Monday, November 19, 2012

American Flag Cake


Bust out your patriotism, brothers and sisters.  

It's time to fly those stars and stripes... in cake form.



For the cake...

2-1/4 sticks unsalted butter

3 cups sugar

6 whole eggs

1 cup sour cream (full fat, babies)

1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups flour

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon kosher salt 
(use 3/4 tsp regular -- iodized-- salt if kosher salt is not available... however, get into the habit of using either sea salt or kosher salt when baking and cooking.  Tastes better.  Iodized is for the uninitiated.)

1 teaspoon baking soda 

For the frosting...
1-1/2 pound cream cheese (3 [8oz.] packages, full fat -- this is a party cake, child!)

1 pound unsalted butter (4 sticks)

1 pound powdered sugar

1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 pint blueberries

2 pints strawberries, halved vertically 

Preparation Instructions

In a mixing bowl, mix unsalted butter and sugar together on high until light and fluffy, about a minute or so. Add eggs, two at a time. Mix after each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, kosher salt and baking soda. Turn mixer to low and gradually add flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture, one scoop at a time. Mix after every addition. Keep adding the flour mixture, mix until just combined. Do not overmix!

Line an 18 x 13 baking sheet pan with cookie sheets and press to fit into the corners of the pan.  Be sure to leave a lip on all sides, big enough for you to grab but not enough to drape down into the oven and burn.  You will pour the batter on top of this, and the cake formation will bake on top of it.  Later, when you have to pull the cake out of the pan for decorating, this adds as a nice sling of sorts to help you lift the cake and keep it in shape.

Pour the thick cake batter into the pan -- don't be alarmed if you are a cake pro and this cake seems too goey; it’s much thicker than regular cake batters.  With a knife or offset spatula, spread the cake batter evenly over the pan.

Place the pan into a preheated 350-degree oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. I baked mine for exactly 20 minutes, so you probably want to start checking then.  Your time will vary due to differences in oven temperatures.

Once finished, take it out and let it cool.  Once cool, remove the cake from the pan by hoisting it out via that little cookie sheet sling I had you make before.  Set it somewhere flat.  

Now wash your cookie sheet or find some fancy "cake presentation" glass display pedestal.  Using your sling, flip the cake upside down on your washed-and-dried cookie sheet or fancy display pedestal.  Peel off the cookie sheet.  If your bottom is lumpy, which it may or not may be, then do a little trimming to make an even top.  

Here's a nice video explaining "shaping a sheet cake."  Hopefully you've read this entire recipe through before attempting to create anything, as this video will help illustrate why I recommend using a cookie sheet to line your cake pan.

Shaping a Sheet Cake

Secondly, the frosting!

In a mixing bowl, add cream cheese and butter. Whip to combine. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined, scraping the sides once during mixing.

Put about 1/2 the frosting on the cake. Mark off the area of the stars with a toothpick. (No need to be proportionately accurate; just guesstimate.) Prepare a pastry bag with a large star tip and fill up to 2/3 with icing. Fold down both corners to keep icing from splurging out the top. 

** Someday I will have a pastry bag with tips.  Until then, you can use a gallon-size freezer bag.  Just fill the bag and snip off a lower corner.  Boom -- pastry piper.  You would also be able to insert tips if you have them to create different shapes with the frosting.  

HOWEVER... I just bought an aerosol can of frosting from the baking aisle of my supermarket, which came with interchangeable plastic tips.  This cake was already a lot of work, so I wanted to cut corners somewhere without being too lazy.  If you do go the aerosol can route, be sure to smear the rest of the homemade frosting evenly on the cake for more of a creamy delight.

Start squeezing two lines of frosting at the bottom of the cake. Make two rows of strawberries on the cake, then add another two lines of frosting.

Keep repeating: two lines of frosting, two lines of strawberries, two lines of frosting, etc.

Fill the square in the corner with a nice layer of blueberries. With the star tip, squeeze little dollops of frosting all over the blueberries.  Yay, STARS.

I then added bunting to the sides to complete the presidential display.  If I were a Bond girl, my name would be Bunting Galore, check out that picture at the top.

Now, take your concoction to a soiree or invite people over to stare at it.  
People will be impressed, I promise you.

No comments:

Post a Comment