Red White and Blue Firecracker Cake

Celebrate Independence Day with this colorful Red, White, and Blue Firecracker Cake. It’s patriotic inside and out!

Red White and Blue Firecracker Cake

Summer is in full swing, and July Fourth is just around the corner. I’m always looking for new ways to make the holiday special. This year I dreamed up a fun way to decorate a cake for the occasion. It’s so festive and extremely simple using candy from the grocery store. Anyone can do it!

Batter up!

This cake is patriotic inside and out! Start by whipping up the cake batter. It’s a tangy and thick with buttermilk and Greek yogurt, and it’s pale enough to take food color well. For the colorful interior, three shades of food color does the trick! Use red, sky blue, and navy blue or royal blue gel food colors. I’ve been using Chefmaster gel food colors for a few years now, and this is a good starter set if you’re looking to try it out. Tint three bowls of batter with the food color and leave one plain.

After the colorful cake batters are baked into 6″ cake layers and cooled, stack them and coat with good old fashioned American buttercream. (Was there any other choice for this cake?). I almost left the frosting white, but at the last minute I decided on pale sky blue. I l love this color with the red firecracker decors.

Piping fun!

The rope of multicolor frosting on top is a fun and really eye-catching element. The most labor intensive part of this process is tinting the frosting with food color. The rest is easy!

  • First, divide and tint the frosting red, sky blue, and royal blue. Transfer each to a piping bag. Place some untinted frosting in a fourth piping bag.
  • Next, lay a sheet of plastic wrap out on a work surface. Pipe a fat line of royal blue frosting on the center of the plastic, about 8 inches long. Pipe the light blue color frosting right next to the royal blue frosting. Follow with the white frosting, the red frosting, and another line of white.
  • After the piping is done, fold the plastic over the frosting to roll it together.
  • Next, squeeze out a some of the icing in a circular motion on a piece of scrap parchment. This will give you some practice piping the rope, and sometimes it takes a few passes for all of the colors to extrude together.
  • Now you’re ready to pipe on the cake!

Sprinkle now, not later.

Immediately after piping the fat rope of frosting, add sprinkles. Have them ready to hand because this buttercream crusts in just a few minutes. If you wait too long the sprinkles will bounce right off! I used a combination of white confetti, white nonpareils and gold dragees.

The firecrackers are TOO EASY to make. Just get yourself some SweeTarts Ropes in Cherry Punch flavor and black licorice laces. Trim the ropes down to about 2-inches and insert a small length of licorice into the cream center. I used a toothpick to remove a little of the cream filling to make room for the licorice. That’s pretty much it for assembly!

Red White and Blue Firecracker Cake

By the time all of the firecrackers are assembled, the buttercream frosting on the cake will be well set. Use a little leftover buttercream to attach the firecrackers to the cake. I used a toothpick to apply a little to the backs of each candy.

Red White and Blue Firecracker Cake

Because this cake requires quite a few of the firecracker decors, enlist some help! Kids can help put them together.

Red White and Blue Firecracker Cake

This was a fun little bake, and it’s 6-inch size makes it small yet tall. A slice is a tower of color!

This cake recipe was new to me. I found it in a community cookbook and decided to give it a spin. It has the tightest crumb and yet it is moist with all that yogurt in the batter. It’s tangy and relies on pure vanilla extract for its bakery-made flavor. I think it would be the perfect consistency to hold chunks of fresh fruit throughout, so I may try a summer peach version with it next!

Red White and Blue Firecracker Cake

Heather Baird
This is the perfect party cake for a July Fourth party or cookout. The frosting recipe provides the large quantity needed to fill, frost, and make the rope border for the cake. You will have a little frosting leftover. Use it to attach the firecrackers to the outside of the cake. SweeTarts Ropes candies were used for the firecrackers can be found at most US grocery stores. You could also use strawberry licorice ropes or Twizzlers.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Equipment

  • 6 inch cake pans, 4
  • Kitchen scissors
  • kitchen dedicated tweezers

Ingredients
 
 

Cakes

  • 4 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • Red sky blue, and royal blue (or navy blue) gel food color

