4th of July is here! That means summer is in full swing and the temperature outside has finally caught up to the date on the calendar. What patriotic fun is on your list to celebrate Independence Day? Are you planning on hosting a backyard BBQ? Will you be gathering a group to watch local fireworks decorate the night sky? Or are you keeping it low-key with some sparklers in the neighborhood?

When I think of the 4th of July, I’m reminded of so many great summer memories, like parties in the backyard with the neighbors, eating slices of cold, juicy watermelon and grilled hot dogs drenched in ketchup. I’m reminded of proudly flying the American flag on the front porch, dressing in something red, white and blue and listening to patriotic music. I’m reminded of the sting of summer on my skin, the warmth in the air even when the sun goes down and the way the sky lights up during a fireworks display.

The 4th of July is a holiday that’s  just fun. It doesn’t require a lot of preparation or planning (unless you’re throwing a big huge party, of course).  If you decide to whip up a gathering with a friend or neighbor at the last minute you don’t need much to make it fun. A few summer staple foods, an American flag and perhaps a sparkler or two and you’re all set. If you don’t feel like hosting anything but still want to do something patriotic, the Dayton area is offering a variety of festivals and fireworks displays.

No matter how you plan to celebrate this holiday, there are certain foods (we think) that should be on the shopping list for the 4th. Hamburgers, hot dogs, fresh, seasonal fruit – like cherries, peaches and watermelon – are all ideal. It’s also fun to have a festive cake to commemorate the day. We really like the idea of a flag cake. While we’d be happy to make one for you (call us today to place an order!), this is one cake we know you can make. We really like this one by Pillsbury and Betty Crocker Kitchens because it’s simple enough for inexperienced bakers or busy parents with little time to spare.

flag cake

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow or white cake mix (water, vegetable oil and eggs are called for on cake box)
  • 1 container creamy vanilla frosting or whipped vanilla frosting
  • 1/3 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 pint (2 cups) fresh strawberries, stems removed, strawberries cut in half

Steps

  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for 13×9-inch pan. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  2. Place cake on tray. Frost top and sides of cake with frosting.
  3. For flag design, arrange blueberries on upper left corner of frosted cake to create stars; arrange strawberries in rows over frosted cake to create stripes. Serve immediately. Store covered in refrigerator.

 

Enjoy! And Happy 4th of July!