In anticipation of Labor Day and next summer’s Fourth of July celebrations, I’m excited to share this stunning Flag Cake Recipe with you.
Just a few weeks ago, I baked this cake for my family, and it was an instant hit. The overwhelmingly positive response inspired me to recreate and share the recipe with all of you.
This dessert features a fluffy sponge cake base, whipped cream filling, and an abundance of summer berries, arranged in the shape of the American flag.
Don’t be misled by the themed decorations – this cake is versatile and can be decorated in countless ways to suit any gathering. Personally, it’s my go-to summer cake, boasting a light texture and subtle sweetness that celebrates the bounty of berry season.
Why You’ll Love This Cake:
Today’s Flag Cake recipe is a light adaptation of my family’s favorite Raspberry Roll Cake. For this adaptation, we let the sponge cake cool completely, then slice it into two equal-sized rectangular layers.
This method makes assembling and decorating the cake straightforward and simple. It’s a great option for beginners or anyone who may feel hesitant to prepare a traditional roll or Swiss-style cake.
Flag Cake Components:
- Sponge Cake – soft, spongy, and remarkably light, the vanilla sponge cake creates the perfect foundation for this dessert. Rest assured, this is an extremely well-tested sponge cake recipe – just take a moment to read through the instructions before starting.
- Preserves – during assembly, the cake layers are spread with a thin layer of raspberry preserves. It infuses the cake with moisture and adds fruity sweetness to each bite.
- Whipped Cream – lightly sweetened whipped cream, flavored with pure vanilla extract, envelopes the cake without weighing it down.
- Fresh Berries – this flag cake showcases an abundance of ripe summer berries. The center layer is filled with sliced strawberries. Blueberries, raspberries, and cherries (optional) adorn the cake, forming a rustic representation of the American flag.
Equipment You’ll Need:
- Stand Mixer or Hand-Held Mixer – this cake requires a stand mixer (fitted with a whisk attachment) or electric hand mixer.
- Half Sheet Pan – for baking the cake.
- Parchment Paper – for easy release from the pan. This is very important, so do not skip this step.
- Large Rubber Spatula and Offset Spatula – you’ll need a large rubber spatula for the sponge cake batter, as well as a large offset spatula for spreading the batter and decorating the cake.
How to Make a Flag Cake:
STEP ONE: Using a larger serrated knife, cut the sponge cake in half cross-wise to create two equal-sized rectangles. Gently lift and transfer one piece to a clean, parchment-lined half sheet pan (or another flat platter) for serving.
STEP TWO: Using a small offset spatula, spread roughly half of the raspberry preserve mixture into a very thin layer onto the cake layer. Top with roughly half of the sweetened whipped cream, spreading it into an even layer until it reaches all edges.
STEP THREE: Layer the sliced strawberries over the cream, overlapping them slightly until they cover the entire surface. Gently place the remaining sponge cake layer on top, followed by a final layer of raspberry preserves and the remaining whipped cream.
STEP FOUR: Arrange the blueberries in the top left corner to create the ‘star’ portion of the American flag (*I prefer a generous quantity, as opposed to rows). To create the ‘stripes’, arrange a mixture of raspberries and cherries in four horizontal rows.
Flag Cake Preparation and Storage Tips:
The flag cake can be assembled and decorated 1 to 2 days (the flavors actually improve slightly) ahead of serving. Lightly cover and drape with plastic wrap – avoiding the whipped cream – and store in the refrigerator.
Remove from the fridge and let sit at room temperature 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Large Rubber Spatula and Offset Spatula
Sponge Roll Cake:
- unsalted butter or baking spray for greasing
- 6 large eggs, room temperature whites and yolks seperated
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar divided
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (120g) cake flour, sifted if not using a scale, fluff flour well, scoop, and level with back of knife
- ⅓ cup (40g) powdered sugar
- ½ cup (150g) raspberry preserves I recommend St.Dalfour or Bonne Maman brand
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice if needed for thinning preserves
- 2 cups (1 pint; 475mL) cold heavy cream
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (24g) powdered sugar
- 7-8 ounces strawberries hulled and very thinly sliced
- 3-4 ounces (¾ cup) blueberries
- 6 ounces raspberries
- 3-4 ounces red cherries pitted and halved
Prepare and Bake Sponge Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) with a rack in the center position. Lightly grease a half sheet pan (roughly 18 x 13-inches) with unsalted butter or baking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, then lightly grease the paper once again. Set aside.
