Patriotic Checkerboard Cake for the 4th of July

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With the 4th of July just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to make a practice cake with my new Wilton Checkerboard Cake Pan Set. While it’s meant to be used with two cake colors I decided to press my luck and go with three. After all, it just wouldn’t be very patriotic of me not to include red, white and blue! Let me tell you though, red cake batter is not easy to make. I ended up using almost an entire container of concentrated gel color and it still looked like a night club neon pink before baking.

red white blue cake mix

I was a bit nervous using the plastic divider that came with the set … I always get a little messy when it comes to moving cake batter from the bowl to whatever baking pan I’m using. Once I got the hang of it, I found that I was wishing the set included 3 plastic dividers so I didn’t waste time washing it each time I went to fill each of the 3 cake pans.

checkerboard cake pan

The idea here was to make sure each layer had a block of red, white and blue so I did the pattern differently with each pan.

wilton checkerboard cake pans

I have to say, they baked up absolutely beautifully and the neon pink batter even calmed down a bit and turned more of a cardinal red.

three checkboard cakes

I stacked each layer in a red, white and blue scheme and decided to leave out the buttercream between each layer.

red white blue layer cake

Add a  thick coating of white buttercream and some patriotic sprinkles. I also took a shortcut here with the cake border and found some Wilton Ready-to-Decorate Icing in red and blue. These each come with 4 free tips.

wilton ready to decorate icing

red white blue patriotic cake

With one big slice out of the way I revealed a really beautiful checkerboard pattern of red, white and blue! I wish they had lined up a little better but I suppose this is something I’ll master with more practice.

4th of july checkerboard cake

patriotic checkerboard cake

Got leftover cake batter? Why not make some red, white and blue cupcakes … they come out so cute when topped with white frosting and some patriotic sprinkles.

red white blue cupcake

Disclosure – All products demonstrated were purchased by me.

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  1. says

    what a treat and they look very cool. My eldest daughter is the baker in this family but her sister is quickly learning as well.

  2. says


    The cake looks delicious, but PLEASE give me that cupcake. I’ll do just about anything for a cupcake. How did you mix/layer the colors for the cupcake? I like that they appear layered and not mixed. I think I’ll make some for my children for the holiday.

    • says

      Believe it or not, Mattison did that! I told him to just have fun with the cake batter and he just poured a little bit of each color of cake batter in the cups and they baked up all pretty with the layers.

      • says


        Please tell him that he did an excellent job. The things we learn from our children. You’ve got a great talent in/him there in the kitchen. It’s nice to see he enjoys hanging w/you in the kitchen.

  3. says

    omg, you are just too fabulous Cat! I hate you! LOL It’s so patriotic and cherry! I think you SHOULD start a blog dedicated to this stuff……it would be HOT!

  4. says

    Those turned out awesome Cat. I have been looking at the checker board set. My Son wants a checker board cake for his birthday. You know it is bad when you find your kids on Wilton web site looking for something cool for mom to try for their birthdays!

    Another Great Cake Post !

    • says

      That is funny because Kaydee isnt’ even 3 yet and every day she asked to see the “witten cakes” so she can pick out her birthday cake.

  5. Karen Propes says

    Perfect, thanks for the info, I have always wanted to buy the pans but not sure if I could do it. You made it look so easy! Thanks for the information.

  6. says

    Great looking cake & cupcakes. When do you remove the dividers? I would love to make cute cakes but usually end up baking a one color cake from a box.

  7. says

    I have seen this set at Michaels and was thinking it was pretty cool. Thanks for showing me how it works.

  8. Melissa says

    When the red batter was baked did it come out bitter like red frosting does when you have to use a lot?

    • says

      Hi Melissa,

      You know I actually never noticed the red cake being bitter but that might be masked by the other cake squares and buttercream. I used about 1/2 of a small container of the Christmas Red gel color.

    • LuJauna says

      Hi I found some red coloring at the cake store in our area. It is in powdered form and it doesn’t make your frosting bitter no matter how much you use. They also have it in black. You might go online and do a search for it. CK products manufactures it. I am sure you can find it on line. Love the stuff.

  9. Julie says

    Wonderful job! I have heard horror stories about the divider sets- but you made it look easy! I am doing a baby shower cake for a friend, only I know what she is having & that will be the color of the inside of her cake. So when they cut into it- the suprise will be revealed! Now I feel a little less nervous-
    thanks for your post- keep up the GREAT work & Have a wonderful 4th!!

  10. says

    It came out wonderful – you did a fabulous job and I bet it taste delicious, too!!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe… it is definitely a great idea for the holiday or for any military family when their soldier comes home!

  11. Debra Terry says

    Thank you so much for the illistration!!! I’ve had this for years and haven’t tried to use it….but I’m getting it out today and making one!! Love it!

    • says

      Hi Debra – I hope your cake turns out great! The key with the plastic ring is to spray it with cooking spray first or rub it with a thin coat of vegetable oil and pull up vertically very slowly.

  12. Sharon says

    My son’s birthday is on the 4th of July and I’d love to make him this cake this year. It’s perfect! I have the checkerboard cake set from Wilton but am not sure what cake recipe to use! Did you use a cake mix(es) or a scratch cake? Thanks so much for sharing this fabulous idea!

    • says

      Hi Sharon, this will be the perfect cake for a 4th of July birthday! I used boxed cake mix for this one, 3 boxes of white and there was plenty left over to make a dozen of the swirled cupcakes.

      • Sharon says

        Cake mixes it is then! Thanks so much for taking the time to reply–and providing a great birthday cake idea for me!

  13. says

    That is so cute! I’ve had one of those checkerboard cake makers on my wish list for ages now :)

  14. Danielle says

    I’m making two of these for this weekend! I’m so excited! I’m hoping mine turn out as great as yours, I’m making one for my boyfriends family, so it has to be good! :)