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Over the last few years I have really started to get into baking and as I have become more confident I've started to cook some larger celebration cakes for family birthdays and events. In the early days I tended to stick with quite simple cakes with minimal intervention once actually baked however as I have grown more confident I've started to try new techniques especially when it comes to decorating. One aspect of cake making I realised I could do with some help with is actually cutting cakes to fill them with filling or buttercream rather than use a knife so I started to look at cake cutting wires and bought the Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire.
***Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire***
The description on the packaging of the Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire is "a clever tool which gives professional finish to your homemade cakes. The handy cake wire is used for splitting cakes evenly, quickly and simply."
Basically the tool is a height adjustable carbon blade which you use to cut through a cake in order to fill it with buttercream or filling and then sandwich back together. You can also use to trim a cake in order to give it a more even and flat surface. The main purpose is to give a more level finish than using a knife and trimming manually by hand.
The wire is 40cm long in total and has a carbon steel serrated blade to cut into cakes cleanly. The wire is on a stand which has a handle and stabilising feet to give a straight level cut. You can adjust the height of the wire depending on the cake.
The Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire is available from a number of smaller online bakeware retailers however it is also sold by larger retailers such as Amazon and Debenhams. I purchased from Amazon for £4.00 which I feel compared to other similar product from other brands is reasonable if not slightly below average.
The Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire looks slightly like a coat hanger to those not familiar with cake making. There is a thicker wire like a coat hanger that forms the frame for the wire with a handle and rubble stoppers for feet to provide stability. This frame is about 20cm high and is 40cm wide so can be used for cakes up to 15 inches in diameter. The wire blade goes from one side of the frame to the other. There are small indents in the side of the frame every 2mm or so for you to move the height of the blade up in order to trim different heights of cake. Meaning you can level the top of a cake off or slice through the middle in order to create a sandwich cake. As soon as I received the item I was very disappointed to find that the wire blade was in fact just a wire which did feel slightly sharp but was not serrated at all which was stated on the item description on Amazon and also on the packaging.
I initially used the Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire to cut through a very basic sponge cake to make a Victoria Sponge cake. I would usually use a serrated knife however I often felt because I had to make the cut by hand the cut was never perfectly level therefore the aim of buying this item was so that when I sandwiched cakes back together the cake would sit perfectly level when filled and not look wonky. I was even more disappointed with the results after using the Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire and actually had to throw the sponge I had "cut" in the bin. On this first use I did put this down to user error. On the first use I did not have to adjust the height of the wire to slice straight through my cake. I had read the instructions which stated to hold the cake and then on the side of the cake to slowly push the wire into the cake and if necessary for the initial impression of the blade into the cake you may need to move the wire back and forwards for it to slice into the cake. Once the blade has been pushed into the cake you slowly move it through so the blade cuts level and you are left with even sandwiches.
This did not happen. Firstly I found because the blade was not serrated making the first cut and impression in the side of the cake to slice the way through was difficult. With the sponge cake I had made the blade tore and pulled the cake as I tried to cut it caused lumps of cake to fall off on the sides. For those like myself who like perfectly presented cakes this is not at all desirable. Once I had eventually made this first cut and caused what looked like a gaping hole in the side of the cake I then was able to cut and slice the cake. This was not a case of cleanly slicing the cake and ending up with two level sandwiches as I had hoped. As I held the handle of the Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire I could feel a lot of tension and that I was pulling the wire through the cake. Once the full cut had been made I as left very disappointed. Instead of two level sandwiches I had two slices of cake with crater like holes in where the sponge had pulled and fallen out of. As I lifted one of the sponge sandwiches up the cake actually fell apart so had to go in the bin.
I did try using this tool again on other cakes I had made but I must admit after 4 or 5 failed attempts I did put the Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire in the bin. I did find on a sponge cake that I made which was slightly thicker in consistency the wire did cut into the cake a little easier but the problem was the blade of the Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire was not serrated so it did not easily cut into the side of a cake. On the thicker sponges the wire did not pull the cake apart as it cut through it but although the cut was level the overall effect was not as neat as using a knife by hand which defeated the objective of buying this tool. I did attempt on one sponge cake to level the top of the cake so when it was iced with fondant it would look perfectly flat. However after struggling to cut into the uneven ridge of sponge on the top of the cake I decided that if I used anymore force with the Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire then it would cause the sponge to fall apart causing a hole on the top of the cake so reverted back to using a knife for this task.
I attempted to use the wire to cut into a lighter fruit type cake and found that Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire just would not cut through. Although surprisingly the wire made the cut into the side of the cake quite neatly the wire would not cut through the cake and actually felt like it was going to snap and bend the frame as the cake was providing too much resistance for the wire to slice through.
After the first use I had to adjust the Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire level as not only was I using on different sized cakes I was using to cut into sandwiches or level the top of the cake. Adjusting the height is reasonably easy as you turn the wire slightly where it meets the side of the frame on each side and move this wire up or down to the small slots on the side of the frame which holds the wire firmly to the frame. After adjusting once or twice I did notice the wire felt slightly looser and less taut and had more of a wobble to it. This then led to further problems when using to try and cut a cake as it caused the wire to pull the cake more because the wire was not tight and taut. As a result I found sponges actually fell apart more because of this loose wire.
The Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire is very easy to clean although you do need to take care when cleaning and storing this tool as the wire is reasonably sharp. I found a cloth and soapy water cleaned the tool however it is also dishwasher safe although I never used in my dishwasher.
I definitely would not recommend the Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire and not only did it land in the bin after a few uses it also caused the cakes I had made to also be put in the bin.
I have since purchased a cake cutting/ levelling tool from Wilton (a very reputable brand of cake making accessories) and although the Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire looks almost identical to the Wilton product and also costs £4.00 it is nowhere near as effective. The Kitchen Craft Cake Cutting Wire claims to have a serrated blade to cut cakes to sandwich them or level them but in fact the wire/ blade is not. As a result when you try and cut the cake it drags and pulls the cake so it falls apart. Even with cakes which have a more solid consistency this occurs. After a number of failed attempts cutting different thicknesses of cakes and adjusting the height of the wire I noticed that the wire was becoming slightly loose and slack. The wire was then not taut enough to cut into any cake effectively and then this made it even more prone to dragging and pulling the cake rather than slicing through it and making a clean cut.
A waste of money and cake!