Swedish pastry chef Roy Fares reimagines American pastries in his latest cookbook, United States of Cakes ($25). Ice cream sandwiches, Nutella Pop-Tarts, and peanut butter cake pops are just a few of many all-American recipes I’ve flagged in this page-turner of a cookbook. But the first recipe I just had to try is this American flag cake. It’s a buttermilk-lemon cake with a lemon cream cheese frosting. I mean, come on.
The recipe is totally doable for most home bakers, as most home cooks have a standard casserole dish lying around. And as for the decorating, I found applying berry after berry very meditative and something that just about anyone can accomplish. I especially love that Roy uses powdered sugar to form the white stars and stripes of the flag. How creative!
This cake goes quickly – not just because it looks spectacular. The cake tastes like Summer – it’s bright from the lemon and superlight. The cream cheese icing complements the slightly sour cake. And who doesn’t clamor for a cake covered in fresh, ripe berries? It’s the easiest excuse to get a serving of fresh fruit. After its wild success, I plan on making this cake for every Summer gathering and look forward to discovering more winning recipes within the pages of United States of Cakes.
The Fourth of July is a national holiday, celebrated with pomp and circumstance. Everyone really goes all out, adorning American flags everywhere and devoting the entire day to celebrating. During my travels, I’ve experienced this holiday several times, and I’m always happy when I see how proud people are of their country. I think my fellow Swedes ought to take this as an example and celebrate our national holiday. After all, we have much to be proud of.
- Cake Bottom
- 2 cups (450 grams) room temperature whole milk
- 2 tbsp (20 grams) white distilled vinegar
- 3 1/4 cups (450 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (7 grams) salt
- 1 cup (230 grams) room temperature salted butter
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups (380 grams) sugar
- 4 (220 grams) eggs, room temperature
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) cream cheese
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) room temperature unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 1/2 grams) vanilla extract
- 1 2/3 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup (50 g) whipping cream
- Fresh berries (for example, raspberries and blueberries)
- Powdered sugar
- For cake bottom: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), convection function. Grease and lightly flour the edges of a baking pan, 13 × 9 inches, and line the base with parchment paper.
- Mix the milk and vinegar in a bowl. Sift all the dry ingredients in another bowl. Beat the butter, vanilla extract, and sugar in a separate bowl until fluffy. Mix in 1 egg at a time. Stir in the dry ingredients little by little.
- Finally, add the milk mixture and lemon zest and mix well. Spread batter evenly in pan and bake in middle of the oven for about 40 minutes. Use a toothpick to check that the cake is baked through. Let cool and then turn it out of the form. Optionally, even the sides using a sharp knife.
- Frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, icing sugar, and lemon zest. Add the cream and whisk together into a fine and firm frosting.
- Spread the frosting evenly over the cake. Decorate with berries of your choice, or do as I have done and use raspberries and blueberries. For white berries, set dry berries onto the cake first and dust with powdered sugar (through a fine mesh sieve), then add the rest of the berries.
Excerpted with permission from United States of Cakes: Tasty Traditional American Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Baked Goods by Roy Fares. Copyright 2015, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
- Desserts, Cake
- North American
- Approximately 20 pieces
- Cook Time
- 4 hours