Break out the white pants and shoes, Memorial Day weekend is here. It's such a fun and festive weekend that signals the start of summertime and all the season brings, so we should ring it in right. This gorgeous and delicious flag cake is the perfect way to do so.
While you can decorate the outside with strawberries and blueberries or other festive toppings (lit sparklers are fun!), it's what's in the middle that really wows. There hidden inside is a flag. It provides a sweet little bit of patriotism in every bite. The following recipe is from The Secret Life of a Chef's Wife, and while the instructions look long, they're really quite simple, and definitely worth the work!
Red, White, and Blue Flag Cake
2 white cake mixes (or enough to make three layers to accommodate the size you want to make) plus the ingredients to make them (typically oil, eggs, and water)
2 cans prepared vanilla (or cream cheese) frosting
Red food coloring
Blue food coloring
Dye batter for one layer blue, and one layer red. Leave remaining one white.
Bake then cool all three layers according to directions.
Bake layers according to recipe or directions. Let completely cool. I make mine ahead of time and wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for a day.
Level off tops of cakes, if needed.
Slice the red and white layer horizontally with a long, serrated knife. This will be easier if your cakes have been refrigerated and are still cold.
Next, take one red half-layer, and one white half layer and stack them on top of one another. Take the whole (uncut) blue layer and set it in front of you. Place the stacked red and white layer on top of the blue layer. Check that they are evenly centered on top of one another.
Using a circle template as a guide, cut a circle exactly centered through all three layers of the blue, white, & red. For this 9-inch cake, I used the plastic lid off the top of a shortening can. It was 5 inches. Try to get as close to this measurement as you can so the color ratio looks right. Cut carefully and thoroughly, making sure you get all the way through all the layers.
Next, separate the blue from the red and white layers. Take the middle out of the blue. You won’t be using the blue circle for this recipe, so set it aside. You now have a donut-shaped ring of blue. This will be the star field of your flag.
Now remove the outside ring from the red & white layers. This is not used either, so set it aside. You should have a 5-inch circle consisting of 1 white half-layer, and 1 red half layer. This will be the top stripes of your flag cake.
Take the uncut white half-layer and center it on a cake circle or cake stand. Spread a 1/8–1/4 inch layer of frosting over the top. Keep it as even as you can. Lay the uncut red half-layer on top of the frosting, making sure it is centered. These make up the bottom two stripes of your flag. Frost like the last layer. Make it as even as you can.
Now take the blue donut circle and center it on top of the bottom stripes layer. Using a small offset spatula or knife, spread a very thin layer of frosting around the inside of the blue ring. You don’t really want to see this layer of frosting, it’s just to help adhere the layers. Plus, too much frosting, and your circles won’t fit inside.
Take the white 5-inch circle and set it carefully, but firmly inside the blue ring. Push it down as far as you dare. You want it as even with the blue as you can get it. Spread a thin, thin layer of icing over the white that is inside the blue ring. Place the red circle on top and press down carefully, trying to make the top layers even.
Now you are ready to frost. Put a nice, thick layer on the outside of the cake. You need to make up for the not-so-much frosting on the inside.
Keep the cake refrigerated until ready to serve. You can pull it out a bit ahead of time to take the chill off.
Image via Andreas Ivarsson/Flickr