The Quick Refrigerator Trick For Picture Perfect Cake Slices

Of all the festive desserts out there, there's truly something special about cake. There's a reason so many of us choose to celebrate birthdays and other occasions with the sweet confection: Cake can be fun, colorful, and downright indulgent, the perfect treat for spoiling someone on their special day.

There are many, many varieties of cake out there, from not-too-sweet loaf cakes to rich pound cakes to fluffy angel food cakes and more, ensuring that every type of palate can find just the right one. But for celebrations such as birthdays, it's pretty hard to beat a layer cake: Typically featuring strata of cake alternated with fillings such as buttercream, custards, and fruit jams (via Insanely Good Recipes), the impressive height and contrasting colors and textures of layer cakes wow at any party.

Any homemade layer cake will require several steps, from baking and slicing the cakes into layers to creating the fillings and assembling the whole shebang. But there's one more commonly neglected step you'll want to make sure to take the next time you're serving layer cake, and that's chilling it well before you cut that first slice.

For clean slices of cake, chill the dessert first

We can all admit to living in a highly Instagrammed world, but even on those occasions where your homemade dessert won't necessarily be uploaded into the ether, you probably prefer to serve your guests clean, crumb- and smudge-free slices of layer cake that perfectly show off the dessert's contrasting layers of cake and filling. And while you might want to rush to cut into a layer cake just as soon as you've finished frosting and decorating it, you should really pop it into the fridge for a good half hour first.

According to Kitchn, chilling an uncovered layer cake prior to cutting will help firm up the butter (or other type of fat) in the frosting, ensuring that instead of smearing and marring the layers of cake — and possibly dragging some crumbs along with it — the frosting will cut cleanly. Additionally, as pointed out by Southern Living, chilled cake crumb is more sturdy and firm than warm or room-temp, so the chances that your cake won't crumble are also increased. Slices cut from a chilled cake will therefore be camera-ready. 

Since flavors tend to dull at lower temperatures, you can set the cake slices out at room temperature for about 10 minutes post-slicing — the perfect opportunity for opening presents or grabbing a carafe of coffee to go with.