Easy July 4th Fireworks Flag Cake plus 3 Tips on Frosting Any Cake by Cleo Coyle

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The red, white, and blue American flag cake is a fun July Fourth tradition in the USA, enjoyed at backyard cookouts throughout the land. This Fireworks Cake is my version of it. 

Cleo Coyle writes two
bestselling mystery
 series with her husband.
To learn more, click here

There is a wonderful "wow" factor to it, especially after you cut it, yet it's easy to create, practically a klutz-proof design, making it a great project for families with children. 

To see my entire recipe post, scroll down or hit this link

Click here to download this
recipe in a free PDF document.

To download the free PDF right now, click here and have a delicious July 4th, everyone! 

~ Cleo Coyle, author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries

A Note from Cleo

To make this Fireworks Cake, you can certainly use your favorite white cake and frosting recipes, or save time the way so many busy people do by using a boxed white cake mix and two cans of white frosting.

I didn't use a pastry bag for this post, just grocery store cake decorating supplies like the ones you see in my photo (left). So let's get started. May you bake with joy!

~ Cleo

Click here to download this
recipe in a free PDF document.

Cleo Coyle's Easy 

July 4th Fireworks Cake

To make the cake
you will need:

2 eight-inch round cake pans
Parchment paper
Non-stick cooking spray

1 box White Cake Mix 

1-1/4 cups water (or according to your mix's directions)

1/3 cup oil (or according to your mix's directions)

3 to 4 egg whites (or according to mix directions, but do not use whole
         eggs, the yellow in the yolk will muddy up the food coloring)

2 teaspoons of liquid food coloring each (that's 2 of red and 2 of blue) 

2 (16 ounce) cans of White Frosting (or about 3 cups of homemade
         white frosting, be sure to use clear vanilla extract for a pure
         white frosting look)


Step 1 - Prep oven and pans: Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. (or according to your own recipe or cake mix directions). Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly spray the paper with non-stick cooking spray. (If your baking pans are non-stick, just spray the paper. If your pans are not non-stick, lightly spray the sides of the pans, as well.)

Step 2 - Color your Batter: Make your cake batter according to package directions or your own recipe, with these notes.

(a) Use egg whites only and not whole eggs. Yellow egg yolks will muddy up your cake color. And...

(b) Cake mix directions will tell you to beat the batter for 2 minutes. (You are whipping air into the batter and this is an important step, but you don't want to over-beat, either, so...) Instead, beat the batter for only 1 minute. Then stop the mixer. You should have about 3-1/2 to 4 cups of batter. Divide the batter evenly into two bowls. Add 2 teaspoons of red food coloring to one bowl and 2 teaspoons of blue to the other. Add more if you'd like a deeper shade of either color. NOW beat the batter for your 2nd minute. The color should blend in nicely.

Step 3 - Bake your cake: Simply bake according to package directions or your favorite recipe.

Step 4 - Cool and prep for frosting: 

Allow the cake to cool completely then run a knife along the outside edge of the pan, place a flat plate over the pan, and flip. The cake should come right out. 
If the parchment paper is still stuck to the cake, carefully peel it off. Place the blue layer top side down, flat side up onto your cake plate, cardboard, or serving platter. (A few dabs of icing on the plate first is a good trick to help it stick.)

Generously slather white icing onto the blue layer. This will (of course) give you the "white" layer between your red and blue cake layers.

Stack the red layer on top. Here's how: Using a sharp knife, carefully level off the top of the red layer. Then flip it and place it on the iced blue layer. You want the flat bottom of the red layer to serve as the very top of your cake. This will give you a perfectly flat surface to create your fireworks design.


3 Tips on Icing Cakes

Time to ice the cake. As promised, I have 3 tips to share with you on icing cakes. If you're an old pro at this, these pointers are nothing new. But if you don't make many cakes, these will help you a great deal. I promise...

These 2 cake layers have
been crumb coated.
Tip #1: Never Frost a Warm Cake: Be sure that your cake is completely cool before frosting. If you apply icing to a warm cake, the icing will begin to break down, and you'll get a gloppy mess.
Tip #2: Crumb Coat and Chill: You should always frost a cake in two stages. The first stage is called the crumb coating. This is a very thin layer of frosting. It's so thin that you should be able to see the cake through the layer. This will create a smooth base for the final coating of frosting. NOTE: You must chill the cake to set this coating properly (1 or 2 hours in the refrigerator). To speed up the process, I place mine in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Then remove the cake and do the final frosting. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to get smooth, pro results.

Offset (aka Angled) Spatula

Tip #3: Use an Offset Spatula (also called an Angled Spatula): If you've been applying frosting with the back of a big spoon or a butter knife, consider the offset spatula (see my picture above). This single tool ($5 - $10) will make it possible for you to smooth the sides and tops of your cakes like a pro.

WHERE TO BUY: You can find these at Michael's stores (in their cake decorating section) or most stores that sell kitchen tools. Click here for an online buy link from Amazon.



The initial inspiration for this "fireworks" cake design came out of my research for my Coffeehouse mystery novels. Baristas use this method to create latte art. To see a video example click here.

Of course, pastry chefs also use this method, calling it a spiderweb pattern...

Begin with a simple dot
in the center of the cake.

I'm not using anything fancy or pro,
just the "drawing tip" of a
Betty Crocker "Cake Icing" can.

Draw concentric circles around the dot with alternating colors of red and blue. The last circle should be just off the top of the cake, around the side. This allows you to extend the design down the side of the cake.

As you can see, my circles are far from perfect, but the results will still be colorful and fun. You've got to love a kid- and klutz-proof cake design!

Next you'll need a wooden skewer, a toothpick, or the edge of a knife. (When using the knife, do not cut into the cake. Simply drag it lightly through the icing.) Drag the tool from the center dot to the outside of the cake. Clean the tool between each drag. Do this four times, making a simple cross...

Be sure to drag the tool all the way over
the top edge of the cake to include
the circle you made on the side...

Repeat this process 4 more times,
bisecting each quarter of the cross you made.
(You will now see 8 "slices" of cake in the design.)

Now REVERSE the dragging direction.

Instead of dragging the tool from the center to outside
of the cake, start at the outside and drag your tool to the
center of the cake. Be sure to clean your tool between each drag.

Using the reverse drag, you are now bisecting
each of the original 8 cake "slices" that you made above.

Now clean up the edge of the cake plate,
wiping off excess frosting. Use the "star tip" to
pretty up the base of the cake, and...eat with joy!

To download a free PDF 
of my recipe that you can print, 
save, or share, click here, and...

Eat (and read) with joy!

New York Times bestselling author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Cleo (Alice) with her husband Marc

Visit Cleo's online coffeehouse here.
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