This patriotic 4th of July Cake with fresh blueberries and strawberries is the perfect addition to your Independence Day or Memorial Day celebrations!
This fun cake can be made super simple with a boxed cake mix. However, I am a cake snob, and therefore make all my cakes from scratch. But if YOU want to use a white cake mix, go right ahead! Just make the cake according to the instructions on the box and let it cool. Then skip down to the instructions for decorating the cake like a flag for the perfect Fourth of July dessert!
I decided to try this Vanilla Sheet Cake Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. It uses the “reverse creaming” method, which I’d never heard of. So naturally, I was intrigued.
But let me get to the ingredients and instructions, and then I’ll explain the reverse creaming method.
Ingredients for 4th of July Cake
Note: Be sure to read the notes section of the recipe which will teach you how to make your own cake flour and whole milk.
- Cake flour
- Granulated sugar
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Butter (room temperature)
- Vanilla extract
- Whole milk
- Sour cream
- Fresh blueberries
- Fresh strawberries
- Heavy whipping cream
How to Make 4th of July Cake (American Flag Cake)
1.Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×13-inch cake pan.
2. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, sift all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt). Normally, I am lazy and don’t sift anything. But for this recipe, I thought it might be important, so I did it 🙂 Also, make sure you measure your flour by spooning the flour into your measuring cup and then leveling it–not by dipping it into your flour container. Otherwise, your cake will be too dense and dry.
3. Using a hand mixer or the paddle attachment if you’re using a stand mixer, mix the dry ingredients briefly on low speed.
4. Add the butter (which has been cut into small pieces–please don’t add a whole cube of butter at once!), vanilla, and half of the milk. Mix on medium speed until the dry ingredients are fully mixed in with the wet. (This is the reverse creaming method, because instead of creaming the butter and sugar together first, we’re creaming it all together with the dry ingredients and some of the wet ingredients.)
At this point, your mixture will look a lot like cookie dough.
5. In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the milk, the sour cream, and the eggs.
6. With the mixer running on medium speed, add 1/3 of the milk/sour cream/egg mixture and blend well. Add the next 1/3 of the mixture and blend. Then the last 1/3 and blend. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary. Don’t over-mix. (It’s o.k. if there are some small lumps).
7. Now pour the batter into your prepared 9×13-inch pan.
8. Bake for 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.
9. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack. Let cool completely before decorating.
How to Decorate the 4th of July Cake
OR, you can use whipped cream, like I did!
To make things super easy, you can use store-bought whipped topping (like Cool Whip). Just keep in mind that if you want to pipe any kind of decorations on your cake, you won’t be able to do it with whipped topping.
It’s super easy to make your own whipped cream using nothing but heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and sugar. (Or, if you want to cut down on calories, make my Sugar-free Whipped Cream!)
Just spread the whipped cream over the top of the cake. (If you’re going to be piping some decorations, be sure to reserve some for that purpose).
I spread the whipped cream, then used a knife to draw some lines to help with placement of the blueberries and strawberries.
Then arrange your fresh blueberries into a square in the top left-hand corner.
Slice your strawberries in half and arrange them in rows to make red stripes across the cake.
If desired, you can pipe some decorations between the rows of strawberries, and also make “white stars” between the blueberries with your frosting or whipped cream.
How to Store 4th of July Cake
Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. If you’ve decorated with whipped cream, you can store it for up to two days in the refrigerator. If you’ve decorated with Cream Cheese Frosting or Buttercream Frosting, you can store it for up to five days. Just be aware that the fruit will start to degrade and leak juice on your cake if you store it for that long.
This cake really is best if eaten within one or two days.
For the Vanilla Sheet Cake
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks cut into cubes and softened to room temperature)
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature (divided)
- 1/3 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
For the Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
For the Vanilla Sheet Cake
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan. (I prefer glass baking pans).
- Sift the 3 cups of cake flour (see note), 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt (see note) into a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Gently mix for a few seconds.
- Add the 1 cup of butter (cut up into small cubes), 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup of the whole milk (see note).
- Mix on medium speed until everything is incorporated. Scrape down the sides as necessary. The mixture will look like thick dough.
- Mix the remaining 1/2 cup of whole milk, the 1/3 cup of sour cream and the 3 eggs together in a separate bowl.
- Turn your mixer on to medium and add 1/3 of the milk/sour cream/egg mixture. Blend for a few seconds until everything is well-incorporated. Then add another 1/3 of the mixture. Blend well. Add the final 1/3 of the mixture and mix until everything is smooth (it's o.k. if there are a few small lumps). Do not overmix.
- Pour batter into your prepared 9x13-inch cake pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
- Allow the cake to cool completely at room temperature on a wire rack (at least two hours).
For the Whipped Cream
- When ready to decorate, add 2 cups heavy whipping cream to a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar.
- Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Chill until ready to use.
To Decorate the 4th of July Flag Cake
- Spread with whipped cream (or other frosting/topping of your choice)
- Arrange fresh blueberries in a square in the upper left-hand corner.
- Arrange cut strawberries in rows across the cake to create stripes.
- Pipe decorations between the rows of strawberries and in the blueberries if desired (optiona).
To make your own cake flour
For every cup of all-purpose flour, remove two tablespoons of the flour and replace it with two tablespoons of corn starch.
If you only have salted butter instead of unsalted butter
Reduce the salt in the recipe to 1/4 teaspoon if you're using salted butter.
If you don't have any whole milk
You can make your own whole milk by mixing 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream.
You can also make it using skim milk by putting 2 Tablespoons heavy cream in a one-cup measuring cup and filling the rest with skim milk.