How to make a star-inside cake

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With summer officially underway, we've got cookout fare on our minds: Juicy burgers and brats, creamy potato salad, thick slabs of buttered cornbread. And let's not forget dessert. This year, we're upping the ante with this gorgeous white cake covered in sweet buttercream. Each slice features a vibrant pair of red-and-blue stars to match our stately flag. Seem complicated? With the right tools, it's a cinch. Here's how to assemble this star-spangled cake, step by step.

How to Make a Star-Inside Cake
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How to Make a Star-Inside Cake
Dye the Batter

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, then make your first batch of white cake batter. Once it's mixed, divide the batter between two bowls. Use food coloring to dye one bowl red and the other blue.

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Prepare for Piping
Transfer each of the colored cake batters to plastic piping bags.

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Alternate Colors
Coat a rectangular sheet pan with baking spray. Then, cut the ends of each piping bag and add your batter to the pan in rows, alternating each color.

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Cut Out the Stars
Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center of it comes out clean, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Let cake cool to room temperature before moving on. Once it's cool, use a 2- to 2 1/2-inch star cookie cutter to cut out shapes from the striped red-and-blue cake.

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Round 2
Make your second batch of white cake batter.

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Then ...
Transfer the white cake batter to a piping bag.

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Prepare Your Loaf Pan
Coat an 8-1/2-by-4-1/2-inch loaf pan with baking spray. Add a thin layer of vanilla cake to the bottom.

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Add the Stars
Then, add the stars to the pan, lining them up in two rows, side by side.

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Add Remaining Batter
Pipe the remaining batter into the pan, covering the stars.

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Bake and Cool
Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool completely.

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Frost and Decorate
While waiting for your cake to cool, make your buttercream frosting. Then, use a serrated knife to level the cake and carve off any dark-brown spots. Place the cake on a serving plate and frost the top and sides. If you like, use a closed star tip to pipe a decoration across the top of cake; decorate with sprinkles.

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Dig In!
A slice of this festive reveal cake is just the thing to cap off a Fourth of July party, whether you're celebrating under a colorful shower of fireworks or in the comfort of your own backyard.

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