For the Americans poking around my blog, yesterday was Independence Day – a moment where the USA likes to tout its freedom and principles and set off fireworks (which is pretty entertaining). I’m not hugely patriotic and therefore am not entirely invested in this national holiday HOWEVER when my sister brought this cake to my attention, I couldn’t say no. It’s an ordinary, white, frosted cake on the outside…but a rockin’ STARS AND STRIPES (well..no stars…details details) gâteau on the inside !
The actual source site for this “flag cake” à l’américaine doesn’t list recipes, so I used my own creations listed below. Again, this cake requires some serious dedication – you have to WANT to sculpt and craft this dessert, spending much time cutting and placing before being able to actually devour the final product so don’t tackle this project at 8pm. You’ll be busy until the wee hours of the morning.
A little note on the cakes : The white and blue layers, both the same size, were made of the same base : a Lady Baltimore cake. It’s a light, almond-flavored white cake that is easy to cut and handle given the egg whites. The red layer was a raspberry yellow cake recipe – this way, we didn’t waste any part of the egg, utilizing the yolks in this cake recipe that remained from the Lady B cake. I added Chambord and raspberry jam to help both with the color of the cake and give it that raspberry flavor. The frosting is an almond buttercream.
For the RED CAKE :
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 egg yolks
1-2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup jam
3 tbsp Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
LOTS OF FOOD DYE.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two 9-inch pans.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Separate the yolks and whites of three eggs.
Add the vanilla, followed by the egg yolks. Beat well after each addition until the batter is nice and…homogenous.
Add the milk and flour together, stirring until just combined. Add the jam and the chambord and the food coloring, mixing until the red is well-distributed throughout the batter.
Pour into prepared pans and bake until springy to the touch – about 20 minutes.
For the WHITE and BLUE cake :
1 stick butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup milk
3 egg whites (4 will make the cake rise more)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350F. Cream the butter and sugar until light in color.
Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Mix in the flour, baking powder, and milk at the same time, being careful not to over mix. Set this bowl aside.
In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. You can add salt or cream of tartar to the whites in order to help them whip up…but I usually skip that part.
Fold the egg whites into the batter.
Fill the white cake pan with batter. To the remaining batter, add LOTS AND LOTS OF BLUE FOOD DYE.
Mix until combined; pour the blue patter into the cake pan and place both pans in the oven. Let cook until springy to the touch – about 20 – 25 minutes.
For the frosting :
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
about a whole bag of confectioners’ sugar (slightly less…leave about 1/3 cup in the 1 lb bag)
Vanilla (about 1 tsp)
Almond extract (to taste – probably about 1 tsp)
Beat the butter until nice and creamy. Add the sugar, watching the consistency. Throw in the extracts. Taste LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS to make sure it isn’t too buttery/sugary/etc. If you find it to be too thick, add some milk – about 1 tbsp.
This is the complicated part. I had a hard time getting my mind around it…hence, my sister was the brains of the operation. I just obeyed. Here are her lovely orders :
1. Using the lid of a canister of oatmeal (a circle between 4 to 5 inches in diameter), cut the BLUE LAYER so the it looks like a doughnut. Use this same circle to cut one of the RED LAYERS down to size. This RED LAYER will fit inside the blue layer.
2. Cut the other red layer IN HALF – you can do this by using a wire like we did OR with a serrated knife. It’s a little stressful, but these cakes are tolerant of cutting – yay eggs !
3. Cut the white layer in half, too.
4. Take ONE of the thin white layers and cut it to the size of the smaller circle.
5. On the cake pan, lay the thin red layer first. Spread a thin thin thin layer of frosting on the red layer. Cover with the thing white layer and some frosting. Then the red layer. THEN THE BLUE DOUGHNUT, followed by the thin, small, white layer and then the small red layer. Here are some photos to help you visualize all of this.
6. Ice the entire cake. Yum.
We put some blueberries on the top for decoration, but it’s fine all on its own, too. The layers of the cake work really well together and who doesn’t love a good surprise ?
Happy (belated) Independence Day and bon appétit !