June 23, 2014

Easy Red, White and Blue Cake

Sure, we have all heard of red velvet cakes
but have you seen the new colors of velvet cakes now
available all boxed up and ready for you to bake? 

The Duncan Hines company has come out with their
"Summer Velvets" that make it easy for you to make a
multi-color cake with only one box of mix to buy.
I don't have any association with the Duncan Hines company. I just thought
this looked like a fun cake to try and pass along the results of my amateur baking to you.

Before I had seen the box in the grocery store, I did not
know that they had also had a Spring Velvet boxed mix 
with pink and yellow velvet mixes in one box. 

Here are the directions for making the multi-color cake.
Some folks like to alter the boxed cake mixes to make them taste more like home-made but I am
just going to go by the directions exactly to see how this cake turns out this first time. 

The cake mixes are individually wrapped.
The look kind of pale while they are dry in the plastic. 

Their color comes out when the moist ingredients
are added.  You mix the colors one at a time. 

Blue is first.

Two eggs per layer...mix two minutes...sounds like a lot
but we are going "by the book".  Maybe that's were the
"velvet" texture come from.

Here are the blue and the red cake batters in their
greased and floured pans...

...and here they are after baking for 35 minutes...

The picture on the front of the box was accurate in that
it does not show a huge cake out of one box.  
It's a very cute cake and one that folks will delight over 
when they cut into it and see more than one color of 
cake under that white icing. 

I had seen tall ombre' cakes and rainbow cakes on Pinterest
however and wanted to try to make this red, white and blue
cake a little more impressive than just two layers.  I had
purchased another box of the "Summer Velvets" just in 
case I wanted to give the taller cake a try. 

Here are the first two layers after cooling and
them coming out of the pans...

...and then here are four layers (two boxes of the mixed mix).

The cakes had kind of a "skin" on the tops and bottoms.
I wasn't sure whether or not to try to take that off.
I used a serrated knife to gently peel it off in some places.
If I made these cakes again, I would peel more of it off.

In case you are wondering, you don't have to completely
clean every speck of blue mix off of the bowl and utensils
between colors.  It did not affect the color of the red cake.

In order to keep this cake in the "easy" category, I did not
try to level the cakes.  They were not hugely domed but
did have a flat side (bottom) and a raised side (top). 

To compensate (and try to keep the top of the stacked 
cake as flat as possible)  I placed the tops  facing each
 other and filled in the resulting gap with a jar of Duncan
 Hines ready-made cream cheese frosting
 (which is what the cake box recommended for this cake).

Pieces of wax paper are under the bottom layer of cake
to try to help me keep the icing off of the cake plate.
They will be pulled out when the icing phase is over. 

If you make the cake with one box of mix, your cake will
be about 3" tall.  Like I said before, very cute and fun. 

I would not have left the cake like this.  I considered this
the "crumb coat" since I was going to be adding layers. 
This photo is to show the approximate size of one box. 

I used a lot of icing filling in that gap to make the top
flat.  One can of icing would probably be fine to cover
this two-layer cake if you don't do the top-to-top method. 

In the past, I have had the unhappy experience of a tall cake's
layers sliding apart while being transported to a party in a car.

To avoid that experience again, I pushed three bamboo 
skewers (available in your grocery store) down through
the layers.   When the skewer hits the cake plate, pull it 
up a little, cut it off, then push it back down into the cake.
You don't want it sticking up out of the cake at all.

The top layer of the tall cake had the rounded side up since no other layers were being added. 

The four-layer cake measured 6" tall.  I used 3 cans
of the cream cheese icing to cover the cake (probably because
of those side gaps).  If I were making this cake again, I would
use 4 cans and put more white icing between the layers. 

I didn't worry too much about getting icing on the sides 
of the cake smoothed out perfectly...it's a fun cake and 
not a wedding cake.  I would rate it "easy".

The total cost for the four-layer cake was about
 $10 (2 boxes cake mix, 3 tubs of icing, eggs and butter). 

A cute embellishment for a cake that I have seen on 
Pinterest and wanted to try is to add a pennant topper. 

To make a mini-pennant banner just fold over a section
 of colored paper and cut pennant shapes  (with the 
fold being the wide part of the pennant). For this cake
five pennants were used.  They were about 1" wide
and 2" long.  You can vary the size for the look you want.

 Place the pennant fold on a piece of string.
Glue the inside of the pennant together. 
Do this five times placing pennants close together. 
Tie the string onto two bamboo skewers.
Poke the skewers in the cake. 

A 6" cake doesn't sound very tall does it? 
A footed cake stand and this pennant topper will 
make it look taller than that. 

OK! Now for the really fun part...cutting the cake!
Everyone at the party will be impressed to see 
your fabulous red, white and blue cake revealed!

Don't plan on using dainty dessert plates for this cake
if you make the four-layer version.

It tastes really good! I could not tell a difference in
the flavor between the red cake and the blue cake.

Duncan Hines also makes a boxed version of just the
blue velvet cake by itself for a two layer cake.
Wouldn't that be great for a boy baby shower? 

Until the cake got pressure from the knife cutting down
through the layers, the sides were fine.  After the cake
cutting started, there were little bulges of icing between
the layers (the gap filling trick exposed).

If you think that might bother you, making the icing
firmer might keep this from happening.
Donna at "A Slice of Heaven" says that you can mix
1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar with a tub of room
temperature pre-made icing/frosting to make it stiffer. 

 Or you could level the cakes before frosting them. 
Or use decorating icing instead of cream cheese icing.

 Actually NOBODY at the gathering I took
 the cake to seemed to notice bulges of icing...
only the fun surprize of multi-color layers in one
cake and the good taste of it all together!

Get ready for the "ooohs" and "ahhhs" when you make
this "Summer Velvet" cake any size. 


  1. looks totally delish. i will have to look for this mix next time i am in the baking isle.

  2. Oh my gosh, I love love love the colored layers. In all my years of baking I have never done that. Also the fact that you did the 4 layers really makes it special! Thanks for the tips on how to make a firmer frosting. Looking forward to trying this!
    Thanks for sharing on Best of the Nest!


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