A paper recently appeared in the December issue of Notices of the American Mathematical Society, entitled “Better Ways to Cut a Cake.” Science News has an interesting review of this article describing how people can split cake. Here is an excerpt:
a division is fair if, after it’s made, each person’s assessment of the value of his or her piece is the same…The classic way for two people to share a cake without argument is known as “I cut, you choose.” To divide an elaborately decorated sheet cake strewn with nuts and coconut, I’d cut the cake into two pieces that seem to me to be of equal value, though not necessarily equal size. If I particularly like nuts, for example, I would divide the cake into unequal pieces, the smaller piece getting more nuts, to make sure that I’m satisfied with whichever slice remains after you’ve made your choice.
Scientific American also has an article describing this research. Here is a quote that sums the research: “under special circumstances, two people can split something up and both feel like they got more than half.”