American Flag Cake

Happy Birthday, America! A Look Back at 4th of July Desserts

I love baking and each year that I’m in town I usually make a red, white and blue 4th of July dessert. I’m not sure what I’ll make this year, but in honor of America’s birthday, which is right around the corner, here’s a look back at a few of my past 4th of July creations.

Mini Black-bottom Berry Cream Pies

I adapted the Black-bottom Raspberry Cream Pie recipe from Bon Appétit. Instead of making one large pie, I used ramekins (I think they were 3-4 inches in diameter) to create individual mini pies. I also swapped out raspberries for strawberries and blueberries to make the pies more patriotic.

The pies have to be chilled multiple times in the process, but the chocolate “black bottom” is to die for. In such a cute, small size they were quickly gobbled up and I had to make this recipe again the following week to keep up with popular demand.

Mini black-bottom berry cream pies

Mini black-bottom berry cream pies

Brownie Berry Pie

So the recipe is actually called Brownie and Berries Dessert Pizza, but I hate the name “dessert pizza” because it makes me think of savory pizza so I’ve renamed this Betty Crocker  recipe Brownie Berry Pie in my mind. I feel much better now.

Aside from the name, everything else in the recipe is perfect. I used a pie pan since I didn’t have a pizza pan and it turned out fine, except the brownies were a bit thicker. I also made the brownies from scratch, but I can’t remember what recipe I used. My go-to brownie recipe is this Cocoa Brownie recipe by Bon Appétit Test Kitchen which is extra fudgey and rich.

Brownie berry pie

Brownie berry pie

Sadly, this dessert did not get eaten on July 4th since we went out for dinner and then immediately to a friend’s rooftop to see fireworks. The brownie would not have traveled well unrefrigerated for so many hours, so it was probably for the best. Although I was sad to leave the brownie behind, going to the rooftop was worth it since we had a beautiful view of the fireworks and were able to avoid the crowds. Fortunately, this tasty treat did get eaten the following day so it didn’t go to waste.

American Flag Cake

Last year I was going to a party so I needed to find a dessert that could withstand the summer heat. It took me a while to find a new dessert since many of were either ice creams, popsicles or dyed to look red, white and blue. I am not a big fan of dyeing foods…honestly the unnatural color kind of freaks me out a bit. I finally settled on making the Flag Cake by Smitten Kitchen because it checked all my boxes – naturally red, white and blue, easy to transport, and delicious. (Everything by Smitten Kitchen is delicious).

I normally don’t like white cake or cake in general. I prefer brownies, pie, or ice cream cake, but this cake recipe is AMAZING! It was so good that I made this cake twice over the 4th of July weekend. The recipe calls for buttermilk that makes the cake so moist and delicious. Don’t ruin the recipe by using a box mix. The short cut that I did take was using strawberries instead of raspberries to decorate the cake. It went a lot quicker and still looked and tasted great.

American Flag Cake

American Flag Cake! 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸

Unfortunately, at the party we went to, my beautiful cake went unnoticed for the most part. Long story short, by the time we arrived people had been drinking for some time and many were very drunk. The only comment I got was “Look, American flag cake!” from a couple nearly passed out on the couch. There was alcohol in everything – from the punch to the deserts to the fruit! NOTHING WAS SAFE!

I left some slices of cake at the party and brought the rest of the cake to a church barbecue the following night. Everyone at church was much more appreciative of the cake. Lesson learned…if you spend time making something fancy do not waste it on drunk people. They will not be able to appreciate your hard work, no matter how nice they are. Next time I will bring a bag of chips from the store!

The second time I made the cake was for an impromptu party we had on July 4th. Given the short notice, I baked the cake in the morning and had decided to put it in the fridge to quickly cool before icing. I was crouching by the fridge, balancing the the pan on my lap while rearranging items to make room for the pan in the fridge. Then the worst thing happened.

The pan flipped over and half the cake tumbled onto the floor. At first I was too panicked. What do I do? THE CAKE IS ON THE FLOOR!!!! But then my  instincts kicked into overdrive to rescue the cake and I began scooping it back into the pan.

Fortunately my roommate made some extra buttercream icing to help cover the mistake. It looked  a bit lumpy, but once we put the berries on top it looked beautiful. Our guests didn’t notice anything was wrong and enthusiastically ate it up.

This is the second American flag cake that I made...it needed some "repairs," but tasted delicious!

This is the second American flag cake that I made…it needed some “repairs,” but tasted delicious!

I feel like enough time has passed that I can share this story with you, but that day, we were determined to keep it a secret.

Hopefully this year there are no kitchen disasters and everyone eats my dessert!

What are you planning on making (or eating) on July 4th? What dessert should I make? What is your worst kitchen disaster?

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