Red, White and Blue Cake

Call it a Memorial Day Cake. Or a Fourth of July Cake. Or maybe it's a birthday cake for someone who happens to really dig patriotic colors....or they're a big fan of the New England Patriots. Whatever your motivation may be, this Red, White and Blue Cake is sure to create some fireworks of its own once it's slice and served.

Slice of red, white and blue cake.

The best part about this cake is that it does all of the work for you. Ok, maybe that's the second best part.....the best part is obviously how good it tastes. See those fancy swirled vibrant colors? Well, they swirl all on their own during the baking process. You simply layer the batters, pop the Bundt into the oven, and voila!

That's what they call magically delicious.

Slice of red, white and blue cake on a plate.

Why you will love this red, white and blue cake (not just during the summer!)

  • It's easy to make: Yes, really. This cake make look like it's complicated to make, thanks to the swirls and whirls, but it's really just a standard cake batter that has been "dressed up" a bit with food coloring. The hardest part is the layering of the colors, which is very manageable with the help of an offset spatula or a spoon.
  • You can make it ahead: The Bundt itself can be made in advance and stored overnight, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator before glazing. You can also freeze the baked, wrapped Bundt for up to one month. Thaw it overnight in the fridge or at room temperature and glaze!
  • Did I mention the flavor?: I don't think I did. The Bundt itself is a buttery vanilla cake, kept moist with the help of buttermilk in the batter. The tart lemon glaze poured over the top is the perfect complement to the cake.
  • You can make it year-round!: Need a St. Patty's Day cake? Color the batter various shades of green. Kids graduating from college? Color it in their school colors. Halloween? Orange. Valentine's Day? Red and pink. You get the idea.
  • I know my way around a Bundt: Or around 100+ Bundts. My last cookbook, Beautiful Bundts gave me quite the education on these charming cakes with holes in their centers. It also resulted in me having a ridiculously large Bundt pan collection.

Ingredients and special equipment

Ingredients for red, white and blue cake

Ingredient notes:

  • All-purpose flour: To make this cake gluten-free substitute equal amounts of a reputable gluten-free flour blend for the all-purpose flour.
  • Oil: I used vegetable oil for this recipe, but you can use canola, safflower, sunflower or melted coconut oil as a substitute.
  • Unsalted butter: Softened to room temperature. See my recipe for Easy Key Lime Cookies for a quick and easy way to soften butter!
  • Eggs: Bring the eggs to room temperature before adding to the batter. Warmer eggs are easier to aerate. Submerge the eggs in warm water for a few minutes if they are coming straight from the fridge!
  • Buttermilk: If you don't have buttermilk, mix 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon regular milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar. Let the mixture sit on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes until it thickens or begins to curdle. There's your substitute!
  • Food coloring: I prefer to use a gel-based food coloring, as they yield a richer color without diluting the batter, but liquid food colorings may also be used.
  • Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed or bottled are both fine.

Equipment notes:

  • Non-stick baking spray: My two favorite brands are Pam for Baking and Baker's Joy. Both have flour incorporated into the spray to mimic the traditional "grease and flour" method of coating a baking pan.
  • 12-cup Bundt pan: A 10-cup pan will work, but the batter may rise up and over the top while baking, depending on the shape. It will just be a taller cake.
  • Offset spatula (optional): Use this to smooth the layers of batter. The back of a soup spoon works well as a substitute!

Step by step photos and instructions

Red, white and blue cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray (like Pam for Baking or Baker's Joy.) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and oil on medium speed for 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and beat for 2 minutes more. 
  3. With mixer on low speed, alternately beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour and two of buttermilk, then beat until incorporated.

4. Divide the batter equally among 3 bowls, about 2⅔ cups of batter in each bowl (you can leave one portion in the mixing bowl.) Add about 2 teaspoon red food coloring to one of the bowls, mixing until thoroughly blended and the color is even. Add more coloring if desired for a deeper red color. Repeat with the blue food coloring in the second bowl. Leave the batter in the third bowl white. 

5. Transfer the red batter to the prepared pan, spreading evenly using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Repeat the process with the white batter and then the blue batter. Do you best to layer each color evenly without swirling into other colors, but expect some imperfections!

6. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Lemon glaze
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioner's sugar and 4 tablespoon of the lemon juice until smooth. Whisk in more lemon juice if necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, until glaze is thick but pourable. 
  2. Pour glaze over the cooled cake, letting it drip down the sides. Let glaze set for at least 15 minutes before slicing the cake and serving!
Slice of cake next to the whole red, white and blue Bundt.