- Place the room temperature egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Starting over low speed, whisk for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until light and foamy. Increase to medium-high speed and slowly sprinkle in ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar, beating until the mixture reaches medium peaks. Note: When you lift the whisk attachment from the bowl, the peak of the beaten whites should tip over but not fall. Carefully transfer the egg white mixture to a large clean mixing bowl and set aside while you prepare the egg yolk mixture.
- Wipe the stand mixer bowl clean (don’t worry if there is some egg white residue). Add the egg yolks, the remaining ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture over high speed until ribbony and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Remove from the stand mixer. Add roughly ⅓ of the whipped egg whites to the beaten yolk mixture. Holding the whisk attachment in one hand, gently stir together until lightened in texture. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining egg whites in two additions, being careful not to delate the mixture.
- Sprinkle roughly ¼ of the sifted cake flour onto the batter and fold in gently with a large rubber spatula. Repeat with three additions until all of the flour has been evenly incorporated and the batter is airy and smooth – be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure the dry ingredients have been evenly incorporated. It will have deflated slightly, don't worry. Transfer the batter into the greased and lined half sheet pan. Using a large offset spatula, spread into an even layer until it reaches all edges. The batter should fill the entire pan.
- Gently transfer to the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden in color. As the cake is baking, lay a clean kitchen linen (long edge facing you) onto a large working surface. Using a fine-meshed sieve, dust the entire linen generously with the reserved ⅓ cup (40g) powdered sugar. As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, run a knife along the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Using kitchen mitts and with the long edge of the pan facing you, carefully and quickly invert the sheet pan and cake onto the powdered sugar dusted linen in one quick motion. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature – roughly 30-45 minutes – before assembling and decorating.
Assemble and Decorate Cake:
- Note for Jam Preserves: Depending the thickness of your raspberry preserves you may need to thin them down – otherwise they may damage the cake during spreading. I like to use fresh lemon juice, which adds a lovely punch (but water will also do the trick!). Add 1-2 teaspoons at a time and whisk to combine. The preserves should be relatively thin before spreading on the cake. Use your best judgment.
- In a clean stand mixer bowl, combine the chilled heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Using the whisk attachment, whip over low speed, slowly increasing to medium-high. Beat the cream until it is thick and medium peaks form (do not over whip). Set aside. Using a larger serrated knife, cut the sponge cake in half cross-wise to create two equal-sized rectangles. Gently lift and transfer one piece to a clean, parchment-lined half sheet pan (or another flat platter) for serving.
- Using an offset spatula, spread half of the raspberry preserve onto the cake into a thin layer. Top with half of the sweetened whipped cream, spreading it into an even layer until it reaches the edges.
- Top with the strawberries slices, overlapping them slightly until they cover the surface of the cream. Top with the remaining sponge cake layer, followed by the final layer of raspberry preserves and remaining whipped cream.
- Arrange the blueberries in the top left corner to create the 'star' portion of the American flag (*I prefer a generous quantity, as opposed to rows). To create the 'red stripes', arrange a mixture of raspberries and cherry halves into four rows.
- Prep and Storage Instructions: Cake can be assembled and decorated 1 to 2 days (the flavors actually improve slightly) before serving if needed. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Prep and Storage Notes:
- The flag cake can be assembled and decorated 1 to 2 days (the flavors actually improve slightly) ahead of serving. Lightly cover and drape with plastic wrap – avoiding the whipped cream – and store in the refrigerator.
- Remove from the fridge and let sit at room temperature 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving.