5-speed listening (Christmas Cake - Level 6)

Scientist finds the 'right' way to cut Christmas cake



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Christmas cake is a tradition that dates back centuries, for people who celebrate the festive season. The vast majority of those who enjoy a slice of their favourite seasonal treat are unaware that there is a science behind its slicing. Dr Chris Budd, a professor of applied mathematics and geometry at two UK universities, tested several hypotheses on the optimal way to cut a Christmas cake into slices. He focused on how to dissect the cake while leaving the exposed insides as moist as possible. His solution was to cut the cake across the middle, leaving two semicircles, then cut slices and push the remaining halves together. He said: "It works." However, perhaps he would admit that it isn't exactly rocket science.

According to Wikipedia, Christmas cake is an English tradition that began as plum porridge. The plums later gave way to raisins, sultanas, orange rind and other dried fruit. The fruit is often soaked in rum or brandy. It is quite common for the fruity loaf part of the cake to be covered in a layer of marzipan, and then the top and sides to be coated in icing. The icing is a hardened, white sugar coating that can be over a centimetre thick. The top of the cake is usually decorated with an array of Christmassy symbols like fir trees or snowmen and women. Christmas cakes vary around the world. In Sri Lanka, they are full of treacle and spices. In Japan, they are simple sponge cakes with whipped cream and strawberries.

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Christmas Cake - Level 4  |  Christmas Cake - Level 5

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