I love to make desserts. And I have a LOT of favorites: strawberry pie and peach raspberry crumble top the list this time of year.
My sisters have their favorite: chocolate angel mousse pie (here's the old link... a new one is coming soon!)
My brother and dad also share a fondness for cheesecake.
But when some of my best friends moved to Pennsylvania two years ago (sniff...), and I offered to make any dessert for their going away party, I was more than a little suprised when the request was "Flag cake."
"Flag cake?" I asked
"Yeah, that one you make on the Fourth of July!" my friend said.
So for a going away party in September... we had Flag Cake.
I mean, it made sense... they were moving to Philadelphia: Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Constitutional Convention. Plus, what's not to love about a delicious yellow cake with a perfect crumb, topped with cream cheese icing and fresh fruit?
So for the 4th of July, or any time you are feeling a little patriotic:
For the cake:
2 1/4 sticks butter at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
For the icing:
4 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
1 pound powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 pint blueberries
1 pint of red fruit - I have used strawberries, pitted cherries, and raspberries.:
Preheat the oven to 350.
Spray an 18 x 13 x 1 1/2 inch sheet pan (I like Baker's Joy or Pam with Flour).
Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy (this takes longer than you think -- 4-5 minutes on high). Add the eggs two at a time, beating between, then add the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape the sides and mix again.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Pour into the sheet pan and smoot. Bake for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
For the icing, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in an electric mixer. Having the ingredients room temperature is important!
Take approximately a cup of the icing and put it into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip (while you can use a Ziploc bag with the tip cut off, these always explode on me, and I think it is worth the $8 the next time you are ordering from Amazon or at Michael's).
Spread the remaining icing on the cooled sheet cake. Outline a square in the upper left corner with blueberries. Place two rows of red fruit (raspberries, strawberries, etc.) across the top of the cake to form the first red stripe. Space an inch or two down and make a second row. I only had room for three rows of red on this cake because the raspberries were big!
Once you've placed the fruit, go back and add stars to the tops of the blueberry section, and white stripes between the raspberries/ strawberries.
My kids, especially my youngest, love decorating this!