The Perfect Cake for 4th of July: Red, White and Blue Berry Cake
Red, White and Blue Berry Cake – layers of raspberry cake, vanilla cake and blueberry cake, with vanilla buttercream and fresh fruit.
As promised, with two days until the Fourth, here’s my new Red, White and Blue Berry Cake! This cake was so fun to make and I am so pleased with how it turned out.
Red, White and Blue Berry Cake
For this year’s 4th of July cake, I originally planned to make a cake inspired by those rocket popsicles we ate as kids. But, after I finished the cake layers and saw how gorgeous the cake layers turned out, I knew they needed to be the start of the show. The cake wouldn’t need much else. Plus, last year’s Fourth of July Funfetti Cake was a bit more extravagant. So, this year, I decided to keep it simple and I’m so happy I did!
How to Make Cake Layers
For the base of this cake, I used my Classic White Cake recipe. It’s so good on it’s own, but also really versatile if you’re ever looking to add a flavor to it. For this cake, I knew I wanted the red, white and blue colors, but I also wanted different flavors for each cake layer. However, I did not want to make three different batches of batter. So, I got a little creative.
I ended up making my Classic White Cake up until the buttermilk needed to be added. Everything else was in the batter and mixed well. I then split the batter into three portions and added ⅓ cup buttermilk to one portion, ⅓ cup raspberry puree to another, and ⅓ cup blueberry puree to the third portion. Because I had already done plenty of mixing in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, I folded in these liquids to make sure not to over mix the batter (which is a reason our cakes sink in the middle sometimes).
How to Create Colors and Flavors in Cake Layers
After adding the raspberry and blueberry purees to two of the cake layers, I wasn’t satisfied with the flavors or the colors of the batter. I wanted more of both. To enhance the flavors, I added a teaspoon of raspberry emulsion to the raspberry cake and a teaspoon of blueberry emulsion to the blueberry cake. This amped up the flavors perfectly!
I also added one drop of Americolor red food gel to the raspberry layer and one drop of blue food gel to the blueberry layer. I love how the colors turned out a bit vintage looking.
Filling and Frosting
In between the layers, I added fresh berries along with my Vanilla Buttercream. I give several tips about making the perfect buttercream in my post about my Classic White Cake. Be sure to check it out HERE.
Take a peek at my video below to see the step by step process of how to decorate my Red, White and Blue Berry Cake. I use my go-to Ateco Cake Scraper to make the lines on the side of the cake. It’s the best two dollars you’ll ever spend!
Red, White and Blue Berry Cake
Layers of raspberry cake, vanilla cake, and blueberry cake, covered in vanilla buttercream.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
FOR THE CAKE
- 4 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1 whole egg at room temperature
- 3 teaspoons (12.6 g) clear vanilla extract
- 3 cups plus 3 tablespoons (366.5 g) cake flour
- 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (16 g) baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon (4.2 g) salt
- 12 tablespoons (169.5 g) unsalted butter room temperature and cut into cubes
- 1/3 cup (80 g) buttermilk
- 1/3 cup (34 g) raspberry puree
- 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) raspberry emulsion
- 1/3 cup (34 g) blueberry puree
- 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) blueberry emulsion
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter chilled (I take the butter out of the fridge 30 minutes before I make my frosting)
- 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
- 3-4 tablespoons (43.3-57.75 g)heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons (8.4 g) clear vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- Berries for garnish
- *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra 1/2 batch.
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Spray three 8-inch round pans with nonstick spray, line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, whole egg and the vanilla. Set aside.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed for 30 seconds.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the butter one piece at a time, about every 10 seconds.
- Once all the butter is added, turn the mixer to medium-low speed and add the egg mixture in three additions, scraping the bowl down between each addition. Mix just until incorporated.
- Using a kitchen scale, divide the batter into three portions, in three separate bowls.
- In the first bowl, fold in 1/3 cup buttermilk.
- In the second bowl, fold in 1/3 cup raspberry puree and 1 teaspoon raspberry emulsion.
- In the third bowl, fold in 1/3 cup blueberry puree and 1 teaspoon blueberry emulsion.
- Pour each of the different cake batters into their own cake pan, spreading evenly with a small offset palette knife.
