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American Flag Cake


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This star-spangled dessert has been the center of attraction at many a Fourth of July celebration -- and no wonder. It's impressive to look at, everybody loves it and it's a cinch to make.

Hands on time: 45 minutes  Total time: 3 hours  Serves: 12

Ingredients:

    1 package (18 1/2-ounce) yellow cake mix

    1 1/2 cups heavy cream

    3 tablespoons sugar

    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    2 pints fresh strawberries, rinsed and drained on paper towels

    1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained on paper towels

Instructions:

Prepare cake mix according to package directions; bake in a 13-by-9- inch pan. Cool on rack. Up to 2 hours before serving time, place cake on serving plate. Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until peaks form; frost cake with whipped cream on sides and top.

Refrigerate cake while cutting strawberries in half lengthwise. Place each strawberry half on a flat surface; from each, cut a roughly rectangular shape, about 1/2-inch wide.

In upper left corner of cake, using a rectangular area of about 5 by 4 inches , fill area with blueberries to form the "star field." There are 13 stripes on a flag cake, 7 strawberry stripes and 6 white stripes. At top right corner of flag, form the first red stripe, using strawberry pieces, with long side placed horizontally. Place remaining 6 red stripes on cake, with fourth red stripe ending at base of blueberry area. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.

Variation: Chill the cake after baking. When cold, slice carefully in half horizontally and spread top of one half with vanilla pudding. Top with other half, then cover with whipped cream or non-dairy whipped topping, as above. If desired, white stripes may be made with banana slices dipped in lemon juice to prevent browning.

Notes:

Total cooking time includes chilling time.

Nutrition:

Per serving, without variations: 399 calories (percent of calories from fat, 51), 3 grams protein, 45 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 23 grams fat (9 grams saturated), 77 milligrams cholesterol, 312 milligrams sodium.

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