Fun for the 4th: Bake a Flag Cake

by cv harquail on July 1, 2014

Does your Au Pair like to bake? Do your kids?

If you’ve ever made a checkerboard cake, a heart-shaped cake, or a cake-like thing that looked vaguely like Thomas The Tank Engine, you have all the skills and equipment you need to make this very American beauty.


The flag-making process and recipe come from the blog Food52.  It was designed by their test kitchen manager Betsey Ross  Erin McDowell.  

About 32,000 of my friends have already Facebooked this to me, but in case your friends missed it, you can be the first to share.


What wonderful 4th of July activities does your family have planned?

Let us know how your cake turns out!



American Flag Cake

Photo by James Ransom, whose Instagram feed is fabulous too.


WarmStateMomma July 2, 2014 at 9:33 am

HD made his first cake two days ago. From a box. He was boasting about how amazing it would be. In the end, the AP took a photo of the cake next to the picture of what it’s *supposed* to look like. She asked me if that’s what the phrase “Pinterest Fail” means. :)

hOstCDmom July 2, 2014 at 9:45 am

post photos please!! :)

WarmStateMomma July 2, 2014 at 9:58 am

It was so funny! My sweet husband doesn’t know the difference between ganache (included in the box) and frosting (not). He tried to make a little package of peanut butter ganache cover the two-layer chocolate cake and go between the layers. The whole mess tastes better than it looks.

NoVA Twin Mom July 2, 2014 at 9:45 am

OOH – I pinned this for later reference but WarmStateMomma’s comment gave me an idea – instead of following the recipe part, start with white cake MIX then add food coloring and follow the assembly directions. Suddenly this sounds much more manageable than creating the cakes from scratch. Now I have a chance of actually making it!

Seriously, this sounds like a job for my two eager preschool bakers and their new au pair – baking five cakes in a day (or over a day or two as assembling the final cake with frozen pieces may be easier…), then assembly can happen in the evening? There’s some real possibilities here…

WarmStateMomma July 2, 2014 at 9:53 am

I may try making only the top half of the cake. The AP wants to learn to bake, but she doesn’t actually eat sugary foods so it would be just HD and I eating most of it….

WarmStateMomma July 10, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Update: I made the cake, but used boxed cake mix because the store was sold out of food coloring. The cake looked amazing, but tasted just ok (probably because I used whatever cheap, colored cake mixes were left at the store on July 3).

TexasHM July 2, 2014 at 10:24 am

NoVA great idea and would make me actually consider it (using box mix). Taking a step further – maybe buy red velvet cake mix for the red and white for the white and only dye the blue?? LOL You can tell I am a minimalist! Should I be committed for being bothered that the flag cake starts with a white stripe on top?! I already figured out how to “fix” it (I also noticed the blue is disproportionate – blue is over half of the actual flag width – 7 stripes align blue, 6 below). You make 4 cakes – one blue, one white, two red. You cut the white and red cakes in half, then take one half of each (red/white) and do the cutout for the blue. Then when you assemble it goes red, white (with blue cutout), then red white red. Still not perfect but my perfectionism tendencies calm a little this way. And if I am being truly honest I am going to cut the blue bigger so it goes further across the flag too since in actuality the blue is 40% of the length of the flag – OK who is ready to have me committed?! See why I can’t Pinterest?!! Maybe I should sit this one out. ;)

TexasHM July 2, 2014 at 10:35 am

Ooh or if you freeze them like NoVA suggested you could cut the red and white cakes into thirds and then go red white red (aligned w blue) and then white red or if you wanted it taller – white red white red. If you let the OCD go and end with a white stripe you could do it in only 3 cakes that way. Ok I will stop now I promise. ;)

Emerald City HM July 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm

My comment got moderated?

I prefer the one with blueberries and strawberries on top of a sheet cake. But in googling that I totally found one with blueberries, stawberries and bananas on skewers. Which is much closer to my ability and what we eat…

WarmStateMomma July 2, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Maybe CV disapproves of healthy fruit kabobs…?

Emerald City HM July 2, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Hahaha! Well that or the link in general. Or it’s entirely possible I don’t actually know how to hit submit properly…

cv harquail July 3, 2014 at 9:59 am

Don’t take it personally! I just haven’t gotten to the comments yet today. — However, now that I checked, I don’t see anything about fruit kababs…..

Emerald City HM July 3, 2014 at 11:22 am

Yeah I think it might be a me issue. That submit button thing or something.

Should be working July 3, 2014 at 12:11 pm

My comment below, however, that posted yesterday also appears to me as awaiting moderation. This happened before to me. No idea why.

cv harquail July 3, 2014 at 10:18 am

Ahem, thread hijackers….. your post/question/issue is pegged for tomorrow.

Mimi July 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm

We are headed to a local outdoor history museum (a village set in the 1830’s). They have some great activities for the kids and our AP finds it a fascinating place (which is good because we have a membership!). In addition to the historical presentations about celebrating the 4th, fife and drum music will be played throughout the day, and a naturalization ceremony will take place on the village common. This is something I’m really excited about showing our AP and my kids. I think it will be pretty special for them to see candidates pledge their oath of allegiance to the United States for the very first time and be sworn in as citizens.

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