The pickle man

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Flag Cake!

I started the new semester teaching an AP Government and Politics class for the 5th time.  On Friday, we had a party to celebrate both the inauguration and the right to peacefully protest the inauguration -- the same sort of celebration the class held on Inauguration Day four years ago.  It was a busy week, so I didn't have time to make them what I wanted to make (I relied on my old standard, Mom's chocolate cake, instead).  But if I'd had a little more time, they would have gotten to enjoy one of my favorite ways to celebrate America -- Flag Cake! 

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays.  Seriously, some years it tops Christmas.

There is no stress about gifts - just a big party, with fireworks!

My neighborhood has a bicycle parade!

We get to go swimming and skiing in the bayou :)

And the food - oh, the food.

We always start the day with a little watermelon, blueberry streussel muffins (recipe forthcoming), and bloody Marys.

And then, once the sun goes down, ribs, chicken, grandmother rice, and Cha Cha's fabulous baked beans.

Sometimes, there is homemade peach ice cream...

And... flag cake!

For the cake:
2 1/4 sticks butter at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda

For the icing:
4 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
1 pound powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

To decorate:
1/2 pint blueberries
1 pint of red fruit - I have used strawberries, pitted cherries, and raspberries.

Preheat the oven to 350.
Spray an 18 x 13 x 1 1/2 inch sheet pan (I like Baker's Joy or Pam with Flour).
Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy (this takes longer than you think -- 4-5 minutes on high).  Add the eggs two at a time, beating between, then add the sour cream and vanilla.  Scrape the sides and mix again.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined.  Pour into the sheet pan and smoot.  Bake for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely.

For the icing, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in an electric mixer.  Having the ingredients room temperature is important!

Take approximately a cup of the icing and put it into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip (while you can use a Ziploc bag with the tip cut off, these always explode on me, and I think it is worth the $8 the next time you are ordering from Amazon or at Michael's).

Spread the remaining icing on the cooled sheet cake. Outline a square in the upper left corner with blueberries.  Place two rows of red fruit (raspberries, strawberries, etc.) across the top of the cake to form the first red stripe.  Space an inch or two down and make a second row.  I only had room for three rows of red on this cake because the raspberries were big!

Once you've placed the fruit, go back and add stars to the tops of the blueberry section, and white stripes between the raspberries.

This cake has been known to be joyfully consumed by "nasty women" and "deplorables" alike ;)