- Bake until a cake tester or toothpick comes out with a few crumbs when inserted into the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Check cake at 23 to 25 minutes or a couple minutes before, and then set the timer for 2 to 3 minute intervals if the cake needs to bake longer. You're looking for a few moist crumbs to come out on the toothpick when inserted into the center of the cake.
- Let the cake layers cool on racks for 10 minutes before inverting onto greased wire racks. Gently turn the cakes back up so the tops are up and cool completely.
- Once the cakes are cooled completely, level the tops if needed.
- Wrap each cake layer with plastic wrap and chill in freezer for at least an hour before using. The cake layers can be stored for up to a few days wrapped once in plastic wrap and frozen. To store longer than a few days, wrap twice in plastic wrap, then in foil, and seal in a zip-lock bag.
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter for about 2 minutes. This will soften the butter without it having to be warm.
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing a little in between each addition.
- With mixer on medium speed, add whipping cream, vanilla and salt.
- Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. The frosting will become lighter in color and texture.
- Before spreading on your cake, spend a couple minutes mixing the buttercream by hand with a wooden spoon to push out the air pockets.
- Place the first cake layer, top side up. Add about 1 cup of frosting. Spread over the cake layer as evenly as possible. Make sure to get eye level with the cake to ensure the frosting is spread evenly over the cake. Add fresh berries, if using.
- Repeat this step until you get to the final cake layer, which you will lay top side down.
- Apply a thin coat of frosting around the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. Freeze for about 10 minutes.
- After the crumb coat is set, continue frosting and decorating the cake.
I was so excited to try this and have been waiting till today. However I see the emulsion part, there is no one around me who sells that and now with two days shy, I don’t want to order and prepare on the 4th. Is there something else that I can do to create that? Thank you.
That’s ok. It’s not totally necessary – just amps up the flavor a bit. Instead, you can look for flavored oils or extracts, which most grocery stores carry. Or you can just do the puree and be ok.
LOVE this cake and can not wait to try it!! Had a quick question about the purées, is this simply just raspberries and blueberries in the the food processor? Or did you make the purée over the stove with sugar?
Yes, just the berries pureed. No additional sugar.
Where to you get the pans, the straight edge with the pattern on the other side…etc
I got most of it on Amazon. If you look at my shop page – I have a lot of my tools linked.
Hi Courtney! I am so excited to make this cake! It’s my grandpas 89th birthday on the 4th of July and this will be the perfect cake! Quick question for you, when you purée your berries, do you strain out the seeds once puréed? Thanks! And thank you for sharing your love of baking!
Yes I did – just blended the berries and strained.
Hi Courtney! I wondered could you use the cartoned liquid egg whites instead of separating 4 whole eggs? Thanks!
Can you please explain how you make your raspberry and blueberry puree. Thank you!
I just puree my berries and then simmer on the stove for about 10 minutes to reduce the water content.
Hi there! I wondered if you could use liquid egg whites in the carton as a sub? Also, is there a difference in using salted butter and omitting the pinch of salt vs unsalted butter for the frosting? Thanks so much! I can’t wait to dig in!
No, if you use salted butter and remove the salt in the recipe, you’re good to go. And you can use carton egg whites.
Giving this cake a whirl with my daughter for the 4th of July. Our cakes turned out very thin. Wah!! After reading through the comments, I see that we were suppose to simmer the purées for 10 min, which I didn’t do. Could this be the cause of thin cakes? Too much water from the purées?
Yes it could have, but also, how old was your baking powder?
Could you triple the purée and emulsion for the blueberry or raspberry to make its own cake??
This cake looks amazing! For the puree’s, is it best to use fresh or frozen berries? Thanks!
How did you make the purées?
I just made this cake for the fourth of July. I used gluten-free flour and had to make my own raspberry and blueberry purees because I could not find them at any store near my house but it still tasted delicious! Thank you for sharing!
Love that you loved it!
I saw your instagram post on how to convert your cake recipes to cupcakes! How do I make the layers, but for cupcakes? Do I fill the cupcake pan 1/3 each time and buttercream them together?
You’ll pour the batter right on top of each other and then bake.
Could I substitute strawberries for raspberries?
This cake had a wonderful flavor, but it was super dry. I followed the recipe exactly so I’m not sure what happened. I didn’t even bake them the full time.
I would say it probably needed even less time baking, unfortunately. Some ovens tend to run a little hot, even when set at the right temp. I like to check mine about 5 minutes before the baking time suggested in a recipe. Make sure a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake layers comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.