Fourth of July Flag Cake and Tutorial

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

This Fourth of July Flag Cake is made to commemorate that important historic day in 1776 when the U.S. declared its independence from the British.  I really intended to make something else, but found plans constantly veering towards cake, for what better way to celebrate an important occasion than with a slice of cake.  I also include more detail on how I made this cake.  My earlier posts on flag cakes were kind of written in haste, so this time I’ll try to be as circumspect and clear as possible, and hope too many details don’t end up being boring.

 

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

The decorations are cutouts from marshmallow fondant, which is the same recipe used in last year’s flag cake and my first flag cake.

 

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

This is how the assembled cake looked unfrosted.

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

I just added the stars for fun.  It didn’t really matter since the cake was going to be covered with frosting anyway.

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

As soon as I sliced the cake, the cross section looked like this, complete with 50 stars— kidding.  Of course not, I just piped the stars to amuse myself.

 

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

Here’s how the cross section really looks without the stars.

 

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

I was planning on making a shorter cake, but ended up making more layers for all 13 stripes of the flag.  So using the recipe that I’ve included here, I had to use one recipe for the blue portion, one recipe for the red stripes and one recipe for the white stripes.  The batter of each recipe was divided into 7 to make 7 layers for each color.  The height of the blue portion equals the height of 7 alternating red and white stripes next to the blue.  Below that, are 6 red and white stripes so that left me with one unused white layer.

 

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

I happen to have several baking pans so baking the batter in many layers wasn’t a problem.  There are inexpensive disposable cake pans in the supermarket that can be used.  They also make for easy clean up.

 

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

I used apricot jam to fill the layers, but any type of clear, light colored jam will work.

 

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

I had a total of 21 layers to start with.  Only 20 layers were needed– 7 layers for blue, 7 for red and 6 for white.  I was left with one unused white layer.  Each numbered step below corresponds to the same number in the picture above.

  1. Place a red layer on a cake plate.  Always start with red at the bottom.  Spread jam on the surface.
  2. Place a white layer on the bottom red layer and spread jam on the surface.  Continue alternately stacking layers for a total of 6 layers with a white layer on top.
  3. Take a blue layer and, with a cookie cutter shaped like a keyhole, cut out a shape from the center.  Wait a minute, not everybody has a hubby that will fashion an improvised keyhole cookie cutter made from a metal strip!  Not to worry.  A triangle shape should work too.  Simply slice out a triangle just like you’re slicing a piece of cake.
  4. Keep the outer blue ring.  The blue cutout will not be needed.  Do the same cutout for a red layer and keep the smaller piece.  The outer red ring won’t be needed.
  5. Place the blue layer on top of the 6 layers that are already stacked.  Spread jam on the inner edges where the red piece will fit and also on the surface.  Then place the red piece in the gap to make it fit like a puzzle.
  6. Same step as number 3 above, take another blue layer and cut out a keyhole shape or triangle and keep the outer ring.
  7. Then take a white layer and repeat the procedure.  Keep the smaller piece.  Place the blue outer ring on the cake, spread jam on the surface and inner edges where the white piece will fit.  Fill the gap in the blue ring with the white piece.
  8. Continue stacking ending with the blue and red piece on top for a total of 13 red and white stripes.  Picture 8 shows the stacked cake when viewed from the side.
  9. Picture 9 shows the stacked cake when viewed from the front.
  10. Frost the cake.
  11. Decorate or leave it plain.
  12. Slice.  See important notes on slicing below.

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

The first slice should be somewhere in the red and white layers.  It would be kind of hard to tell where that is once the cake is covered with frosting, so I placed a piece of tape underneath the cake plate as a marker.

 

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

If you look closely at the bottom of the cake plate, below the number 6, you will see a piece of tape I placed to mark the edge of the red and white stripes.  There is another piece of tape, not visible, to mark the opposite edge of the red and white stripes.  So I know that my first slice should be somewhere in between the two pieces of tape.

