cake in half first after which working with every half so there’s much less cake — and resistance — to get by means of. It may additionally assist to place the cake on a stand that will help you slice it right through.

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