Monday, July 2, 2018

Red, White and Blue Sprinkles Cake

4th of July Cake, Red White and Blue Cake, Sprinkles Cake, Paper Straws, Paper Candles, Cake, 4th of July Desserts, 4th of July BakingAbout five or six years ago when I started baking more and more cakes, I took a basic cake decorating class at a local bakery in Denver.  The advantage to taking a cake decorating class at an actual bakery instead of attending the classes offered at Michaels craft stores, is that the bakery provided all of the tools, cake and frosting, and all I had to do was to show up there after work in the evenings, without having to buy any decorating kits or take the time to bake and bring in my own cake to decorate.  Although it was more expensive than the Michaels classes, I think the cost ends up about the same in the end, since the more expensive class was all-inclusive, and completely worth it if you're not sure you want or need all those tools until after you take the class, not to mention, having to prepare your own cake in the middle of a busy week.  These days, of course, pretty much anything you want to learn, you can do so by watching free video tutorials on YouTube, although I really enjoyed the classroom environment, seeing how others were decorating their cakes, and being able to ask questions of the teacher.

I didn't even know how to use a piping bag at the time, and finished the four-week class with so much more confidence in what I was doing.  The details of the class are a bit of a blur at this point, and my own personal style has since evolved beyond what I learned there, as have current cake decorating trends, but one thing I distinctly remember is the teacher telling us to never pipe a "grocery store frosting border" on our cakes, unless specifically asked to by a customer.  And while I definitely avoid decorating my cakes in a way that makes them look like they were picked up from a grocery store bakery (two of my own personal rules are that I generally refuse to make sheet cakes and never ever pipe writing on cakes), I do think there is a time for a classic border on a cake now and then.



4th of July Cake, Red White and Blue Cake, Sprinkles Cake, Paper Straws, Paper Candles, Cake, 4th of July Desserts, 4th of July Baking

4th of July Cake, Red White and Blue Cake, Sprinkles Cake, Paper Straws, Paper Candles, Cake, 4th of July Desserts, 4th of July Baking

4th of July Cake, Red White and Blue Cake, Sprinkles Cake, Paper Straws, Paper Candles, Cake, 4th of July Desserts, 4th of July Baking

4th of July Cake, Red White and Blue Cake, Sprinkles Cake, Paper Straws, Paper Candles, Cake, 4th of July Desserts, 4th of July Baking

4th of July Cake, Red White and Blue Cake, Sprinkles Cake, Paper Straws, Paper Candles, Cake, 4th of July Desserts, 4th of July Baking




I love making a cake every year for various holidays, and especially loved last year's 4th of July cake with its feminine, pale blue polka-dotted buttercream, berries and flowers, which King Arthur Flour described on Instagram as "regal and subtly patriotic". :)  This year, I thought I would go a little more whimsical and colorful, so I started with one of my more popular recipes, my basic vanilla cake.  The vanilla cake is just an all-around great party cake or birthday cake, exceptionally moist, impossible to mess up, and easily customized with other flavors in your filling or buttercream.

To start, I divided the batter into thirds and colored it red, white and blue.  You may wonder why bother with white food coloring, but without it, the white layer would be more yellowish-colored from the eggs and oil, and the white coloring just helps brighten it up.  After baking the cakes, the exterior color may look a bit off or muted, but that's just due to the browning of the outside, and when you cut into the cakes, the colors will be vibrant.

Next, the buttercream, which I flavored with lemon extract.  A handful of sprinkles tossed all over the cake - there are so many fun sprinkle mixes out there, and I built my own with a combo of red, white and blue sprinkles of various sizes as well as a few red hearts - followed by a decorative piped edge, if you like.

What makes this cake extra pretty and fun, though, are the paper "candle" toppers.  There's no trick to making them, just cut squares of tissue paper about three inches across, and twist the middle of each square so you can stick it into a paper straw.  You can add a little glue, too, if you want them to be more securely attached to the straws.  Happy holiday baking this week!



4th of July Cake, Red White and Blue Cake, Sprinkles Cake, Paper Straws, Paper Candles, Cake, 4th of July Desserts, 4th of July Baking

4th of July Cake, Red White and Blue Cake, Sprinkles Cake, Paper Straws, Paper Candles, Cake, 4th of July Desserts, 4th of July Baking

4th of July Cake, Red White and Blue Cake, Sprinkles Cake, Paper Straws, Paper Candles, Cake, 4th of July Desserts, 4th of July Baking

4th of July Cake, Red White and Blue Cake, Sprinkles Cake, Paper Straws, Paper Candles, Cake, 4th of July Desserts, 4th of July Baking

4th of July Cake, Red White and Blue Cake, Sprinkles Cake, Paper Straws, Paper Candles, Cake, 4th of July Desserts, 4th of July Baking






To create this cake:
  1. Bake and cool one three-layer Vanilla Cake, batter divided into thirds and colored red, white and blue with gel food coloring.  (I used the Americolor brand for Red, Royal Blue and Bright White, but any gel food coloring should work.)
  2. Make a batch of my Basic Buttercream; 4x the formula will be needed for this cake.  (I flavored mine with lemon extract for this cake.)
  3. Fill and frost the cake, then toss with red, white and blue sprinkles before the buttercream crusts over.
  4. Pipe a decorative border around the top and bottom edges, if you like.
  5. Garnish with paper "candles" made with paper straws and tissue paper.

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