Show your true colors on the Fourth of July by displaying an array of patriotically colored desserts for friends and family to indulge in. Whether you bake a buckle or create a layer cake, we’ve got the eight recipes you need so that your confections take on the hues of the American flag.
1. Blueberry Buckle
With a streusel-like topping, this blueberry buckle from Taste of Home is a classic dessert that needs to land on your table this year. Serve with fresh fruit and ice cream to fill in the missing shades if you want a little more patriotic pride. It yields between 4 and 6 servings.
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup cold butter, cubed
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Fold in blueberries. Pour into greased 9-inch square baking pan.
For the topping, in a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over blueberry mixture. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
2. Cherry Pie
If you make the blueberry buckle, or have another blue-hued dish at your table and you need to introduce a little red to the mix, make AllRecipes.com‘s cherry pie. Anyone who is pressed for time, or desires to do less baking can substitute the homemade pie crust for a store-bought pastry.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup shortening, chilled
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 cups pitted sour cherries
- 1¼ cups white sugar
- 10 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
Directions: Cut the shortening into the flour and salt with the whisking blades of a stand mixer until the crumbs are pea-sized. Mix in cold water by hand just until the dough holds together. Divide the dough in half and form it into two disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled through, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Roll out one disk of dough into a 11-inch circle. Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry. Refrigerate until needed. Roll out the dough for the top crust, transfer it to a plate or baking sheet, and refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a baking tray in the oven to preheat. Place the cherries, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium-size non-aluminum saucepan. Allow the mixture to stand for 10 minutes, or until the sugar draws out the cherries’ juices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Lower the heat; simmer for 1 minute or until the juices thicken and become translucent. Remove pan from heat and stir in butter and almond extract. Allow the filling to cool to lukewarm. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Cover with top crust, crimp the edges to seal, and cut vents for steam. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool for several hours before slicing.
3. Fresh Berry Pavlova
Red and blue berries top a light meringue in the pavlova from Fine Cooking and are spot on for the holiday in terms of colors and taste. You can get a head start on your baking, too: the shell (unfilled) can be made up to three days in advance. Bake the meringue, and then cool completely before being stored in an airtight container. This recipe serves between 6 and 8 people.
- 1¼ cups plus 2 teaspoons superfine sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or white distilled vinegar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 2 pints mixed fresh berries or hulled, sliced strawberries (about 4 cups)
- 3 tablespoons granulated superfine sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup plain Greek-style yogurt
Directions: First make the shell. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Draw an 8-inch circle in the center of the parchment, and then turn the paper over (you’ll still see the circle). Mix 2 teaspoons of the sugar with the cornstarch and set it aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer), beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add the remaining 1¼ cups sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, taking 2-3 minutes to add it. Sprinkle in the cornstarch-sugar mixture, then add the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Continue beating until glossy stiff peaks form, another 1-2 minutes. Pile the meringue onto the parchment circle and use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread it into an 8-inch round, about 2½ inches high around the edge with a slightly concave center.
Put the meringue in the oven and turn the heat down to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until crisp, dry, and slightly colored on the outside, about 45 minutes. (The meringue will spread a little during baking.) Rotate the baking sheet and continue baking until hard on the outside and slightly darker, about 45 minutes more. Turn off the heat and leave the meringue in the oven to dry for at least 30 minutes. Cool completely and gently peel off the parchment. Don’t worry if there are cracks or the center caves in slightly.
For the filling, combine the berries with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the orange liqueur in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the berries release their juice, about 45 minutes. In a large bowl, beat the cream, the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and the vanilla with an electric mixer, increasing the speed from medium high to high as you beat, until soft peaks form, 2-3 minutes. Fold in the yogurt. Carefully transfer the shell to a serving plate. Just before serving, fill the center with the cream and top with the berries. Use a serrated knife to slice the pavlova into wedges and serve.
4. Patriotic Funfetti Cupcakes
By adding sprinkles to your cupcake batter, you can make your own funfetti cupcakes. Pick out your favorite red and blue sprinkles to add to these vanilla, vanilla cupcakes from Billy’s Bakery via Food.com. Top with red or blue dyed frosting for cupcakes that are the perfect bite for the Fourth. You can do this with these simply vanilla cupcakes, with a box mix, or the yellow or white cake recipe of your choosing.
