Berry Patriotic!…

july 4 th dessert Okay,  all you strawberries…stand at attention!…

patriotic desserts

Straight lines now…

red, white and blue dessert

Heh! You in the front line…no leaning!…

patriotic strawberries

That’s better…

chocolate filled strawberries July 4th Want to have some fun with fresh strawberries this 4th of July? Have your strawberries “stand at attention” by sticking them onto toothpicks that have been inserted into an easy-to-make decorative foam platter! Your guests can pick out their favorite star-studded strawberry and then just slide it off without any fear of knocking the other berries over.

Who wouldn’t love a red ripe strawberry presented this way, filled with white chocolate cream and topped with a blue chocolate star on the 4th of July?  😉

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Items needed:

12- inch disc of styrofoam – 1 inch thick

Decorative ribbon ( 1inch wide)…

patriotic ribbon

Parchment paper

Toothpicks

Stick pins…

stick pins

Small star-shaped cookie cutter

6-inch shallow clay disc…

Hot glue gun

Fresh strawberries

Ingredients for White Chocolate Cream Recipe (recipe below)…

Velvet Red Fondant recipe and ingredients (you will be substituting blue confectionary wafers and frosting for the red, called for in the recipe) This recipe will make considerably more fondant than you will need for making the stars. Unless you are making a very large number of stars, you may want to half the recipe…

Making the Blue Chocolate Stars…

Prepare one recipe of Velvet Red Fondant according to the directions (click here for the recipe) but substitute blue wafers and blue decorator’s frosting for the red wafers and frosting called for in the recipe.

**For my stars,  I added some Royal Blue powdered coloring and some Violet Purple food coloring paste to the fondant  so that it would become more of a navy blue color…

Let the fondant sit for 24 hours for easier handling…

After the fondant has sat for 24 hours and has become very hard, break off a chunk and begin kneading it to soften it…

Dust a smooth rolling surface with cornstarch…

cornstarch for fondant

Place some fondant on the surface and puff with just a light dusting of cornstarch…

Roll it out until you reach the desired thickness of your stars ( I made mine about an 1/8 inch thick)…

Take a pastry scraper and slide it underneath the fondant to loosen it from the bottom…

Lightly reroll over it again to smooth it down. Take a pastry brush and brush off all excess cornstarch from the fondant’s surface.

Take your star cutter and cut out the shapes..

Place them on a smooth surface that has been dusted with cornstarch…

Decorate the stars with red and white frosting and sugars…

 Preparing the serving “plate”…

Take your ribbon and wrap it around the outer edge of the foam disc and overlap it by about 1-1/2  inches…

Trim it off and set this aside…

Place the foam disc on a piece of parchment paper…

 Then with a pencil, draw a line about ¾ of an inch out from the foam’s edge, and draw around the disc…

You should now have a circle drawn around the foam that is slightly larger than the foam disc…

 

Cut out the parchment circle…

Lay the  parchment circle on top of the disc, lining it up so that it is centered over the disc…

Stick a toothpick into the middle to secure the paper to the foam so that it doesn’t shift around…

Begin folding down the edges of the parchment paper and place the ribbon over the parchment . Secure the ribbon to the paper ( and to the foam)  with stick pins…

july 4th craftsContinue folding down the parchment paper, wrapping the ribbon and sticking in the pins until the edge has been completely covered around the disc…

Remove the toothpick from the center and tip the “platter” upside down…

Tip the clay dish upside down and put some hot glue around the edges…

Center the clay dish on top of the foam platter…


And then tip right-side up to cool…

Gluing this dish onto the bottom of the foam disc not only makes the platter easier to pick up, it adds weight to the foam platter so that it makes it easier to pull off the berries…

** If I am planning on making a lot of the filled strawberries for my guests, I make a second foam platter that is undecorated – and minus the clay dish. This way I can put the extra filled berries on the toothpicks and stick them in the refrigerator so that they are decorated and ready to go…ready to be placed on the decorated platter when the berry plate needs to be filled again. It is just less hassle than standing at the counter, filling and decorating strawberries during a party…  

White Chocolate Cream Filling…

Into a medium-sized heavy saucepan, put:

3 oz. cream cheese (or about a third of an 8 oz bar, reserve the rest)

3/4 c  heavy whipping cream

Over medium high heat, begin melting the cream cheese into the cream. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon. When the cream starts to bubble, turn down the heat. (At this point, switch to stirring with a whisk. It will help break up the pieces of cream cheese) Stir until the mixture is smooth. Turn down the heat to low and then add:

1 heaping cup white confectionary wafers ( or white baking chips will work also)

Slowly stir until the wafers have been melted and the mixture is smooth. Use the whisk to whisk out any remaining tiny lumps of wafer or cream cheese.

