We’ve got America’s most red, white & blue day coming up next week, and probably also some socializing or outdoor BBQ-ing and celebrating, so let’s make some cake, shall we?
Don’t worry, though, I realized last year the limits of my capacity for digesting blue food dye and for my patience levels, so I won’t be revisiting the flag cake. I think that’s a once-every-five-years kind of project for me. No, this year, I wanted something a little simpler.
For that, I dove back into my archives, and updated the easiest funfetti cake ever with a patriotic twist! Red, white, and blue star-shaped sprinkles exist, and they went into and atop this cake, along with swirls of red and blue tinted frosting, all tied together in an easy to cut (and assemble), rectangular package. Gotta sneak that flag shape in there somehow!
As for the frosting, I was going for a sort of ombre effect of red to white to blue, but I layered the red into the piping bag first. As you can see from the photos, the red really makes itself known! But I promise it still tasted delicious, and that’s the point of cake, right? So, since this cake is so dead simple to make, have fun, play a little, and if it doesn’t come out perfectly the way you planned, well, neither did America, so eat it anyway!
Red, White & Blue Sprinkle Cake
Cake layers adapted from Christina Tosi.
For the cake:
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temp
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tbs, tightly packed, light brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
2 tsp clear imitation vanilla
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs red, white & blue sprinkles (see note)
For the swiss meringue buttercream:
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks butter, unsalted, room temp
1 tsp clear imitation vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp clear imitation vanilla
more sprinkles, for decorating
Bake the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a quarter sheet pan with cooking spray and line with parchment. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, shortening, and sugars and beat on medium-high for 2-3 minutes, scraping down as needed, and then add the eggs and beat another 2-3 minutes on medium-high.
Turn the mixer to low and pour in buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract. With speed on medium-high, beat for 4-6 minutes, until the mixture is very, very pale, almost white, and almost doubled in size. When you see no more streaks of fat or liquid in the batter, it is ready for the dry ingredients. Add the cake flour, baking powder and salt, as well as the 1/4 cup of sprinkles, and mix for no more than a minute, just until everything comes together.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared cake pan and then sprinkle with remaining sprinkles. Bake 30-35 minutes, until puffed and no longer jiggling in the middle. Cool cake completely in the pan, on a wire rack.
Make the frosting: Set bowl of mixer over a pot of simmering water, and add the egg whites and sugar and whisk to combine. Continue whisking until sugar dissolves and mixture is very warm to the touch, or reached 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
Transfer bowl to stand mixer and beat egg white mixture with the whisk attachment on high speed to stiff but not dry peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, 6 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment and beat on medium-low speed, adding the butter a bit at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and then beat on low speed for about 2 minutes more, to reduce any air bubbles.
To assemble: using a ruler or other straightedge as a guide, cut the cooled cake into quarters (you can stack all four layers or freeze one for later use or snacking, as I did). Place your first quarter onto a cake plate or decorating stand.
In a small bowl, mix together the milk and vanilla, then brush 1/3 of the mixture onto the cake layer. Spoon a layer of frosting over the soaked cake, then sprinkle with a few more sprinkles. Top with the next cake layer and repeat. Top with remaining cake layer, brush on remaining milk soak, and then frost the cake as desired. You should have enough frosting to fully cover and do some fun piping if you want. Top with more sprinkles and enjoy!
I used these sprinkles
For the ombre or multi-colored piping effect, dye some of your frosting to desired hues of red and blue, about 1/4-1/2 cup for each color. Layer with remaining white frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star tip, and pipe swirls to your heart’s content.