Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Flag Cake Tutorial

In the 4th of July post I showed a picture of a cake that I made for the holiday. I was really happy with the way it came out, so I thought I would share how I did it. I got the idea and instructions from this blog. This is the first time I had ever made this cake, and it was really a learning experience. I have made notes throughout the instructions about what did and didn't work for me. I think this is one of those cakes that I can really improve on over time. And just as a warning, it was really tough to type these out in a clear way. But there is a nifty diagram at the end that I think will help, so be sure to read all the way through it.

{photo courtesy of Mama Fink}

You will need:
-2 boxes of white cake mix (and whatever eggs, oil, water, etc... you need to bake them)
-Frosting of choice (I used white, but you could use whatever color you want really. I just liked the idea of using white because I knew I was going to cover the outside with fruit)
-Food coloring (red and blue)
-Blueberries and strawberries (this is completely optional. In fact, the blog I found the cake on did not have any decorations on the outside. I just thought the fruit was cute, but it's completely up to you as to how you decorate it)
Ok, here is the first thing that I messed up on a bit. The original instructions say to divide your prepared cake batter it into 5 equal bowls and I really wish I had done it the way they said to. In the end, you need to have enough red batter to bake 2 round cake pans, enough of the white batter to bake 2 round cake pans and enough of the blue batter to bake 1 round cake pan. I just divided into 3 bowls and tried to make sure the red and white batter bowls had more than the blue. Well, that was dumb, it's just hard to eye that accurately. Once I started filling my cake pans, I realized I had way to much blue and not nearly enough white. I ended up having to buy another box of cake mix to add to the white batter. So, moral of the story is to actually divide it into 5 equal bowls before you use the food coloring. That will ensure you have enough of each color :)

Oh, and just fyi- you can use as much food coloring as you want to get to your own desired color. I used the entire bottle of the red and about 1/2 of the blue bottle, but it's really dependent on what colors you want for your cake.
Once your red and white cakes come out of the oven and cool off, slice them in half. This will yield 4 layers of red and 4 layers of white.

This picture is one cake that has been divided into 2 layers.

You will actually only be using 2 full layers of each color for the cake. With the other layers, take a bowl that is smaller than the cake by about 2 inches and cut a red circle and a white circle.
Use the same bowl to cut a circle out of the blue layer. *Important: the blue layer stays a full layer, you do not cut it in half*
Now its time to layer your cake. This picture below is from the original recipe blog and they opted to start with a white layer at the bottom. I started with a red layer because that it what the flag really starts with, but it's up to you.
So, you have a red (1/2 cake) layer, white (1/2 cake) layer, red (1/2 cake) layer, white (1/2 cake) layer, then put the blue ring on and put your cut our red and white circles inside of it. I added icing between every layer. This is what it should look like, mine obviously ended with a white layer peeking out of the blue.

After I iced the outside I put my berries on in a star pattern. And when you cut it open...voila!
I didn't tell anyone what was inside the cake and just let it be a surprise. It was really fun cutting it open! White boxed cake mixes tend to be really fluffy and not dense which made it hard to make it a really clean looking cake. I think pound cake would work better with this recipe as it is dense and wont crumble when you cut it. Just something I was thinking about for next time.
Here is the nifty diagram I was talking about earlier. It is REALLY helpful in understanding the whole process. Like I said, the only difference was that I started on a red layer and ended on a white.
Good luck! Let me know if you try it.

One other do end up with an extra 1/2 layer of red, 1/2 layer of white and some of the cutting from the blue layer. You can use those to make cake balls or just toss them. I ended up just tossing them, but they would really be perfect for cake balls.

Happy baking!


Michelle said...

Jen, it turned out awesome! I absolutely adore the fruit star!!!!

One thing I will tell you is to source some AmeriColor gel food coloring which I should have probably said on the blog. The colors will be really deep with just a bit of coloring so you don't have to use a whole bottle.

And did you know my sis goes to UK!?? We go to Lex a few times a year!

Thanks for updating me on yours!

katie said...

this is amazing!!! i am so impressed -- and am definitely going to file this away to attempt next year.

cake pans said...

It's awesome! I like this post and i am sure that i will try this and it will be so nice and tasty. Many times i have seen this types of layered cakes but i can't make that because exactly i don't know about that, but after this i like to try this.Thanks for sharing this.

Jennifer said...

Great! Let me know how it turns out for you!

Thanks for all the kind comments.

Michelle- I did not know that! Small world for sure. Thanks for the tip on the food gel. I thought a whole bottle of the coloring was a little excessive, but I didnt know I had an option. Thanks again for posting the tutorial to begin with :)