Red, White, & Blue Flag Cake

STRAWBERRY

Happy Flag Day dear Sweet Precision readers! Usually Flag Day is one of those holidays that sneaks up on me. I don’t realize it’s the day until I see small flags lining the sides of residential streets. This year, I actually noticed the holiday coming up when I looked at my calendar last week. Since Matthew has been busy teaching his class this summer, I’ve had a little more time on my hands during the weekends. I decided to put that time to good use—in the kitchen—this past Saturday!

So let’s chat a little bit about this flag cake recipe. This recipe takes some serious planning and dedicated time in the kitchen to pull off. The end result is more than worth all the time you’ll spend leveling and assembling your cake… I promise! This cake has been on my baking “to-do” list for quite a while, but I knew it would be a big undertaking—and it WAS! However, if you want a show-stopper cake, it simply doesn’t get any better than this. There are several versions of this recipe floating around on the internet. I chose to go with one posted on the All Recipes website. Below, I’ve shared the recipe directly from the website, but I’d also recommend watching the video which I found to be extremely helpful.

American Flag Cake Recipe
Makes approximately 16 servings

Ingredients
3 (10.25 ounce) packages white cake mix
9 egg whites
1 cup vegetable oil
3 3/4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons clear vanilla extract
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 tablespoon blue food coloring
1 cup white chocolate chips
10 cups fluffy white frosting
1 tablespoon white chocolate chips, or as needed
2 tablespoons white sugar, or as needed
1 4-inch round paper or cardboard stencil

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and line 4 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.

2. Combine white cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, milk, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Beat for 30 seconds using an electric mixer on low speed. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. The batter will still be slightly lumpy.

3. To make the red cakes, measure half the batter into a separate bowl and whisk in red food coloring. Evenly transfer the red batter into 2 of the 8-inch prepared cake pans; smooth tops of batter with a spatula. Transfer half of the remaining uncolored batter into a 3rd prepared cake pan; smooth top as before. This will be the white cake portion.

4. Add blue food coloring to the remaining uncolored batter in the large mixing bowl; fold 1 cup white chocolate chips into blue batter until combined. Transfer batter to remaining prepared 8-inch cake pan; smooth top of batter with a spatula.

5. Bake all 4 cakes in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove the cakes from oven and place onto cooling racks until cooled completely.

6. Run a knife around edge of each cooled cake. Invert cakes, remove pans, and peel off parchment paper. Use a sharp knife to trim tops of cakes flat and even.

7. Cut both of the red cake layers and the white cake layer in half horizontally. You will have 4 thin red cake layers and 2 thin white cake layers.

8. Place a 4-inch round stencil on top of 1 thin red cake layer; cut out a 4-inch red cake round. Repeat, placing stencil on 1 thin white cake layer to make 1 4-inch white cake round. Center the 4-inch round stencil on the blue cake; cut out and remove center portion covered by the stencil to make a blue cake ring.

9. To assemble the cake, you will need 2 thin 8-inch red cake layers, 1 thin 8-inch white cake layer, 1 4-inch thin red cake circle, 1 4-inch thin white cake circle, and 1 blue 8-inch cake ring. Reserve the leftover thin red cake layer and other cake pieces for making crumbs for decorating.

10. To assemble cake, place 1 8-inch thin red cake layer on a cake pan and frost the top generously with white frosting. Place the thin 8-inch white cake layer on top of the red one, and frost the top. Place remaining 8-inch thin red cake layer atop the white one. Frost the red layer.

11. Place the blue ring cake on top of the 2nd red cake layer and carefully frost the inside of the blue cake ring. Gently fit the 4-inch white cake layer into the blue cake ring. Frost the top of the 4-inch white center. Place the 4-inch red cake layer on top of the white one. Gently press small cake circles flush with the top of the blue ring.

12. Frost the entire outside of the cake generously with the remaining frosting. To serve, cut cake into wedges. The inside of the cake will reveal its layers of red and white stripes and blue field with white chocolate chip stars in every slice.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
One of the keys to successfully executing this cake is ensuring that your cake layers are level. You can accomplish this with a serrated knife or with a cake leveler. Once your cakes have come out of the oven and cooled, use your knife to remove the dome and you will have flat layers to work with! I also found that it was helpful to freeze my cake layers overnight before assembling everything. Freezing your cake layers makes them easier to work with for the final assembly. When frosting your cake, you might also find it helpful to do a crumb coat first. This is a light layer of frosting that will lock in all the crumbs so they don’t appear when you do your final icing. There are great videos online that cover all of these topics!

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Chewy Vanilla Cookies with Orange Glaze and Zest

Summer is officially here! I can say this with authority now that I have switched over to my summer wardrobe. Goodbye turtlenecks and wool sweaters… hello capris, tank tops, and sun dresses! There’s plenty to love about summer. I welcome the warm lingering nights, fresh fruits from the farmers market, and the occasional trip to Dairy Queen for a pineapple sundae. It seems as though people are so much happier when summer comes around. It’s the season completely devoted to leisure and good times with the people you love.

The Sweet Precision kitchen always slows down a little during the summer months. But these citrus infused cookies were a recipe I wanted to share with you right away. These cookies are a great addition to your baking repertoire when you’re in need of a quick and easy dessert. I’m in love with the glaze which uses fresh orange juice and zest. The cookies look so unique, people will think you slaved away in the kitchen to create these little delicacies. No one needs to know your secret… which is that all you need is a box of vanilla cake mix! I made this recipe for a summer picnic when I didn’t have time to pull something elaborate together and they were a hit!

Chewy Vanilla Cookies with Orange Glaze and Zest
Makes approximately 36 cookies

Cookie Ingredients
1 (18.25 oz) package vanilla cake mix
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Glaze Ingredients
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice, or as needed

Directions
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs and oil until well blended. Place dough in refrigerator for approximately one hour.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Shape teaspoonfuls of dough into small balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. The bottoms will be light brown, and the insides chewy. Cool completely on a cookie rack.

Meanwhile, mix confectioners’ sugar, orange zest, and orange juice in a medium mixing bowl. Drizzle over cookies and garnish with leftover orange zest, if desired.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
Be sure to cool your baking sheets between baking batches of cookies. To cool your cookie pans in a hurry, run them under cold water and then wipe dry before using.