Pour mixture into a bowl and place into the refrigerator to cool down…

To prepare the berries, core the strawberries using a sharp knife…

Begin sticking toothpicks into the foam platter and adding the berries as you go…

strawberries on tootpicks

After all the berries have been attached, finish making the whipped cream, by placing into a mixing bowl:

¾ cup heavy whipping cream

Beat until stiff peaks form. When the cream cheese mixture has completely cooled down and is cold, place the mixture into another mixing bowl and add the rest of the bar of cream cheese. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add the whipped cream and beat well, scraping the sides of the bowl often…

Place the whipped cream mixture into a large decorator’s bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the whipped cream into the berries…

pipe cream filling into strawberries

Swirl  a generous amount around the top of the berries and add a decorated star…

july 4th desserts

chocolate filled strawberriesIf your stars are very thick or it is very warm in your kitchen and your whipped cream seems too soft to hold the stars, try placing the filled strawberries into the refrigerator for awhile. When the whipped cream has firmed up a bit, garnish with the stars. Return the completed strawberries to the frig to remain cold until you are ready to serve them…

Happy 4th of July!!

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For another colorful way to celebrate the Red, White and Blue, please check out my post how to make this stunning jello poke Flag Cake…

It’s refreshing, yet dazzling as well…

flag cake

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My posting is going to be very erratic for the rest of the summer due to me working on some  fun and exciting floral cookie bouquets coming out later on this Fall! If you haven’t subscribed to my blog, now might be a nice time to subscribe… especially if you don’t want to miss out on the latest floral cookie bouquet creation this summer! 🙂

Happy Summer to you!…

Flag Cake

flag cake

flag cakeHere is the flag cake I promised you last week in my blog! Not only is it a pretty cake, it is a refreshing one as well, perfect for those hot July barbeques that will be taking place pretty soon…

Please don’t be intimidated by the length of the directions!  🙂 It’s not a difficult cake to make, maybe a little time consuming though with the gelatin involved, so please allow yourself adequate time to assemble it.

I wish you all a happy and safe 4th of July! And with all our celebrating, let’s be sure to remember why we are celebrating…

Patriotic Flag Cake

To make this cake you will need:

      2 – 18.25 oz. boxes of white cake mix and the ingredients to make the cakes…

      3 – 3 oz. boxes of strawberry gelatin

      2- 3 oz. boxes of blue berry gelatin

      3 – 8 oz. containers of non-dairy whipped topping, thawed

      1 – 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese at room temperature

To get started, lay an 8 inch round cake pan on top of a piece of paper and trace around it.

pattern for July 4th flag cake

Then take a ruler and measure in from the circle’s outer edge,  2 inches and make a dot…

pattern for July 4th flag cake

Do this several times until you can begin to connect all the dots…

pattern for July 4th flag cake

Finish connecting all the dots until you have drawn a complete circle inside of the outer circle you traced. Cut out the inner circle with a scissors and set it aside. ( I apologize for any confusion from my photo below. For some reason, I cut out the outer circle too. Just cut out the inner mini-circle, that is the only circle you will need for this…)

pattern for July 4th flag cake

Make 8 squares of foil about 12×12 inches. Press 1 square of foil into the 8 inch round pan. Remove. You should now have a crisp round-shaped foil pan.

Repeat this process until you have made 7 foil pans…

aluminum foil pan for July 4th flag cake

Then take the last square of foil and press it into the round pan but do not remove it.

foil lined pan for July 4th flag cakeGenerously spray all of the foil pans with cooking spray.

