Festive Red, White, and Blue Desserts

Celebrate summer's biggest coastal holiday with an array of star-spangled desserts with plenty of yummy red, white, and blue to go around.

Red, White, and Blue Cake
Photo: Becky Luigart-StaynerPhoto: Becky Luigart-Stayner

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (1-oz.) bottle red food coloring
1 tsp. vinegar
2 1/2 cups cake flour or all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
3 pints fresh strawberries, halved
2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and sugar together in a large bowl; beat in eggs. Stir in buttermilk and next 3 ingredients.

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, stirring until well blended. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans.

Bake 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans, and cool completely on a wire rack. Cut each cake layer in half horizontally to make 4 layers.

Beat whipping cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Spread one-fourth whipped cream mixture over 1 cake layer; top evenly with one-fourth berries. Repeat with remaining cake layers, whipping cream mixture, and berries.

Related: 25 Best Summer Desserts

Celebration Cupcakes
Photo: Becky Luigart-StaynerPhoto: Becky Luigart-Stayner

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
6 egg whites
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups milk
1 tsp. almond extract
Food coloring (red and blue)
Fluffy White Frosting
Garnishes: colored sprinkles, Star Cookies

Fluffy White Frosting
Beat 1 cup butter, 4 cups powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp. milk, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/8 tsp. almond extract at low speed until well blended. Beat at high speed until light and fluffy.

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Beat in egg whites.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk; beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in extract.

Divide batter into 3 bowls. Tint 1 bowl with desired amount red food coloring, and 1 bowl with desired amount blue food coloring. Layer blue, white, and red batter evenly into baking cups in 2 (12-cup) muffin pans. Bake 18 to 20 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes; transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Frost cooled cupcakes with Fluffy White Frosting; garnish, if desired.

Related: 50 Island-Inspired Cocktails

Stars-and-Stripes Cherry Pie
Photo: Becky-Luigart StaynerPhoto: Becky-Luigart Stayner

3 (12-oz.) packages frozen tart red cherries, thawed
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup quick-cooking tapioca
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 (14.1-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425°. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until well blended. Let stand 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place 1 piecrust in a shallow 9-inch pie plate; trim edges. Cut three-fourth of remaining piecrust into strips. Cut remaining one-fourth piecrust with a 2-inch star cutter.

Spoon cherry mixture into pie plate. Arrange pastry strips and stars on top of filling. Brush pastry with beaten egg.

Bake pie, on a foil-lined baking sheet, 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°, bake 55 minutes or until filling is bubbly and crust is browned. (Shield edges with aluminum foil, if necessary, to prevent excessive browning.)

Related: Vacation-Easy Cookout Recipes

Berry Cream Tart
Photo: Becky-Luigart StaynerPhoto: Becky-Luigart Stayner

1 refrigerated piecrust (from a 14.1-oz. package)
1/3 cup sour cream
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh blackberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
Garnish: cantaloupe ribbons (cut from 1 melon wedge with vegetable peeler)

Bake piecrust in a 4- x 14-inch tart pan according to package directions until golden; cool completely on wire rack.

Beat sour cream and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Spread mixture evenly into cooled pastry shell. Arrange berries on top. Garnish, if desired. Chill 2 hours for easiest slicing.

Related: 15 Summer-Fresh Side Dishes

Jam Stars
Photo: Becky-Luigart StaynerPhoto: Becky-Luigart Stayner

1 cup butter softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. lemon zest
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts, toasted
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add egg and lemon zest; beat until smooth.

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended. Shap dough into 2 balls, wrap in wax paper, and chill 1 hour.

Roll dough out onto a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into shapes using a 3-inch star-shaped cutter. Cut centers out of half of cookies with smaller star-shaped cutters. Place on greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake, in batches, 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned; cool on wire racks.

Spread whole cookies evenly with a thin layer of jam. Sprinkle cut-out cookies with powdered sugar. Place 1 cut-out cookie on top of each whole cookie.

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