How to Cut a Wedding Cake

My adventures in cake cutting

Many of you may think, “How hard could it be to cut a wedding cake!?” Well, let me assure you – HARD. When one of my wedding couples opted out of the cake cutting fee I ended up pinch hitting. The things wedding coordinators do for the love of a client! Anyway, this dummy (that would be me) wishes I had Googled some instructions ahead of time, but instead I winged it. While the cake was still magically delicious, I totally butchered it! Sigh… Here’s what I learned in my adventures in cake cutting:

  1. Try and negotiate the inclusion of the cake cutting fee in your overall pricing before signing the contract. If that doesn’t work, bite the proverbial wedding cake bullet and pay the cake cutting fee. The caterers will do suuuuch a better job than your well-intentioned wedding coordinator. And if that won’t work for your budget, see #2.
  2. Remove the top tier first for the bride and groom. Have a box for this tier all ready to go. A) Ask the cake vendor to provide a to-go box for this tier. If they won’t/can’t provide you with anything… B) Find your own box that is bigger than the actual cake so you can easily slide it in without mashing up the frosting. C) Cover the inside of the box in plastic wrap or tin foil. D) Move this to the kitchen/catering prep area.
  3. Have a thin knife, cake server, multiple rags or napkins, and a pitcher of warm water at the ready.
  4. Cut slices about 1.5 inches wide and then do your best to get it neatly on the plate. The first slice is the hardest, for sure. Don’t give up!
  5. Dip the knife in water and wipe off after each slice. You may need to do this for the cake server too.
  6. Have an assistant move the plates to a clear side of the table and/or pass the cake out.
  7. Once you’ve tackled the middle layer, move onto the next layer until you’ve slayed the sugary beast. Even if there are different favors of cake in each tier, just cut one tier at a time. If you cut into multiple tiers at once you end up with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is extremely scary. I would know.

***A couple of extra notes:

  • The cake is usually cut at a time during the reception where most have enjoyed an adult beverage or two or ten. So if you don’t have a wedding coordinator to rely on for this service, choose someone you know will be “in a good place” to use a knife and deal hygienically with cake.
  • Most professionals cut the cake behind the scenes because, no matter how you slice it (pun intended), it’s a messy job. Caterers would usually disassemble each layer and cut it completely differently than I described above. However, if you forgo the cake cutting fee, you usually forgo the help of your friendly caterers and thereby have to cut it in plain view of guests. So when you see your coordinator or friend butchering your cake, just smile and remember you saved about $2 per person.
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