Flag Cake (From Scratch!)

Flag Cake (From Scratch!) on Brown Eyed Baker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

Back when I was in middle school and high school, my parents had small 4th of July get-togethers. It was mostly family, but as we got older, friends were invited, as well. Nearly every summer, my mom whipped together the iconic flag cake. I’m sure you’ve seen a rendition of it at some point – a yellow or white cake (usually from a box mix), baked in a 9×13-inch pan, covered in Cool Whip, with strategically-placed blueberries and strawberries to represent the American flag. It was a staple at all of those summer parties, and I looked forward to it every year. I haven’t seen one made in ages, and decided that I needed to break the draught this year. Except, I wanted to make it from scratch and I wanted it to look a little more like a true flag. Mission accomplished!

Flag Cake (From Scratch!) on Brown Eyed Baker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

It goes without saying that this cake is heads and tails better than the version that was churned out in countless kitchens during the 1990’s. Not that there’s anything wrong with a box cake and Cool Whip – I’ve always been an advocate of having some easy recipes in your back pocket for those time crunches – but there’s no denying that a rich, buttery cake topped with cream cheese frosting takes the cake. (I know, I know, the pun.)  You could slather cream cheese frosting on just about anything and I would devour it with gusto.

Flag Cake (From Scratch!) on Brown Eyed Baker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

The cake is made in a half-sheet pan, which means that there is more than enough for everyone at your 4th of July festivities. The decorating takes a little bit longer, but I think the final look is well worth the extra effort. While I used raspberries, if you prefer strawberries, you could certainly use those. Feel free to decorate the stars on the blueberries any which way; since I had the space, I went with the colonial flag, but do it up however you’d like!

Flag Cake (From Scratch!) on Brown Eyed Baker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

The ever-popular flag cake is an absolute patriotic dessert show-stopper for the 4th of July. Making this homemade butter cake with cream cheese frosting is a fabulous decision 🙂

Flag Cake (From Scratch!) on Brown Eyed Baker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Zucchini Cornbread
Four years ago: Red, White & Blue Stained Glass Jello Stars

Flag Cake (From Scratch)

Yield: 18 to 24 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 to 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

An iconic 4th of July dessert, this time made 100% from scratch!


For the Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
24 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Decorating:
24 ounces raspberries
16 ounces blueberries


1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13x18-inch half sheet pan; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. Cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs, two at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the sour cream and vanilla extract, mixing until just combined. Give the batter a stir with a rubber spatula.

5. Keeping the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing until the ingredients are just combined. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to ensure all of the flour has been incorporated.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake until golden brown and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely before decorating.

7. Make the Frosting: Cream together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until completely smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the sugar has been added and is incorporated, add the vanilla extract and increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until completely combined, about 1 minute.

8. Decorate the Cake: Take about three-quarters of the frosting and spread in an even layer over the top of the cake. Using a toothpick, lightly draw a square in the upper lefthand corner of the cake. Fill in the square with blueberries. Place two rows of raspberries across the top of the cake to make a red stripe. Place the rest of the frosting into a decorating bag with a large tip and pipe two rows of frosting below the raspberries. Continue alternating rows of raspberries and frosting until you get to the bottom of the cake. Pipe stars onto the blueberries in whatever design you'd like.

9. The cake can be kept at room temperature if it's cool and air conditioned; otherwise leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap. The cake will keep for up to 3 days, but is best served within a day of making and decorating it.

(Recipe from Ina Garten)


46 Responses to “Flag Cake (From Scratch!)”

  1. Tieghan on July 3, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Stunning! What a gorgeous and fun cake. I love that it is made completely from scratch. Those are my favorite cakes!


  2. Averie @ Averie Cooks on July 3, 2013 at 1:59 am

    Michelle, this is so pretty and I can only imagine how long this took you! Wow! I am so impressed and if it’s an Ina adaptation, no doubt, the flavors are perfect!


  3. Laura (Tutti Dolci) on July 3, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Beautifully done, love that this is from scratch!


  4. Angelina on July 3, 2013 at 3:42 am

    That’s just beautiful. Beautiful, let me tell ya! What a shame I’m not American, but I’m still going to celebrate 7/4 cause I love America! I just might give up my idea for lemon genoise and white chocolate whipped cream frosting and go with this instead! That’s a stunner, Michelle 🙂 xoxo


  5. Jenna on July 3, 2013 at 6:24 am

    It looks delicious! I think it would be nice for celebration! those berries look so goood, and the cake of course! thanks for posting the recipe, it’s definitely worth a try! Maybe making it a day ahead and storing it would be a great idea.. and sharing it with family and friends will be lovely! 🙂


  6. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on July 3, 2013 at 7:15 am

    What a gorgeous cake! I love it!


  7. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet on July 3, 2013 at 7:23 am

    This is just beautiful Michelle! You did a great job on this!


  8. Liz @ Tip Top Shape on July 3, 2013 at 7:26 am

    This is absolutely beautiful.


  9. Dana on July 3, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Really beautiful! And I love that it’s sans Cool Whip….I cannot stomach that stuff (literally, it gives me the worst tummy ache!).


