This year, the 4th of July definitely feels different (heck, the whole world does). With a global pandemic bringing travel and parties to a standstill, we’re not left with a lot of options for safely celebrating the holiday. Couple that with everything going on in the world, and celebrating as usual definitely doesn’t feel right.

I personally opted to grab a super remote AirBnB with a small group of friends on the Chesapeake Bay. I made sure to ask the host about their cleaning protocol, and we’re bringing our own sheets, towels, dishes, etc – while it’s a hassle, we’re definitely trying to strike a balance between a fun getaway and staying safe. If you’re considering something similar and haven’t used AirBnB yet, you can use my link for $20 off your first trip! I’m a pretty avid user and love that I can stay in a home that feels much more personal and connected to the area than just a hotel (and they have some hotel rooms and such if that’s more your thing).

D02B1163-AFEC-42DE-A355-517006636B36One thing we can still safely do? Eat. 4th of July is one of my favorite food days of the year, like the Thanksgiving of Summer. I love a good barbecue, and reaaally love all of the desserts that people typically bring. This year, I decided to come up with something fun, summery, and patriotic enough to bring to your 4th of July celebration, whatever it may look like!

You can also make this cake year round, just omit the blue food coloring and you’ve got a lovely vanilla and raspberry cake that makes for a delicious treat for birthdays, holidays, etc. You can always substitute other jam flavors in the frosting to change it to be anything you want – skies the limit, when it comes to cake at least.

Making the Cake

This is a pretty standard vanilla cake recipe that I love to use, and I reduce the sugar in mine because I find that frosting is sweet enough and it doesn’t mess up the structural integrity of the cake. Whereas most recipes would call for up to 2 cups of sugar, my recipe involves one cup for 2 9″ rounds.

The most fun part of this cake? Making pretty blue swirls, of course! You can make them any color you want, but I was going for a patriotic theme here. I prefer to use gel food coloring, as it doesn’t turn your batter runny and gives a great, bright color.

To make a swirled cake, just dye part of your batter with the gel food coloring, and create blobs of alternating color throughout (on top of each other and everything). Then, take a toothpick and swirl it around, meshing the colors together without mixing them.

The Frosting

0729C92E-30D3-45B2-B093-2B58DE263204This is seriously some of the best frosting I’ve ever made – I was literally eating it with a spoon while my cake was cooling. It’s super simple, using just 5 ingredients – butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, heavy whipping cream, and raspberry jam. It comes together beautifully to create a fluffy, fruity frosting that you’ll want to put on everything. I used the whisk attachment for my KitchenAid Mixer and it whipped the frosting up perfectly.

You can also change the flavor of your frosting by using different jam- strawberry, blueberry, blackberry would all be delicious. Just be mindful to remove any large fruit pieces or seeds so you’re left with a smooth frosting.

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Let’s make a vanilla raspberry cake!


Makes 2 9″ rounds

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk (can substitute plant milk)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Gel food coloring

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), unsalted, softened to room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Beat together butter and sugar (cake) until creamed together, then add egg and milk and beat to combine
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda and pour into the wet ingredients, stirring to combine
  4. (Optional) Divide batter into 2 parts, dye one blue. Then, create little blobs of alternating colors in your prepared (greased) cake pans. Lastly, swirl the colors together with a toothpick to create a fun tie-dye design!
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350F, until a toothpick comes out clean
  6. Allow cake to cool while you work on your frosting.
  7. Combine butter and powdered sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and combine thoroughly
  8. Add vanilla extract and heavy whipping cream and beat on medium speed until frosting is well combined. Note: you may need to scrape down the sides!
  9. Add in raspberry jam, one tbsp at a time, until fully incorporated. Frosting should be pink and fluffy.
  10. Let cake cool completely before frosting. Top with fresh raspberries and white chocolate chips and ENJOY!

Let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a comment and/or tagging me on Instagram at @foodbythegram!


7 thoughts on “Vanilla Cake with Raspberry Buttercream

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