Cake knives are knives designed specifically for cutting cake. In many cases, a coordinating cake server accompanies a cake knife, and the silverware is also usually designed to blend with other kitchen silver. Commemorative cake knife and server sets are often customized for weddings, so that the bride and groom have something to evoke the event in years to come. Many kitchen supply stores sell cake knives, and they can also be special ordered. Engraving services are usually available at a small additional cost.
Several things set cake knives aside from other knives. The first thing is the blade of the knife, which is long so that it can easily cut through cakes of all sizes. Cake knives also have a slightly curved blade, which facilitates easy cutting. Finally, a cake knife is serrated, as a straight blade could ruin the crumb of the cake. The serrations are usually broad, and the blade itself is relatively thin and lightweight so that it does not damage the cake.
When a baker has invested a great deal of energy in making a cake, a cake knife ensures that the cake is kept beautiful through the cutting process. The serrations make a smooth, clean cut without compressing the cake, especially important with cakes like angel cake which are light, foamy, and easily damaged. Some companies make wedge shaped cake knives which can also be used as servers, while others sell servers separately. In either case, the cake is gently levered out when it is served.
At weddings especially, cake cutting is an important part of the event. In some cases, a special cake knife and server set will be used to mark the occasion. Wedding cake knives tend to be elaborately decorated with motifs like flowers and hearts. The blade of the cake knife or server may also be engraved with the names of the couple and the date of the marriage.
The accompanying utensil, the cake server, has a wedge shaped blade and an offset handle. The blade is gently pushed under the cake, allowing the user to transfer a piece to a plate. Most cake knives have a matching cake server, although it is certainly possible to purchase the two pieces of silverware separately.
A number of materials are used to make cake knives. Metal is one of the most common choices, ranging from sterling silver to stainless steel. It is also not uncommon to see cake knives with wood or mother of pearl handles. Some companies make plastic cake knives, which function very well although they do not look terribly stylish. Some bakers actually prefer plastic, in fact.