Fran Black, known in Australia as Dr. Fran for her wise counsel on health concerns, is an unusually outside-the-box thinker on everyday matters.

Recently, she shared her revelation about the cake she’d made for guests who were coming to dinner, and her breaking of a social taboo:  “I was strictly taught that food prepared for visitors could not be sampled until it returned to the kitchen as leftovers.” 

Ellen Silverman

As she looked at the cake cooling on the counter, she found herself hungering for a slice at its peak of warm perfection. She asked herself: WHY NOT take a slice of the cake out now? Won’t it be just as good served to friends with one slice missing?

So Francis had her cake and served it too, wondering

Why hadn’t I done this years ago?

Maria Robledo

We found Francis’ rather charming breaking-of-the-norm compelling, especially since she shared her delight in privately devouring a slice with her guests.

Yet there is something special about presenting an uncut, homemade cake to friends: a gift of sorts.

How might we have our slice of cake and serve it in a way that preserves that feeling of made-for-you generosity? we wondered, and then got the answer.

Serve the cake sliced.

Nobody has to know a hunk or two is missing…(although a confession can be endearing).

You can slice round or rectangular cakes into wedges…

Maria Robledo

…and arrange them on a platter for the same generous effect.


…And then we discovered that was how Fran served her cake!


(The strategy will work fine for a tart as well)…

Maria Robledo


Need a swell cake recipe? Check out these favorites:

Essential Chocolate Cake for Improvising

Fragrant Olive Oil Cake with Fresh Thyme

Brown Sugar Coconut Layer Cake with Lemon or Dulce de Leche (these cakes are made from the super easy Essential Brown Sugar Lightening Cake; you’ll find the recipe at the bottom of the article)



Thanks Francis!

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7 replies on “How To Have Your Cake and Serve It Too (Fran Black’s Revelation)

  1. Oh, Sally, you must add your Lightning Cake to that list! I was always a pie person till I made that cake. Endlessly improvisable (a new word) and great for high altitude baking, too.

  2. A favorite aunt always removed a large slice of cake before taking it to the table because it made serving a slice or wedge easier without dealing with that first slice!

  3. Eating the cake first reminds me of my mother’s promise that we would eat dinner backwards. Perhaps we will do that tonight! Please advise what lightning cake is!

  4. Ah, the Brown Sugar Lightening Cake!. It’s the base for just about any cake I make and can be found at the bottom of Brown Sugar Coconut Layer Cake With Lemon Or Dulce De Leche It’s a play on the classic one-bowl Lightening Cake found in many old American cookbooks, and that I got wind off when I watched my friend Kathy Mailloux, who lived Helvetia West Virginia, whip up a cobbler in no time flat. It’s a cake recipe that will liberate you.

  5. Great.
    Three days into my diet,
    and I have to look thru this!
    thanks Sally.

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