Tutorial Tuesday- 4th of July Cake

Hello Everyone!
In celebration of the 4th of July, I made this fun and whimsical cake.  It is easy to make- I promise!  I mapped it out, step-by-step.  Surprise everyone at your Independence Day party with your mad crazy cake baking skills.

Quick Tip-  you can do this same checker technique in black and white to make an Alice in Wonderland cake!

What you need to get started:
1 box of White cake mix
1 box of french vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup of milk
Sky Blue Wilton food coloring (or whatever brand you like)
Rose Red Wilton food coloring (again, whatever brand you like)
Two separate large bowls (to separate the cake batter for mixing into red and blue sections)
wax paper- cut into 2 8x8 sections
9x13 baking pan
Bakers Joy spray or Pam to grease the pan.  I prefer Bakers Joy.
A large serrated bread or cake knife

This recipe makes for a very moist cake- just use these ingredients and follow the rest of the instructions on the box.  Be sure to use WHITE cake and not just vanilla so the colors show up well.  I used french vanilla cake and used whole eggs (yolks are so very yellow) so was a challenge to get a true blue and red.  In fact, the blue section of my cake looks a bit green in some sections.  Oh well, I'm not perfect!  lol...I will just say I am going for a shabby chic look.

Anyway, after you prepare the batter in your mixer, divide it in half.  Put 1/2 of it in a bowl and mix red coloring into it.  Mix blue food coloring in the other bowl of batter.

In your 9x13 pan, spray it with Bakers Joy on the bottom and sides and then put the 2 8x8 wax sheets in the pan so that two separate compartments are created- see photo. You want the wax to cover the bottom of the cake and the middle separation, but that is it.  Make sure the compartments are pretty tight against the edges of the pan to prevent the two colors of batter from mixing.  Give the wax another light coat of non-stick spray.

The wax paper will probably be tall in the middle- that is OK! 

Then, pour your red and blue batter into the separate sections.  This is a little tricky as the wax paper likes to flip over, so maybe get someone to hold the wax paper still while your pour.  Do not overlap batter!  It will turn purple immediately.  After you pour the batter in each side and smooth them out, folding the paper down in the middle a few times makes that middle paper separator more sturdy.

Place into the oven to bake. If you use Bakers Joy, the sides should separate slightly from the pan when the cake is ready.  Use a toothpick to double-check.  I baked these at 325 for 35 minutes in a Wilton 9x13x2 non-stick pan.

After taking the cake out, cool in pan for 5 - 10 minutes.  Then place the sections on a wire rack- see photo- use a large spatula to gently lift them up so can get your hand under the cake and gently lift it out.  It is OK if they wax paper is still stuck to them. (Be careful as they are still hot.  If it seems like they will fall apart or break, leave them in the pan to cool longer before removing).

 Let the cakes cool the rest of the way on the wire rack.  Cover them lightly with saran wrap or foil as they are cooling so they do not dry out.  I put mine in the fridge to speed up the process.

Once they are completely cool, cut each section in half- long ways.  Get out some foil or saran wrap to place the cakes on.   See photo.  Assemble the cakes in the checker pattern and trim with a long cake knife or bread knife so that the sides are even and the cake is square.  The cake will be a bit crumbly, so be gentle!

Put a bit of buttercream or whatever frosting you like between the layers so they sandwich together.  You can use jelly that has been simmered for a few minutes as well.

Then, put frosting all over the cake, giving it a good solid crumb coat (sealing in the cakes crumbs with frosting).  I used a rotating cake stand, but you can use whatever you have to get around the cake easily.  Put the crumb coated cake in the fridge until it slightly hardens or crusts- about 40 minutes in my fridge.

You can watch the video to see how I cut smoothed my crumb coat and put fondant on my cake.

 If you do not want to work with fondant, just cover the cake with white creamy icing once the crumb coat is firm!  The effect is still very cool.  You can use fresh strawberries and blueberries instead of sugar flowers!

Decorate as you wish.  I printed out a vintage Lady Liberty image from Graphics Fairy!  I also typed out Happy Birthday America in a fancy font and printed it out.  I used regular markers to add color to the banners and I attached these paper decorations with blue straws.  I added sugar flowers and sugar ruffles to the top.  Also, I wrapped a red ribbon around the cake.  You just take off the ribbon before serving.  You can do a fondant ribbon as well, but I ran out of time.  That will be another project...
 Happy 4th of July and Happy Crafting!