How to make a round 9" American Flag Cake with Swiss Meringue Frosting

Oh My Stars! Is the best way to describe this beautiful layered All American Flag Cake. Bring out the red, white and blue in almond flavored cake layers. Inside the this 9″ round cake you will see red and white stripes and a blue flag with every slice. Smooth and creamy Swiss Meringue Frosting coats between the layers and all over this outside of cake. Of course you can’t have a celebration without sprinkles in red, white and blue tossed on large dollops and around the bottom edge of the cake. It’s a fun and festive way to celebrate America’s beautiful flag and every patriotic holiday.

How to make an America Flag Cake

Inspiration For This Cake

I have always been intrigued with cakes being baked inside the cake. And how did they get a perfect looking flag in the corner of the cake when making the American Flag Cake? My favorite blogger, Heather Baird created a beautiful American Flag Cake and her cake was my go to for directions on how to assemble this cute cake together. Other inspiration came from Land a Lakes American Flag Cake and Betty Crockers cake. Heather’s cakes were from scratch which was similar to Land a Lakes cake and Betty Crocker used cake mixes. Heather’s cake layers where also thinner than mine which made her cake not as tall and more compact. Her cake is lovely! My cake is 5″ tall with 1″ tall Swiss Meringue dollops.

How to make a round 9" American Flag Cake with Swiss Meringue Frosting

Successful Tips for Making this Cake

Please don’t think you can’t make this cake because of the length of this post and recipe. I have tried to make the process easy and if you take your time I am certain you can get the same results. After making one cake from scratch and one from cake mixes. I discovered I liked the cake mix recipe.The cake is baked in 3-9″ tall round cake pans. I know that one cake mix batter makes 4 cups, so I was able to divide the batter in half (2 cups) per cake pan. The result was the perfect 1″ layer that I needed to assemble the cakes. I am not great at leveling cakes even after purchasing a cake leveler.

I also decided to crumb coat the cakes with a light coating of buttercream frosting to help eliminate cake crumbs when frosting the top and sides of the cake. It also helps keep the cake moist.

Make your cakes one afternoon, cool and crumb coat, cover with plastic wrap and chill or freeze until the next day. If you do have any trimming to do, do the trimming before crumb coating. I found placing the cakes that needed trimmed in the freezer for about 30 minutes to aid in cutting to level. You will be happy that you placed your cakes in freezer.

If you are great at leveling or cutting cakes horizontally and even widths, you can make this cake with three 9″ cakes.

Be prepared that the cake and Swiss Meringue Frosting uses a lot of egg whites. I decided on Swiss Meringue because it isn’t as sweet as American Buttercream and not difficult to make. It is light and creamy, and pipes beautifully. However, it does not hold up well in humid or hot summer days for more than an hour as there is a lot of butter in the Swiss Meringue frosting. If you plan to serve the cake outside for more than a couple of hours use American Buttercream.

How to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting for American Flag Cake

You will have excess egg yolks and cake scraps that make cute cake pops and trifles.

How to Stack cake layers for American Flag Cake

How to Make the All American Flag Cake

Are you ready? Gather your baking equipment you will need the following:

  • 2-9″ x 2″ round cake pans. (photo show 9″ x 3″)
  • Offset spatula + bench scraper ( for frosting cake)
  • Digital Temperature probe- For making the Swiss Meringue Frosting
  • Large closed star piping tip #849 or tip 1 M large star tip
  • Small star tip #32 for shell design around base of cake
  • 5″ round pastry ring or parchment round
  • 3-Disposable 14″ or 16″ Piping bags 2 with couplers
  • 1 package of 6- 12″ round cake boards– place each cake on board to freeze for stability
  • 4 White Cake Mixes. Let’s do this!

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare baking pans.

    How to Make an American Flag Cake

    Red Cake Layer- you will make 3-9″ x 1″ round cakes with 2 cups of batter per pan.

    2 white cake mixes, 1 cup vegetable oil, 2-cups water, 6 egg whites, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons almond extract 2 teaspoons almond extract or your choice of flavoring, 1-2 + teaspoons super red food gel. I used 1/4 cup of melted cherry jam per cake mix to enhance the flavor of the red cakes. This is optional.

    How to Make an American Flag Cake

    Note: you will reserve 2 cups of cake batter for the 3rd cake layer, the remaining batter makes 6 cupcakes or another 9″ round cake… that you won’t need for the flag cake.

    White Cake Layer- you will make 2-9″ x 1″ round cakes with 2 cups of batter per pan. This makes two cakes, one cake you will keep whole , the other cake you cut out 5″ center from second cake. Discard the outer cake ring for scraps but keep the 5″ round.