 

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

Here’s the same diagram showing how a triangular cutout would also work.  The important thing is to make the triangles as close as possible in size.

 

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

Of course there’s always the easiest option of using a smaller circle to remove the center.  And that’s fine too.  That’s how I made my first flag cake.  The cross section will have blue on both sides of the cake.  It won’t matter which direction the cake is sliced.

 

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

I know baking a triple recipe for one cake can be daunting.  And who has the time to do that anyway?  An easy option would be to bake a shorter cake using only one recipe which should yield a 5-layer cake with 5 red and white stripes.  The batter can be divided into 8 parts: 3 parts for red, 3 parts for blue and 2 parts for white.  I removed the top and bottom of the cake in this photo to illustrate approximately how the cross section of an 8-inch, 5-layer cake would look.  If smaller cake pans are used, the layers will be slightly taller.

 

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

Since I can’t bake on weekdays, I spread out making the cake layers over several weekends and stored them in the freezer.  Once I had all the cake components made, I just made the frosting the night before so the next day all I had to do was assemble and frost the cake.  I also made a chocolate version of a flag cake in this later post.

 

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

And that’s how I make my flag cakes.  On the other hand, flag cookies might also be a great idea for those who are not so much into cakes.  Have a great Fourth of July and Happy Independence Day to this country we love!

 

 

SugaryWinzy Heart

 

 

Fourth of July Flag Cake and Tutorial
 
Author:
 
