Flag Cake Recipe (From Scratch!)
A homemade recipe for Flag Cake (no box mix!) – a delicious vanilla sheet cake topped with cream cheese frosting and fresh fruit. If you’re looking for a red, white, and blue patriotic dessert, then this is a 4th of July must!
Growing up, my mom routinely made the iconic flag cake for our 4th of July picnics. 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.
When I took it upon myself to make my own, I wanted to make it from scratch. Mission accomplished!
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.
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!
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 :)
More Red, White & Blue Patriotic Desserts
- Red, White & Blue Stained Glass Jello
- Firecracker Cake (From Scratch!)
- Red, White & Blue Layered Drinks
- Red, White & Blue Layered Finger Jello
- Red, White & Blue Berry Trifle
- Red, White & Blue Firecracker Popsicles
If you make this recipe and love it, I would so appreciate it if you would take a moment to leave a rating below. Thank you so much! ❤️️
Flag Cake Recipe (From Scratch)
For the Cake:
- 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup (42.67 g) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (227 g) + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups (600 g) granulated sugar
- 6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup (230 ml) sour cream, at room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
- 2 cups (454 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 24 ounces (680.39 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 cups (480 g) powdered sugar
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) vanilla extract
For the Decorating:
- 24 ounces (680.39 g) raspberries
- 16 ounces (453.59 g) blueberries
- Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13x18-inch half sheet pan; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt; set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
(Recipe from Ina Garten)
I attempted to make this for Memorial Day. It tastes great but I live in Denver so my cake fell dramatically. Do you have high altitude instructions or recommendations? Thank you!
Hi Cindy, This is my general guide for high altitude baking, I hope it helps! https://www.browneyedbaker.com/high-altitude-baking-tips/
It seems a shame the cake is served in the pan?
I’m curious if I could release the cake and serve it on a tray completely frosted .,,
How many people does this cake serve ?
Hi Elda, You could do that! It yields 18 to 24 servings (see recipe box above for number of servings).
I made this cake for a 4th party and it was a hug hit. Everyone loved it. And it is just beautiful.
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! !
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.
This is gorgeous!
My daughter and I, we made this today. And it was so yummy!!! Thank you so much for a great recipe!!!!!
This looks perfect! I’ve always wanted to try one of these and your gorgeous cake is totally inspiring me!
Your version looks so much more amazing than the one I made yesterday!
Stunning! Saved for the next patriotic holiday!!!
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!
Gorgeous! Happy Independence Day. Enjoy that cake :)
What if I only have a two quarter sheet pans? Should I make the cake two layers? How high up should I fill each pan with batter? My sheet pans are only 1 in deep. How long do you think I should bake for ? 20 min.
It’s gorgeous !
I mentioned it on my blog as a weekend baking idea :)
Gorgeous cake, I love every detail!
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. :)
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!
Such a beautiful cake! Mine won’t come out as pretty as yours but I can definitely try!
Such a beautiful cake!
What a gorgeous cake! I know if I attempted something like that it would look as though a third grader had done :)
Wow, this is gorgeous!! And I have to say … cream cheese frosting is definitely just the best! ;)
Your cake looks beautiful and so festive. Have a great 4th of July!
Love this from scratch version!
That is just gorgeous! Would be very hard to slice into it. Happy 4th!
Beautiful! Looks so light and refreshing too :)
So beautiful!!! You did such a great job with this!! You’re my hero LOL
Beautiful cake, you would be the hit of any 4th party!
Oh, I love this….it’s gorgeous!
Love this idea
What a gorgeous cake!
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!
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!
That is a gorgeous cake!!! Almost to beautiful to eat…ALMOST!
Wow, this is so pretty! Almost to pretty to eat! What a beautiful cake and perfect for the 4th of July!!
Looks so beautiful.. love it :)
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
so beautiful! way better than the store bought!
Really beautiful! And I love that it’s sans Cool Whip….I cannot stomach that stuff (literally, it gives me the worst tummy ache!).
This is absolutely beautiful.
This is just beautiful Michelle! You did a great job on this!
What a gorgeous cake! I love it!
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! :)
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
Beautifully done, love that this is from scratch!
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!
Stunning! What a gorgeous and fun cake. I love that it is made completely from scratch. Those are my favorite cakes!