This delectable and colorful American Flag Cake is the perfect quick and easy dessert recipe to celebrate the 4th of July this summer! It’s a super moist sheet cake topped with a light cream cheese frosting and vibrant fresh berries arranged like the iconic American flag!
🌟 Why this is the best American Flag Cake recipe
- Fresh and fruity - This vibrant 4th of July cake is both refreshing and delicious! It’s a perfectly moist sheet cake layered with a fluffy rich cream cheese frosting and topped with colorful fresh summer strawberries and blueberries.
- Easy flag cake - Want to know how to make American flag cake? This super simple recipe is going to show you how quick and easy baking from scratch can be! You’ll question why you ever relied on boxed cake mix.
- Party perfect - This patriotic cake is sure to be a show-stopping centerpiece at your Independence Day celebration on July 4th! Its delightful taste and iconic American flag design are guaranteed to impress.
📝 Ingredient notes
For the Sheet cake
- Vegetable oil: This American flag cake is butter free and uses a flavorless vegetable oil instead, which makes it super moist.
- Sugar: Plain white granulated sugar is all you need to sweeten the cake. Check out my sugar guide to learn more about granulated sugar vs. cane sugar.
- Eggs: Eggs add richness and height to cake recipes. Always use room-temperature eggs in baking to ensure that the batter comes together properly.
- Yogurt: Thick yogurt such as Greek yogurt or Turkish-style yogurt is added to the batter to make it extra moist and flavorful. Just like the eggs the yogurt should be at room temperature.
- Vanilla Extract: For the best-tasting cake use pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Or, find a substitute for vanilla extract here.
- All Purpose Flour: Basic white flour will do the trick! You can also use cake flour if you prefer. Have a look at my flour guide to learn more about different types of flour.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda: I used a combination of these two leavening agents to help the cake rise. But no worries if you don’t have them both on hand! You can easily find a baking powder substitute and baking soda substitute in these baking guides.
- Salt: This red white and blue cake benefits from a dash of salt to balance the sweetness and enhance the flavors.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream Cheese: For the best flavor and texture, it is essential to use plain, full-fat cream cheese (such as Philadelphia) with a minimum fat content of 33%.
- Mascarpone: Choose a high-fat mascarpone cheese with at least 41% fat content to prevent thin runny frosting. If needed, you can use a mascarpone cheese substitute.
- Powdered Sugar: Used to sweeten the frosting, be sure to sift the powdered sugar using a fine mesh sieve to ensure a smooth consistency. Yet, if you don’t have any in your pantry, a substitute for powdered sugar will work perfectly.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. Step-by-step process of making the sheet cake
- Preheat your oven to 180°C / 356°F (no fan). Then line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or grease it well and dust it with flour.
- Whisk the yogurt, eggs, sugar, and oil together in a large bowl. Then mix the vanilla extract into the wet ingredients.
- Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a separate bowl.
- Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients using a rubber spatula just until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan and then use an offset spatula to smooth out the top.
- Transfer the cake to the preheated oven and bake it for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to completely cool in the pan on a cooling rack before spreading it with frosting. It does not need to be removed from the pan.
💡 Top Tip: Before beginning, ensure that both the yogurt and eggs have reached room temperature. If the ingredients are too cold, it can prevent proper emulsification of the batter.
2. How to make the cream cheese frosting
- Use an electric mixer to whip the cream cheese, mascarpone, and sifted powdered sugar together for about 2 to 3 minutes until it becomes light and fluffy like whipped cream. Be very careful not to overmix the frosting.
💡 Top Tip: Immediately stop whipping the frosting once it’s fluffy or it can separate and become too runny and thin to spread.
3. How to assemble this Red White Blue Cake
- Spread half of the frosting on the flag cake in a thin layer.
- Put the other half of the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle tip.
- Arrange the strawberry halves and blueberries like the American flag as seen in the photo. There should be 7 horizontal lines of strawberries and 50 blueberries in the top left corner of the Fourth of July cake.
- Pipe the remaining frosting into 6 lines between the strawberry lines.
- Serve the American Flag Cake immediately or store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days in an air-tight container. Any leftover frosting should be kept in the fridge and can be used to top any of my cupcake recipes.
💡 Top Tip: If the frosting seems too soft for spreading and piping, simply refrigerate it for about 30 minutes to an hour to allow it to thicken up a bit.
