How to Cut Angel Food Cake (Without Smashing It)

~ Knowing how to cut angel food cake properly will save you from ruining that lovely, delicate cake. Use the wrong technique, and you’ll end up smashing your cake into a flattened, gummy mess. But no worries – we’ve got 3 easy methods for cutting it properly (and some delicious angel food cake recipes to try out your new skills, too)! ~

Closeup of one slice of cake being held up by a hand in the foreground, with the rest of the uncut cake on a white platter in the background.

 

No doubt, the trickiest thing about angel food cake is figuring out how to cut it … without smashing that wonderfully light and airy texture.

I mean, angel food cake couldn’t be easier to make. And, it’s a snap to turn it into all sorts of refreshing, healthy desserts. It’s an ideal partner for things like vibrantly fresh fruit and lightened up dips and drizzles.

A classically simple dessert option for health-minded cooks!

But the smoosh factor! *UGH*

With the wrong knife … or the wrong method … that delicate, lighter-than-air cake ends up as a sadly squished, gummy pancake.

People often go wrong by using a dull, non-serrated knife and pressing down to make the cuts, rather than using a back-and-forth cutting motion. Smooooosh. Disappointing.

Luckily, if you know how to do it right, cutting an angel food cake is actually super easy, every single time!

How to Cut an Angel Food Cake Properly

There are basically 3 recommended strategies: using a serrated knife, an electric knife, or a cake breaker.

Which method is best for you depends mainly on what equipment you happen to have (so you don’t have to purchase any new kitchen tools).

METHOD #1 WITH A SERRATED KNIFE

This is definitely my preferred strategy for cutting perfectly un-smashed angel food cake. It doesn’t require any particularly special tool, and it’s quick and effective.

White platter holding an entire angel food cake, with a long serrated knife just starting to make the first cut into it.

Choose a long, super-sharp, serrated knife. You probably already own one of these for cutting crusty loaves of bread. (My father-in-law gave me this one, which you see in my photo above. It’s a best-seller with thousands of 5-star ratings, and I absolutely adore it.)

Using your serrated knife, cut slowly, with a back-and-forth, sawing motion.

The key is to let the sawing do the work for you, without applying much downward pressure that could smash the cake.

One slice of angel food cake, resting on the serrated knife that cut it, on the white platter holding the rest of the uncut cake. Forks and a stack of plates are in the background.

You’ll end up with a clean, pretty cut – without any smooshing!

This also works well for cutting angel food cake horizontally, if you want to create layers to add a filling in the middle. 

Plus, it’s a terrific tool for cutting your cake into cubes for fondue, or for making fun cake and fruit kabobs.

Remember: just saw slowly, allowing the serrations to do the work.

METHOD #2 WITH AN ELECTRIC KNIFE

A serrated, electric knife is a second option – if you happen to have one stashed away somewhere. Maybe you dig it out once a year, for carving up your Thanksgiving turkey.

(I’ve personally got an avocado green one, that can trace its origins back to the 60s or 70s. As nearly as we can tell, it used to belong to my mother-in-law … probably a wedding gift from more than 50 years ago!) 

Sure, it works like a charm for carving turkey, or for cutting super-thin slices of grilled flank steak. 

And hey hey – here’s another reason to bust it out once in a while.

Although, full disclosure here: While some people swear by electric knives for cutting angel food cake, I usually don’t want to waste the time foraging around in the basement.

But if you happen to have one handy, it’s a nifty alternative to the “plain” non-electric serrated knife I recommend in Method #1 above. Might be a little overkill for cutting cubes of cake, but overall, it’s still a solid choice for cutting slices.

White plate with four slices of angel food cake laying on their sides, with the platter of the rest of the uncut cake, and some forks, in the background.

METHOD #3 WITH A CAKE BREAKER

One last idea. Some people also recommend using a cake breaker (like this one).

It gently pulls the cake apart without smashing, which is great.

Honestly, though, I don’t like the rustic, messy edges that these tools create (and I don’t need yet another single-use gadget milling around in my over-stuffed utensil drawer).

Plus, it’s not going to be your best option for cubing cake … but it’s still another worthy strategy to keep in mind. 

Which Option Is Best?

So, again, which method you choose for cutting your angel food cake mostly depends on which tool you happen to have on hand already.

Overall, though, I’d vote for a simple, plain-old, serrated bread knife.

It’s probably already in your kitchen tool arsenal. And it does a stellar job of slicing, layering and even cubing your cake. No special gadgets required, no need to root through your dark basement shelves looking for a tool you normally dig out once or twice a year!

How Many Slices Do You Get from an Angel Food Cake?

Obviously, the exact amount will vary, depending on how large you cut your slices.

Closeup of one slice of cake, laying on its side on a white plate, with other cut slices on the plate nearby.

But, as a rule of thumb, if you cut each slice about 1 – 1 1/2 inches thick, you should be able to get 12 slices from one entire cake.

Angel Food Cake Recipes

Now that you know how to cut angel food cake (smoosh-free!), here are some of our favorite recipes for putting your new little tricks to use!

So, now you’ve got tried-and-true, yummy recipes to try. And, you’ve got the perfect methods for cutting your angel food cake.

Seems like you’ve only got one problem left.

Which recipe are you gonna use your new cake-cutting skills on first?!?

Hmmmmm … decisions … decisions … 

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Updated on July 31, 2021

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