  10. Jamie @lifelovelemons on July 3, 2013 at 7:56 am

    so beautiful! way better than the store bought!


  11. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen on July 3, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Wow! Just gorgeous, girl! Love that you made homemade butter cake and paired it with cream cheese frosting. Nothing beats homemade from scratch. So pretty and worthy of a magazine cover! Happy Independence Day! xo


  12. Hari Chandana on July 3, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Looks so beautiful.. love it 🙂


  13. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on July 3, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Wow, this is so pretty! Almost to pretty to eat! What a beautiful cake and perfect for the 4th of July!!


  14. Andrea @ Barbells and Buttercream on July 3, 2013 at 9:07 am

    That is a gorgeous cake!!! Almost to beautiful to eat…ALMOST!


  15. Eileen on July 3, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Michelle, This cake is perfect for a 4th of July celebration. I’ve been looking for a homemade white cake recipe that is moist and your cake looks like it fits the bill. Happy 4th!


  16. steph@stephsbitebybite on July 3, 2013 at 9:22 am



  17. marie @ little kitchie on July 3, 2013 at 9:24 am

    There are always a lot of flag cakes this time of year, but yours is hands down the most perfect-looking one I have ever seen! Stunning!


  18. Amy @ The Nifty Foodie on July 3, 2013 at 9:32 am

    What a gorgeous cake!


  19. Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion on July 3, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Love this idea


  20. bridget {bake at 350} on July 3, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Oh, I love this….it’s gorgeous!


  21. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl on July 3, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Beautiful cake, you would be the hit of any 4th party!


  22. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on July 3, 2013 at 10:33 am

    So beautiful!!! You did such a great job with this!! You’re my hero LOL


  23. Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen on July 3, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Beautiful! Looks so light and refreshing too 🙂


  24. Monica on July 3, 2013 at 11:26 am

    That is just gorgeous! Would be very hard to slice into it. Happy 4th!


  25. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction on July 3, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Love this from scratch version!


  26. Marcie on July 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Your cake looks beautiful and so festive. Have a great 4th of July!


  27. Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts on July 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Wow, this is gorgeous!! And I have to say … cream cheese frosting is definitely just the best! 😉


  28. Kristi on July 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    What a gorgeous cake! I know if I attempted something like that it would look as though a third grader had done 🙂


  29. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious on July 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Such a beautiful cake!


  30. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious on July 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Such a beautiful cake! Mine won’t come out as pretty as yours but I can definitely try!


  31. Madelein - Mother of six on July 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm



  32. Barbara | Creative Culinary on July 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I heard from someone who reads both of our blogs that you had also done a ‘scratch’ cake for 4th of July; I’m so with you on doing it right instead of using Cool Whip and a boxed cake mix. This is beautiful and I’m sure DELICIOUS!


  33. Lori on July 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Beautiful! It’s so nice to see a from-scratch cake. It’s the only way to do justice to a holiday dessert in my book. 🙂


  34. Diane {Created by Diane} on July 4, 2013 at 2:01 am

    Gorgeous cake, I love every detail!


  35. Dominika on July 4, 2013 at 3:47 am

    It’s gorgeous !
    I mentioned it on my blog as a weekend baking idea 🙂


  36. Paula on July 4, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Gorgeous! Happy Independence Day. Enjoy that cake 🙂


  37. Nessa on July 4, 2013 at 3:26 pm



  38. Maggie on July 4, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I made this beautiful cake for a party today – it was a huge hit!!!(I left out the cornstarch and used strawberries)
    Love all your recipes!! Thanks!


  39. Liz on July 5, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Stunning! Saved for the next patriotic holiday!!!


  40. Carmen on July 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Your version looks so much more amazing than the one I made yesterday!


  41. Jaclyn on July 5, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    This looks perfect! I’ve always wanted to try one of these and your gorgeous cake is totally inspiring me!


  42. loren on July 6, 2013 at 12:05 am

    My daughter and I, we made this today. And it was so yummy!!! Thank you so much for a great recipe!!!!!


  43. Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen on July 6, 2013 at 8:27 am

    This is gorgeous!


  44. Laura Dembowski on July 6, 2013 at 8:47 am

    This cake is gorgeous, Michelle! It would be such a hit at any patriotic party. Love that you made it all from scratch! The cake itself looks so moist.


  45. Kristeena on July 9, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    I know, I know, you posted this last year, but ive been browsing through all your recipes, since making your ny cheescake. I actually made this exact recipe this year for our 4th of July party. It was a hit!! I am a huge fan of Ina Garten. At first, people werent too interested in eating cake because most were drinkimg alcohol, but one person took a piece and couldnt stop raving about it, soon the kitchen was full with people waiting for their slice. It was such a huge hit! On another note, the cheescake I made started out rough but I was able to salvage it and it was ah-mazing. I made your banana nut bread recipe this morning and there is none left. I am so happy I found your site! !


  46. Anna on July 5, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    I made this cake for a 4th party and it was a hug hit. Everyone loved it. And it is just beautiful.


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