Monday, 8 July 2013

Baby you're a firework (or something like that)

Yes, it was our American expat friend's annual 4th July party at the weekend - and we all rocked up to help them celebrate casting off the shackles of British oppression all those years ago (or something like that!)
4th July Celebration Cake

So, happy to join in the fun, despite the colonials having unceremoniously kicked us Brits out,  we donned our red, white and blue (H in his subversive Union Jack pants!) and mucked in.

As ever, the dilemma of what to take arose - all we seem to do is eat and drink at every event we go to (but it's not all that bad!) and, as ever the tables were groaning under the offerings of all the guests. The main event, the barbecue was being taken care of by our hosts - and the lovely Global Attitude had provided a range of American treats, from home cooked beans, to chocolate chip cookies and brownies, to lemon pie and jello shots (laced with a slug of vodka for the grown ups) Kettwigefrau provided the British classic of sausage rolls - in a wonderfully ironic Union Jack tin (just to wind the Americans up of course!).  That left me then - so I thought I'd push the boat out a bit and aim for a surprise 4th July cake - a centrepiece for the table.

An afternoon browsing the web threw up a number of ideas - but in the end I plumped for a hidden flag cake.  The theory being that you make a red, white and blue sponge and layer/cut to resemble the US flag upon cutting the cake.  So, a rather large batch of sponge cake was prepared using the usual 2:2:2 per egg ratio - and then split and coloured - roughly 2/5 each of red and plain and 1/5 blue and baked in sandwich tins. I think I ended up with 7 individual cakes (3 red, 3 plain and one blue).

I then layered the first pair of red and white tiers (sandwiching with buttercream - that's a 2:1 sugar:butter recipe).  Then, having sought a suitable size cutter - in this case a cappuccino mug, I cut a circle out of my blue cake - and matching circles from the final red/white cakes - which were then placed inside the circle cut out of the blue cake to form the top layer.

So far so good, it was built and holding up!  The trouble being of course is that you can't check what the inside looks like until the big reveal so I was a little apprehensive as to whether I'd got the levels right.  A coating of plain white fondant icing on top and no-one would know  about the flag inside until it was cut(well no-one would have known if I hadn't got a bit tiddly at book group the night before and spilt the beans - ho hum!)

A plain white cake was however, a little dull - so over a few glasses of rose the night before the girls and I had decided to add bunting and sparklers (pretty much the only fireworks you can get away with without a permit here I think).  So, slightly overhung the next morning, I set about making some bunting from the fondant icing I had - but forgot to put the sparklers on...... oh well, you win some you lose some!

Anyway, by all accounts it went down well - the big reveal was a lovely surprise for our hostess and the cake seemed to be well received both visually and more importantly in terms of taste!!
The stripes could have been a bit more even, but as a first attempt at creating a 'surprise picture' inside a cake, I'm pretty pleased at how it turned out.


  1. That was such an awesome cake! Thank you for making it for my party!!

  2. That cake looks amazing! I look forward to more of your posts. I love reading about ex-pats lives in other European countries. : )