    One white cake mix, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup water, 3 egg whites, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon almond extract, 1 teaspoon vanilla or creme bouquet/or flavoring of choice, 1 + teaspoon white food gel.

    How to Make an American Flag Cake

    Blue Cake LayerUse recipe above for one cake mix keep in mind you are baking one 2″ cake or 4 cups of batter. Add 1 + royal blue food gel. You will make one (9″ x 2″ cake) Bake the 2″ cake, cut out center of cake the 5″ round keeping the outer ring of cake discard the 5″ round for scraps.

    How to Make an American Flag Cake

    After cakes are baked and cooled, make buttercream frosting and crumb coat top and sides of each cake. If you need to flatten the cake tops, while cake is warm, take your glove pot holder and gently flatten cake tops. Stack each layer on cake board, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight or freeze.

    How to Make an American Flag Cake

    Assemble the CakeMake Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

    How to Make an American Flag Cake

    Bring to room temperature 6 egg whites, and 2-1/2 sticks of butter. Set aside to warm up. Meanwhile, rinse bowl and whisk attachment from stand mixer with white vinegar, removing any residue. ( egg whites won’t whip beautifully if there is any grease or residue in mixing bowl/wire whisk). Measure out 2 cups of granulated sugar and cut butter into 1 tablespoon pieces. Measure 2 teaspoons almond extract and 1/4 teaspoon fine ground salt.

    In medium sauce pan, fill 2″ of water, bring to a simmer over medium heat. Mix egg whites and 2 cups of sugar with whisk in a heat proof bowl. Place bowl over simmering water and continue to stir until mixture reaches 160 degrees. Pour egg white mixture in stand mixer bowl, attack whisk and whip over medium high speed about 12-15 minutes or until mixture creates still peaks. Change beaters to paddle attachment, beat on high speed adding butter one tablespoon at a time until all butter is incorporated and frosting is creamy. Add salt and 2 teaspoons almond flavoring. Swiss meringue is ready to pipe and frost cakes. Depending on how much frosting you use between layers you might have to make a second recipe for the meringue. I made two recipes. Each recipe makes 5 cups.

    Frosting and Assembling Cake Layers- You are almost finished!

    How to Make an American Flag Cake

    Place red cake on center of cake board. * If you don’t want to use a cake board, just place the cakes on your cake stand. Frost with 1/2 cup frosting, spreading to the edges. Place white cake layer on top of red layer, frost with 1/2 cup frosting. Add red cake layer over the white layer and frost using 1/2 cup frosting.

    Place blue cake layer over the red. Frost inside the blue layer ring. Place 5″ x 1″ white round inside the blue ring, frost with 1/4 cup frosting. Place red 5″ x 1″ round cake on top of the white round, press cake to flatten top. If necessary using a serrated knife flatten top of cake.

    Fill one piping bag fitted with coupler with frosting. If you have a turn table place your cake on table and pipe the frosting all around the cake while turning the table/lazy Susan. With a bench scaper or flat edge spatula, smooth sides and top of cake.

    Fill second disposable piping bag with tip 849. Pipe 1″ tall dollops around edge of cake. If you are not serving your cake right away wait to sprinkle red white and blue sprinkles over the dollops and sides. Sprinkle the cake right before serving as the sprinkles will bleed.

    Fill third bag with coupler and tip # 32 ( shell tip). Fill bag with frosting. Place frosted cake on cake stand if you haven’t already. Pipe small shells around base of cake. If you would like sprinkle shells with sprinkles.

    How to Make an American Flag Cake- Swiss Meringue

    Now Hold Your Breath: The Big Reveal

    This is the moment you have been hoping for and praying about as you baked and assembled this flag cake! The big reveal. With a thin sharp chefs knife, cut a wedge of cake and see your beautiful cake stripes and flag! It is so exciting! Cut your cake wedge large enough that it will stand upright. My first cut was a thin slice and it would not stand, so we ate it. Ha Ha. It was very good!

    How to Make an American Flag Cake

    Hope you will try this cake recipe. It is so worth making! Just do it in a couple of days and stock up on eggs and butter.

    How to make an America Flag Cake

    How to make a round 9" American Flag Cake with Swiss Meringue Frosting

    How to set a 4th of July tablescape with flag cake as centerpiece


    All American Flag Cake

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    Create a Show Stopping Patriotic All American Flag Cake for 4th of July. Stacked red, white and blue almond flavored cakes are filled with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and a surprise flag inside the cake. Every slice has Old Glory making an appearance. Swiss Buttercream finishes the tall 5″ cake with 1″ swirled dollops with Patriotic sprinkles. 