American buttercream and decors

  • 2 cups unsalted butter softened
  • 2 lb. confectioners’ sugar
  • Milk or cream to thin
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Red sky blue, and royal blue (or navy blue) gel food color
  • 2 tablespoons white confetti sprinkles
  • 2 tablespoons white nonpareils
  • 1 tablespoon gold dragees

Firecrackers

  • 3 SweeTarts Ropes in Cherry flavor
  • 1 licorice lace about 12 inches long
  • 1 tablespoon white confetti star sprinkles

Instructions
 

Cakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat four 6-inch round cake pans with flour-based baking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until combined. Add the egg white and beat again. Add yogurt and vanilla extract.
  • Add the flour and buttermilk alternately; begin and end with flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and fold together by hand until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Divide the batter evenly into four bowls (slightly more than 2 cups per bowl). Leave one bowl untinted. Mix red food color into one of the bowls; begin with 1/2 teaspoon and increase amount until the desired vibrant red hue is achieved. Tint another bowl with the sky blue food color, and the last bowl with the royal blue food color. Mix well until no streaks of white remain. Transfer batters to the prepared pans and bake for 40 minutes, or until cakes are completely set and a toothpick tester comes out clean.
  • Remove cakes to a wire rack to cool completely. Trim domes from the tops of the cakes with a serrated knife to level.

Buttercream

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whip attachment, beat butter until creamy. Add half of the confectioners’ sugar. Beat until combined. Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed. Add milk or cream a little at a time until mixture whips and is of spreading consistency. Add the vanilla extract and beat again. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy.
  • Remove about 2/3 cup of white frosting to a piping bag.
  • Place 1/3 cup in each of three bowls. Cover remaining frosting in the bowl with a damp towel to prevent drying.
  • Tint one bowl with red food color, one with sky blue, and one with royal blue. Transfer each to their own piping bags. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a work surface and pipe a line of royal blue frosting 8-inches long. Pipe a light blue line alongside it, followed by a white line, and red line, and another white line of frosting, all touching each other. Roll the frostings up together in the plastic and twist the ends. Snip one end. Place the snipped end into a piping bag fitted with Ateco #824 open star tip. Set aside.
  • Tint the remaining frosting with a small amount of sky blue food color and beat until a light blue color is achieved.

Assembly

  • Place the royal blue cake layer on a serving plate. Cover with a thin layer of buttercream. Stack the light blue layer on top; cover with a thin layer of buttercream. Continue with the with the white layer and frosting. Top with the red cake layer. Crumb coat the outside of the cake and refrigerate until set, 15 minutes. Coat the cake with a final layer of sky-blue buttercream. Use a bench scraper or cake smoother to smooth the edges of the cake. Refrigerate until firm, 15 minutes.
  • Use the reserved bag of multicolor frosting to pipe a fat rope of buttercream along the top edge of the cake. Immediately add white confetti, white nonpareils, and gold dragees while the buttercream is still tacky. Reserve any leftover frosting.

Firecrackers

  • Cut SweeTart Ropes int 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces. Snip the licorice lace into small pieces using a kitchen-dedicated pair of scissors. Use a toothpick to make holes in the cream centers of the rope pieces. Insert a piece of licorice lace into the holes to make a firecracker ‘wick’.
  • Using a toothpick place small dots of buttercream on the backs of each firecracker and attach to the outside of the cake. Repeat with star confetti sprinkles. Use a pair of kitchen dedicated tweezers to apply them to the outside of the cake. Refrigerate cake. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Notes

The cake’s texture improves after a night in the refrigerator. Consider making the layers a day ahead. After they cool, wrap in plastic and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. 
If you can’t find SweeTarts cherry ropes, try using red licorice ropes or Twizzlers.
Keyword buttermilk, cake flour, candy ropes, greek yogurt, licorice laces
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Amy D
Amy D
6 days ago

5 stars
Made the cakes yesterday and they’re in the freezer waiting final construction and decoration. The batter took colors well, trimmed easily after baking and tastes great – quality control is everything, you know! Although my oven usually takes a few minutes longer than recipes call for, I pulled the cakes at 35, rather than 40 minutes and next time will begin checking at 30. No harm, no foul, just a heads up for others trying the recipe. Looking forward to the multi colored frostings in a piping bag; it’ll be a first. Fingers crossed!