For the last three years, I've been making this cake on the 4th of July. The boys have fun helping to add the blueberries and raspberries and turning it into the American flag. This photo is actually from the one I made last year as I forgot to take a picture of this years. We were in a hurry to get over to a friend's house for a cookout. The town they live in has an annual fireworks display and where their house is, we were able to enjoy the fireworks from their backyard. Really nice! Not the best of photos I'm afraid. But here it is:
I've seen different variations of it, from Martha Stewart to Pioneer Woman's. Their cake recipe is made from scratch but turns out a much larger cake using 12 x 18 baking sheets to bake the cake in. In fact, Martha's recipe calls for 2 recipes of the cake (to make a 2 layer cake). Guess it would work well if you want to feed a crowd! I have made Martha's recipe, using 1 batch and baking it in a 9 x 13 baking pan for a 1 layer cake. A recipe from Family Circle Magazine I came across used 2 white cake mixes, doctored up, for the cake base. That's what I used this time. I love to bake from scratch but sometimes for ease, I pick up a Duncan Hines mix and add a few things to it.
Love the addition of lemon zest and juice to the cake mix and juice to the frosting. Pairs well with the fresh fruit and lends a fresh citrusy taste. It also helps to cut into the sweetness of the frosting and cake.
Festive Flag Cake
(adapted from Family Circle Magazine)
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 boxes white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
6 large egg whites
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp lemon extract
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, room temperature
pinch of salt
2 16oz pkgs of powdered sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2-3 Tbsp milk
Raspberries & Blueberries for decorating
Seedless raspberry jam (for filling), optional
Heat oven to 350. Grease & flour two 9 x 13 inch baking pans. Set aside. Pour lemon juice into a 4 cup measuring cup and add enough water to equal 2 2/3 cups.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cake mixes, egg whites, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice/water mixture and lemon extract to blend, about 3 minutes. Divide evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake at 350 for about 22 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Depending on your oven, I would check after 20 minutes. Let Cool for 10 minutes and then carefully invert cakes onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
For Frosting: Beat butter, cream cheese and pinch of salt until fluffy. Add powdered sugar gradually, along with the lemon juice and 1 Tbsp of milk. Continue beating on low until well blended and reaching a good spreading consistency, adding more milk a teaspon at a time as needed. Reserve at least 1 cup frosting for piping on a white "stripe".
Place 1 cake layer on serving tray. Spread optional raspberry jam over cake (about 3/4 cups) but not all the way to the edge so as not to make the jam squeeze out when you add the second cake layer. Or use 1 cup frosting instead of jam. Top with 2nd cake layer, top side of cake down (so that the bottom of the cake is on top). Do a crumb coat with frosting. Let it set in fridge to set, about 30 minutes. Remove and completely frost top and sides. Place remaining frosting in a pastry bag with a large star tip.
Mark off a field for "stars". Fill in with blueberries. Place 6 stripes of raspberries on cake as shown, leaving equal spacing for the "white" stripes. Carefully pipe frosting between raspberry "stripes". Refrigerate uncovered to set frosting, then loosly cover with nonstick aluminum foil. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Let stand at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before serving.