Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth of July Flag Cake

I wasn't sure I was going to attempt this cake from Glorious Treats. Someone I convinced myself I could do it. I did it! Yay! It is confusing to explain, so beat with me. I read the entire thing at least 10 times before I started to get the method right. OK. Got it. It's really not that hard once you read through. I invested in some Americolor gel food coloring and some circle Cooke cutters in preparation for the big event, and it was worth it! Now thanks to me not making this in advance, I've allowed you plenty of time to learn how to make this cake for next year! Or maybe Labor Day? :)

I highly recommend the Americolor gels- they are so bright and don't water down your batter! It also helps to have a cardboard cake circle so you can ice the cake in one spot and later move to a box/cake dome.

Next I had to find the perfect white cake recipe. I decided to go with this one from Brown Eyed Baker. It is originally a Dorie Greenspan recipe, which means its very good. It was very light, fluffy and moist due to the fact that it uses (sifted) cake flour and egg whites only. I added some lemon zest and extract to give it a fresh summer flavor (which was GREAT by the way), but you could omit those if you just want plain vanilla.

The frosting is really tasty too- vanilla buttercream is my favorite. Note that both cake and frosting recipes are for double batches. If you just want to make a regular cake, you will need to halve them.

P.S. If you're not sure what to do with your leftover egg yolks, don't throw them away! You have enough to make 2 batches of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Why not add some Reese's or strawberry puree into into one batch? Yummy! :)

Best White Party Cake Recipe
Makes 4 8 inch cakes

  • 4 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk (Juice of 1 lemon +milk and let sit 5 minutes)
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure lemon extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Gel icing colors: red and blue
 Preheat oven to 350. Place parchment circles in bottom of 8 inch pans (I only had 2 pans, so I had to bake in 2 batches) and flour/butter well ( I use Pam baking spray).  Place both pans on a baking sheet. This further prevents them from burning/getting too crunchy on the bottoms. 

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. 

In another bowl, whisk together milk and egg whites. Have I mentioned how much I love my handy dandy egg separator?

In the bowl of your mixer, place sugar and lemon zest. Mix together with your fingers to make the sugar fragrant. 

Add butter to mixer bowl  and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. I decided to use my whisk attachment, but you can use the paddle too. Add in the extracts. 

Alternate adding in flour and egg mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Once combined, beat batter 2 more minutes to make sure it is well aerated. 

Rinse out your egg and flour bowls that are now empty. Scoop 1/4 of the batter (About 2 cups) into both bowls, leaving 1/2 of the batter (about 4 cups) in the original bowl. The large bowl needs to be dyed red. Dye one of the smaller bowls blue and leave the other uncolored. 

Spread batter evenly in 8 inch pans, smoothing the top as you go. You will need to bake 1 white cake, 1 blue cake and 2 red cakes, in whichever order your prefer. 

Bake 30-35 minutes until the top springs back to the touch or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer pans to cooling rack and let sit 5 minutes before inverting on cake rack. 

Invert on cooling rack and dispose of parchment circles. Let cool completely before icing. You can place the rack in the fridge/freezer for a bit.

Once you have 4 very cool cakes, whip up a big batch of frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 TBSP whipping cream or milk
Fit mixer with paddle attachment. Beat butter and salt until fluffy. 

Scrape bowl and reduce speed. Slowly add sugar until incorporated. Add vanilla until well combined. Add whipping cream until desired consistency is reached. It should be thick and creamy. 

Now the tricky part, assembly:
1. Using a large serrated knife, CAREFULLY and gently slice both red cakes and the white in half. You should now have 4 thin red layers and 2 thin white layers. Set aside 1 red layer - you will not use this, but its perfect for snacking on!

2. Take a 4 inch round cutter (or you can measure a cardboard circle and carefully cut around it) and cut out a circle from 1 of the thin red cakes and 1 of the thin white cakes. Place the scraps aside , you will no longer need these.

3. Carefully cut out another 4 inch circle in the very center of the blue cake. Place the circle aside in your scrap pile.

4. Now you should have everything you need: 2 thin red cakes, 1 thin white cake, 1 thin red circle, 1 thin white circle, 1 thick blue cake with a hole in the center.
5. Place 1 thin red cake on the bottom of your stand(hint, its easier to ice the side of the cake that was originally the bottom vs. the exposed crumb side). Apply a thin layer of icing. Top with thin white cake and repeat. The other thin red cake goes on top of that. Ice again.

6. Place blue ring on top. Ice carefully along the inner circle. Place white circle inside, ice, then red circle. Yay you are done with the hard part!

7. Carefully place a thin layer of icing on top and the sides- this is your crumb coat, so use as little icing as possible. You may have to keep wiping your icing spatula to get rid of the crumbs. Place in the fridge while you clean up your mess or up to a couple hours.

8. Finish icing the cake so you can't see the colored layers through the icing. Decorate as you wish. 

9. Place in fridge. Remove 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy and watch everyone "Ohh" and "Ahh" as you cut into it! 

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  1. WOW!!! This took a lot of effort on your part. What a great cake. Pretty impressive. Mine would most definitely turn out to be a big mess if I attempted this.

    XO Lindsay

  2. yours came out so good! mine looked not as good, lol. i'm going to take your advice and try it again for Labor Day.

  3. You did a great job! I'm sure everyone was really impressed. I know I am. Thanks for sharing on A Well-Seasoned Life's Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

  4. So darn cute! Wish I would have had this recipe earlier this month!!
    A cake with patriotism...just gotta love that!


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