You will be wowed by this cake!  It looks elegant and unassuming on the outside, but when you cut into it, there is a flag inside.  Great for patriotic celebrations, this cake looks complicated to make but is actually easy to construct.  I chose to frost this cake in basic white piped stars because the flag inside is the wow factor! Not only does it look good, but this vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream tastes phenomenal.  To top it off, you only need a mixer for the buttercream because the cake batter is stirred by hand. Click here to jump to the recipe.

These layers rise so well that it is easy to cut or split the layers in half. I placed the knife on risers and cut the white layer into two pieces.

Using a 4-inch cookie cutter, cut one 4-inch layer out of one of the split white 9-inch layers. The other 9-inch layer is set aside to use later.

The 9-inch red layer is also cut in half. These layers are set aside for use later.

A 6-inch red layer is baked and using a cookie cutter, a 4-inch red layer is cut out of it. This small layer will fit like a puzzle piece into another layer during the cake construction. The leftover “doughnut” is not used for the cake construction. Discard it or enjoy a little snack!

You use the cookie cutter to cut out a 4-inch circle from the blue layer. Use the doughnut, but discard the 4-inch layer.

Construction begins by placing a red layer on a cake platter adding some frosting. Then add a white layer and frost it.

In the above photo, you can see the pattern: red layer, frosting, white layer, frosting, red layer, frosting, and then the blue donut layer that has the hole. Take a 4-inch white layer and place it in the hole, pushing it to the bottom. Add a layer of frosting. Then place the red 4-inch layer in the hole and level it with the top of the blue layer. Now you have a complete cake and the middle holes are filled.

Now add a skim coat of frosting to the entire cake. Then use a large star tip and piping bag and make stars all over the cake. Put in small stars with the same tip (just don’t squeeze as hard) to fill in any holes where the cake shows through.

This is a tall 5-layer cake. The blue layer is considered two layers because of the white and red 4-inch layers inside the doughnut hole.

With the cake piped in white stars, it looks delicious, but is rather unassuming. However, once cut, it says “wow!”

Because this cake is so tall, you can get about 20 or more slices out of it since you don’t have to cut the slices so wide.

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Flag Cake
A recipe for an easy-to-make cake with buttercream frosting that has a surprise flag when you cut into the cake.
Votes: 5
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Prep Time 1-2 hours
Cook Time 27 minutes
Passive Time 3 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
Supplies
Prep Time 1-2 hours
Cook Time 27 minutes
Passive Time 3 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
Supplies
Votes: 5
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Directions for Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare (3) 9-inch cake pans and (1) 6-inch cake pan by coating with shortening and then dusting with powdered sugar. Cut out round parchment circles and fit them into the bottom of each prepared pan. Set pans aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add the sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla, egg whites, and vegetable oil. Whisk until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Sift the cake mix into the liquid mixture. Stir until combined and smooth but don’t overmix.
  4. Divide the cake batter between 3 medium bowls. In the third bowl, place a little more batter than the other two bowls so that there will be enough red batter for (1) 9-inch pan and the 6-inch pan. It does not take much batter for the 6-inch pan so just eyeball it.
  5. To the third bowl that has more batter, add several drops of red food coloring until you like the color. Fill a 9-inch and the 6-inch prepared pans with the red batter.
  6. In another bowl of batter, add drops of blue food coloring and stir. Keep the intensity of the color the same as the red batter. Pour the blue batter into a prepared 9-inch pan.
  7. Finally, pour the white batter into the last 9-inch prepared pan. To help ensure flat layers, place baking strips around the 9-inch pans. (See note below about baking strips and how you can make your own.) Bake layers at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Directions for Buttercream
  1. Using a large mixing bowl and mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, salt, and cream. Beat well. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth, 3-5 minutes. Add more cream if needed for a thinner frosting.
Directions Cake Assembly
  1. Level any domed layers with a knife by shaving off the peaks. Then use a long knife to split the white cake layer into two same-size round layers. Set aside one layer. Then use the 4-inch round cookie cutter to cut out a 4-inch round in the middle of the other layer. Discard the “donut” but save the 4-inch round.
  2. Using the same long knife, split the 9-inch red layer into two same-sized round layers. Set layers aside for later. Then using the cookie cutter cut a 4-inch round out of the 6-inch cake layer. Discard the donut from the 6-inch layer but save the 4-inch round.
  3. Center the cookie cutter in the exact middle of the blue layer and cut a 4-inch round. Save the blue donut but discard the 4-inch round.
  4. In the middle of a cake platter, place a small dollop of frosting to stabilize the bottom cake layer. Then place the layers in the following order with frosting spread between each layer: a red 9-inch layer, a white 9-inch layer, a red 9-inch layer, and the blue 9-inch donut. Inside the hole of the blue layer, place a white 4-inch round layer and frost it. Next place the 4-inch red round layer into the hole. Finally, frost the whole cake with a thin layer of frosting. Then using a large star tip, pipe buttercream stars all over the cake.
Recipe Notes

When using parchment circles in the bottom of your pans, make sure they lie flat.  It is better to have a smaller paper so it doesn't go up the sides, which can distort the shape of the layer.

To get a flat cake without a middle dome, use wet baking strips around the cake pan.  You can buy these at craft stores in the cake-baking section, or you can make your own.  To make a strip that you pin together with safety pins, cut a towel long enough to fit around your cake pan and tall enough to fold over and make a double thickness. Wet the strip until very damp, but not dripping.  Overlapping the ends, pin the strip with safety pins until it fits securely around the pan.  Then fill the pan with batter and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean or with crumbs.  I usually have to add 5 minutes or more baking time because cakes generally bake slower with wet strips.  Baking strips work by keeping the cake edges from cooking quickly during the baking process, which helps to keep the cake layers from forming a  middle dome.

You can make the red layer into red velvet cake by adding 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of vinegar to the red batter.

Some red food coloring turns brown.  I have found that Christmas Red Gel by Lorann Oils (click here for lorannoils.com) has a bright red color that doesn't change.

If you don't have a 4-inch cookie cutter, you can make a template out of parchment paper and cut around it to cut the 4-inch layers of cake. Also, a 4-inch round bowl can be used as a guide.  However, the more exactly you cut the layers, the better the cake will look.

Be sure to wipe off the cookie cutter after you cut each layer so you don't transfer crumbs to the next layer.

The layers of this cake are easier to work with if you freeze the layers before you frost them.  If you make this cake over 2 days, freeze the layers overnight.  Otherwise, freeze layers for a couple of hours.

If you don't have a piping bag, you can make one by using a gallon freezer bag. Cut off a bottom corner and place a star tip in that hole and fill with frosting.

The cake and frosting recipes were adapted from Bakingwithblondie.com.

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