Cooking Through "The Baker's Man": American Flag Cake
There are a couple of events to celebrate this week. First, Memorial Day is coming up! Although I am thankful for our service men and service women all year long, this is a special time when we can remember, honor, and respect those who have served, worked, and fought for our freedom.
The second event to celebrate is that I am going to see Graceland for the first time ever! My mom is a HUGE Elvis fan, so we're especially excited to take a tour like regular tourists and see the sights.
If I were a character in The Baker’s Man and I lived in Mystic Water, Anna and I would be great friends. This might be because we have a lot in common or because I would be a constant patron at her bakery. Either way, Anna would be happy to bake a cake perfect for both events that are happening this week.
American Flag Cake
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
For cakes: (makes 3 cakes)
3 sticks butter, softened
3 c granulated sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
3 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ c whole milk, room temperature
½ c buttermilk, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
red food coloring or red icing gel
blue food coloring or blue icing gel
*Note: You will need to make this recipe twice in order to have 6 cakes.
*Note: 3 white cake box mixes can be used in place of homemade white cake.
4 sticks butter, at room temperature
6 c powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c heavy cream, plus more as needed
How to Make
Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray.
Cream together butter until light and fluffy with an electric mixer.
Slowly add sugar one cup at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each cup before adding another.
Add eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Pour milks and vanilla into measuring cup and whisk together with a fork. Add to butter alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
Gently stir all ingredients until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, making sure to have all ingredients mixed well.
Weigh cake batter. Divide total weight by 3. Separate the cake batter into even thirds. Dye 2/3 of the cake batter using red food coloring or red icing gel. Leave the final 1/3 of the cake batter white.
Evenly distribute cake batter between 3 cake pans (2 red cake pans and 1 white) and place pans into oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove and allow to cool slightly in cake pans for approximately 10 minutes. Then cool completely on a wire rack.
*Note: When making the second batch of cakes, dye 1/3 of the cake batter blue and leave the final 2/3 of the batter white.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until they're light and fluffy, approximately 5–6 minutes.
Beat in the vanilla.
Add the cream gradually, mixing until you get a smooth, creamy texture.
How to Create the Cake:
Slice the red and white cakes horizontally into 2 equal-size halves. You will now have 4 red and 4 white cakes. Set aside.
Using a 4-inch round cookie cutter or a sharp knife to trace around a small 4-inch bowl, cut 1 a small circle into 1 of the red layers. Repeat with 1 of the white layers. (These small circles will be the shorter stripes that line up with the flag’s blue square.)
Use the same technique to cut a hole in the center of the blue cake. (You won't need the inner blue circle. Feel free to eat it.)
To build the cake, start with a red layer and top it with a thin coating of frosting. Keep the icing thin; otherwise you will interrupt the “stripe” effect.
Top the red layer with a layer of white cake and another thin coating of frosting.
Repeat with another red layer and another white layer so that you have four layers total.
On top of this, place the blue cake doughnut (the thick layer with a hole in the middle).
Spread a thin layer of frosting onto the small red circle, and insert it into the hole of the blue cake. Top it with a thin coating of frosting and the small white circle. Gently press the small layers into the hole of the blue cake.
Frost the cake, and you’re done!
Note: You will have leftover pieces of cake. Eat these, make cake pops, make a trifle, etc.
The Baker's Man can be purchased in paperback can be purchased in paperback or for the Kindle from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and other major retailers.
Recipe adapted from: Food52