Fourth of July Berry Cake

The ultimate Fourth of July meal is eaten outside. Sitting on your front porch, at a picnic table in the park or on a blanket under the fireworks. There is just something about being out among family and neighbors that makes this holiday more festive. These red, white and blue cakes are the perfect ending to your patriotic meal. The brown butter icing is delicious and holds up well at your outdoor party.

Recipe courtesy of Zoe Francois
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 55 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive Prep: 1 hr
Cook: 45 min
 
YIELD: Two 6-inch round cakes or one 9-by-12-inch sheet cake
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

CAKE:
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 egg yolks, at room temperature (when separating the eggs, set aside 2 of the whites to use below)
  • 3 whole eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
BROWN BUTTER ICING:
  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 5 cups) powdered sugar, sifted, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • Heavy cream or milk, for thinning, if needed
  • 2 pints blueberries
  • 2 pints raspberries
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Directions

For the cake: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease three 6-inch cake pans (or a 9-by-12-inch rectangular pan) with butter. Cut parchment circles to fit into the pans, and then butter the parchment.

Whisk together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream together 1 3/4 cups of the sugar and the stick of butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Turn down the speed to medium low and slowly drizzle the oil into the creamed butter. Add the yolks one at a time, then the whole eggs, mixing after each. Add the vanilla and blend. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk into the batter, starting and ending with the flour.

In a separate, very clean bowl, whisk the 2 egg whites until foamy, then slowly sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup sugar over them as you whip the whites to medium peak. Fold the whites into the cake batter.

Divide the batter evenly among the pans. Bake until a tester comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pans.

For the brown butter icing: In a saucepan, melt the butter. Cover the pan and allow to cook over medium-low heat until the butter starts to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Strain the browned butter through a fine-mesh sieve. Allow the butter to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour (this can be done the day before and left out at room temperature).

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the brown butter with the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and salt. If the icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a tablespoon of heavy cream or milk.

Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut off the top crust of the cake layers. Slice each layer into 2 even layers. Cover the first layer with a 1/8-inch-deep layer of icing. Cover with blueberries and raspberries and then cover with another 1/8-inch-deep layer of icing. Repeat this with another layer of cake, icing, berries and icing, then top with a third layer of cake. Repeat these steps to assemble the second cake.

Ice the outsides of the cakes and then decorate the tops of the cakes with berries. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. (Allow the cakes to come to room temperature before serving.)

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