Prepare one white cake mix according to the directions on the box. Then measure out 3/4 cup of batter and pour this amount into one of the foil pans. Spread it out evenly over the bottom of the pan, being careful not to disturb the round foil shape. Place the foil pan on a cookie sheet…

cake batter for July 4th flag cake

…and then place in a 350 degree oven and bake for about 12 minutes or until done. Let cool completely and do not remove from the foil. Repeat this process until you run out of batter. You should be able to make 6 foil pans of batter with this one cake mix.

If you have 2 cookie sheets, alternate using them to bake the cakes. Doing it this way will prevent the bottom of the cakes from baking too quickly because they are on a hot surface. If you only have one cookie sheet, remove the baked cake from the hot cookie sheet and let it cool down before using it again.

Meanwhile, prepare another cake mix and once again measure out the 3/4 cup of batter and pour it into the 7 th pan. Bake in similiar manner as above. Place the remaining batter into the round pan that has been lined with the foil. Bake this layer for about 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

You will notice that the cake layers appear bumpy and uneven on top. When the cakes have completely cooled, take a sharp serrated knife and skim off the tallest bumps of cake so that the layers will be more uniform in thickness…bending the foil down around the cake edges will help you accomplish this, but fold the foil edges up around the cake again when you are finished skimming the cake.

July 4th flag cake

Prick the thick layer of cake and just 4 of the thin cakes with a fork…

July 4th flag cake

Into a medium-sized bowl, place:

      3 – 3 oz. boxes of strawberry gelatin

Add 3 cups boiling water and stir until gelatin has been dissolved. Add 1 cup of cold water, stir and then let mixture sit on the counter for 15-30 minutes. Stirring occasionally to cool it down.

Into another bowl, place:

      2 boxes of blue berry gelatin

Add 2 cups boiling water and stir until gelatin has been dissolved. Add 1 cup of cold water. Stir and then let sit on the counter for 15-30 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

Pour about 1 cup of the strawberry gelatin mixture evenly over 1 of the fork-pricked  thin  layer cakes. Repeat this process with the other 3 thin cakes. The 4 cakes should now be saturated with the red gelatin mixture. Slide each of the cakes( still in the foil pan) onto a large dinner plate and place them into the refrigerator to set up. Cover the plain white cake layers and set them aside.

Slowly and evenly pour the entire blue gelatin mixture over the top of the thick cake layer and then place this into the refrigerator to completely set up. (I like to let the cakes sit overnight in the refrigerator to be sure they are good and firm before beginning to assemble the cake)

Assembling the cake:

Remove one of the strawberry gelatin cakes from the foil and place it on your serving plate. Open 1 of the 3 containers of whipped topping and spread a thin layer of topping over the cake…

July 4 th flag cake

Then invert one of the plain white cake layers onto the strawberry cake layer,  and then gently press down to remove any air pockets. Spread a thin layer of whipped topping over this layer.

Repeat this process with another gelatin layer. Then repeat with another layer of white cake…

Place the mini paper circle (you cut out) into the exact center of the blue gelatin cake layer and carefully cut around the paper with a knife, being sure that the knife is straight and that you have cut through the entire layer of cake to the bottom.

jello cake for July 4th flag cake

Remove the paper circle and then make two cuts into the outer round cake ring so that it appears to be “cut in half”…

jello cake

Place a piece of waxed paper on the counter and remove one of the strawberry gelatin cakes from the foil and place  it on the waxed paper. Spread a thin layer of whipped topping over it. Then position a plain white cake layer on top then spread another thin layer of whipped topping over that. Take another strawberry cake and put it on the top.

Then, take a scissors and trim 1/4 inch off the mini paper circle so that it is slightly smaller…

pattern for jello poke cake

Place this cut out in the center of the layered strawberry and plain cakes ( on the waxed paper)…

strawberry jello cake

…and cut around it, being careful that your knife is straight and that you have cut through the entire cake to the bottom.

