Whip up this fun and festive homemade American Flag Cake! A fluffy vanilla cake topped with creamy vanilla frosting and finished with fresh berries.
It’s not the 4th of July until someone makes a Flag Cake! Although this cake is far from original (I’m not even going to pretend like I invented this concept, ha!), this version is one of the best. Fluffy vanilla cake, homemade vanilla frosting, and plenty of beautiful fresh berries!
- Homemade Vanilla Cake: The base of this recipe is my favorite vanilla cake recipe. It is moist and fluffy and it comes together quickly and easily. Bake the cake in a sheet pan: 9×13 or 10x15x1 (more on this below).
- Fluffy Buttercream Frosting: A classic vanilla buttercream frosting tops this cake. This recipe makes enough to frost the top of the cake as well as pipe extra frosting around the border and for the white stripes.
- Berries: You’ll need blueberries for the”star” portion of the flag, as well as red berries for the stripes. I used chopped strawberries, but you can use sliced strawberries or raspberries (or even a combination). See my tip in the recipe card for getting the berries extra juicy!
The combination of tender cake, creamy vanilla frosting and fresh berries makes this dessert incredibly delicious! My family enjoyed this cake so much that I’m planning on making it (sans flag design) all summer long.
How to Decorate a Flag Cake:
- Once the cake is baked and cooled, top it with a layer of vanilla frosting.
- Place the remaining frosting in a piping bag fitted with your desired tip (I used an open star tip).
- Pipe a border around the perimeter of the cake.
- Place the blueberries in the upper left corner of the cake.
- Create stripes by alternating a row of strawberries with a row of piped white frosting.
Cake Pan Sizes:
You can bake this cake in a 9×13 pan or a 10x15x1 “jelly roll” pan (pictured). Note: If using a 10x15x1 pan, the cake will rise all the way to the top of the pan. Be careful not to overmeasure the ingredients when preparing the batter.
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- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon almond extract, optional, but highly recommended
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- ¾ cup milk, preferably whole or 2%
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened to cool room temperature
- 5 cups powdered sugar, plus more, if needed
- 1-2 tablespoons half & half, cream or milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract, optional, but highly recommended
- pinch salt
- 1 pound (approx) fresh strawberries, sliced or chopped
- 30-40 fresh blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack placed in the center.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt until combined. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (preferred) or a hand mixer, beat sugar, oil, eggs, egg whites, and extracts until fully combined (about one full minute). Add the sour cream and beat until combined. Add half of the flour mixture, beating until just combined. While still beating, slowly add milk, then the remaining flour mixture, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Mix the batter fully, but be careful not to overmix it.
- Pour the batter into a greased 9x13 baking pan (see note). Tap the pan on the countertop a couple times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If necessary, rotate the pan once during bake time to ensure even browning. Place the pan on a rack to cool completely.
- Using a hand mixer, or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups of the powdered sugar until well-combined. Continue to add remaining powdered sugar one cup at a time (starting out the mixer low and increasing to medium-high). Add extracts, 1 tablespoon milk and salt, beat until well combined. Add more milk, if necessary. Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat well for 1-2 minutes. Note: Depending on how thick you want the frosting, you can easily adjust the consistency by adding more powdered sugar (to thicken) or more milk (to thin).
- Using about ⅓ of the frosting, spread an even layer over the top of the cake. Place remaining frosting in a piping bag fitted with your desired tip (I used a star tip).
- Pipe a border around the perimeter of the cake. Place the blueberries in the upper left corner to form the "star" portion of the flag. Alternate rows of strawberries and piped frosting for the stripes.