FIREWORKS CAKE: Red White and Blue Cheesecake and Layercake for the 4th of July
There are so many ways to celebrate the 4th of July. Why not include this scrumptious layercake on your table today. The buttercream is to die for light and ever so fluffy and you can’t go wrong with the inside middle layer which is a cheesecake! OMG – who thought of such a delightful combination?
We just made this in our test kitchen and you can’t go wrong with it. We covered it in Jimmies and put some fruit on the side to lighten up the cheesecake. It’s such a surprise when you slice it with the red and blue layer that it makes everyone giggle at it’s cuteness. They stop laughing and only mmmmm it when they hit the slice of cheesecake. So moist and perfect.
- Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for cake pans and parchment
- 2 cups All Purpose Gold Medal® Flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- concentrated gel paste- red and blue (*SEE TIPS BELOW)
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 3 to 4 tablespoons whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Prepare the cheesecake layer:
- Place a 9×13-inch pan on the bottom rack of the oven and fill it halfway with water. Place your other rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degree F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray, then line the bottom of the pan with parchment, then spray again.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Mix in the sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all is mixed in. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition.
- Finally, mix in the sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan on the middle rack in the pre-heated oven.
- Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes.
It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely (4 to 5 hours or overnight).
Prepare the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray two 9-inch round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment; spray the parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat together butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the eggs and beat well, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
- Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, beating until combined.
- Add the milk and vanilla and beat until just combined.
- Scoop half of the batter into another bowl and use gel paste (red and blue) to color the each half a deep hue.
- Scrape the batter into each of the prepared pans.
Bake until firm to touch and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 1 minute.
- Reduce speed to medium.
- Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add salt, 3 tablespoons milk, and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add an additional tablespoon of milk if you’d like the frosting to be more creamy.
To assemble the cake:
- Place the red cake layer on a cake plate and spread a small amount of frosting on top.
- Remove the (frozen) cheesecake from the pan and place the cheesecake layer on top of the red layer (be sure to measure it and make sure that it fits on top… you may need to place it on a cutting board and shave off some of the edge with a sharp knife to match the size of the cake layer).
- Spread a small amount of the frosting on top of the cheesecake layer.
- Add the blue layer on top. Scoop some frosting on top of the blue layer and cover the entire cake in a VERY THIN LAYER of frosting (you’re just doing a “crumb coat.”)
- Then place the cake in the freezer for a few minutes, just until the cake and frosting are a little bit firm.
- Then add the remaining frosting to the top of the cake, spread across the top evenly and down the sides.
Sprinkle festive sprinkles on top, if desired. The cake should be refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Concentrated gel paste color can be found at craft stores or baking supply stores (not the regular market). Wilton sells it. I don’t recommend using the liquid coloring for this recipe. The gel paste is concentrated, and it you won’t be adding liquid to the batter.
- The frosting included in this recipe just barely covers the cake. It’s enough, but if you want any sort of piping, you might consider using another frosting recipe like the one included in > this recipe.
- If you have 8-inch pans, you can make this cake in those. You can try making the cheesecake in a cake pan, but it’s pretty tricky to get out of the pan.