These four recipes from local authors or local publishers share festive treats in red, white and blue.

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Flag Cake

In "The Romney Family Table," Ann Romney shares that her favorite holiday is Independence Day and the family midday barbecue includes a sheet cake decorated with fruit to look like the U.S. flag.

1 recipe Best White Cake (see below)

Vanilla Frosting

Blueberries, strawberries and/or raspberries

Vanilla Frosting:

½ cup butter, melted

1 pound (3½ to 4 cups) powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

Make cake according to directions (see below), baking in a 9-by-13-inch pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.

For frosting, blend butter, powdered sugar and vanilla with mixer. Add milk until frosting reaches desired consistency.

Decorate according to picture with blueberries and raspberries or sliced strawberries.

Best White Cake:

Goes well with homemade vanilla ice cream

½ cup butter

1½ cups sugar

2¼ cups triple-sifted cake flour

2½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup milk, divided

2 extra-large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the cake flour, baking powder, salt and 2⁄3 cup of milk. Beat on medium speed about two minutes.

Whisk the eggs into the remaining 1⁄3 cup of milk, add the vanilla, pour into the batter, and beat another two minutes.

Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Divide batter evenly into pans. Bake on center rack of oven 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Leave the cake layers in the pans for a couple of minutes, then remove to cake racks for cooling.

— "The Romney Family Table" by Ann Romney

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Patriotic Cupcakes

1 cup shredded coconut, for garnish

1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix (disregard instructions on box)

1⁄3 cup vegetable oil

1⁄3 cup milk

4 egg whites

1 (6-ounce) carton blueberry yogurt

1 (6-ounce) carton strawberry yogurt

1 (6-ounce) carton coconut yogurt or vanilla yogurt plus 1⁄2 teaspoon coconut extract

Red and blue food coloring

Cream cheese frosting of your choice

½ teaspoon coconut extract

Fresh strawberries, blueberries, and toasted coconut, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Spread coconut in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake 7-8 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes until it’s toasted and golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

3. Combine cake mix, oil, milk and egg whites in a mixing bowl and beat two minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Divide the batter evenly into three medium-sized mixing bowls. Mix blueberry yogurt and blue food coloring in one bowl of batter until desired color is reached. Mix strawberry yogurt and red food coloring in a second bowl of batter. Mix coconut yogurt, or vanilla yogurt plus coconut extract, into the last bowl of batter and stir to combine.

4. Place cupcake liners in muffin pan. Place 1 tablespoon of one-color batter in each liner. Use a spoon, or your finger dipped in water, to spread the batter out evenly. Repeat with remaining two bowls of batter, layering each color on top of the previous one.

5. Bake about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely to room temperature.

6. Prepare cream cheese frosting of your choice, adding in the coconut flavor.

7. Frost the cupcakes and top with fresh berries and toasted coconut.

— “Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites” by Sara Wells and Kate Jones

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Red, White and Blueberry Pops



Note: These use push up pops.

Firework Cake:


1 2/3 cup white cake mix (approximately ½ box of cake mix)



2 tablespoons oil



1 egg



¼ cup milk



1/3 cup sour cream



1 ½ tablespoons red sprinkles



1 ½ tablespoons blue sprinkles



Vanilla frosting: (Or use store bought frozen whipped topping, Whipped Cream Topping from “Strawberry Short Pops” or vanilla pudding)



½ cup butter, softened



1 teaspoon vanilla extract



1-3 tablespoons milk



1½-2½ cups powdered sugar



Blueberries and sliced strawberries for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line the bottom of a 10-inch round pan or 9-by-9 inch pan with foil or parchment paper and grease the sides.

2. Sift cake mix into a small bowl and set aside.


3. In a large bowl, combine oil, egg, milk and sour cream until smooth.


4. Stir in cake mix.



5. Gently fold in sprinkles.


6. Dump into prepared pan, spread out evenly and bake for 14-17 minutes depending on thickness or until an inserted knife comes out clean.



7. Vanilla Frosting: Beat butter until smooth. Add vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon milk. Slowly add powered sugar until you reach your desired consistency; if it becomes too thick, add in more milk. 



8. To assemble, use one of the push up pops (remove the "push" insert) to punch holes out of the cake and put the round pieces on a plate. Put the frosting in a piping bag (or a plastic bag with a corner cut off). Put the "push" insert back in the cake pop. Pipe a little frosting in the pop, place a piece of cake in the tube and gently push to the bottom, pipe a layer of frosting and layer in strawberries or blueberries. Then continue to layer the cake, frosting and fruit until each pop is filled.


— "Pop Up Pop Treats" by Lizzy Early

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American Flag Macarons

Level of difficulty: Advanced

Additional materials needed: red and blue food dye

1. Print template: American Flag (included on CD with book)

2. Mix shell batter: 1 recipe basic macarons (see below).

Leave half white and color ¼ red and the other ¼ blue.

3. Pipe: Start by piping the left corner blue. Then pipe the remaining template with white batter. Use a small round tip for your red batter to pipe stripes across the white batter. It's recommend to only do six flag stripes.

4. Rest: At room temperature for about 30 minutes, depending on humidity of kitchen.

5. Bake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place one cookie sheet in oven and reduce temperature to 275 degrees. Set timer for seven minutes. Rotate pan. Cook another six minutes or until macarons are cooked through. Allow to cool and then remove.

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Basic macarons

Makes: One recipe makes about four dozen 1-1½-inch shells, which means two dozen sandwiched macaron cookies.

200 grams powdered sugar

pinch cream of tartar

110 grams almond flour

35 grams superfine sugar

100 grams egg whites, aged (about four large eggs, let sit 24 hours covered with a paper towel)

1. Measure out all ingredients and set aside.

2. Prepare the baking sheets by lining them with a silicone mat, parchment paper, or both. Slide your printed template sheet underneath the parchment paper and set aside. Prepare piping bag to be filled and set aside.

3. Sift powdered sugar and almond flour two or three times through a sieve and set aside. Discard large almond pieces that remain in sieve.

4. Place the egg whites in a large bowl or in a stand mixer with wire whisk attachment. Whisk on low speed until egg whites become foamy. Add the pinch of cream of tartar. Continue to whisk on medium-low until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the superfine sugar. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, scrape down the sides with a spatula.

5. Turn your mixer on medium-high and continue to whip until peaks begin to form. Slow down your speed and check your egg whites periodically until you reach a stiff meringue. If adding liquid or gel food dye, do so toward the end of whisking.

6. Sift one third of the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture through the sieve into the meringue. Fold the dry mixture into the meringue. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Once all of the dry ingredients are incorporated, the batter will be thick and have a dull appearance. Continue to fold, pressing out air bubbles along the bottom or sides of the bowl after each turn. In doing so, the batter will loosen. Stop folding when the batter has a glossy sheen, has a lava-like consistency and falls in ribbons off the spatula.

7. Transfer the batter into a large pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe 1½-inch rounds on the parchment paper, following the templates underneath.

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8. When all of the rounds are piped on the parchment, rap the sheet pans evenly on the work surface a few times to release any trapped air and to encourage the batter to spread evenly. Remove templates from below your parchment paper carefully. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 20-40 minutes.

9. Remove sheet from oven and allow to cool for five minutes before removing from the parchment.

10. Match up similar-sized shells into pairs and sandwich with filling of your choice.

— "Gourmet French Macarons" by Mindy Cone