This fresh berry flag cake is my FAVORITE fresh strawberry cake reinvented with a patriotic twist - which just might involve mounds of fluffy cream cheese frosting and no shortage of fresh, juicy berries!
Who's ready for the 4th of July??? Insert hand waving wildly in the air emoji. It's my favorite holiday next to Christmas. In the past, mine have always been spent with family and friends either at the pool, on the lake, or just relaxing outside playing games and grillin' out. It's chill. The food is simple and fresh. No muss, no fuss! All while remembering how blessed we are to live in America and remembering those who have fought for our freedom. Even though times may seem dark these days, we still have so much to be thankful for!
For this year's Independence Day celebration, Ryan and I are lucky enough to be spending it with his family in the great state of TEXAS. I'm sure there will be no shortage of BBQ, burgers, garden-fresh veggies, and PIES. That's his family's jam, and I am not mad about it! I had to have a flag cake though before the summer was over. So I made it a week early so I could get it to YOU, dear reader. And boy, was it a good decision. Ryan and I polished off two-thirds of this baby in 3 days flat. It tasted so good right out of the fridge on a hot day - the berries were so juicy and succulent, the cake dense and moist, and the cream cheese frosting was - dreamy. And super creamy. Basically, it was pure berry flag cake bliss.
Here's some really good news: you can make this cake the day BEFORE the 4th, frost it, chill it, then decorate with berries right before serving. You know, so we can keep your celebration on the chill. I'd highly recommend topping it with sparklers when you bring it out to serve - you know, for a little Instagrammable wow factor.
Have a safe and happy 4th everyone - God bless the USA!
Fresh Berry Flag Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the strawberry puree
- 1 pound ripe strawberries hulled and quartered ((can also use frozen berries))
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the cake
- 3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
- 6 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1/2 cup strawberry puree at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour sifted ((see notes))
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
For the cream cheese frosting
- 6 ounces cream cheese at room temperature ((3/4 of a block))
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature ((one stick))
- 4 cups powdered sugar
For the garnish
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1 pint raspberries halved
- 1 pound strawberries cut in half with tops removed
For the strawberry puree
- Combine strawberries and sugar in pot over med heat and cook until the strawberries start to burst and simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries have reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 20 min. Cool to room temperature.
For the cake
- Butter and flour a 9 x 13 inch cake plan. I recommend lining the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper, also buttered and floured. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the strawberry puree, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix with fork until well blended.
- In a separate bowl, add sifted cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix with a whisk to combine.
- In bowl of stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream softened butter and sugar, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of bowl as needed to get all of the sugar creamed into the butter.
- Gradually add the egg whites and blend on low until well incorporated, about a minute.
- Alternately, in 3 additions for the liquid and 2 additions for the dry, add liquid mixture and dry mixture on med-low speed, beginning and ending with liquid. Scrape down the sides of bowl and mix until all ingredients are just combined. The batter will be slightly lumpy and will look like homemade strawberry ice cream mix.
- Pour cake batter into prepared pan and place on a rack in the center of your oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cake rest in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of cake pan and turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting/assembly
- While the cake cools, make the frosting. With the whisk attachment of a mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until combined. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and mix on low speed until all of the sugar is added and mostly incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat until the frosting is fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Place the cooled cake on a serving platter. Frost with cream cheese frosting. At this point, you can refrigerate the cake for up to 1 day before decorating with berries, or proceed with decorating and serving. Reserve about 1/2 cup of frosting for piping stars and white strips.
- Arrange blueberries in the top left corner of cake. Use strawberry halves to create 4 rows/strips of berries. Use the raspberry halves and remaining blueberries to line the bottom sides of cake.
- Using a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip, pipe small white stars onto the blueberries of the flag. If desired, you can also pipe white rows between the strawberry strips to add extra texture to the cake.