Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flag Cake

Happy 4th of July! This is one of our family's favorite holidays. We can almost always count on great outdoor weather and a lovely party with Mrs. A and her family. Mrs. A volunteers her home and pool, and lots of her famous foods, from homemade pickles to bbq chicken, and everyone else brings something to go along with her amazing spread. With both Mimi Jr. and Mini Me home to help, and we decided to create a festive cake that would look pretty inside and out.
  It is a fun holiday project that can be as easy as your favorite cake mix, or you can try the one below, which is our current favorite. All you need are your cake layers, vanilla frosting, and red, white, and blue jimmies. I had some snowflakes that we used for stars but any white candy, or a few white jimmies would be fine. We also had some marshmallow fondant, so we colored some red and blue and cut out stars for the sides of the cake, but you could use jimmies on the sides or leave them plain.
You need three layers total, so you can either make 1 1/2 the recipe below for three full layers, or simply divide the batter from one recipe evenly into three thin layers. *If you only make one recipe, your layers will be thinner so you may need to reduce your cooking time.* Once your batter is made, add red food coloring to 1/3, add blue food coloring to 1/3, and leave 1/3 white. Bake and cool your cake layers. Assemble and frost your cake with the red layer on the bottom, the white layer in the middle, and the blue layer on top.
To decorate the top of the cake we used a ruler to mark off 1 inch intervals for the stripes and a 3 inch area in the upper left hand corner for the blue/stars. Using rulers as guides (one on each side of the stripe) we covered the cake in jimmies alternating between red and white. 

Vanilla Cake
adapted from Ina Garten
This recipe makes 2  2-inch layers

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

American Butter Cream Frosting
1 cup softened butter
4 cups of sifted powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup milk
pinch of salt

1. Cream the butter and slowly add powdered sugar and beat until fairly well incorporated, mixture will be crumbly.
2. Add salt, milk, and vanilla. Beat at medium-low speed until combined and then increase your speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy.
printable recipe

If you prefer you can use cream cheese frosting

Links: Foodie Friday