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Red, White and Blue Flag Cake

Memorial Day is significant in many ways. It’s the unofficial start to summer and the first three day weekend in a while, so it’s easy to forget that it’s also time when we honor those who have given their lives in military service for our country. Even though you’re likely to have a barbecue or other type of fun gathering this weekend, it’s nice to have a reminder of the day’s significance. This simple flag cake is a fantastic way to bring a little patriotism to your cookout, and it may be a great starting point for a talk with your kids about the holiday’s meaning.

Our flag cake is a very easy cake to make–using just one bowl, you can throw it together in less time than it takes the oven to preheat. And, it’s a perfect summer cake, with a light texture and tangy flavor. We’ve gone with a simple and light sour cream lemon cake, and a rich and creamy cream cheese frosting. The lighter crumb of the cake is a nice compliment to the natural sweetness of the fruit and the luxurious frosting. Of course, if you feel short on time, feel free to sub in your favorite cake mix.

Red, White and Blue Flag Cake

for the sour cream lemon cake
3/4 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup canola oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Grease a 9 x 13″ glass baking dish and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, eggs, and sugar. Stir in the flour and baking powder, salt, and zest, mixing just until combined. Add the oil, and fold in until the batter is smooth.

Pour into the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The top will be a very light golden brown. Set aside and allow the cake to cool completely.

for the cream cheese frosting
1 8 oz. package Neufchatel or cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a beater, or the paddle attachment in your stand mixer, whip together the cream cheese and butter. Add in the powdered sugar and lemon juice. When the batter is smooth, and the vanilla and beat a few seconds more.

to assemble the cake

Once the cake is completely cooled, frost it directly in the dish. Add rows of whole blueberries for the stars, and rows of overlapping sliced strawberries for the stripes. Keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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