Learn how to cut perfect slices in 9 simple steps! No more breaking chocolate, messy and jagged edges… just perfectly neat slices every single time!
Do you know what the most common baking question I get asked is? It’s how do I cut slices that are nice and neat!? I think the most important thing is that you need to be a perfectionist with slightly OCD tendencies. It also helps if you don’t like odd numbers and can’t stand when things aren’t in a nice straight line. Just joking (but that is totally me!)! You don’t really need those ‘quality’ traits to cut nice and neat slices – although it can’t hurt right?
So for todays Baking 101 post, I thought I’d tell you what I do to get those nice neat pieces of slice. First of all, I have to start with a confession. When you see the slice photos on my website, you are NOT seeing the edge pieces. I don’t use them in my photos because they’re not nice and neat… see I told you I was weird. Dave has learnt the hard way that he’s only allowed to eat the edge pieces of the slice – until the photos have been taken, that is! Ahh… the downfalls of being married to a food blogger.
Ok, let’s get straight into my tips for ‘How To Cut Perfect Slices’
1. Line the baking tin with baking paper
First things first. Make sure you line your tin with baking paper. If you can’t even get your slice out of the tin, then there’s buckleys chance you’re going to be able to slice it. Trust me on this one… once I didn’t bother to line the baking tray and we ended up eating slice with a spoon straight from the tin!
Recipe: Pecan Pie Bars
2. Remove the slice or leave it?
To decide whether or not to cut a slice in the baking tin or out of it, you need to have a think about what kind of slice it is. 90% of the time, I will take the slice out of the tin, place it onto my chopping board and cut it on there. Sometimes though (particularly when you’re making a really soft, custardy type slice that may squish out when you cut it), it’s better to leave it in the tin when slicing.
Recipe: Lemon Coconut Slice
3. Leave it for a few hours (overnight is always best!)
If I’m making a slice for us to eat at home and it’s not going on the blog, I’ll make sure I leave it in the fridge for at least a few hours before cutting it. Any less time and you’re going to end up with crumbly bits, parts breaking off… and it’s going to drive you insane. If I’m making a slice for the blog, I always, ALWAYS leave it overnight in the fridge and cut it while it’s very cold. If you want to cut perfectly neat slices, leaving it overnight is definitely the way to go. But hey, if it’s calling your name earlier… what can you do!? A girls gotta have some sugar in her life. The exception to this rule is rocky road – you only need to wait until it’s set to cut it up!
4. Choose the right knife
This is probably the most important part of cutting neat slices (hehe this is becoming such a serious post!). The knife you use will be determined by the type of slice you’re cutting. I have two main knives I like to use:
Small serrated knife: I cut about 80% of the slices I make with a teeny tiny Victorinox serrated knife. It’s my ‘go-to knife’! It’s the smallest thing ever and yet, gosh it’s powerful! The serrated edge means that it cuts through chocolate topped slices really easily without any cracking.
Large flat edged knife: This knife works well on slices where you want a very sharp edge (like fudge). The slice needs to be quite firm and without a hard chocolate topping. Something like a lemon coconut slice or ANZAC slice works well with this kind of knife.
5. Slice this way or that way?
So you’ve chosen your knife… but how do you start cutting the slice? When I use my small serrated knife, I start at one end and drag/pull the knife towards me slowly in one straight line. I repeat that until I have 6 or so long bars. I then carefully cut each bar into 3-4 smaller pieces. If the knife gets ‘stuck’ halfway through, I gently slide it up and down until it cuts through and then I continue gently pulling the knife towards me. There’s no ‘hacking’ involved – just one nice straight, slow movement.
If I’m using my large flat knife, I don’t pull it towards me, but instead I hold it above the slice in a nice straight line and press down gently (but firmly). When the knife hits the chopping board, I pull it out towards me. Repeat until you have long bars and then carefully cut into smaller pieces.
Recipe: Mars Bar Slice
6. Wipe your knife clean
In between each step, wipe your knife clean. Seriously. If you don’t, you’ll end up with little crumbly bits on the top or the edge of your slice. And no-one likes crumbly bits! I usually keep a clean, damp cloth next to me, so that it’s easy to wipe.
Recipe: Creamy Lemon Crumble Bars
7. Hot or cold knife?
Generally, cutting a slice with a cold knife is going to work perfectly fine. Sometimes however, a hot knife is going to give you a much cleaner cut. For example: if you’re cutting a cheesecake slice or a chocolate topped slice, then run your blade under the hottest water you can and then dry it completely before slicing.
Recipe: Thermomix Fudge – 3 Ways
8. Chocolate topped slices
Slices that have a layer of melted chocolate over the top can pose all kinds of problems when you go to cut it. Often the chocolate will crack or you’ll end up with jagged edges. Using a hot, dry knife (see above) will certainly help to stop cracking as it will ‘glide’ through. I also like to add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil to my chocolate before I melt it, as I find it helps with spreading and slicing (copha does the same trick).
Recipe: Licorice Allsort Slice
9. Finish it off (aka the ‘perfectionist’ step)
If you’ve cut your slices and you notice a few ‘not-so-perfect’ bits – just grab out your small serrated knife and carefully cut that side again. This is not really necessary… unless you’re a bit of a perfectionist, in which case it is ESSENTIAL!!
Recipe: Coconut Ice
Please remember, I am in no way a qualified chef or baker. I’m just a gal that loves to cook and has made (and eaten!) an embarrassingly huge number of slices over the years. These are the tips for how to cut perfect slices that work for me! Do you have any others that I’ve forgotten about!?