Candy cane stripes are everywhere during the holiday season, and the red and white color combination isn't just limited to the candy. Serve these fun and festive cake bars at your holiday party or add them to a cookie tin for a food gift. They may look difficult but, since you use a boxed cake mix, they can be ready in a little over an hour. Don't fret about using a box mix; the addition of buttermilk and butter with the cake mix instead of oil and regular milk gives this an incredible homemade taste. You will need 3 (9-inch) cake pans. After mixing the cake batter, spoon one-third of the white cake batter into one pan, mix red food coloring gel into the rest of the batter and divide it into the remaining two pans. After the layers have baked and cooled, spread the seedless raspberry jam on top of a red layer, top with the white layer, spread more jam, then top with the remaining red layer. To help cut clean, even rectangles, chill or briefly freeze the layered cake.

Pam Lolley


Credit: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe Summary test

25 mins
1 hr 15 mins
4 dozen


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat cake mix, buttermilk, melted butter, egg whites, vanilla, and salt with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on low speed until ingredients are incorporated, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium; beat until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.

  • Coat 3 (9-inch) square baking pans with cooking spray. Spoon one-third of the cake batter into 1 of the prepared pans. Add 4 or 5 red food coloring gel drops to remaining batter; stir with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated. Divide red batter evenly between remaining 2 pans. 

  • Bake cakes in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in middles comes out clean, 11 to 13 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Transfer cakes to a wire rack; cool completely, about 30 minutes. 

  • Place 1 red cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1/4 cup jam. Top with white cake layer; spread with remaining 1/4 cup jam. Top with remaining red cake layer. Cut cake into 4 equal-size rectangles. Cut each rectangle into 12 (about 1/2-inch) pieces.