In the interest of full disclosure, let me just say right off the bat….. this cake was a pain in the ass to make! But it was so worth it! Everyone makes the traditional 4th of July cake – a sheet cake decorated with blueberries and strawberries/raspberries to look like the American flag. This cake is different because the surprise is on the inside.
American Flag Cake
2 boxes white cake mix (plus oil and eggs)
Blue and red food coloring
For cream cheese frosting:
1-1/2 pound cream cheese (3 – 8oz. packages, not low fat)
1 pound unsalted butter (4 sticks)
2 pounds powdered sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease two 8″ cake pans with nonstick spray.
2. Make cake mixes according to box directions. You will need to make one 8″ blue cake, and three 8″ red cakes. I dyed one batch of cake batter red; I split the other batch in half and dye one half blue and one half red. Try to use as much batter as you can for each cake, because you want to end up with thick cakes.
3. Bake the 8″ cakes according to box directions. Cool completely before going on to the next step.
4. The most complicated part of creating this cake is torting the red cakes. Pain. in. the. butt. I used a large serrated knife to cut the cakes. Torte two of the red cakes so that you end up with 4 or 5 thin and even layers. Try to make the layers as level as possible.
5. Use a knife to level off the blue cake (remove the “dome” that forms when the cake bakes). After the blue cake as been leveled, cut a hole out of the middle of the cake. I used a large round cookie cutter for this step. Using a round cookie cutter is a good idea because of the sizing consistency it provides. At the end of this step your blue cake should look like a donut — with a hole in the middle.
6. Use a knife to level off the last red cake. Once the cake is leveled, use the same round cookie cutter to cut a circle out of the red cake. Torte the circle you cut out to get three thin layers.
7. For the frosting, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Slowly add the cream cheese until you reach the desired consistency. I like thicker frosting, so I always add nearly 2 lbs of powdered sugar.
8. Time to assemble! Layer the first 4 or 5 full-sized red layers on a cake platter, adding cream cheese icing between each layer. Once the full-sized red layers are assembled, add the blue “donut” to the top. Fill the “donut hole” with the small red slices of cake, adding cream cheese icing in between each. Thoroughly frost the outside of the cake and decorate the top of the cake if you’d like to. I used red and blue frosting to create a spiderweb/fireworks design.
9. Before cutting into your cake, chill the cake in the refrigerator for a few hours so the frosting can set (and the cake will be easier to cut!).