Our ancestors might have baked a cast-iron apple stack cake for special occasions in the Appalachian Mountains, but today with July 4th parties and potlucks around the corner, everyone in The Old Mil Kitchen is thinking Flag Cake.
It’s the fun sheet cake covered with stripes of red berries and blueberry stars that really looks like the American flag. Well, sort of…and that’s the fun of it. We think there is always room for creative expression! And it’s just the cake to bake with your girlfriends, kids or grandkids, or just by yourself this weekend.
You begin with a sheet cake – baked in a 13-by 9-inch pan – either made with your favorite white or yellow cake mix or with our from-scratch recipe using our unbleached flour. Let it cool completely. Then, you whip up an easy cream cheese frosting to spread on the top and sides. After that, you line up fresh strawberries and raspberries for the seven red stripes and small blueberries for the stars. (A bit of a history lesson: Our flag contains seven red stripes and six white stripes to add up to 13, which symbolize the original 13 colonies. And those 50 blueberries each stand for an American state.)
Once you bake our flag cake, take a photo of it! We’ll be sharing photos of your flag cakes on our social this summer!
July 4th Flag Cake
- 1 quart fresh strawberries, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 pint fresh raspberries, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed and patted dry
- Vegetable oil or shortening and flour for prepping the pans
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups The Old Mill Unbleached Plain Flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 4 ounces (half an 8-inch block) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the berry garnish, cap the strawberries. Cut into quarters or halves depending on the size of the berries. (For really large berries, you might need to cut the quarters in half. The idea is to create strawberry pieces that are the same size as the raspberry halves.) Cut the raspberries in half. Select the 50 smallest blueberries in the pint. Set the berries aside in separate bowls.
- For the cake, place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mist a 13- by 9-inch pan with vegetable oil spray or rub with vegetable shortening, and dust with flour. Set the pan aside.
- Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir the flour and baking soda together to combine. Alternately add the flour and soda mixture to the batter with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour.
- Beat the egg whites with clean beaters until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Fold the eggs whites into the batter until just incorporated. Turn the batter into the prepared pan, and place the pan in the oven. Bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and has turned lightly browned around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven to cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Place the soft cream cheese and butter in a medium-size mixing bowl. Blend with a hand-mixer on low speed, or with a wooden spoon, until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla, and blend until smooth and fluffy, 1 minute.
- Place the cooled sheet cake on a platter or board. Frost the top and sides of the cake. In the top left hand corner, arrange rows of the 50 blueberries to resemble the flag’s stars. Create 7 rows of strawberries and raspberries – either separately or a combination of each – leaving enough space between each berry row to make the flag’s 6 white stripes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired, then slice and serve.