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Scientist finds the 'right' way to cut Christmas cake

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Christmas Cake - Level 4

Christmas cake is a centuries-old tradition. The majority of people who enjoy this festive treat may not know the science behind slicing it. A professor of mathematics and geometry tested the best way to cut a Christmas cake into slices. He focused on cutting it while leaving the insides as moist as possible. He said it is best to cut across the middle into two semicircles, then cut slices and push the remaining halves together.

Christmas cake is an English tradition. It is full of raisins, orange rind and other dried fruit. The fruit is often soaked in brandy. It is common to cover the fruitcake base in a layer of marzipan, then coat the top and sides in a one-centimetre layer of icing. People decorate the top of the cake with Christmas symbols like fir trees or snowmen and women. Christmas cakes vary around the world. In Japan, they are simple sponge cakes with whipped cream and strawberries.

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Christmas Cake - Level 5

Christmas cake is a centuries-old festive tradition. The vast majority of people who enjoy this seasonal treat are unaware that there is a science behind slicing it. A professor of applied mathematics and geometry in the UK tested several hypotheses on the best way to cut a Christmas cake into slices. He focused on how to dissect the cake while leaving the insides as moist as possible. His solution was to cut the cake across the middle into two semicircles, then cut slices and push the remaining halves together. Perhaps he would admit that this isn't exactly rocket science.

Christmas cake is an English tradition that began as plum porridge. Nowadays, raisins, sultanas, orange rind and other dried fruit are used. The fruit is often soaked in brandy. It is common for the fruitcake base to be covered in a layer of marzipan, then for the top and sides to be coated in icing that can be over a centimetre thick. The top of the cake is usually decorated with Christmas symbols like fir trees or snowmen and women. Christmas cakes vary around the world. In Japan, they are simple sponge cakes with whipped cream and strawberries.

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11 online activities    |    8-page printable   (PDF)

Christmas Cake - Level 6

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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25 online activities    |    27-page printable    |    2-page mini-lesson



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