    • Author: Liz Bushong
    • Prep Time: one hour
    • Cook Time: each cake 20-25 minutes
    • Total Time: 6 hours plus chill time
    • Yield: 1216 servings 1x
    • Category: Dessert
    • Method: Baking
    • Cuisine: American


    Units Scale

    Red Cake-Make 3-9″ x 1″ round cakes using 2 cups batter per pan

    • 215.75 ounce packages Classic White Cake Mix- tested Duncan Hines
    • 1 cup vegetable oil ( 1/2 cup per cake mix)-disregard instructions on box
    • 2 cups water (1 cup per cake mix)
    • 6 egg whites, room temperature (3 egg whites per cake mix)
    • 1/2 cup sour cream (1/4 cup per cake mix)
    • 1/2 cup all purpose flour (1/4 cup per cake mix)
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (1 tablespoon per cake mix)
    • 2 teaspoons almond extract (1 teaspoon per cake mix)
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla or creme bouquet extract ( 1 teaspoon per cake mix)
    • 1/2 cup cherry jam, melted (1/4 cup per cake mix) Optional

    White Cake Mix-Make 2-9″ x 1″ round cakes with 2 cups batter per pan

    • 115.75 ounce package Classic White Cake mix
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 cup water
    • 3 egg whites, room temperature
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla or creme bouquet
    • 12 teaspoons white food gel

    Blue Cake-Make 1-9″ x 2″ round cake or 4 cups of batter

    • Follow white cake ingredient list but add 1-2 teaspoons royal blue food gel, add more if needed for desired color.

    American Buttercream Frosting– for Skim Crumb Coat-you won’t need a lot its just to keep the crumbs contained before adding Swiss Meringue frosting.  1 stick butter, softened, 1-1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, 2 teaspoons cream or milk, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.

    Swiss Meringue Frosting- Makes 10 cups  enough for 1/2 cup per layer plus outside coating and 1″ swirls on top of cake and shell design around base. Recipe is for one batch or 5 cups. Make one recipe at a time for best results. Stand Mixer is recommended, Whisk and paddle attachment.

    • 6 egg whites, room temperature
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 11/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature cut into 1 tablespoon sections
    • 2 teaspoons almond extract or creme bouquet/vanilla
    • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
    • Garnish: Patriotic sprinkles


    I recommend making all the cakes on one day, wrapping and chilling, then make the frostings and assemble the second or third day. This cake can be made a 3 days ahead just store in refrigerator.

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 2-9″ round baking pans with cooking spray and dust with flour. Remove excess flour from pans. Set aside. Adjust oven rack to middle of oven. 
    2. Prepare red cake; In bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, add all ingredients for one cake mix. Mix on medium speed just to mix with no lumps. 
    3. Measure 2 cups of cake batter and divide between the 2 prepared baking pans. Smooth tops with off set spatula. Bake in warm oven for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake come out clean. Remove from oven, wait 5 minutes then invert onto cooling rack. Wash and rinse 1 pan, grease and flour, then make second cake mix. Measure 2 cups of batter for the third red cake layer in one pan. Make another cake or cupcakes with remaining 2 cups of red batter.
    4. After baking third cake and remaining batter. Wash and dry cake pans, grease and flour for white cake recipe. 
    5. In bowl of stand mixer, fitted with beater attachment, mix together all ingredients for the white cake mix. Beat on medium speed until batter is mixed with lumps. Do not over mix though. Pour 2 cups of white cake batter into each prepared pan.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool cake 5 minutes. Invert onto cooling rack.  Allow to cool before moving cakes.
    6. Wash and dry one 9″ round cake pan, grease and flour for blue cake. Follow instructions for white cake mix only add 1-2+ teaspoons royal blue food gel to cake batter. Pour all 4 cups of blue cake batter into the one 9″ pan.  Bake cake 25-30 minutes, but check it at 25 minutes. It is done with toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool  7 minutes in pan before inverting onto cooling rack. Invert cake.  Now have a cup of tea or coffee and rest. 
    7. When cakes are cool. wrap  each layer in plastic wrap, place cakes on separate cake boards and chill until tomorrow.
    8. Next day: Prepare layers: You should have 3- 1″ red layers, 2-1″ white layers and 1-2″ blue layer cakes.
    9. Set aside 2 full red layer cakes and 1 white full layer cake.
    10. Cut 5″ round out of the 2″ blue cake, keeping the outer blue ring intact but discarding the 5″ round.
    11. Cut 5″ round out of remaining red and white layer cakes, discarding the outer rings but keeping the 5 ” rounds. As these rounds will be fit inside of the blue outer ring once cake is assembled. This is what creates the flag inside the cake.  How to Stack cake layers for American Flag Cake 12. Next you will skim coat each cake and set aside to firm before frosting with Swiss Meringue.

