The Infamous Flag Cake

The Flag Cake is a cake that most of us have come accustom to having on the table at Fourth of July get togethers. It really is unmistakeable with its raspberry stripes and the blueberry star background all nestled in a cream cheese frosting. This ingenious creation was given to us by Ina Garten from the Barefoot Contessa [cookbook: Family Style] which was first featured in Martha Steward’s Living Magazine and made even more famous by Ree Drummond The Pioneer Woman.

My first thoughts of this cake when it read about it oh so many years ago was that’s cool and left it there. I had no desire to ever make this confection concoction until recently and I could not help to feel as though I just went through a right of passage with making this cake.

Not ever have I known of any recipe to have so much butter, cream cheese and confectioners sugar but it was worth it! More about that in a moment. My Kitchen Aid mixer and I got reacquainted after a five year absence. I glad to say that nothing has changed. When I started it a cloud of (poof) flour went into the air. Everything that wasn’t white in our kitchen was now — white!

Ina’s recipe was easy to follow and wow can that woman cook! I have never tasted cake batter where I just wanted to eat the entire bowl of it and not bake it. I blame it on the butter! Same for the icing! Yep, I blame it on the butter too!

I took the liberty of having a little fun with the decorating. It is not everyday that I get to crack out a piping bag and try my untrained (I really mean untrained) cake decorating skills. I figured that the base of the cake was a great place to practice my lack of cake decorating skills.

Once I was happy with how I was going to pipe the white stripes, I added more icing to set up the base. I know, I didn’t have to pipe the icing all fancy schmancy, I just did it any way. It is my cake after all! All childishness aside, everything turned out wonderful. No, this cake was not visually perfect matter a fact there was a point when I had to slap on the blueberries, and plow on the strawberries because TW and I had to go somewhere (some social event) so time was the essence. Needless to say I also had a mess to clean up as well.

Yep, (poof) flour, powdered sugar and everything else included of making this concoction was everywhere. Normally I can keep after myself in a kitchen, however, this is my home kitchen, and messes are meant to be made here. Being at home is meant to be fun and relaxing so making a mess and not stressing about the clean up…I am all for it! No worries though the mess was cleaned up, I placed the finished cake in the fridge and we made it to where we needed to go.

Speaking of messes. I avoided the flour, butter residue disaster which lived on top of my banana bread. I ingeniously made that happen with the butter and flour technique which is commonly used via spreading melted butter in a bundt pan and then tapping flour in the pan for an even coating. By doing so the batter of the banana bread avoids sticking to the pan.

Finally I got smart on this baking adventure and bought the baking spray.

Let met tell ya…that spay is one fabulous creation! I am totally sold on it because my flag cake came out of that pan with ease and no weird flour/butter crust too boot!

After our social event came and went there was the question of who is going to eat all this cake? Since it is just TW and I there is no way that the two of us can polish it off. Luckily I had to go into work the next day. Muwahahaha….my lucky coworkers!

It’s a brave thing to do by bringing something in that you cooked into the work place.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • You really don’t know how well it will go over.
  • Workplace politics.
  • How clean was your kitchen while making this concoction
  • Were you clean while making this concoction
    • Hands washed
    • Dishes clean
    • No licking anything while making this concoction, etc.

Yep, those last few could really send a germaphobe into a panic state. However, my biggest worry was how well was it going to go over and will it all be gone at the end of the day.

When making this cake it really didn’t occrue to me that a 17” x 12 1/2” baking pan was huge. Pppffff….that’s small I thought in my mind. Well ya its small! Especially compared to the 36”x 26” pans I am used to using. I didn’t realize how big this cake was on a home cook scale. Oh, my bad!

Luckily for me the cake went over well and it was gone by the end of the day. Even the owner and CEO of the company tried it and loved it. When I was at the register of the Half-Priced-Bookstore with some new to me cookbooks by Ina Garten. The cashier made the comment of how popular the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks are. He said of all the cookbooks they receive, Ina’s books are the ones they sell the most of. That’s when I told him about the cake and how well it went over with my coworkers. The cashier said to me; “That’s a great way to network!” I hadn’t thought about that way but he was right. It was a great way to network.

With this cake being coworker tested and coworker plus CEO approved, I have no worries of ever making something on this scale and bring it into work. Nonetheless if I ever make this cake again there would be a few things I would change.

  • Take the darn thing out of the sheet pan and place it onto a cake board. Makes for easier decorating and travel.
  • Absolutely use strawberries instead of the raspberries. Not too many folks were fans of the raspberries. Even though after a while the raspberries did meshed well with the icing.
  • Also have the time to properly make the cake. Slapping it together was okay but not stellar.

Over all and I am going to end on this note. I like this cake and yes, I would make it again. I love the brilliance of taking a traditional strawberry short cake dessert and making it into a masterpiece. I also had fun making a cake from start to finish from scratch. That truly was the part where I felt as though I hit the right of passage. Making a cake from scratch.

Love ya Victoriously,

Alex Victoria

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