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Ina Garten's American Flag Cake? Or something else?

I've been asked to make an American flag cake for my friend's ex-pat July 4th BBQ this Sunday. I love baking and I have a huge, great collection of dessert recipes, but not that many large sheet cake type recipes...

Has anyone tried Ina Garten's American Flag Cake? Or should I try something else? I basically know how I will decorate (white icing, strawberries and blueberries- how creative!) but I just would like to find the best white cake recipe. Maybe it could even be almond flavored...?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions...

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  1. I am watching Ina right now, how strange is that? She's making her "pot roast for a willing friend's dinner meal" today. I often think some of these shows are pre set up.
    Anyway, no, I've not tried it but have seen it and other versions too.
    Here's a link I just found on a wide array of ideas for you.
    http://www.google.com/#hl=en&sour...
    Another one is here but they all start with a mix.
    http://www.google.com/#hl=en&sour...
    I'd get two boxed mixes [cause you want a large sheet cake right?] add my own touches such as the almond extract or even coconut, I love that idea. Maybe high quality “classic white” wouldn't be bad if you used your own ideas to spiff it up. I enjoy a rich creamy dense cake to ward off the sweet toppings, like one with inclusions of cream cheese or sour cream or Greek yogurt and/or buttermilk, that way you could just skip a recipe from scratch. Michaels or a craft store would have a sheet pan or borrow one. Plus there, you could even get some jimmies in the right color to do a dozen cute little cupcakes for the little ones, using jimmies instead of the fruit, oooh red white and blue candy jimmies..... up to you..........enjoy..........
    I make the best cake I've ever had using a cake mix, that I can't even buy in my own state.
    Believe it or not, true. But with my inclusions of things that seem way over the top, it's the best cake I've ever had, husbands favorite too.

    8 Replies
    1. re: iL Divo

      Thanks for the links and suggestions! Ina's cake is not that hard, it's actually pretty quick and I like to avoid the cake mixes.
      I will probably add some almond extract like you mentioned to jazz it up a bit.
      I like your idea of setting up a color-coded American flag with cupcakes! But for some reason that seems like more work, and I'd have to go out and get a mini cupcake tin...

      1. re: iL Divo

        I used Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix because it was recommended on CH. Though I rarely use mixes, not having to buy food coloring made sense, and using melted butter rather than oil made a good cake. I used cream cheese frosting, raspberries, and black raspberries instead of strawberries and blueberries. Bing cherries are also a possibility for the stripes - halve, pit and blot, place cut-side up being careful not to let juice bleed into the frosting.

        1. re: greygarious

          I like your idea. Question for you, how do you prevent anything red, fruit wise, from bleeding onto the cake? I think that'd be so hard.

          For eviemichael, I have a little problem with collection all things kitchen so, and I'm hiding under the table here, have a few of those little mini muffin tins and many other kinds too.....still hiding.

          1. re: iL Divo

            Im jealous of your large kitchen collection!

            1. re: eviemichael

              oh no need to be envious, it's a desire to get back into my grandparents kitchen I think. back into a time where life was easier, times weren't as hard, the disgust of the day, not so obvious, that's all. I love bring back yesteryear and also love things that catch my fancy kitchen wise and many things do. hard to not grad and pay for when it's in my reach. anything unusual [or not] joins me and if it's not necessary, it goes to charity shops or neighbors.

              1. re: iL Divo

                I love cooking with my grandmother's hand-me-down tools...:)

            2. re: iL Divo

              The best thing is to blot the fruit and decorate as close as possible to serving, which minimizes bleeding. I don't know of a way to prevent it entirely. You could try a hard ball syrup glaze on the berries but that will melt where it touches the frosting and doesn't seem worth the effort. Leftovers will inevitably look tie-dyed.

              I like the red velvet because it looks dramatic, people don't expect it in a flag cake, and many/most people like the mild chocolate flavor of red velvet better than white or yellow cake.

              1. re: greygarious

                I love the flavor of red velvet because it is just that soft taste of chocolate.
                So I was wondering about something else, the bleeding. What about barely dipping the strawberries and or blueberries in the thinnest layer of parafin wax first, I mean the thinnest layer.... that goes onto certain chocolates and we eat those right? why not prevent bleeding that way and be able to eat too. May work, just a thought.

        2. I just happened to see these
          http://bakingbites.com/2009/07/red-wh...
          this morning. Pretty garnish for any type of cake!

          2 Replies
          1. re: blue room

            oh those are wicked cute.
            I love those.
            I make my own colored sugar that I use usually for Christmas cookies. So I have all colors.
            this time of year, our markets practically give strawberry's away.

            1. re: blue room

              Ooooooh, i love those! thanks for the link

            2. I have not tried that recipe, however I have a recipe that I think is better. It's grilled pound cake with a cannoli cream and berries on top. The white cannoli cream, raspberries and blueberries on top look beautiful. Here's the link if you're interested in something different :)

              http://www.examiner.com/x-4180-Norfol...

              4 Replies
              1. re: krisrishere

                That recipe looks gorgeous and is definitely way more up my alley...it's just that my friend the host I think would appreciate something more gaudy and "obviously" festive...:)

                1. re: krisrishere

                  it looks good, I'd love it, but for the pazzzzaz factor, the sheet cake to me anyway, has "wow"

                  again about the bleeding tho................
                  What about barely dipping the strawberries and or blueberries in the thinnest layer of parafin wax first, I mean the thinnest layer....

                  1. re: iL Divo

                    I have never had a problem with the "flag" fruit bleeding when I decorated just a few hours before serving and refrigerated the cake.

                    The only bleeding issue I've had is when I took the cake to a picnic and it was unrefrigerated for a couple of hours. But then it just had this delicious strawberry sauce!

                2. Last year, I made a tres leches cake in a 9x13 pan and topped w/ rum whipped cream and strawberries/blueberries. It was great but I love the creamy texture of tres leches. Here's the recipe for the cake. I didn't use the dulce de leche.

                  http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-15...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chowser

                    i didn't even think of that...i LOVE tres leches cake. Great idea, thanks!

                  2. I make Ina's Flag Cake every 4th. This year I suggested I branch out and was told I must make the cake.

                    It is totally simple, can be made the day before and decorated day of. I serve it right in the sheet pan. Really moist. Serves a crowd. Good cold or at room temp. My only caveat is that the recipe makes much more frosting than you need. I usually make the whole recipe anyway and freeze the leftover, then use leftover frosting on another cake or cupcakes.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Junie D

                      I read on some of the recipe reviews (on FN site) that the cake comes out too dense and needs an addition of beaten egg whites to the batter. This hasn't been your experience I assume? Those bad reviews scared me off...

                      1. re: eviemichael

                        the cake is dense. but not too dense. ina's flag cake is amazing. the icing, the cake - everything. i LOVE it.

                        1. re: AMFM

                          I'm happy to know that things she makes are also good. I watch her because she's adorable and fun to watch, plus I love her love of all things fattening. But I never thought of making any of her things that I can remember. That cake is a testament to her talent, thanks for that remark.

                          1. re: iL Divo

                            i LOVE all her recipes. i wouldn't go to a restaurant for them but they are amazing to make at home. not too hard. ALWAYS turn out well and to rave reviews. seriously i'm a fan.
                            check out her lemon pound cake. oh my goodness.