- 1¾ cups cake flour, not self-rising
- 1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½-¾ cup sprinkles
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour. Add eggs, one at a time. In a large glass measuring cup, add milk and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in three parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not over-beat. Gently fold in sprinkles.
Using an ice cream scoop for even cupcakes, divide batter among liners, filling about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.
5. Jell-O Firecrackers
Take a break from the cakes and cookies with a childhood classic: Jell-O. Made in plastic shot glasses, the firecrackers from Kraft are the mini red, white, and blue desserts that guests won’t be able to stop popping into their mouths. This recipe yields 20 servings.
- 1⅓ cups boiling water, divided
- 1 package (3 ounces) Jell-O Berry Blue Flavor Gelatin
- 1 package (3 ounces) Jell-O Cherry Flavor Gelatin
- 1 envelope KNOX Unflavored Gelatin
- 1 cup milk, divided
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 20 maraschino cherries with stems, well drained, patted dry
Directions: Add ⅔ cup boiling water to berry gelatin mix in small bowl; stir 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Repeat with cherry gelatin mix. Cool. Meanwhile, sprinkle unflavored gelatin over ¼ cup milk in medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Bring remaining milk to boil in saucepan. Remove from heat; stir in sugar and vanilla. Add to plain gelatin mixture; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Cool 10 min.
Spoon berry gelatin into 20 (1-ounce) plastic shot glasses sprayed lightly with cooking spray, adding about 2 teaspoons to each. Refrigerate 15 minutes or until set but not firm. Top with unflavored gelatine mixture, adding about 2 teaspoons to each cup. Refrigerate 10 min. Insert cherry, stem end up, into white gelatine layer in each cup. Refrigerate 2 minutes. Cover with cherry gelatin, adding about 2 teaspoons to each cup. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Remove from cups before serving.
6. Striped Red Velvet Cake
Red velvet cake is layered with fresh whipped cream cheese frosting to make a cake with flag-worthy stripes from Better Homes and Gardens. Garnish with fresh blueberries to finish the patriotic effect for the layer cake, which yields about 12 slices.
- 2¼ cups sifted cake flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 ounces red food coloring
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
Whipped cream cheese frosting
- 1 cup whipping cream, cold
- 1 (16-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- fresh berries
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Lightly grease the paper. Flour pans, shaking out excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and oil. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the food coloring on low speed (mixture may look curdled). Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating on low after each addition just until combined. Add the vanilla. In a glass measuring cup, dissolve the baking soda in the vinegar. Add to the batter; beat on low just until combined.
Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool cakes on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans. Let cool. When cakes are fully cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Before frosting, with a long serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally. Place one half on a serving plate. Frost top with about 1 cup of frosting. Repeat with remaining cake halves and frosting. Arrange fresh berries around cake. Refrigerate to store.
To make the frosting, in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream to nearly stiff peaks; set aside. In a separate large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and beat quickly to combine.
Use this recipe for marshmallows from Alton Brown and the Food Network, but instead of cutting them into squares, use a star-shaped cookie cutter to get Fourth of July-themed marshmallows for your dessert spread. You can also introduce food coloring to have different-colored marshmallows. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to three weeks.
- 3 packages unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup ice cold water, divided
- 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1½ cups
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- Nonstick spray
Directions: Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with ½ cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining ½ cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place over medium-high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan, and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit, approximately 7-8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from heat.
Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12-15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping, prepare the pans as follows.
Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13-by-9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary.
8. Pound Cake
Paula Deen calls this her “never-fail” pound cake, exactly the words you want to have describing a dessert you’re making for a party or crowd. Top with the fresh fruit of your choosing and whipped cream or ice cream to add a touch of red and blue to the cake. The recipe yields 10 to 12 servings.
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 3 cup sugar
- 5 eggs
- 3 cup cake flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoon lemon extract
- Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream
- Berries, for garnish
Directions: Special equipment: 10-inch bundt pan, greased and floured. In a large bowl, using a mixer, combine the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the lemon extract. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
Place pan in a cold oven and heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake cake for 1 hour. Increase the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 30 minutes more.