This gorgeous red white and blue cake combines three layer of white cake topped with a a simple white buttercream frosting to make one delicious show-stopping dessert for 4th of July or Memorial Day! Top with cherries and red, white, and blue sprinkles for the most festive fourth of July dessert ever!
With fourth of July just around the corner, I’ve been sharing some of my favorite red, white, and blue desserts all week long.
But today is the ultimate 4th of July dessert – a red white and blue layer cake that’s moist, creamy, and delicious!
It all starts with a box cake mix but by the time you’re done, no one will ever know it was a box cake mix beginning.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Colored cake layers – the most fun part of this cake is obviously the vibrants colors of the cake layers inside. That moment when you cut into the cake for the first time will have everyone saying wow!
- Starts with a box mix – I used a box cake mix to keep the actual cake batter making as simple as possible since it’s a little more time consuming to layer and frost the entire cake. So if you want easy, this is easy!
- Festive dessert – with just some simple decorations on the outside, this can be the most festive dessert you make this 4th of July!
- White cake mixes – if you want to make things a bit more challenging, you could use your favorite homemade classic white cake recipe as well. For the sake of keeping things easy, I went with white cake mixes. It doesn’t matter what kind you use, just keep it basic.
- Butter – make sure you’re using unsalted butter that’s softened to room temperature. This will be combined with the powdered sugar to create the frosting for the cake, and if it’s not soft, it won’t blend together well.
- Food coloring – I recommend using gel food coloring for the boldest colors without having to use an entire bottle of liquid food coloring. You really want the red and blue colors to come through so you can see the different colors in the layers.
- Cherries – I love the look of maraschino cherries on top of this cake but if you’d prefer, you could also use fresh strawberries or even alternate fresh strawberries and fresh blueberries if you want more of the red, white, and blue look on top of the cake.
- Sprinkles – these are optional but you can also top the cake with fun 4th of July sprinkles if you want! I think it really adds a nice festive touch!
How to make a red white and blue cake
If you’ve ever made a layer cake before, this red white and blue cake recipe is going to be pretty much the same process. Bake your cakes, layer your cakes, frost your cakes, and decorate. It takes a bit of time and effort, but it’s all pretty easy.
And in the end, you’ll have a beautiful fourth of July cake!
1 – Bake the Cakes
Preheat oven to 350°F and spray three 8″ cake pans with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine both cake mixes, egg whites, vegetable oil, and water in a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and mix until well incorporated. You’ll want to make sure this is a large bowl so both cake mixes and the mix-in ingredients can fit.
You can either do this by hand or with an electric mixer. I typically just mix by hand but if you do go with the mixer, I recommend mixing on low to medium speed to start so you don’t end up with cake mix in your face.
Take the cake batter and divide batter evenly between three bowls. Add red food coloring to one bowl and blue food coloring to another. Leave the white batter on its own with no color.
Mix well and add additional food coloring, a little at a time, until you achieve the desired color. You really want a bold red batter and a bold blue batter so the color doesn’t get lost during the baking process.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary to make sure all of the cake batter is colored.
The vivid colors are what makes this cake so much fun!
The third bowl will be for your white layer so you don’t need to add anything to it – just leave it white.
Now pour each color batter into a separate cake pan then bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool cakes in pans for 5 minutes, then invert them onto a wire rack to cool completely. Let the cake cool until it’s cool to the touch. If it’s still warm at all, the frosting will melt right off.
2 – Make the Buttercream
While the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream by combining the butter and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whip until it is light and fluffy. You can add a tablespoon of milk or water to get the right consistency if needed. You want it to be spreadable and pipeable.
3 – Assemble the Red white and Blue Cake
Now it’s time to assemble the cake. Place the red cake on your cake plate and frost the top.
Next, stack the white cake on top of the frosted red cake to create the second layer of cake, frost the top, then put the blue cake on top of that.
The white frosting on top of the red and white layers of should be a thin layer of frosting to keep the layers together and add some moisture to the inside of the cake.
After your layers are all stacked, completely frost the entire cake, including the sides. You can start by doing a thin crumb coat on the outside and then do a full layer of vanilla frosting all around the outside of the cake.
