What a great experience it was to work with Bud on the cover of this month’s magazine!  It made me realize how very fortunate we are to reside in the beautiful, bucolic borough of Essex Fells and to be a citizen of the USA—the greatest country in the world.  I like to think of the magazine cover as a tribute in red, white and blue and a token of our high esteem for this great land and the brave men and women who fight to safeguard our freedom and way of life.

As we celebrate the birth of our nation, let us honor Mayor Abbot’s request to display our flags. Let’s fly them high and proud and give thanks for the honor and the privilege of being an American. God Bless America!

Here are the recipes for the Flag Cake and the double dipped strawberries that appear on the cover:

Ingredients for Flag Cake

Before you begin:  You will need a 13” x 9” baking pan, a pastry bag and a 1/2” star tube*

  • 1 box (18.25 ounces) yellow cake mix**
  • 1 large container Cool Whip (16 ounces)
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 3 pints raspberries

Bake cake according to the directions on the box for a 13” by 9”baking pan.  Make sure that the baking pan is well greased and floured.

Allow cake to cool in baking pan, then flip it so that you have the bottom facing you.  The bottom is flat and smooth and it will be easier to spread the whipped topping over it.

Place the cake on a rectangular cake platter.  With an offset spatula or knife, spread the whipped topping as smoothly as possible over the top and sides of cake.

On the upper left side of the cake, arrange the blueberries in a rectangle with about 6 blueberries down and 8 blueberries across (per photo of cake on magazine cover).

Arrange the raspberries in 7 rows to represent the red stripes of the flag (per cover photo), leaving a space between each row for the 6 white stripes of the flag.

Place remaining Cool Whip in pastry bag fitted with a 1/2” star tube and pipe white stripes in between the rows of raspberries (per cover photo).

Makes 24 to 30 servings.

Notes

*You can buy disposable pastry bags and pastry tube sets (containing the 1/2” star tube) at kitchen stores, party stores or in the baking section of your supermarket.  You can also use a large (gallon size) baggie in lieu of a pastry bag.  Simply cut a corner of the baggie and slide the star tube into the opening and proceed as you would with the pastry bag.

**I use Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake mix, but feel free to use any cake mix of your choice or any good cake recipe from scratch that will make a 13” x 9” cake.

Ingredients for Double-Dipped Strawberries

  • 10 large strawberries, preferably with leaves and stems on
  • 8 ounces white chocolate (I use two 4 ounce bars of Ghiradelli)
  • blue food coloring

Line a baking sheet with foil or wax paper.

Wash strawberries and pat dry with paper towels.

Melt 4 ounces white chocolate in the top of a double boiler.  Alternately you can melt chocolate in the microwave—place in a microwave safe bowl and place in microwave for about 3 minutes at 30% power.  Check the chocolate every minute or so and stir.  It should be totally melted and smooth when ready.

After the melted chocolate has cooled to about 84 degrees (barely warm to the touch), place in a very small bowl or custard cup. Once again, dry the strawberries with paper towels to make sure they are free of moisture.  Dip 2/3 of a strawberry into the white chocolate, allowing excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl.  Place the strawberry on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining strawberries.

Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until chocolate sets.

Remove from refrigerator, carefully lift from foil and replace on baking sheet.

Melt the other 4 ounce bar of white chocolate per step 3.  Add blue food coloring two drops at a time, mixing well after each addition until the chocolate is the desired shade of blue.

Place blue chocolate in a small bowl or custard cup.  Dip the bottom 1/3 of each strawberry in the blue chocolate, allowing the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl.  Place strawberries on tray and refrigerate until set.

These look and taste best when served on the day they are made, but can be made one day ahead.

Makes 10 double-dipped strawberries.