I am so in love with this cake. It’s perfect for the 4th of July, every slice is a little American flag that will bring oohs and aahs at your Independence Day picnic, potluck or barbecue. I can’t take credit for the construction idea, it’s the brain child of Elissa (well her father’s idea actually). You have to check out her blog, she’s the greatest 17 year old baker and blogger I’ve seen. Anyway, I have only baked a couple cakes from scratch, and never a regular white cake, so decided it was time to experiment. My experiments in baking have become so successful, I’m less and less afraid to do it. I made the recipe below three times, once with no food coloring, once with blue and once with red. My only food coloring was the gel kind which always comes out pastel, if you can get darker, go for it.
Now the tricky part is assembling the cake. Fortunately I’ve learned a lot from my mom who could seriously be a professional cake decorator if she wanted. My parents used to have a professional baker living next door so she got lots of tips from him, and helped him out with decorating. Whenever she made layered cakes, especially wedding cakes (which if her back was in better shape I’d totally promote her out to do) she’d make the layers in advance, wrap them in saran wrap then freeze them. Since I started this on Thursday, I decided to freeze my layers too. This also made slicing them a lot easier in my opinion. One thing I’ve seen my mom do that I forgot until I sliced the cake is to saw off the round top of each layer, it would have made the stacking a lot more even.
I’m not really a frosting person, I usually scoop it off my cakes or cupcakes, but I had a beautiful jar of Rhubarb, Strawberry, and Raspberry Jam that was just begging to be sandwiched between layers of cake. Being red, it worked perfectly. It also really kept the cake moist and a few people thanked me for using jam between layers rather than frosting. For frosting, I always go with cream cheese frosting, and usually add some lemon juice. The addition of sour (lemon) and savory (cheese) really helps me be able to eat something that I normally find sickening sweet.
Now for some construction tips. I’m a visual person, from years of set design (as a volunteer) I learned that I like things drawn out first so I drew what I was doing on paper, but thought I’d make you a little Paint.net diagram to follow. I decided to make one and a half times the recipe for the white layer just to have an extra layer in there, ambitious I know. If you follow my example, I only put the white layer in the freezer for 10 minutes, then used a string to cut it into 3 layers (just start on one side holding each end of string and using middle to saw through the cake to the other side). Also, make sure you double check whether white or red comes next in your two smaller circles. I accidentally did it backwards and had to take them apart. Now somehow my top white layer was really thick so when I squished down the middle circle it made things a little uneven. I give another suggestion on that in the assembly instructions (wish I’d thought of it before!) Now, here’s your diagram!
Step 1. Make 3 9″ round cakes, 1 red, 1 white, 1 blue (I made 1 1/2 the recipe for white). Step 2. Saw red cake into 2 layers and white cake into 3 layers. Step 3. Put a white layer on your cake plate. Spread with jam, put a red layer on top, spread with jam. (Not pictured because I got tired, put another white layer on top and spread with jam). Step 4. Stack your red and white layer on top of the blue cake. Place a small bowl on top as a stencil and cut around it with knife completely vertical to make a full circle. Step 5. You want the outer ring of blue cake. Step 6. You want the inner circles of red and white cake. Step 7. Place your blue ring on top of your three layers of cake. Spread top of red inner circle with jam and place in ring. Place white inner circle on top. If not even with top of blue ring, press down a little. (Or to look better than mine, before putting blue ring on, stack red and white inner circle next to it and press them down to same size) Step 8. Hopefully the cake slices look that good!
This can also be a perfect dessert for Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, welcoming a soldier home, etc. It’s not nearly as hard to make as it looks. I’ve never made a layered cake before, and this felt like an ambitious project for me. I was really surprised at how easy it was. Have a fun safe 4th of July! Thankful for the freedom we have in America.
Simple White Cake Recipemakes 1 9″ round cake
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs (technically w/yolks it’s a yellow cake, but it still looked white to me)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup 2% milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer (or using handheld mixer). Add vanill and eggs and beat well. Add flour and baking powder and mix to a thick smooth consistency. Add milk slowly while mixing until smooth.
Butter a 9″ cake pan and pour in your batter (butter it well! Next time I’ll also put a circle of was paper in the bottom since mine still stuck). Smooth with a spatula and bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Place rack on top of pan and invert cake onto rack where it can cool completely. Wrap each layer well in saran wrap and freeze until ready. DO NOT frost until completely cool.
Goopy Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz cream cheese (2 boxes)
8 oz butter softened (one stick)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
Mix ingredients well in a blender. Yep, that simple.
Approximate cost: I just got 25lbs of flour for $6 so this was incredibly cheap to make. I’m too tired to really figure it out but I think around $8.
Vegetarian: No meat in this cake.