    Making Buttercream For Skim-Crumb Coat-

    1. In bowl of stand mixer, with paddle attachment, whip softened butter, confectioner’s sugar, cream or milk and extract. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
    2. Unwrap each cake layer and with off set spatula, spread an 1/8′ thick layer of frosting on the top and sides of each cake. Before skim coating, if there is a dome on the cakes, press it down or cut for a flat surface. Each cake layer needs to be 1″ tall and have a flat surface on both sides.  Continue to skim coat all cake layers. Set cakes aside to crust while you make the Swiss Meringue. Note: If you do not want to make Swiss Meringue you can triple the recipe for the buttercream frosting recipe that you used for skim coating. It is a lot sweeter though than Swiss Meringue. But will pipe just as well and be pretty.

    Make Swiss Meringue Frosting

    1.  Rinse mixing bowl that comes with your stand mixer as well as the whisk attachment with white vinegar to remove any grease build up; if you skip this part your egg whites will not whip correctly. 
    2. Allow 12 egg whites to come to room temperature. In medium saucepan add 2″ of water and bring water to a low simmer. Place 6 egg whites in heat proof bowl and add 2 cups of sugar. Whisk together with hand whisk to blend about 4 minutes, then place bowl of whites/sugar on top of the saucepan of simmering water. Continue to stir whites until mixture reaches 160 °F or until sugar is not grainy between fingers. Be careful mixture is very hot.
    3. Transfer hot mixture into clean bowl of stand mixer. Whip the whites with whisk attachment on medium-high speed until egg whites become stiff peaks. About 10-15 minutes. The bowl will be hot to touch but will cool off as you whip the egg whites. 
    4. Once whites are glossy and stiff peaked,  remove whisk attachment for paddle, add room temperature butter one tablespoon at a time whipping on medium high speed until soft and creamy meringue frosting develops. Add extracts and salt whip to blend. 
    5. Fill disposable 14″ or 16″piping bag fitted with coupler with no tip Swiss meringue frosting. Measure out 2 cups of meringue frosting ( 1/2 cup frosting to frost between full layer cakes and 1/4 cup for the 5″ rounds). Fill remaining frosting in disposable piping bag fitted with large tip. You will have to make another batch of frosting for piping the dollops and shell design around bottom of cake. 

    Frosting and Assembling Cakes

    • Cakes are crumb coated and ready to assemble.  Place red cake on cake board or directly on cake stand-serving platter-measure 1/2 cup meringue frosting on top of cake, with off set spatula smooth frosting on top of cake to a 1/4″ thickness.
    • Add white cake layer, 1/2 cup frosting smooth to 1/4″ thickness. 
    • Add red layer cake, 1/2 cup frosting, smooth to 1/4″ thickness.
    • Add 2″ blue cake with cut out center on top of red layer cake. Ice center of cake with meringue frosting 1/4″ thick.
    • Add white 5″ round to center of blue cake, frost top of red round with 1/4 cup frosting.
    • Add red 5″ round to center of blue cake on top of the white 5″ round. Press cake layers down to compact the layers and flatten cake top. If cake top is not level or flat. Trim excess cake to make it flat. Skim coat top of cake with buttercream. Place in refrigerator to chill 20 minutes before frosting with Swiss meringue. ( time for another coffee or tea break while the cakes chill, you can chill too).
    • With filled piping bag with no tip, place cake on a turn table if you have one, and pipe a continual stream of frosting covering sides and top of cake.  Smooth sides with a bench or cake scrapper for smooth sides. Use off set spatula to smooth top of cake. 
    • Pipe 1″ swirls of meringue on top of cake around outer edge of cake. Sprinkle with red, white and blue sprinkles. 
    • Pipe shell design around perimeter bottom edge of cake using tip # 32. Sprinkle sprinkles on the shell designs if desired.  Insert red, white blue candles or a double sided foam star on center of cake. 
    • * My stars are foam coasters that I taped together to stand up on center of cake. I found those at hobby lobby. there were 4 coasters in a package. 
    • Keep cake chilled in refrigerator until half hour prior to serving. Serve cake at room temperature.


    This is a long recipe but read it through to understand the assembly of the cakes and what to cut. It is an expensive cake to make but the result and flavor is wonderful. Everyone will love this cake. This is a special occasion cake for sure!

    *King Arthur Flour- is an affiliate link

    *WP TASTY -Recipe

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    Cake serves 12-16 servings- you will want to serve thin wedges but wide enough for the cake to stand on its own. 

    Making the cakes one day and frosting/assembly the next will be less overwhelming. So start this cake three-4 days before your event.

    Swiss Meringue will not hold up outside in the sun or humid day so keep it chilled until presentation time/serving. Keep in the shade is serving outside or at sundown. 

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