Make cuts in the outer ring of cake and remove the chunks of cake so that the little round center layer cake is exposed…

strawberry gelatin flag cake

Spread a thin layer of whipped topping over  the strawberry cake ( on the serving plate) and taking a spatula, place the mini round cake in the exact center of the strawberry cake (on the serving plate)…

freedom cake

Spread a thin layer of whipped topping around the mini center cake…

holiday cake

Carefully pick up 1 of the halves of the blue cake and place it around the mini cake and gently push it into the mini center cake…

4th of July cake

Before you place the other half on the cake, bring the half up to the cake and look to see if it needs to be trimmed. If the half seems to appear too long to fit, lay it down again and trim the ends off the half-cake ring so that it will fit snugly against the mini cake (you may have to trim a couple of inches off to get it to fit)…that’s what I’m attempting to show in the photo below! 🙂

jello poke cake

After both halves have been placed on the cake, trim any excess off the layers so that the cake is level on top…

flag cake

In the photo above, you can see that the blue cake was significantly higher than the mini center strawberry cake. So I just took a knife and started to trim off the excess blue cake so that both the strawberry and blue cakes were level.

Okay, now it’s time to frost the cake!

Into a large mixing bowl place:

      1 – 8 oz. pkg of cream cheese at room temperature

      2 cups non dairy whipped topping

Beat until smooth and creamy, fold in the rest of the whipped topping ( so that you are using up all 3 containers of whipped topping).  Frost the cake and then place the cake into the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Enjoy!

Happy 4th of July!!

My dad

flag cakeHappy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!  To celebrate this day, I thought I’d do a blog post about my dad…

 My dad is a funny guy. He has one of those senses of humor that comes out when you least expect it and he is the master of the pun. If I thought all day, I couldn’t come up with the stuff he can just rattle off when the moment arises.

He absolutely loves a good joke! There was a joke Dad would tell years ago and he’d start out so serious, like he knew the person who…”went in for a check-up and discovered he had excess fluid in this brain, so he needed a shunt to be put in…”

The members of our family would recognize that look in Dad’s eye and we knew a joke was going to be involved somewhere…so we just waited for it. But the unknowing joke recipient would be listening so intently…

“Yah, he had to have the surgery done, but they tried a new procedure on him. Because he didn’t want anyone to know that he was having problems with his brain, he asked the doctors to attach a long chain to the shunt that he could run down the inside of his shirt and into his pants. When he felt the pressure rising in his brain, he could  just reach into his pocket, pull on the chain in his pants and release the water, much like the old toilets did years ago…”

By now, the person would be looking at him all big-eyed and  totally engrossed in what he was saying…
“Yep… worked out pretty well for him…until the day he decided to go for a ride on the bike… ”  Dad is shaking his head.

“Yep…he was pedaling along when the ol’ chain fell out of his pocket and got caught in the bicycle chain…”

“Yep, right there it happened…he flushed himself to death…”  We would all be laughing and groaning, shaking our heads.

 ( I don’t wish to offend anyone who has actually had a shunt put in)  I think this joke was so funny to all of us, not so much because of the joke, but the way Dad would tell it. He’d start out so serious…that look of concern. But as the story went on, the corner of Dad’s mouth would start to quiver like he was mustering all his energy to keep from just bursting out laughing. Well, by the time the punch line was happening, Dad’s face was so red and he was laughing so hard with tears in his eyes, we could barely make out the punch line! I love this memory of my Dad.

My dad isn’t what you would call a real “whiz-bang” in the kitchen. (Sorry Dad!) When I was a child and my mom was at work, it would be up to my dad to make us dinner at night . The only thing I have any memories of him making is “Spaghetti”. But not spaghetti like you and I would probably envision it, but opening a can of Franco American Spaghetti and frying up some hamburger and onions, adding a can or two of the canned spaghetti and calling it dinner. It always tasted sooooo good! Dad would occasionally shred a little colby cheese on to it, but we kids would start screaming if any of that cheese got near our portion! ( We didn’t like cheese) But thinking back, I think Dad had a good idea there…

 

So no real recipe today, just a wish to all the dads out there and especially to mine!

Happy Father’s Day! I love you, Dad. If every daughter out there could have such a special dad like you, this world would be a much better place…

The flag cake in the photo above is what my next blog will be about! I’m going to show you how to make this impressive, delicious patriotic dessert! 

See you next week!