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Celebrate Independence Day with a Red, White, and Blue Bundt Cake for a fun and festive dessert centerpiece! A buttery, rich vanilla cake is boosted with a little food dye to create a fun swirl that is sure to be the talk of your 4th of July cookout!
Holidays and special occasions are a great time to break out your favorite bundt pan for a special showstopping dessert! Some of our other favorite 4th of July inspired dessert ideas are a Red White and Blue Berry Trifle, Patriotic Pretzel Rods Old Glory American Flag Pie, or a Red, White, and Blueberry Cream Pie!
Patriotic Swirled Bundt Cake
Back around Christmas-time I saw my friend Jessica from Savory Experiments post a two-toned bundt cake on her site. She, in turn, originally saw it on Liv for Cake's site where she did a rocky road version. Both were so beautiful and fun that I knew I wanted to give it a try myself! I have a couple different bundt pans and the one that works best for this approach is the Nordic Heritage Bundt Pan with its sharply defined swirled edges.
That said, you don't need to bother with the two-toned approach if you don't feel like it. Or pipe the different batter colors into different vertical segments of a traditional bundt pan. The real fun happens when you slice into the bundt cake and see the red, white, and blue swirls inside!
I love a good bundt cake. This one is buttery and moist with a tight crumb and a marshmallow cream glaze on top. It's good all on it's own, but especially delicious with a scoop of strawberry ice cream on the side.
My kids were seriously cheering when I sliced into this and declared that they were "super impressed" with my skills. Honestly though, making this cake was as easy as could be. I'm going to have to let them do the work next time so they can feel the pride of accomplishing such a pretty result themselves.
- Flour: I tested this recipe with regular all-purpose flour, rather than cake flour.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar sweetens the cake, but it also helps keep it moist! You will also need a little powdered sugar for the icing.
- Egg whites: The egg whites help bind the cake and keep it moist. We opt for only egg whites and no yolks to achieve the color result of brilliant red, white, and blue in this bundt cake.
- Butter and oil: The reason for both butter and oil is that butter adds flavor while the oil helps the cake stay moist.
- Milk: I prefer using whole milk for my baking.
- Baking powder, baking soda, and salt: These work together to lift and flavor the cake so it rises tall in the bundt pan and doesn't come out tasting bland.
- Vanilla and almond extract: The tiny bit of almond extract is optional but it only serves to enhance the prominent vanilla flavor of this cake.
- Food coloring: I recommend using gel paste food coloring rather than the liquid based kind. You will get better, more intense results than with any other type of food coloring .
- Marshmallow cream: This ingredient makes for an easy, fairly thick glaze that doesn't just soak right into the cake. It also provides beautiful contrast that sets off the swirls of red and blue from the heritage pan.
How to Make a Patriotic Bundt Cake
- Make the cake batter: Start by beating butter and sugar until creamy and light. Add in the oil and beat again, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Whisk the egg whites, vanilla extract, almond extract, and milk together in a bowl, then add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, mixing between each addition, to get a nice cake batter that isn't too thick or too thin.
- Dye the cake batter: Divide some of the batter between two separate bowls. It doesn't have to be exact, but you will want about ¼ of your batter to be blue, another ¼ to be red, and the rest of the batter can stay white. Stir food dye into each bowl to get the desired shade you like. I wanted really vibrant colors so I used gel food coloring , which gives better results using less dye than tradition food coloring . Transfer the colored batter to piping bags or ziploc bags, then cut off the tip of each bag with scissors.
- Fill the bundt pan: Pipe one color at a time into the pan, trying to keep it in alternate swirls. Once the swirls are filled, start adding spoonfuls of the white batter on top. I used about half of my white batter, then I piped the rest of my colored batter over that before finishing with the last of the white cake batter.
- Bake: It should take about 50-60 minutes for the bundt cake to bake all the way. You can tell it's down when it has risen, the top is golden brown, and a skewer or knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it.
