Make a Flag Cake for the Fourth!
It’s always more fun to DIY. Every week on Food52, we’ll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
Today: Our Test Kitchen Manager Erin McDowell bakes a towering, and surprisingly easy, cake with a very patriotic surprise inside — and you can, too.
For a recent Provisions photo shoot, we made a flag cake. It’s just a simple vanilla cake slathered in a healthy layer of buttercream, but it’s layered to look like a flag, meaning that every slice you take out results in resounding gasps from hungry onlookers.
When emails started pouring in asking how to make it, we couldn’t resist sharing a tutorial. After all, everyone deserves the “ooohs” and “aaahs” that you get when a piece of this beauty slides onto a plate.
So we made another flag cake, and it came together just as quickly — meaning the first time around wasn’t just beginner’s luck. This is an easy project that results in a seriously impressive showstopper of a layer cake; make it for your World Cup parties (go U.S.A.!), then make it again for the Fourth of July.
Full disclosure: This patriotic cake requires a little extra effort (you do need to bake five cakes). But after that, it’s as simple as cutting circles. Start with a simple white cake recipe (I like the recipe below, which tastes like boxed cake mix in the best way), and use it to bake five 9-inch cakes: two white, two red, and one blue.
Adapted from Glorious Treats
Makes one 9-inch cake
For each cake (you’ll need to make five!):
8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder
Red and blue food coloring
For the buttercream frosting:
4 sticks butter, at room temperature
8 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
Bake your cakes, using about 25 drops of food coloring for the red cakes and about 20 for the blue cake. Let them cool in their pans for 15 minutes, then invert them onto a wire rack to cool completely.