This Summer we are celebrating the season's bounty of berries. During the entire month of May we experimented with strawberries. June was devoted to both sweet and savory preparations of cherries, and now that it's July 1, we are moving on to plump, antioxidant-rich blueberries.
To kick things off, we have a quintessential Fourth of July dessert: flag cake. Since there's no set recipe for the interior of flag cake, I modeled mine off of a recipe I found in Every Day With Rachael Ray. It's a dense vanilla-blueberry cake with lemon cream cheese filling and whipped marshmallowy frosting. The resulting dessert is absolutely amazing.
Make it the night before you serve it, because the cake tastes even better the next day. Decorate the top before serving to look like a flag with blueberries and raspberries. Don't worry if the flag design ends up being a little crooked like mine was, it's OK for the cake to look homemade. It's the flavor that matters, and this cake is fruity, creamy, and just plain wonderful! Here's how I made it.
- For cake and filling
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 cup whole milk
3 cups blueberries
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup prepared lemon curd
For frosting and flag
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-3 cups raspberries
1 cup blueberries
- Make cake: Preheat the oven to 375°. Line the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch pan with parchment paper and grease the sides.
- Using an electric mixer, beat 2 cup sugar and the butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour and milk alternately in 3 additions. Fold in 2 cups blueberries. Transfer to the prepared pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar. Whisk in the lemon curd.
- Place parchment paper and a cooling rack on the cake and invert the layer; let cool and transfer to a work surface. Cut crosswise in half. Place one-half onto a platter and top with the cream cheese mixture. Top with 1 cup fresh blueberries. Cover with other half of cake.
- For frosting: In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine 3 large egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, a pinch salt and 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved (or mixture registers 150 on an instant-read thermometer), 2 to 3 minutes.
- Transfer to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form (do not overbeat), about 3 minutes; reduce speed to low, add 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and beat just until combined. Use immediately.
- Spread all over the cake to cover. Place the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes (or overnight) to firm up.
- When almost ready to serve, decorate the top of a cake with the blueberries and raspberries to resemble an American flag. Enjoy!
- Desserts, Cake
- North American