Although I’m well aware that the 4th of July was yesterday, I felt it necessary to share with you this gloriously patriotic cake. Since Independence Day was also on hump day, I know a lot of people didn’t get to celebrate it because of work, and therefore, must wait until the weekend. This cake’s for you guys who are such hard workers that you kept burning through, even on America’s birthday. You represent what America is about: working incredibly, commendably hard towards a goal, and never stopping to take a break.
However, I do hope you will give yourselves a well-deserved moment to breathe this weekend when you celebrate a belated Independence Day. I happen to know firsthand that the very best way to reward yourself after a long work week is with cake. Cake is the ultimate mood-lifter. One moment you can be down-trodden and depressed, cursing some god or another for whatever ails you. But the instant you see cake, a smile spreads across your face, your eyes widen, and you cry, “IS THAT CAKE?”
Of course, cake in this case serves a two-fold purpose: to celebrate your hardworking ethics and to say, “Happy Birthday, America!” If you got stuck working on the 4th and you’re putting off your fireworks until the weekend, then that’s actually great news. Why? Because now you can make this Red, White, & Blue Poke Cake.
As far as cakes go, it doesn’t get much more patriotic than this. A beautiful moist and fluffy white cake is soaked with strawberry & blueberry juice to create an almost tie-dye effect that displays our country’s colors. But those swirls of red & blue aren’t just for show; they add a burst of berry flavor in every bite. The fluffy Whipped Cream Frosting is the perfect compliment to those fresh fruit flavors. It’s light and not too sweet, but its cloud-like texture is purely indulgent.
America, if this doesn’t say “Happy Birthday,” then no cake will.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- Yes, you can use a boxed white cake mix. No, I don’t recommend it. It will not taste half as good.
- You can find little candy stars like the ones I used at craft stores.
- This cake should be prepared earlier in the day to allow for proper chilling time. You can even chill it overnight.
- This is not a sugary-sweet cake. It’s refreshing and just the right amount of sweet.
- Keep this guy cool in the fridge until ready to serve. Do not leave it under the hot sun at a picnic!
- You could bake this as a sheet cake and do one half blue, one half red.
- I know it sounds like a lot of components, but this cake is actually really super simple to put together. Even a beginner can do it!
For the Cake
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 5 egg whites
- 2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups sifted cake flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup boiling water
For the Strawberry Drizzle
- 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries
- 1/4 cup water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2-1/4 teaspoons strawberry gelatin
For the Blueberry Drizzle
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 4-1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 4-1/2 teaspoons berry blue gelatin
For the Whipped Cream Frosting
- 3 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8×8 in. round cake pans and line with parchment paper.
In a small bowl combine the milk and vinegar. Allow to sit for a minute, and then whisk in the baking soda.
In a medium bowl lightly whisk the egg whites, a 1/4 cup of the milk mixture, and the vanilla.
In the bowl of a stand in mixer, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda on low until well-combined. Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk mixture. Mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes to aerate.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add a small amount of the egg mixture at a time, beating until incorporated.
Add the boiling water. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on low to incorporate then increase to high for 30 seconds.
Distribute batter between the two pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on wire racks completely.
- Meanwhile, prepare the strawberry and blueberry drizzles. For the strawberry, in a small saucepan, combine the strawberries, water and sugar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until berries are soft. Strain into a small bowl, pressing berries lightly; discard pulp. Add gelatin to syrup, stirring to dissolve completely. Cool to room temperature. Repeat steps to make blueberry filling.
- Using a wooden skewer, pierce tops of cakes to within 1 inch of edge; twist skewer gently to make slightly larger holes. Gradually pour cooled strawberry mixture over one cake, being careful to fill each hole. Repeat with blueberry mixture and remaining cake. Refrigerate, covered, until set; 2 hours or overnight.
- In a large bowl, beat cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
- Run a knife around edges of pans to loosen cakes. Remove strawberry cake from pan; remove paper. Place cake on a serving plate. Spread with a generous amount of whipped cream.
- Remove blueberry cake from pan; remove paper. Place cake over whipped cream layer. Frost top and sides with remaining cream. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Yield: 12 servings.