One recipe will yield a 5-layer cake with 5 red and white stripes. To make a cake with all 13 stripes of the flag, allot one recipe for each color for a total of 3 recipes.
Ingredients
For a 13-layer flag cake:
  • Single cake recipe for 7 blue layers
  • Single cake recipe for 7 red layers
  • Single cake recipe for 7 white layers
  • Double recipe Vanilla Buttercream
  • Apricot jam for filling or any kind of clear jam
For a 5-layer flag cake:
  • Single cake recipe. Batter will be divided by 8 for 3 blue layers, 3 red layers and 2 white layers.
  • Single recipe for Vanilla Buttercream
  • Apricot jam for filling or any kind of clear jam
For the Cake:
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs and 1 egg white
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup skim milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Red and blue food color
For the Vanilla Butterceam:
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening (I used Spectrum)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 10 - 12 tablespoons skim milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
Preparation
For the Cake:
For a 13-layer flag cake:
  1. Spray seven 8-inch round baking pans with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Stir together the evaporated milk and skim milk.
  4. On medium speed, cream butter that has been brought to right around room temperature until smooth and creamy.
  5. Gradually add sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Reduce speed and add eggs and egg white one at a time mixing well to incorporate after each addition.
  7. Still on low speed, in three parts, add ⅓ of dry ingredients alternating with ½ of liquid ingredients. Mix just until blended after each addition, ending with the dry ingredients. Beat only until smooth and combined. Do not overbeat.
  8. Add vanilla extract and mix to incorporate.
  9. Tint the batter with red food color.
  10. Divide the batter evenly among the 7 prepared baking pans and level off with an offset spatula. Bake two pans at a time for about 18 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans completely. Turn out layers and wrap individually in plastic wrap to freeze until ready to use.
  11. Repeat same procedure for making blue layers. For white layers, leave the batter untinted.
For a 5-layer cake:
  1. Spray eight 8-inch round baking pans with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Follow steps 2 to 8 above.
  3. Divide the batter evenly by 8. Tint 3 parts with blue food color, 3 parts with red food color and leave 2 parts untinted for the white layers.
  4. Pour batter in prepared baking pans and level off with an offset spatula. There will be 2 pans filled with white batter, 3 pans filled with blue batter and 3 pans filled with red batter. Bake two pans at a time for about 18 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans completely. Turn out layers and wrap individually in plastic wrap to freeze until ready to use.
For the Vanilla Buttercream:
  1. On medium speed, cream shortening until smooth.
  2. Add salt and beat to combine.
  3. Reduce speed to low. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time alternating with a tablespoon of milk.
  4. Beat on low until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and beat to incorporate.
  5. Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.
Assembly:
For a 13-layer cake:
  1. Start by placing a red cake layer on a flat plate. Spread jam evenly on surface. Place a white cake layer on top and again spread jam evenly on surface. Repeat until you have six layers of red and white stripes, with a white layer on surface.
  2. Take a blue layer and cut from the center to the edge, using a cookie cutter in the shape of a keyhole. Second option: if you don’t have a keyhole shaped cookie cutter, cutting out a triangle shape with a knife would also work. Third option: use a round cookie cutter about 3 inches in diameter and simply remove the center of the blue layer.
  3. Keep the outer ring of the blue layer for the cake.
  4. Take a red layer and using any one of the 3 options in step 2 above, cut out the same shape that was done previously for the blue layer. Keep the small cutout piece for the cake. The outer ring will not be needed.
  5. Place the blue layer on the cake. Spread jam on the surface and on the edges where the red layer will fit to make sure the two pieces adhere.
  6. Fit the red cutout into the gap of the blue layer. Spread jam on surface.
  7. Repeat steps 2 – 6 alternating the red and white stripes, for a total of 7 stripes, ending with a red stripe on top of the cake. There will be one unused white layer that won’t be needed.
  8. Important: mark the plate with a small piece of tape to know where the top 7 red and white stripes are, so you know where to make your first slice. Once the cake is covered with buttercream, it will be hard to know where the stripes are.
  9. Frost cake with buttercream and decorate as desired.
  10. To serve, use your marker to gauge where the first slice should be. The first slice should be somewhere in the middle of the 7 red and white layers. From there, slice the cake to the left, clockwise, if the cutouts are in the shape of a keyhole or triangle. If you used a circle, it will not matter which direction the cake is sliced.
For a 5-layer cake:
  1. Start by placing a red cake layer on a flat plate. Spread jam evenly. Place a white cake layer on top and again spread jam evenly on surface.
  2. Take a blue layer and cut from the center to the edge, using a cookie cutter in the shape of a keyhole. Second option: if you don’t have a keyhole shaped cookie cutter, cutting out a triangle shape with a knife would also work. Third option: use a round cookie cutter about 3 inches in diameter and simply remove the center of the blue layer.
  3. Keep the outer ring of the blue layer for the cake.
  4. Take a red layer and using any one of the 3 options in step 2 above, cut out the same shape that was done previously for the blue layer. Keep the small cutout piece for the cake. The outer ring will not be needed.
  5. Place the blue layer on the cake. Spread jam on the surface and on the edges where the red layer will fit to make sure the two pieces adhere.
  6. Fit the red cutout into the gap of the blue layer. Spread jam on surface.
  7. Repeat steps 2 – 6 alternating the red and white stripes, ending with a red stripe on top of the cake.
  8. Important: mark the plate with a small piece of tape to know where the top 3 red and white stripes are, so you know where to make your first slice. Once the cake is covered with buttercream, it will be hard to know where the stripes are.
  9. Frost cake with buttercream and decorate as desired.
  10. To serve, use your marker to gauge where the first slice should be. The first slice should be somewhere in the middle of the 3 red and white layers. From there, slice the cake to the left, clockwise, if the layers are in the shape of a keyhole or triangle. If you used a circle, it will not matter which direction the cake is sliced.
Notes
Tips: To get cake layers as evenly as possible in height, use a food scale. Before mixing, weigh empty mixing bowl and write down the weight. Once batter is complete and mixed, place the mixing bowl filled with batter on the food scale and write down the weight. To get the weight of the batter, subtract the weight of the bowl when it was empty from the weight of the bowl and batter. Divide the difference by however many cake pans being used and write down this number which will be the weight of batter for each pan. Place an empty baking pan on the food scale and tare the weight of the pan down to zero. Then add batter to equal the calculated batter weight for each pan.

 

 

SugaryWinzy Flag Cake and Tutorial

Fourth of July Flag Cake and Tutorial

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