Can you think of anything more festive to serve for dessert on Memorial Day or July Fourth than an American flag cake? This cake is all about contrasts and textures—cool whipped cream, bright tangy fruit, sprinkles of coconut, flecks of oats, and the crunch of stars and seeds from the figs. So, make it in May or save it to pull out for 4th of July cake ideas
The Tastiest Gluten-Free Cake: Oats!
When we sought to make our own Flag Cake, the goal was to create a cake that tastes like an oatmeal cookie. This cake is incredibly tasty! It has an open crumb that’s moist with a bit of bounce and toothsome texture from oats—and the cake happens to be gluten-free. We love baking with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 flour because it is great for gluten-free baking—it bakes up beautifully for delicate crumbed cakes, muffins, quickbread, and so much more.
We toasted Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free rolled oats until aromatic and golden. Then, we pulverized them until ground with just a tad of nubby texture left in. The oats add flavor and fiber to the cake too.
Frosting that’s Light and Fluffy
For the frosting, we opted for a whipped cream frosting, just sweetened enough by powdered sugar with a splash of rosewater (orange blossom water would be good too) that is optional. The whipped cream frosting is stabilized by first beating some creme fraiche before adding in the other ingredients to be whipped. The creme fraiche adds a bit of tanginess to the frosting that complements the fruit.
Flag cakes are nothing new, but we’ve always wanted to play with the ingredients that step in to provide the colors of the flag. We didn’t want the cake to be too sweet, knowing that the fruits we use are beautifully sweet on their own, wanting them to stand out.
We kept the raspberries, preferring their shape and size to strawberries, as they lined up nicely in our stripes. For the white portion of the stripes, we used coconut, adding another texture and flavor to the cake that really shines with the whipped cream frosting.
For us, though, we were excited to bring our Sun-Maid and Orchard Choice California Dried Mission Figs into the flag—slicing them crosswise into coins, letting their dark flesh and speckles of seeds make up the backdrop where the stars are spangled. You will love their flavor with the coconut, creamy frosting, tangy raspberries, and nutty oat cake!
Decorating the American Flag Cake
A flag cake looks quite impressive, but we want you to know it’s easy to bake and decorate with a few specific tips. First, we keep all the fruit to be used in decorating the top in separate containers near the cake. We suggest decorating the fig 4×4 square first, affixing and tiling the fig coins in the top left corner of the cake. Add the stars last. More on that below!
When it comes to the stripes, we have a few tips. Use the raspberries to create a double line at the top edge of your cake pan. They will help set straight lines for the red stripes. For the white stripes of coconut, the answer is simple: pan about 1/4 cup or even 3 tablespoons at a time of coconut into the middle lengthwise of a piece of 8.5×12 paper—you’ll then fold both edges up like a taco. This creates a narrow funnel from which to control coconut distribution and direct its placement onto the cake.
4th of July Cake Ideas: All about Stars
For the stars on flag cakes, often a piping bag will be outfitted with a star tip and filled with frosting to pipe out the stars adorning the cake. We liked that idea, but wanted to ditch the piping bag. Instead we opted for these star sprinkles from Wilton, picking out the white ones from the container for our flag cake and reserving the others for another baking project later. They really do sparkle on the figs!
Because the whipped cream frosting is stabilized, you will be glad to know you could make the cake a day ahead, but we suggest that it is best on the day it’s made. Stored, sealed in the refrigerator, the American flag cake will keep for up to 3 days… as if it lasts that long!
American Flag Cake
Toasted Oat Cake
- 3/4 cup (70g) Bob's Red Mill gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 cup (138g) Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (4oz) unsalted butter , softened
- 1/2 cup (107g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (74g) packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup + 2 TBSP (134ml) buttermilk (full fat preferred)
- 4 ounces Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs
- 14 ounces raspberries
- 1 cup finely ground coconut
- 2 cups (408ml) heavy cream
- 1/2 cup (100g) creme fraiche
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon rosewater
- White star sprinkles
Make the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast oats until aromatic and golden, 9 minutes. Set aside to cool. Pulse until ground but still nubby.
- Grease and then flour a 9×13 pan, tapping the pan to fully coat it with a thin layer of flour, removing the excess.
- Whisk the oats into a bowl of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Beat the butter with the sugars for 3 minutes. Add each egg one at a time, beating the batter for 1 minute between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula before mixing in the vanilla. Mix in all of the dry ingredients at once on the lowest setting until just combined. Then, mix in the buttermilk until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and is golden on top. Cool completely.
Decorate the Cake
- Thinly slice the strawberries. Set them aside in a bowl. Thinly slice the sides off the Mission Figs (reserve their middles for another purpose like freezing them to add to smoothies). Set them aside in another bowl.
- Whip the crème fraiche until loose. Add the cream, powdered sugar, and rosewater if using it. Whip to stiff peaks. Spread the cream over the top of the cake, smoothing it with an offset spatula.
- Tile the dark purple Mission Fig slices in a 4 x 4 square in the top left corner.
- Plant the raspberries in a double line at the top of the cake, starting where the figs end.
- Pan coconut into a sheet of paper and bring the long sides up, like folding a tortilla for a taco—this will help control the coconut distribution. Pour a line of coconut straight across. Repeat with double rows of raspberries and coconut until the cake is decorated.
- For a final flourish, place the star sprinkles and polka dot them on the fig rectangle.