Firecracker Cake (from scratch!)

A homemade version of firecracker cake – a red, white and blue Bundt cake perfect for celebrating the 4th of July!

This homemade Firecracker Cake has layers of red, white and blue batter.

I have the absolute perfect cake for your 4th of July celebration.

Shockingly (ha), it’s red, white, and blue. BUT! It’s also made completely from scratch! And it’s DELICIOUS.

Last week when I asked my mother-in-law what she wanted for dessert on Sunday for her birthday, she said a red, white, and blue cake. This classic firecracker cake has been on my radar for years, but all of the versions I’ve ever seen used a box cake mix, and I definitely wanted to go homemade. I also wanted it to be super moist and full of flavor, so I turned to the coconut Bundt cake I made a couple of years ago that was crazy good, stripped out all of the coconut flavor, added some red and blue flair, and, voila!

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The most amazing red, white, and blue cake you’ll ever eat!

I know, I know, the food coloring is not “from scratch”, but we’re not using a box cake mix and this cake is super simple to make, so it’s a total win as far as I’m concerned!

Once you make the cake batter, you separate out a little bit into two small bowls and color each one red and blue, then layer it into your Bundt pan. I didn’t measure the food coloring because I was using those itsy bitsy little squeeze bottles that come in a 4-pack, but just add more color until you get the shade you want. You could also totally use gel colors, as well.

Firecracker Cake in the works with red, white and blue batter.

Making a Firecracker Cake - layering the red, white and blue batter.

This is, hands-down, my all-time favorite homemade vanilla Bundt cake. I’m not much of a cake person, but I could devour piece after piece of this and not even need to smother it in ice cream (but yes, always serve your cake with ice cream!). It’s supremely moist and incredibly rich. It’s not quite as dense as a pound cake; it still has that fluffy yellow cake texture, but is sturdy and just totally amazing.

My mother-in-law loved her cake and I now have a go-to festive cake for the 4th of July should I ever need one. And let’s not stop there – you could absolutely use whatever different colors you’d like for holidays, graduations, or whatever you’re celebrating!

A beautiful red, white and blue Bundt - Firecracker Cake from scratch!

One year ago: Baking Basics: Chocolate 101
Five years ago: Mojito Cupcakes
Six years ago: Sweet and Salty Brownies
Seven years ago: Pea in a Pod Baby Shower Cookies

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Firecracker Cake (from scratch!)

A homemade version of firecracker cake – a red, white and blue Bundt cake perfect for celebrating the 4th of July!

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 3 cups (425 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2½ cups (496 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1⅓ cups whole milk
  • Red food coloring
  • Blue food coloring

For the White Glaze:

  • 4 to 6 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (227 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) white chocolate, melted and still warm

For the Red and Blue Glazes:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Milk
  • Red food coloring
  • Blue food coloring

Directions:

  1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the eggs and the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl again, add the vanilla extract, and beat until just incorporated.
  4. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, mixing after each addition until just combined; do not overmix.
  5. Transfer 1 cup of the batter to a small bowl and stir in red food coloring until desired color is reached; set aside.
  6. Transfer another 1 cup of the batter to a separate small bowl and stir in blue food coloring until desired color is reached; set aside.
  7. Spoon the red batter into the prepared pan, then top with the plain white batter, smoothing it into an even layer. Finally, spoon the blue batter into the center of the white layer, leaving some white batter on either sides so it creates a “tunnel”.
  8. Bake until a sharp knife or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.
  9. Make the Glaze: In a large bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons of the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until incorporated and smooth. Slowly stir in the white chocolate. The glaze should be thick yet pourable; if the glaze appears too thick, thin it out with additional milk, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
  10. Pour the glaze in large, thick ribbons over the crown of the cake, allowing the glaze to spread and drip down the sides of the cake. Allow the glaze to set, about 5 minutes. In small bowls, mix two small batches of powdered sugar with milk until a thick, yet pourable consistency is reached, then dye one red and the other blue. Using a spoon drizzle the red and blue icings over the white. Allow to set for about 10 minutes before serving.
  11. The cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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A slice of homemade Firecracker Cake - red, white and blue layered Bundt cake!