If you have any buttercream left, you can use any remaining frosting to pipe it around the top of your cake for extra decoration. I typically just put it in a piping bag with a star tip and add little stars spaced out evenly around the cake.
Garnish the top with patriotic sprinkles and maraschino cherries (or fresh berries). Chill for at least an hour before serving to allow the frosting time to really set.
When you’re ready to serve, slice into thin slices using a sharp cake knife and enjoy the fun layers of red, white, and blue cake! It’s the perfect dessert for any upcoming patriotic celebration or party! I can’t wait for you to try this delicious cake recipe!
Refrigerate the leftovers covered with plastic wrap or with a cake plate cover for up to five days. It’s best eaten within three days but okay for up to five.
Add red, white, and blue sprinkles to the white cake batter to get more of a funfetti effect if you want something a little more playful than the traditional red, white, and blue layers.
Stick with gel food coloring for the most vibrant colors.
Add a tsp of almond extract to the cake batter for even more delicious flavor. This pairs great with the cherries on top!
Stacking three layers of cake is easy. Place your first layer of cake on a cake stand or cake plate. Add a thin layer of frosting on top of the cake then add your next layer of cake on top of that one. Add a thin layer of frosting on top of the second layer of cake. Finally, add your third layer of cake on top of the frosted second layer. Make sure to stack them as evenly as possible so that the edges line up.
As you are stacking, I recommend stacking each cake layer with the top of the cake down and the bottom of the cake with its flat edge facing up.
This cake uses (3) 8″ round cake pans for the layers. You could use a larger round cake pan if you want, but the cake layers will be thinner, not as thick as you see in the pictures. Just make sure to divide the cake batter evenly among the three pans so you have even layers.
A 3 layer cake does not need support to help keep the cake upright. Typically cakes taller than 3 layers will need support, but this cake should be fine as is.
More 4th of July Recipes
If you’re looking for patriotic dessert recipes, you should try these next or in addition to this cake!
- Brownie fruit pizza – a boxed mix brownie pizza gets topped with red, white, and blue berries!
- 4th of July M&M cookies – a classic M&M cookie upgraded with patriotic M&Ms.
- Red velvet cake – this gorgeous cake is the perfect 4th of July dessert when topped with sugared blueberries! Or try these red velvet cookies with the same!
- Patriotic mini cheesecakes – these fun 4th of July mini cheesecakes are not only delicious, you can turn them into a flag design for a fun USA effect!
- 4th of July strawberries – red, white, and blue dipped chocolate strawberries are a refreshing and yummy treat!
Get even more red, white, and blue dessert recipes here!
Easy Red White and Blue Cake Recipe
- 2 15.25 ounce white cake mixes
- 6 egg whites
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups water
- red and blue food coloring
- maraschino cherries (optional garnish)
- patriotic sprinkles (optional garnish)
- 2 cups butter (softened)
- 2 lbs powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F and spray 3 8" cake pans with cooking spray.
- Combine both cake mixes, egg whites, oil, and water in a large mixing bowl and mix until well incorporated.2 15.25 ounce white cake mixes, 6 egg whites, 1 cup vegetable oil, 2 cups water
- Divide cake batter evenly between three bowls. Add red food coloring to one bowl and blue to another. Mix well and add additional food coloring, a little at a time, until desired color.red and blue food coloring
- Pour each color batter into a separate cake pan then bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool cakes in pans for 5 minutes, then invert them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Combine butter and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whip until it is light and fluffy. Add a tablespoon of milk or water to get the right consistency if needed.2 cups butter, 2 lbs powdered sugar
- Place the red cake on your cake plate and frost the top.
- Stack the white cake on top of the frosted red cake, frost the top, then put the blue cake on top of that.
- After layers are all stacked, completely frost the entire cake, including the sides. If you have any buttercream left, you can pipe it around the top edges for extra decoration.
- Garnish the top with patriotic sprinkles and maraschino cherries. Chill for at least an hour before serving.maraschino cherries, patriotic sprinkles