Kick your Fourth of July party into high gear with a dessert that was designed to thrill. It looks like an elegant, iced-white layer cake—but when your guests cut into it, a bold flag is revealed. The graphic confection is the clever creation of blogger and cake designer Kathryn Poduska (her site, sugarturntable.com, offers tutorials on “surprise-inside” cakes), and it's featured in this month's issue of InStyle along with other crowdpleasing July Fourth desserts. Check out the recipe below, along with the above video on assembling the cake.
Active time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total time: 4 hours
1 box red velvet cake mix
1 box white cake mix
3/4 tsp royal blue gel food coloring ($2; nycake.com)
3 16-oz. containers white frosting
1. Grease two 8-inch cake pans. Prepare and bake two 8-inch red velvet cakes according to package directions; let cool and remove from pans.
2. Grease two 8-inch cake pans. Prepare the white cake batter according to package directions. Spread half the batter into one pan. Stir the blue food coloring into the remaining batter until no streaks remain; spread it into the other pan. Bake according to the package directions; let cool and remove from pans.
3. Using a long serrated knife, trim off and discard the rounded tops of each cake.
4. Cut each red velvet cake in half horizontally for 4 layers. Cut the white cake in half horizontally for 2 layers. Do not cut the blue cake.
To assemble (check out the video too!):
1. Start with two white cake layers, three red cake layers, and one blue cake layer (that should be twice the height of the others). Reserve remaining layers for another use.
2. With a 4-inch plate or bowl as a guide, use a small serrated knife to cut out a 4-inch round from the centers of one red layer, one white layer, and the blue cake.
3. You should now have one 8-inch white layer, one 4-inch white layer, two 8-inch red layers, one 4-inch red layer, and
one 8-inch blue ring. Reserve remaining cutouts for another use.
4. Start with an 8-inch red layer; top with a thin layer of frosting. Stack on the white layer, then frost; add the other red layer, then frost; add the blue ring. Frost the top of the 4-inch white round, and gently insert into the blue ring.
5. Insert the 4-inch red velvet round into the blue ring and on top of the 4-inch frosted white round. Press it down gently
so that the top of the red cake is flush with the top of the blue cake.
6. Using an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Spread the final layer of frosting over entire cake. Chill to firm, about 1 hour. Cut into wedges and serve.