- Cool: Let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool the rest of the way. You can slice off the bottom (top?) of the cake with a sharp knife to level it so the cake sits flush with your serving plate, if desired. Cool completely.
- Make the icing: Once the cake is cool, beat some marshmallow cream with powdered sugar and heavy cream in a medium bowl to make a pourable but thick icing. Drizzle this over the cake, letting it run down the ridges. Sprinkle with patriotic sprinkles, then enjoy!
This cake can be kept at room temperature in a covered container for 3-4 days or up to a week in the fridge. It can be frozen for up to 2 months, although if you plan to make it in advance I recommend waiting to glaze the cake until shortly before serving.
If you have been having problems with your bundt cake sticking and it keeps happening consistently, my recommendation is to get a new bundt pan. Also, only use baking spray as opposed to cooking spray. Baking spray has flour in it that helps bundt cakes release better from the pans.
- Variations: You can change up the colors for any holiday or occasion you like! This would be a fun birthday cake with the birthday boy or girl's favorite colors! Or do a Halloween version with purple, orange, and green swirls.
- Don't worry about imperfections: If your colors bleed into each other on the edges and your lines aren't super precise, don't worry about it! The nice thing about the marshmallow icing is that it is thick enough to hide flaws where the two colors meet each other and no one will ever even know.
- Use room temperature ingredients: With cake baking, it really makes a difference if your butter, eggs, and milk have some time to come up to room temperature. You can cheat a little by sticking cold eggs in a bowl of hot water for 5-10 minutes and microwaving the butter for 10 seconds just to soften it a bit. Room temperature ingredients help cakes rise and bake more evenly with a better crumb and moister texture.
More Dessert Ideas for the 4th of July
- Raspberry Pretzel Salad
- Homemade Banana Pudding
- Summertime Strawberry Shortcake
- Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
- Homemade Blueberry Pie
Red, White, and Blue Bundt Cake
- 1 cup salted butter room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 6 egg whites
- ¾ cup whole milk room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Red gel food coloring
- Blue gel food coloring
- Sprinkles for decorating
- 7 ounces marshmallow cream about 2 cups
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and light, about 2-3 minutes. Add oil and beat again, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites, vanilla extract, almond extract, and milk together. Set aside.
- Add 1 cup of the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Mix well, then add about half of the milk and egg white mixture, beating again. Add another cup of the flour, followed by the remaining liquid and final cup of flour, mixing and scraping the bowl between each addition.
- Transfer 1 and ¼ cups of the batter to one bowl and add red food coloring. Do the same thing with another 1 and ¼ cups of the batter in another bowl with the blue food coloring. Stir well to evenly color the batter. Transfer the two batter colors to piping bags or ziploc bags with the tip snipped off.
- Spray your bundt pan with baking spray. Pipe some of the red batter into alternating sections of the pan. Repeat with the blue batter to fill in the empty sections. You can use a skewer to nudge the batter into the corners and edges, if needed.
- Spoon some of the white batter into the bundt pan, then add more of the red and blue batters, followed by the remaining white batter until it has all been used up. You can gently swirl the batter with a knife or just leave it be. As it bakes, the colors will swirl themselves pretty well anyway.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs. Cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan before turning the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely. I like to slice off the bottom (top?) of the cake so that it will set level on a cake stand for better presentation.
- Once the cake has cooled completely, make the marshmallow icing by beating the marshmallow cream in a bowl with the powdered sugar and heavy cream until smooth and thin enough to pour. Pour the icing over the ridges of the cake, letting it run down the sides. Sprinkle with patriotic sprinkles, then slice and serve.
- Vanilla extract: I keep a bottle of clear vanilla extract in the cupboard for making white cakes. It allows the colors to stay as clear as possible. It's also why we use only egg whites instead of whole eggs with the yolks in the batter.
- Storage: This cake can be kept at room temperature in a covered container for 3-4 days or up to a week in the fridge. It can be frozen for up to 2 months, although if you plan to make it in advance I recommend waiting to glaze the cake until shortly before serving.