Stars and Stripes Chocolate Cake

Broad layers of moist, deep chocolate cake are generously frosted in vanilla bean buttercream icing, and cloaked in red, white and blue fondant stars and stripes. Ideal for Fourth of July celebrations, this American dessert stands tall and proud!


Stars and Stripes Chocolate Cake - Cakewalker

Would it surprise you to know visions of cake dance in my head?

It’s true.

They parade around in a cerebral kaleidoscope, some of which have been realized here, others are on hold for future projects, and a few have been forgotten entirely. Sigh.

This particular cake has been on my mind for a while. It is the second version which came to be when I realized the initial vision required a degree in physical design engineering to pull it off. But in my cake decorating life, I’ve come to know that as a project begins with one idea, it can take on a life of its own unfolding a different course along the way.

Stars and Stripes cake in progress - Cakewalker

While the overall design strayed somewhat, the intended flavor profiles remained true: chocolate cake and vanilla buttercream. The food world has seen its share lately of cake layers colored in fun shades of red, white, and blue, but I think I’ve got a handle on what America really wants―chocolate. Rich, deep chocolate paired with creamy vanilla bean frosting is reminiscent of Oreo cookies, and folks, it doesn’t get much more American than that!

I’m happy to present a festive dessert for any patriotic occasion, yet most ideal for a Fourth of July celebration. Follow the directions closely if you please, or let it be a jumping off point for your own unique creation.

You might find visions of cake will be dancing in your head.

Stars and Stripes Chocolate Cake by Cakewalker 

Stars and Stripes Chocolate Cake

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: One 3 to 4 layer 6-inch cake. Serves up to 16.

Serving Size: One slice

Stars and Stripes Chocolate Cake

Broad layers of moist, deep chocolate cake are generously frosted in vanilla bean buttercream icing, and cloaked in red, white and blue fondant stars and stripes. Ideal for Fourth of July celebrations, this American dessert stands tall and proud!


  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups strong brewed coffee
  • Vanilla Bean Buttercream:
  • 1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 6 cups powdered sugar,
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk, plus additional teaspoon (if needed)
  • Additional ingredients/equipment:
  • Red tinted fondant
  • Royal blue tinted fondant
  • White fondant
  • ¾ inch star cutter
  • Cornstarch or powdered sugar for dusting fondant work surface
  • 6x2 round cake pans (see: notes)


    Make the cake
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the pans, line bottoms with parchment paper rounds, and grease the paper; set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to blend together; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bowl. Alternately add the flour mixture and Greek yogurt to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape the bowl again. On low speed, slowly pour in the coffee to incorporate, then beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl a final time.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans for 4 layers (for 3 layers, fill the pans just shy of 2/3rds full―there will be a remnant of leftover batter). Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pans to loosen the cakes, invert cakes onto cooling racks and peel away the parchment. Carefully turn the cakes right side up and cool completely.
  • Prepare the frosting
  • Using a paring knife, slice the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape the seeds from the pod using the dull side of the knife; reserve the seeds. In a large mixing bowl slowly blend the butter, the vanilla bean seeds, half the powdered sugar, salt and one tablespoon of the milk until the mixture comes together; scrape the bowl. Add the remaining sugar and the other tablespoon of milk, beating slowly at first, increasing the speed to medium until the frosting is smooth and creamy. If the frosting is too stiff, use the additional teaspoon or so to slightly thin the frosting.
  • Fill and frost the cakes
  • Trim the rounded tops of cakes if need be to level. Place a single layer onto a serving plate, fill and repeat until all layers are stacked. Crumb coat the top and sides of the cake, and chill to set the frosting. Apply a finish coat of frosting, and chill the cake thoroughly to set the frosting.
  • To decorate
  • Following the cake scheme depicted above as a guide, roll out the royal blue fondant between an eighth and 1/16th inch thick. Cut a circle of blue ¼ inch greater than the diameter of the top of the cake. Cut a blue rectangle, about 1½ inch high by approximately 20 inches long (diameter of your cake multiplied by 3.14, then round the number up). Place the fondant circle centered on top of the cake. Gently press and smooth the fondant to adhere. The perimeter of the fondant will slightly round over and down the top edge.
  • Apply the blue rectangle piece horizontally around the sides of the cake just under the top edge of the circle (trim length to fit circumference); the edges should touch creating a seam.
  • Separately roll out the red and white fondant to a similar thickness of an eighth to about 1/16th inch. Cut 5 to 8 inch long (depending upon the overall height of your cake), and 1 ¼-inch wide strips of red and white fondant, about 10 of each. Cover unused white fondant under plastic wrap; set aside. Begin with one color applying a strip vertically to the side of the cake, starting at the top butting it just under the blue rectangle edge and working down to the bottom. Pre-measuring this length helps to gauge how much of the length you’ll actually need, but cut it a tad longer just in case. Trim the excess with a sharp knife where the bottom meets the plate, and gently press the strip to adhere. Place the other color vertically adjacent to the first in the same manner, making the seam edges meet on all sides. Repeat until the sides are fully covered in alternating red and white stripes. Refrigerate the cake to re-firm the frosting and the fondant while you cut the white fondant stars.
  • Cut the stars keeping them under plastic wrap (helps to keep them pliable) until you have as many as 70. Bring the cake from the refrigerator to place the star cut outs. Begin by placing a star onto the lower half of the blue rectangle centered at each stripe color; continue all around. Now place stars along the upper half of the rectangle this time staggered; center the stars over the dividing line as a guide where the red and white stripes meet. Continue all around.
  • Working on the top of the cake from the outer edge towards the center, place a star about 1/3rd inch off the inside edge of the blue circle centered above two stars from the top row of the rectangle. Repeat all around. Move in about 1/3rd inch toward the center and begin a second row of concentric stars, this time centered above the stars just placed. Follow through with a third row in a similar fashion; you should end up with one nicely spaced spot to place a final star in the center. Return the finished cake to the refrigerator to chill for approximately 30 minutes to set the fondant. Bring to room temperature about one hour before serving.


