Gesine’s 11 Top Tips for Making a Showstopping Red, White and Blue Vertical Stripe Cake

Hear from the pastry chef and Baked in Vermont star about how to make her wow-worthy cake, and get ideas for customizing it for any occasion.

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Red, White and Blue Stripe Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Gesine celebrates the American flag with this festive striped cake that is a true crowd pleaser. Follow the recipe below and browse this gallery to get her top tips for creating this stunning dessert.

Get the Recipe: Red, White and Blue Stripe Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Preparation Is Key

"Get your [mise en place] ready. Get all of your ingredients measured out before you even start anything. Make sure you’ve got your pan prepped already," she says.

Start with a Clean Whisk and Stand Mixer

This is really, really important Gesine tells us. "If there’s any fat present [on the bowl or whisk], the egg whites won’t inflate because fat impedes the protein structure of the egg whites from forming those bonds that create the stable foam. If they don’t get to that really particular thickness, your cake batter won’t be spongy and it won’t rise. You’ll have a flat, gummy, weird cake."

Roll the Cake While It’s Warm

Rolling the cake while warm will help it hold its shape of the cylinder and prevent cracking. If your cake does experience a little cracking, don’t fret. "It’s really no big deal. No one will see it because you’re covering frosting around it," Gesine explains.

Cut Strips of Cake Before Frosting

"When you put the frosting on the cake, make sure you have first cut the strips lengthwise so you’re going to have four lengthwise strips of cake," Gesine tells us. "Think about it as one big, fat Swiss roll. You’re going from one strip to the other and building on it like a snowball going down a hill."

Pipe, Don’t Spread, the Frosting

Take it from Gesine: "When you add the frosting, make sure you add it very evenly and the best way to do that is to pipe it. Fill a Ziplock bag with the frosting and pipe strips down the cake so that when you spread it, it’s very even."

Make Room to Roll

"Once you start rolling up, take a deep breath and make sure you have plenty of room to move. When your first roll is done, give yourself a pat on the back, immediately move on to the next one and then just meet up at the seams and continue rolling.'

Wrap and Chill to Set

Gesine suggests freezing or refrigerating the cake until the frosting is set before serving. She also reaches for plastic wrap to control the shape of the dessert. "I will take Saran Wrap and wrap the outside of the cake, just to make sure that it’s contained. It won’t unravel, but it’s kind of nice to know that you can make it a little more round too," she says. "It’s like Spanx. It’s contouring for cake."

Forget About Perfection

"The one thing I love about these stripes is they don’t have to be perfect. The frosting is very forgiving," Gesine says. You can always add more frosting to cover up holes if need be.

Customize It for Different Occasions

"[This cake] translates to Fourth of July or Memorial Day, but you can dye this cake any color you want to. And you don’t have to put different kinds of filling in there. Just make sure the filling in the cake is contrasting enough that when you cut through it you get that spectacular visual of the vertical cake," Gesine advises. She also suggests trying a whip cream, meringue or cream cheese frosting and making it "whirly-swirly" to avoid doing any smoothing.

Be Patient and Remember It’ll Still Look Awesome

"Take your time! I’ve been doing this cake for a decade. Sometimes it looks perfect on the first go and then sometimes on the second go, it doesn’t look as great. You’ve got to give yourself a break. You’re hard on yourself. But when people see something you don’t think is perfect, they’re still going to think it’s the coolest thing they’ve ever seen."

Remember to Relax

"Treat yourself because this should be a fun experience," she explains, "and it’s really unfun when things go wrong."