4th of July and Inevitable Flag Cake

Flag Cake illustration for 4th of july traditional flag cake rec

As 4th of July teeters on the horizon, and we all anticipate a long weekend of relaxation, BBQ and fun, flag cake beckons.

Of course it does. Because that’s the thing about holidays; anything you do more than once automatically becomes a tradition.

Bunting for recipes for 4th of july

I’ve written fairly extensively about flag cakes here and here, and am happy to share a few top line conclusions:

  1. A flag cake is any cake with a flag depicted on it in with some form of white icing, and red and blue fruit / jelly beans.
  1. The cake is largely irrelevant. This is all about decoration. If you like to bake, go ahead and bake. If you could care less, buy a white cake box mix and don’t sweat it.
  1. Put the fruit on the cake JUST before you want to eat it, unless you have a fridge to keep it cool in. The icing will melt in picnic conditions, and the flag will look like someone shot at it. Which is the opposite of what you want.
  1. Make sure the fruit is dry when you put it on the icing, or you’ll get stains and spoil the flag-ness of the set up.

Bunting for recipes for 4th of july

Simplest flag cake: Box mix, tray bake. Leave it in the tray. Whipped cream. Berries.

Simplest flag cake that looks fanciest: 3 boxes of cake mix, leave one white, then dye the others blue and red respectively with gel dyes (liquid dyes never really get bright enough. I use a pack from Williams Sonoma). Layer these cakes up with whipped cream and berries. Top with  whipped cream and berries.

Easiest for a picnic: Cupcakes. Hands down. Simple water and icing sugar (confectioners sugar) icing. One single raspberry / a couple of blue berries. Arrange in rows in flag formation.

Highest Maintenance: Hands down, Ina Garten. I love Ina. Verging on too much, probably, but seriously, you need a tray bigger than my oven to bake this thing. Delicious, but so not worth it if you’re based in a poorly air-conditioned New York apartment.

Bunting for recipes for 4th of july

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2 Responses to 4th of July and Inevitable Flag Cake

  1. NYC Nom Nom says:

    I once made a flag cake that wound up being a pride cake when it turned purple. Conclusion #3 was never so true.

    • Kate says:

      I never thought of doing a Pride Cake before, but I bet that would be fabulous – maybe with a rainbow of fruit? But yeah. Sunshine is the enemy of icing.

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