Serving cake in an attractive and appealing manner means tailoring your presentation to the specifics of a situation. In a buffet-like setting, where people serve themselves, placing many slices on a single large plate makes more sense than plating them individually. For a more formal setting, however, serving slices on individual plates makes for a charming end to a meal.
Slices and Arrangements
The larger the slice of cake, the larger the serving plate you should use. The extra size lets you arrange slices and show off garnishes to good effect. Plain plates are ideal if you have many garnishes, as patterns would create too much visual tension. Place narrow slices of cake flat on the plate to prevent tipping. The narrower the slice is, the more easily it falls over. For something fancier, stack thin slices of cake at different angles creating a tower — a vertical stack — of slices. This is best for firmer cakes, such as pound cake. Place pieces of fruit or whipped cream between slices as part of the garnish.
Cutting and Plating
To ensure clean cuts and even slices, mark all of the slices on the cake’s surface before cutting. Use a sharp knife or a long piece of floss to cut the slices. In either case, wipe off excess crumbs or icing after each slice so that you do not mess up the cake’s appearance. Carefully move each slice one at a time, using your fingers or a serving fork along with a pie server to ensure that slices do not tip or break. For a more dramatic look, place the slice of cake off-center on the plate, using garnishes such as strawberry slices to fill the extra space.
References and ResourcesBakepedia: How to Cut and Serve Round Cake
Hill and Valley: Sliced Creme Cake Lemon Tower
Joy of Cooking; Irma S. Rombauer