Fourth of July Patriotic Zebra Cake
Since this is a geek-tastic cooking blog, you may be wondering why this isn’t posing as a gritty, cynical 70’s inspired reboot of a Captain America Cake. The problem is, it’s just too groovy for that. This cake looks like something flower children would spike with liquid LSD before sharing the love at a concert. You know Steve Rogers would totally narc on them.
Confidentially, I came up with this idea when I tried and dramatically failed to modify a Zebra Cake recipe into a Spider Man Web Cake. Great concept, decent looking batter, but a total failure as a finished product. Learn from my mistakes, minions. The red velvet and fudge cake colors were just too dark to evoke our friendly neighborhood webslinger.
After that disaster, I still had a lot of cake mix. With Independence Day around the corner, well, why not experiment with a little red, white, and blue goodness?
The end result is a little more psychedelic than I expected, but on the 4th of July, people will give you a pass on any foods that are bright red, white and blue.
I can’t really call this a “recipe.” Sure, I could pretend I mixed up three cakes from scratch, but I respect you too much for that. Plus, you can see the cake mix boxes in the background.
For the world’s laziest expression of patriotism, you’ll need:
1 box strawberry cake mix
2 boxes white cake mix
All the extra ingredients on the back of the boxes (mostly eggs and oil)
3 containers frosting in either red, white, or blue
Mix up all three cake batters according to the package directions.
Add ½ tbsp red and 1-2 drops blue food coloring to the strawberry cake mix.
Add 1 tsp blue food coloring to one white cake mix.
Leave the other cake mix alone.
Get three clean measuring cups.
Pour ¼ cup of red batter in the middle of a 9 inch round cake pan. Wait a minute or so for it to spread naturally.
Add ¼ cup blue batter to the middle of the red splotch. Once more, wait for it to spread naturally.
Add ¼ cup of white batter to the middle of the blue. Let it spread.
Now repeat with the red, white, and blue batter until your cake pan is a little over half full.
Repeat the process with three more cake rounds. (If you don’t have three round cake pans, don’t worry. Just put some plastic over the batter. It’ll keep just fine while you bake and cool your cakes then clean the pan for another use.) I got four 9-inch round cakes out of this, but if you’re more careful with your batter, you could easily get 5.
I used a toothpick to create a star pattern in mine, making the top look nice and pretty. If you don’t, the interior of the cake looks pretty much the same but the top looks like the “after” photo in some kind of horrifying baking accident.
Bake your cakes according to the package directions. Once they cool, the patriotic interiors will look like this:
While the toothpicked tops will look like this:
You now have two options. If you’re really into baking, you can carefully cut off the puffy tops and assemble three or more of your cakes into an impressive holiday Voltron layer cake. It’ll look great.
If you really like the psychedelic flair of your cake top, whip up a thin icing glaze instead of the usual thick icing paste. ½ cup powdered sugar whisked together with 3-4 tbsp of water will give you a translucent sugary topping that’ll let the cake colors shine through. You can also make it a little thinner and leave it in a gravy boat next to the cake so people can pour on however much they’d like.
You can make a three layer cake (with 1-2 layers left at home to soothe your post-fourth hangover) for about the same cost as bringing a 12 pack. Everyone else is bringing beer, so why not be a little more memorable this year?
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