🍫 Flavor Variations & Substitutions
There are numerous ways to unleash your creativity when it comes to American flag cake ideas! Mix some gel food coloring into the batter for extra color or add a mixture of red, white, and blue sprinkles to make a festive funfetti cake. Or, switch up the flavor by using almond extract or lemon juice in place of the vanilla extract. And feel free to use raspberries instead of strawberries!
You could also make a strawberry shortcake flavored 4th of July flag cake by using the batter from my strawberry crunch cake! And for chocolate lovers, simply use my chocolate sponge cake recipe and bake it in the half sheet pan. Better yet, elevate this dessert by frosting your cake with some divine German buttercream!
Moreover, if you have specific dietary restrictions or require a gluten-free or vegan version of this patriotic cake recipe, there's no need to worry! I have plenty of solutions in my baking substitute guides. In fact, you can learn even more about the science behind baking by exploring my baking guides.
🎓 Expert tips
- Always preheat your oven before baking and double-check the temperature by using a digital oven thermometer.
- For proper emulsification, make sure that all the cake ingredients including the eggs and yogurt are at room temperature.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients together just until they are combined to prevent overmixing.
- The cream cheese and mascarpone must have a high-fat content. The low-fat versions have a higher content of water, which can result in thinner unspreadable frosting.
- Once the frosting becomes fluffy, stop beating it. Continuing to whip can cause it to separate and become runny.
- If possible, place the fresh fruit on the American flag cake just before serving. This helps to keep the top of the cake from becoming soggy.
🥣 Equipment notes
Using a digital scale to accurately measure ingredients is the foremost rule for achieving success when baking any recipe. Secondly, using a digital oven thermometer to ensure proper heating is almost just as important.
For this American flag cake recipe, you’ll also need a half sheet pan to bake your 4th of July cake. A rubber spatula to properly fold the batter together and an electric hand mixer to whip the frosting. And an offset spatula is ideal for spreading the batter evenly and frosting the cake.
All you have to do is frost the sheet cake and then arrange the strawberries like the red lines of the American flag and the blueberries like the stars. Then you can use some of the frosting to pipe the white lines of the flag if you like or serve the cake as is.
Yes! You can use round or square cake pans. However, you will then need 2 pans to make a double-layer cake or 2 single-layer cakes. Then the design will need to be adjusted accordingly to create a circular or square-shaped flag on top.
You can cover this cake and store it in the fridge for about 2 to 3 days. However, I don’t recommend freezing the already frosted flag cake. But it is possible to wrap the cake itself in plastic wrap and freeze it for up to 3 months.
🇺🇸 More 4th of July Recipes
American Flag Cake
For the half sheet cake
For the cream cheese frosting
For the strawberry and blueberry decoration
- 500 g (3½ cups) Strawberries medium sized strawberries cut into half
- 100 g (⅔ cups) Blueberries
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
Start with making the half sheet cake
- Heat oven to 180°C / 356°F and line a Half Sheet Pan with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the room temperature yogurt, eggs, sugar, and oil. Then add the vanilla extract.
- Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a separete bowl.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients using a Rubber Spatula. Mix just until combined.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.
- Let the cake completely cool before frosting. No need to remove it from the pan.
Prepare the cream cheese frosting
- Whip the cream cheese, mascarpone, and powdered sugar with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy. Do not over whip as it can become runny.
Assemble the American Flag Cake
- Spread about half of the frosting on the surface of the sheet cake in a thin layer. Then put the rest of the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle tip.
- Arrange the strawberry halves and blueberry pieces as seen in the picture according to the American flag. There should be 50 blueberries and 7 horizontal lines of strawberries.
- Pipe the remaining frosting in between the lines of strawberries.
- The cake can be served immediately or refrigerated for 1-2 days.
- Measure your ingredients with a Digital scale for accuracy.
- For the sheet cake, use room temperature ingredients.
- For the cream cheese frosting, use high fat ingredients.
- Make sure you read my Expert tips section above to maximize your success. A short recipe alone is not enough to cover all the necessary details and science behind baking.
- When baking the sponge layer, be careful not to over bake it. Over-baked sponge cake can become too dry.
- Cream cheese frosting is very easy to overwhip. So when whipping the frosting, be sure to stop as soon as the mixture has reached a fluffy consistency (this will take 2-3 minutes). It will not get stiffer after this point. In fact, if you overbeat the frosting, it will only get runnier and then break.