Chef Gilligan's 4th of July American flag cake.Getty images

Calling all non-bakers: If you’re not big on creating cakes and baked goods, but are still interested in a fun, patriotic treat to serve to guests at home, friends and family at upcoming 4th of July gatherings, I invite you to try this easy recipe for Independence Day Celebration Cake.

Easy to bake and fun to make, this Celebration Cake can be tailored to fit your individual needs, tastes or requirements depending upon what flavor of cake you opt for, what type and flavor of icing you use, and even what berries you choose.

If you are long on plans but short on time, and looking to make this dessert even easier, use a boxed cake mix rather than making a cake from scratch. And while blueberries are pretty much a must to create a panel of stars, feel free to substitute halved strawberries or cherries instead of raspberries to create the stripes of the American flag.

Last thoughts: If you’re serving this cake at a home gathering, I encourage you to get even more creative with its presentation. Sparklers add a nice touch to any 4th of July celebration, and adding a few to this cake would make a stunning impression. Also, consider adding extra berries around the base of this cake and sprinkling them with a dusting of powdered sugar. You could also decorate the cake pedestal itself, or your entire tablescape with red, white and blue decor such as cut-out stars, miniature American flags, ribbon and confetti.

Now, onto the easy part…

4TH OF JULY FLAG CAKE

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups butter
  • 1 2/3 cups  sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cups cocoa
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups water

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cups butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Topping

  • 1/2 pt  blueberries
  • 1 qt small evenly-sized strawberries

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350F; grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. In large bowl, combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla; beat on high speed for about 3 minutes.

3. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add alternately with water to butter mixture. Mix just until combined (don't over mix).

4. Pour into the prepared baking pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

5. Cool for about 15 minutes then remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Place cake on cardboard that's been covered with foil.

6. Frost cake with the vanilla buttercream frosting (method below).

7. Arrange blueberries in upper left corner of cake, covering about 1/4 of the cake.

8. Arrange strawberries in rows to create the red stripes.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

In large bowl, combine powdered sugar and butter. Add milk and vanilla; beat to spreading consistency.

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