Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Flag Cake (Or Just a Damn Good Sheet Cake with Fruit)

 So...I know this looks a little late. The Fourth of July is a week. Let's be real though, this wasn't getting to you in time to make it last week anyway. The thing is, you don't have to arrange the fruit in a flag shape. It just looks really cool when it is.

This cake, y'all, is bangin'. Moist, striking a balance between fluffy and dense. Like not an angel food cake but not a poundcake either. And my most favorite thing about a sheet cake- you don't have to take it out of the pan. Just cool it on a rack and frost that baby right in the pan. Boom.

This is adapted from Ina Garten, so you know it's not terribly complicated but still completely devour-able. You need: Cornstarch, flour, eggs, butter, sugar, baking soda, salt, vanilla extract, and sour cream. How easy is that?...that was my Ina moment.

 Step one: Sift the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda.
I just think sifted flour looks so pretty. Like freshly driven snow, which would be really welcome right now.

Let's get down to the good stuff. Butter and sugar go into a large bowl to get creamed.

When it's good and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time.

Mix in the sour cream.

Beat in the vanilla extract for the last of the wet ingredients.

Gradually add the flour.  Adding it slowly not only helps guard against lumps, it also keeps you from wearing it.

It's a lusciously thick batter. Go ahead and stick your finger in. I won't tell if you won't.

Spread the batter in a buttered and floured sheet pan.

After a brief stint in the oven you'll have a gorgeous golden sheet cake. Cool it in the pan on a wire rack.

Cream. Cheese. Frosting. It makes life worth living. It makes me do embarrassing dances in my kitchen. It's four ingredients: Cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.

Butter and cream cheese make nice in a large bowl.

A minute with a hand mixer and they are one. Namaste....namaste is probably inappropriate there, isn't it?

I like to sift my powdered sugar straight into the bowl.

After all the powdered sugar has made it in, add the vanilla extract and mix it until it's combined.

You'll spread about 3/4 of the frosting on the cake.

Outline the stars section with a toothpick.

Berries! I used about half of each container.

Fill in the stars section with the blueberries. You can pack them in a little closer if you want.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the rest of the frosting and pipe the stars over the blueberries. I opted for small stars, but you can do bigger ones if you like. I...ended up with 55 stars in all. Oops.

I went ahead and piped on my stripes because I was doing as much as I could a day ahead. I knew I didn't want the strawberries to sit on there all night, but if you're doing this all in one day go ahead and start with the strawberries and just alternate berries with frosting stripes.

I got about 4 slices out of each strawberry. Cut off the top then slice it vertically to make pretty slices.

Overlap the strawberries for the red stripes.

Flag cake!

The cake really is super awesome. I think it's an excellent choice for other patriotic holidays (Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, etc) OR why not just make the cake and toss whatever berries you want on top. You can't lose!

Flag Cake (Or Just a Damn Good Sheet Cake) (serves 10-12)
Slightly adapted and halved from Ina Garten

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 tbs + 2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
9 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
3 eggs
1/2 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 c powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 pint blueberries
1/2 lb strawberries
  • Preheat oven to 350º. Butter and flour a 10.5x14.5 (or close approximation) sheet cake pan.
  • Sift the flour, cornstarch, kosher salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl in between each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix to combine.
  • Add the flour mixture gradually and beat until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared sheet cake pan. Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack.
  • When the cake is cool, assemble the frosting. Cream the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and mix on low. When all the powdered sugar is in, stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Spread 3/4 of the frosting on the cake. Use a toothpick to outline a square in the upper left corner for the stars. Fill the square with blueberries. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the rest of the frosting. Pipe stars amongst the blueberries. Hull the strawberries and slice vertically to make 4 slices. Starting at the top, overlap the strawberries to make a horizontal stripe across the cake. Pipe two rows of frosting under the strawberry row to make a white stripe. Repeat until the rest of the cake is filled in with alternating rows of strawberries and frosting. Serve straight out of the pan with quality vanilla ice cream.

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