Thursday, March 3, 2011

Candy Topped Flag Cake

You might be wondering why I am making a flag cake in March, a full four months away from our patriotic national holiday.  Here's why.  My baby daughter, Ella, asked me to.  No, she didn't exactly ask me to, she's smarter than that.  What she did was brag to her teacher that her mom could make an exact replica flag cake with fifty stars and 13 stripes and then volunteered that I could bring one to class since they were learning about the fifty states and the presidents and all.  Of course, her teacher immediately said, YES, THAT'S A GREAT IDEA! 

How could I say no to such confidence and encouragement and those sweet little golden brown eyes?

Here's the best part about making a flag cake - being able to fit my 1/2 sheet pan in the oven!  I bought this 1/2 sheet pan about five years ago, specifically for a flag cake, only to realize it didn't fit in my 27" oven!  Since we upgraded our kitchen last year, (including a 30" oven), I am happy to report that my 1/2 sheet pan finally fits!  It was worth all those months of pain and suffering, just for patriotic cake.

To fill a 1/2 sheet cake pan, just double your favorite cake recipe. If you are still trapped in a world with a 27" oven, make a single batch and spread it a little more thinly in a jelly roll pan.  Reduce the baking time accordingly. 

When the cake has cooled, spread a thin layer of white icing over the cake.  This is the "crumb" layer.  I like to use a homemade cream cheese frosting. It doesn't have to be perfect.  Don't worry, more frosting is coming!

Next, score the area where you will put the blue background.    A 1/2 sheet pan is 13" x 18", so the blue area should be about 7" across and 7" down.  Use the flag below as a guide!

Normally, I make my flag cakes with raspberries and blueberries, but since fresh raspberries are virtually non-existent these days, I decided to go with candy.  (Do you think the kindergartners are really going to complain?)  I could have used strawberries, but here's the thing about strawberries.  If you slice them, they really are not red on the inside.  There's also the problem with all the irregular shapes.  Uniformity is important when you are going for thirteen stripes!  Today, I decided to use Twizzlers and the blue candies from this bag of York pieces.

Line the blue background with the York Pieces.  I used a double layer of Twizzlers for the stripes, cutting them with kitchen shears to fit.  If you have a kindergartner helping you , it will look about like this.

Next, pipe 50 white stars with a star tip over the blue candy background.  Look at the flag and alternate rows of five and six stars.

After you've finished the stars, pipe the white stripes over the crumb coat frosting.  It may seem redundant, but this little extra detail is what really makes the cake.  Besides, who doesn't want more cream cheese frosting?

Serve it right out of the pan, cutting the Twizzlers with kitchen shears as you slice!

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