How was the "real core" of that bundt cake so delicately and accurately detectable to Regina Ullman and also to the characters, who could sense its "candid truth" in the light of several signs that were handed out by the author who had created it and likewise created them, and so let us say that the cake is at liberty to understand them just as profoundly as they understand it. If they can see that "the knife stuck fast in [the cake] couldn't find its way in or out," then this cake, which has the same status as them, a noun in a book, must be able to watch them experience their "attentive joy that people feel for one another at these moments" as they arrive at the house where food is going to be cut apart and eaten.
Throughout the story you have this attentiveness; the fine-tuned social senses of these people are at the forefront: "each person had his own sense of proportion, and could sense that the others did as well: still their petty eyes kept searching for something else." Searching, that's what they're doing; they are looking and feeling through the minute signals of the social and transcendent weft. "They have the thoughtful, expectant look of the man who has done everything and is prepared for what is to come." This is as they are moving towards the house where they are going to have lunch and a cake. They are like people who are living in a village where a volcano is about to erupt but the volcano is only a comestible and after they have eaten it they each accept the gift of a flower before they leave the house.
The young girl came to the table with a little basket on her arm, bringing each of the guests one of the little roses or buds that grew in the garden. Her smile was hidden, like the fragrance of the flowers.
The horror seeps into the world very obliquely and the aftermath is expressed gently and obliquely too as they put the flowers in their hats or buttonholes "or held it by the very end of its stem, as if it could easily wilt." How are the flowers hiding their fragrances? Why does the bundt cake try to conceal the knife?