Though I have been living outside of the United States for six years, without fail, I always celebrate the Fourth of July. Last year, I made a flag cake based heavily on A Stove With a House Around It’s recipe. From the outside, the cake looks like a simple white layer cake, but cutting it open reveals that each slice is an American flag. I wanted to keep the same concept this year, but also have an American flag on the exterior of the cake. The switch from circular to square cake tins was easy, and I actually found it easier to cut and construct the square cake than the circular cake.
Feel free to use another flavouring in the icing. I am a huge fan of lime zest, but crystallized ginger, coconut flakes, or even almond extract would be delicious.
Fourth of July Flag Cake (inspired by A Stove With A House Around It)
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Red food colouring
Blue food colouring
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour three square 9-inch cake pans. Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and continue to beat the mixture. Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl, and whisk together the milk and vanilla extract in another bowl. Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter mixture, alternating between each. Stir well until fully combined.
Divide the batter into thirds. Dye one third blue, another red, and leave the remaining third white. Do not be stingy with the food colouring–you will need to use more than you think to get a bright colour. Pour each batter into a separate cake pan, and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and let cool completely.
Wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and store in the freezer until frozen. Once frozen, remove the plastic wrap. Using a serrated knife, cut the red and white layers in half lengthwise. Stack the blue layer on top of one red layer and one white layer, and cut through the three layers top to bottom, so that each layer is divided into a 1/3 piece and a 2/3 piece. Set aside the 1/3 pieces of the red and white layers and the 2/3 piece of the blue layer–they will not be used.
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
1 lime, zested
Blueberries & strawberries (optional)
Combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract in a bowl and stir until fully combined. Add the powdered sugar and lime zest gradually, mixing until fully combined. This icing can be made one day ahead of time and stored in the fridge.
Spread icing on the top and sides of the bottom red layer. Place a white layer on top, and repeat. Repeat the same process for the smaller red and white layers. Place the small blue rectangle atop the large white layer, next to the smaller red and white layers. Add icing as necessary to hide the breaks between the colour layers. Optional: Add “stars and stripes” to the top of the cake by placing blueberries in the top left corner, and strawberry “stripes” horizontally across the cake. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving. Enjoy!