The cake recipe yields enough batter to fill four 6x2 inch cake pans evenly, resulting in a four layer cake. I chose to use three thicker layers filling the pans slightly more than standard, leaving extra batter leftover. If you opt for the 4-layer version, do not frost fill the layers as generously as I did in the photo, or you may not have enough icing to complete the cake. The frosting recipe should make enough to frost both cases, with a small icing quantity leftover from the 3-layer option. Bake times vary depending upon fill level of cake pans, the number of pans baking at the same time, and your particular oven―rely on the toothpick test for doneness.

Stars and Stripes Chocolate Cake Slice - Cakewalker

Wishing you and yours a fantastic and safe holiday. Until next time, happy baking!


  1. Wow! That’s beautiful!!

  2. Brooks, your cakes always dazzle me! I don’t like dyed cake, would much rather leave the colors to the decoration as you’ve done with this chocolate cake. Another masterpiece!

    • Brooks Walker says

      Thank you, Jean. The nifty thing about fondant decoration is, it can be easily peeled away for those who aren’t fond of it! 😉 I’m a peeler.

  3. My “hat’s off” to you! This looks like something Uncle Sam would wear (blue plate brim and all). GREG

  4. What a fun looking cake! And really creative. This is wonderful — thanks!

    • Brooks Walker says

      You’re welcome, John. I appreciate you stopping by! You and Mrs. KR will be making one, right?

  5. Brooks, This cake is beautiful and the fondant is perfectly done. Pinned and have a great 4th.

  6. Wow Brooks, so patriotic! I love it. I wish I had your talent for cake decorating! Happy 4th.

  7. oh my gawd, this CAKE!!! the fondant!!! what a masterpiece!!

  8. Its a masterpiece!!! So stunning, so perfectly straight, how did you do that? Who needs fireworks when you have a cake this beautiful. sharing and pinning, of course!

  9. Wow, this is so festive Brooks and that chocolate cake looks super moist and decadent! You do amazing work with fondant!

  10. Leave it to you, Brooks, for making the most festive cake I’ve seen for the 4th! And chocolate to boot. It is a masterpiece, my friend. P.S. Eat Write Retreat will be in LA next year—still debating whether to make the trip (Chicago was just a 3 hour drive). I DO hope we cross paths one day soon.

  11. Stunning work, as always, Brooks! I am so glad you have visions of cake that you bring to life to share with us. And you’re right–chocolate is definitely the way to go! <3

  12. What a spectacular cake, Brooks! The fondant looks amazing, you are a real pro! I’m sure the Greek yogurt added a real moistness to the cake. Do you make your own fondant? I have never used it myself but it’s definitely on my bucket list. A few years ago, I saw an easy home made fondant using store bought marshmallows that I’ve been dying to try.
    Hope you had a wonderful Independence Day, I’m sure your cake was a hit!

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