July 04, 2011

Happy Birthday America AND Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Fourth everyone!
When most people think of the fourth of July, they plan to light fireworks, barbecue burgers, and drink beer. When I think of the fourth of July, I think about celebrating my best friend, because today is my mom's birthday. (If I'm not mistaken, she is turning 39, again.)
I also think of flag cakes.

Almost every year of her childhood, someone made a rectangular birthday cake for my mom, smothered it in white frosting, and decorated it with strawberries and blueberries in the form of a flag. A few years ago, I decided to carry on this tradition. Each year, my cakes have become more attractive and elaborate. Last year I made one blue cake layer by pureeing blueberries and one red cake layer by pureeing strawberries. In between the cake layers and covering the cake was a thick layer of white whip cream, and the top displayed perfectly cut and placed berries to make it look just like our flag. It was truly a work of art.
This year, not so much. I'm trying to figure out the difference between last year and this year; why did I have so much more time last year?...

Well, for whatever reason, I wasn't quite as attentive to the cake this year, and I didn't coat the pan with enough cooking spray. So, of course, the cake stuck like it was glued. (This is a definite trend for me.) And, again, I ended up making trifle. Which, really, is all components of the cake that you would be eating, just not as neatly arranged. It is so simple that it hardly needs a recipe, but here it is anyway:

Flag trifle:
I used this cupcake recipe but poured the batter into cake pans instead, then cut (er, um, tore out of the pan) the cake into small chunks.
About 2 cups sliced strawberries and about 1 cup blueberries.
Whip cream:
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
1 splash (tsp?) of vanilla
3 tbsp sugar
Whip the heavy whipping cream in a stand up mixer on high or with a hand-held beater until soft peaks are formed, then add vanilla and sugar and whip until hard peaks form.
To assemble: Place a layer of cake chunks into the bottom of a medium bowl. Cover with 1/3 of the whipped cream. Sprinkle about 1/3 cup blueberries and 1/3 of the strawberries over the whipped cream. Repeat with next layer. On the third layer, make a flag with the remaining berries.
Wear your sunscreen, be careful driving, don't light fireworks, drive, or operate a bbq after too much beer, and, of course: Enjoy.

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