American Flag Cake

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Happy Monday, kiddos!

How’s it going? How was your 4th of July? Did you have a great weekend with your family and friends?

I had a wonderful holiday full of family and good friends. E came home to celebrate, her godparents stopped for a visit as they were driving home from vacation, and we had two good friends come for dinner/dessert/fireworks. That’s exactly how I like my Independence Day celebrations – friends, family, food, and fireworks.

While dinner was all about the traditional cookout food, we decided to rebel and not serve pie for dessert (gasp!). I saw a really cool concept for a layer cake in Instyle Magazine and I had to try it out.

It starts with boxed cake mix – one box on red velvet and one box of white vanilla cake (not the yellow cake, the actual box that says “white”, or else the colors will get wonky).

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I made the red velvet cake according to the package in two eight-inch pans that were sprayed with cooking spray and lined with parchment paper (for easy cake removal). For the white cake, I prepared the batter according to the directions and pour half of the batter into a sprayed and parchment-papered eight-inch cake pan. With the second half, add some blue gel food coloring into the batter until you reach the perfect shade of blue (this is about a third of a 1oz jar of food coloring).

Now, it’s all about the assembly. I cut the perfectly risen vanilla layer in half, so I had two vanilla layers. Since my red velvet cake and blue cake layers didn’t rise very much (!), I ended up having less layers in the cake than the Instyle cake. But it all worked out fine!

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Place one red velvet cake layer on a plate lined with wax paper (I’m a messy icer!).

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Spread on a thin layer of vanilla icing… and yes, I am using icing from a can (two and a half cans of the stuff in total).

Then place a vanilla layer and add another thin layer of icing… and yes, I forgot to take a photo of these steps.

Then plunk another red velvet cake layer onto the growing cake stack and add more icing.

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Finally, it’s time to deal with the blue layer. Take the blue layer and cut a four-inch circle out of the middle of the layer.

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Place the blue ring layer on top of the cake.

Then grab the second vanilla layer and cut out a four-inch circle. Pop the circle into the middle of the blue ring.

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Tada!

All that’s left is to frost the cake!

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I usually pile a bunch of icing on the top of the cake and push it to the edges and let it fall over the sides. Then it’s easy to spread the frosting on the sides.

It’s important to pop the cake in the fridge for a little bit to let the frosting set up.

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Then cut into it and show off your American pride!

Enjoy, kiddos!

Your cake makin’ friend,

C

 

Grab this recipe from Instyle Magazine’s website at http://www.instyle.com/news/fourth-of-july-flag-cake-recipe-video!

Fourth of July Recipe Round-Up

Happy July 3rd!!

Do you know what that means?

JULY FOURTH IS TOMORROW!! (I’m a little excited, if you can’t tell)

I love this holiday so much – BBQs, fireworks, parades, red-white-and-blue outfits, family/friends, and awesome cookout food. Everything I love wrapped into one big, celebratory day.

If you are still trying to figure out what to serve to your guests tomorrow, I’ve gathered my favorite dishes that are super simple and can be whipped up in time for your celebrations.

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If you are tired of serving the same old hamburgers and hot dogs, Greek Grilled Chicken is a great alternative. Serve it alongside some Caprese Pasta Salad for a hearty dinner!

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Or, if you want an all-green pasta salad, Pesto Pasta with Spinach is a picnic-friendly side for your Fourth celebrations!

But pasta salad shouldn’t hog all the side dish spotlight!

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French Potato Salad is just as easy, just as delicious, and just as picnic-friendly (hello, no mayo!).

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If you want a healthier alternative to french fries, Basic Roasted Potatoes are for you. Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and 100% delicious.

And lest we forget the amazing veggies that are available this time of year!

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Panzanella salad (sans salmon) is an easy side to whip up and highlights the season’s best tomatoes and fresh baby greens! Plus who doesn’t like bread salad?

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Or if you want something that is even more simple, throw on some fresh summer veggies onto the grill next to your main meats and have dinner together in a snap!

 

Ultimately, Fourth of July is all about the dessert (at least for me!).

Ice cream, popsicles, s’mores, strawberry shortcake, regular cake, etc., etc., etc.

It’s all amazing and endless!

Of all those options, this is still my #1 choice for dessert on America’s birthday…

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Classic Blueberry Pie with a festive topping!

 

Those are some quick ideas for tomorrow! So, what are you making? I’d love to hear/see all about it!

I hope you enjoy your holiday weekend with your family and friends!

C

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July, everyone! Wishing you all an amazing day full of patriotic food, fun, and family/friend togetherness!

 

This has to be (hands down) my favorite holiday of the year (after Easter). The food, the fireworks, the parades, the overall mood and attitude of this holiday… it’s wonderful way to start the summer.

I get my love of this holiday from my grandfather…

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Who loved this country, Ford cars, hot dogs, and the 4th of July more than anything in the world. 

I mean, look how adorable my stroller was…

 

Today, I’ll be celebrating the 4th of July with good friends, amazing food, and a dessert that my grandfather would be proud of… 

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I’ll let you know how it (and the day) turns out.

 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Give me a shout to let me know how you are celebrating… I would love to hear all about it!

C

The 4th of July

Happy post–4th of July weekend (that’s what this is, right?)! I hope everyone had a great day, filled with family, friends, fireworks, and lots (and lots) of food. I am in my hometown for the summer, so it was nice to spend the day surrounded by dear family and friends. My town also has a variety of fabulous Independence Day activities, including a town-wide parade and a fireworks show at night.

My sister (E) and I forewent the parade in favor of a huge pancake breakfast cooked by my father. It was the smart decision – blueberry pancakes are always the correct choice. I didn’t have the forethought to take pictures, but here is the link to my pancake recipe. Just substitute the chocolate chips for blueberries – breakfast nirvana.

With my belly full of pancakes and my veins rushing with sugar, I jumped at the chance at helping my dad build an arbor. It was hot, dirty work and I was glad when E’s BF finally came (he was spending the weekend with us). All I wanted was a shower and a beer.

And this is what came with the beer.

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I love hot dogs and grilled chicken. They are the perfect picnic food – especially if the picnic happens inside an air-conditioned house. We served up the burgers and dogs with awesome pesto pasta salad with farmer’s market tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. It made me happy.

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As much as I loved lunch with all its picnic fixings, what we had for dinner was better.

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If you don’t know what this food nirvana is, this is Carolina-style pulled pork (a vinegar-based sauce). My mother served it with multiple sides.

Like cucumber salad.

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Or coleslaw.

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Or you can put the coleslaw on the brioche roll with the pulled pork and put the cucumber salad on the side. Or put that on the roll too. That’s the amazing thing about pulled pork – there is no right way to eat it. So make it for your next crowd gathering and reap the benefits of an easy meal that pleases everyone.

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Yet for me, the best thing about 4th of July (besides the food) is family. My grandma came out to the town fireworks with us for the first time in many, many years. I had to snap this (slightly dark) photo – she was like a child watching the fireworks for the first time. It was wonderful to be able to share this day with her.

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So dear readers, how was your 4th of July? Did you go all out and have a big BBQ with all your friends and family or a date night with your sweetie?

Have a great rest of the weekend!

C