Frequently asked questions

What is best way to keep a Bundt cake from sticking?

One of the biggest concerns that people have when baking a Bundt is: Will it stick or will it glide out of the pan without a crumb attached? The best method that I've found for removing Bundts from their pans is to use a non-stick BAKING spray, such as Baker's Joy or Pam for Baking. Apply a generous coat to the pan, making sure that you get into all of the crevices or use a pastry brush to ensure an even coat. Non-stick baking sprays contain flour in them, mimicking the classic "grease and flour" method of coating a cake pan.

What can I use if I don't have buttermilk?

If you don't have buttermilk on hand, never fear! A quick and easy substitute can be made using regular milk and either vinegar or lemon juice. For every cup of buttermilk that you need for a recipe, mix the following:
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon milk (15 tbsp)
1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice

Let the mixture sit on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes, until it has thickened and starts to curdle. This is your buttermilk substitute!

Can you freeze slices of a Bundt cake?

Bundt cakes (whole or sliced) freeze very well. If you have leftover slices that you want to freeze individually, store them in zip-top bags or wrapped in plastic wrap. When you want to enjoy a slice, thaw at room temperature for a few hours or in the refrigerator overnight. If you are freezing the entire Bundt, just make sure that it has completely cooled before you wrap it tightly and place it in the freezer. Thaw whole Bundts overnight at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Slices of red, white and blue cake on plates.

Video: See my Red, White and Blue Cake in action!

Love beautiful Bundts as much as I do? Check out a few more of my favorites:

Tried this recipe and loved it? Take a photo and tag me on Instagram or give it a review!

Slice of red, white and blue Bundt cake.

Red, White and Blue Cake

Julie Hession
Featuring colorful, red, white and blue swirls, this patriotic Bundt cake is made for all of your summer holiday entertaining (or if you just happen to really like red, white and blue!) A tart lemon glaze is the perfect complement to the sweet, moist vanilla cake.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Servings 16 slices
Calories 251 kcal
5 from 6 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

Red, White and Blue Cake

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1⅓ cups buttermilk
  • Red and blue food coloring (see Notes)

Lemon Glaze

  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 5 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions
 

Red, White and Blue Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 °F. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray (like Pam for Baking or Baker's Joy.) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and oil on medium speed for 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and beat for 2 minutes more.
  • With mixer on low speed, alternately beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour and two of buttermilk, then beat until incorporated.
  • Divide the batter equally among 3 bowls, about 2⅔ cups of batter in each bowl (you can leave one portion in the mixing bowl.) Add about 2 teaspoon red food coloring to one of the bowls, mixing until thoroughly blended and the color is even. Add more coloring if desired for a deeper red color. Repeat with the blue food coloring in the second bowl. Leave the batter in the third bowl white.
  • Transfer the red batter to the prepared pan, spreading evenly using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Repeat the process with the white batter and then the blue batter. Do you best to layer each color evenly without swirling into other colors, but expect some imperfections!
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Lemon Glaze

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioner's sugar and 4 tablespoon of the lemon juice until smooth. Whisk in more lemon juice if necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, until glaze is thick but pourable.
  • Pour glaze over the cooled cake, letting it drip down the sides. Let glaze set for at least 15 minutes before slicing the cake and serving!

Video

Notes

  • I prefer to use a gel-based food coloring for batters and icings.  Gels are thicker than liquid food coloring, meaning that they are better for maintaining the consistency of the batter.  The color is more concentrated in gel-pastes, so a small amount yields vibrant color. 
  • Once baked and cooled, you can store the Bundt overnight, wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator before glazing and slicing.  I actually prefer to bake my Bundts one day in advance, as the resting time results in a tighter cake crumb.  This makes the Bundts easier (and neater!) to slice. 

Nutrition

Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 273mg | Potassium: 79mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 455IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1mg
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5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This cake is amazing! Can you telepathically send me some of your talent? I am making a cake for Saturday and am going to try to decorate it with the Welsh Dragon with a black arm band on his leg for my best friends 50th birthday. Of course, I am using your chocolate cake recipe! :)Wish me luck, I think I will need it!!!

  2. 5 stars
    Sounds like you made a good save with the colors on the cake! You cupcakes look fantastic too.

  3. 5 stars
    Oh, how great as usual. I wish I was closer to you as I would have you make my birthday cake each year.

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