Easy Patriotic Layered Cake

It may come as a surprise, since this is the second time I’m sharing a cake recipe with you, but I don’t really like cake. Nope, I’m more of a ice cream or cookie girl. However, I’m finding that I really enjoy making cakes for other people. The golf cake was a huge success earlier this year, and this cake was too.

Added bonus, my mom LOVES white cake and vanilla frosting and this cake was going to her house. Although she may have hated me a little for leaving whole cake in her fridge for her to eat. I told her I could take the rest home and throw it out (since I won’t eat it), and I’m pretty sure her heart stopped beating for a moment.

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Turns out making those fancy colored layered cakes are not that hard. Granted, I’m far from a good baker/decorator, but with a little help from my dear friends Duncan Hines and Pillsbury, it was a cinch. In fact the hardest part was being patient during the actual baking process. I only had one cake pan, so I had to bake each layer separately. Do as I say and not as I do, and it won’t take you 2 hours to bake a 5 hour layer cake.

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It was worth every minute. 


  • 1 Box White Cake mix
  • Vanilla Frosting (I ended up using almost 2 tubs)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 Cups Diet Sprite/Sierra Mist
  • Red and Blue Soft Gel Paste Food Color (I learned from the golf cake fiasco, and purchased some more professional colors which were AMAZING. I strongly recommending use paste/gel coloring instead of the liquid you can buy at the grocery store. I purchased the kit via the link above, but you can also buy individual colors through Hobby Lobby and Michaels)
  • 8 in cardboard cake ‘plate’ (Optional)

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Since I only wanted to use one box of cake mix, I used a 6 inch cake pan. Using the smaller cake pan allowed me to make thinner, smaller layers.

Step 1:

Add 2 egg whites to the boxed cake mix. Tip: Throw a rubber hot pad under you mixing bowls and they won’t budge while you’re whisking.

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Step 2:

Add the diet soda. The batter will foam up a bit and give a lighter textural appearance, similar to angel food cake. After baking it may have more ‘holes’ than a traditional cake, but it won’t taste like the soda. In fact, I don’t think anyone would have known, had I not told them I made it with Sierra Mist. Added bonus, it gives you a light and fluffy cake without the added calories of the oil.

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Step 3:

Set out a bowl for each layer. Then using an ice cream scoop, evenly split the batter among the bowls. I had about 4 scoops of batter in each bowl, for a 5 layer cake.

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It still looks a little lumpy here as I knew I would be whisking it more when I added the coloring.

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Step 4:

Oil and flour the cake pan and bake the white layer first. I baked each layer per the boxed instructions. Since my oven tends to run a little hotter than most, I took them out at about 12 minutes.

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Step 5:

While the white layer is cooking, color the other layers. I wanted an ombré style cake, so I colored one layer dark blue, and the next a light blue. That soft paste gel is no joke. The dark layer was just one drop of color and the light was about a quarter drop, just a little bit goes a long way with these.

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Do the same with the red.

Tip – Don’t feel like you need to buy red and pink gel coloring. I used just the one red to make both colors, you just need to vary how much color you add to the batter to make it lighter or darker. 

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I had to bake and cool each layer separately since I had only one 6 inch pan. (I wasn’t opposed to purchasing more, but they only had one left in stock at Michaels, so I was stuck with just the one pan). If you have more than one pan, this process would obviously go much faster. If you are also using just one pan, make sure you wash it and flour it between each layer so the next color doesn’t stick.

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After each layer cooled, I’d gently slice off the top with a sharp knife, dipped in flour, to make it flat. If you’re feeling ambitious, turn the remnants into cake pops! In fact I froze the bits I cut off so I can do just that.

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All the layers are done! Now that wasn’t so hard, right? Think of all the different color variations you could do.

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I put the cake in the refrigerator over night, covered with a towel. The next morning, I started assembling.

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Step 6:

I built the cake with layers of the plain vanilla frosting.

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Then used the same frosting to crumb coat the entire cake. I popped it back in the fridge while I prepped the rest of the frosting.

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To take the ‘packaging’ taste away from the store bought frosting, I almost always add vanilla. This time I used a fresh vanilla bean and added it to the frosting. If you don’t have any beans, then vanilla extract will work too. However, I implore you, please don’t waste your money buying 2 vanilla beans at the grocery store for $7, that’s ridiculous. You can purchase a bag of about 50 for $25 from Amazon. Partner up with a few of your friends and split the cost if you want. It’s a great deal. You can use them for dozens of things and I promise adding a fresh vanilla bean to your baking will make everything taste amazing. You can also use a few to make you’re own homemade vanilla or throw the empty pods into sugar for Vanilla Sugar. 

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Step 7:

Frost. I added a lot of frosting since that is my moms favorite part. Then I added a little more to the top to make a swirly design.

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I used the back of a large spoon to make a circular swirl pattern.

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Step 8:


Now that I had a soft swirl on the top, I wanted to add some sparkle. I’m sure there is a much fancier way to do this, but I used a standard funnel to direct the sprinkles. It worked great to keep everything exactly where I wanted it.

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Simple, and Sweet.

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It really is such an easy effect to create using store brought products. I’m sure homemade cake and frosting may taste better, but it won’t trump the accomplishment I had from making this.

I felt like a cake making ROCKSTAR!

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*Disclaimer: Product links are affiliate, but all opinions are my own. All items were purchased with my own money and I liked them enough to share them with you.


One response

  1. Pingback: I’m Feeling Inspired – Independence Day! | Changing My Destiny

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