Red, White and Blueberry Parfaits, Grandma's Red Velvet Cake and Patriotic Cocoa Cupcakes are three festive-looking Fourth of July treats.

The color-keyed parfaits are created from fresh fruit layered with white chocolate pudding. Blueberries team with sliced strawberries to give you two of the colors. The third color, the smooth white chocolate pudding, can be a fat-free instant version or prepared from the recipe given below.Grandma's Red Velvet Cake is a traditional cake with a new twist for Independence Day: a layer of ice cream and a decoration of red, white and blue stars. It is both formal and fancy.

The vanilla ice cream goes between layers of cocoa-rich red velvet cake. The buttercream icing is dusted with sweet coconut and adorned with a patriotic palette of rolled fondant stars.

A simple detail - a star on top - gives a favorite dessert a holiday look for next weekend's party spread.

The Patriotic Cupcakes recipe combines chocolate cake and vanilla frosting in easy-to-carry portions perfect for a picnic or barbecue. The little cakes' flavor comes from the unsweetened cocoa powder used to simplify their baking.

Decorate them with star-shaped cutouts made from an extra cupcake. Or, sprinkle red or blue sugar into a mini cookie cutter's center to form a more colorful topping.




2 cups fresh blueberries

2 cups fresh strawberries

White chocolate pudding (see recipe below, or use two 3-ounce packages instant fat-free white chocolate pud-ding)

White chocolate or whipped topping for garnish

Gently wash and thoroughly drain berries. Slice strawberries in half. Set aside.

Prepare pudding according to recipe or package directions.

Cover bottom of dessert glasses with blueberries. Top with a layer of pudding. Place strawberries around glass, with red sides facing out. Top with another layer of pudding, and a final layer of blueberries. Garnish with white chocolate shavings or whipped top-ping. Decorate with American flags.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

- Nutritional information per serving: (Using fat-free pudding) 203 cal., 6 g pro., 1 g fat, 45 g carbo., 484 mg sodium, 3 mg chol.


4 cups skim milk, divided

1/2 cup sugar

3 1/2-ounce bar white chocolate (or 1/2 cup white chocolate chips)

1/2 cup cornstarch

2 teaspoons almond flavoring

Heat 3 1/2 cups milk in heavy saucepan or double boiler until steam rises from the surface. Remove saucepan from heat.

(For microwave preparation: heat 31/2 cups milk for 8 to 10 minutes in microwavable bowl until steam appears.)

Add sugar and white chocolate to hot milk and stir to dissolve. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch in with remaining cold milk. Add to white chocolate mixture, using a rubber spatula to be sure all cornstarch is removed from bowl.

(If you used a microwave for first steps, transfer all to heavy sauce-pan or double boiler at this point.)

Cook gently, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes until pudding thickens and coats back of spoon. Remove from heat and stir in almond flavoring. Pour into a shallow dish to cool, stirring once or twice to release steam. Cover and refrigerate.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

- Nutritional information per serving: 242 cal., 6 g pro., 5 g fat, 43 g carbo., 98 mg sodium, 6 mg chol.

- Recipe from Northwest Blue-berries.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 teaspoon red food color

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (see note)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. In large mixer bowl beat butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs and food color; blend well.

Stir together flour, cocoa and salt; add alternately with buttermilk to batter mixture, beating until well blended.

Stir baking soda into vinegar; fold carefully into batter (do not beat). Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

One day before assembling cake: Thaw ice cream until soft, but not melted (about 15 minutes at room temperature). Place in bowl and stir until smooth. Line 9-inch cake pan with plastic wrap and fill with ice cream, pack down and smooth the top. Place in freezer.

To assemble cake:

(Can be assembled and frozen 24 hours before serving.)

Place one cake layer on serving plate. Remove and unwrap ice cream layer; place on cake, place remaining cake layer on top. Frost with your favorite buttercream frosting. Sprinkle on coconut and press onto icing. Return to freezer. Remove 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Place stars randomly on cake.

To make stars:

Tint 1/4 package of rolled fondant blue, 1/4 red, leave remaining 1/2 white. Follow instructions on package for tinting and rolling. Roll 1/8-inch thick; cut stars and let dry overnight.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

(Note: to make sour milk: use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.)

- Recipe from Wilton Enterprises


2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (see note)

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Frosting (recipe follows)

Blue and red frosting or gel

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour muffin cups (21/2 inches in diameter) or line them with paper bake cups.

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, water, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (batter will be thin). Fill cups 2/3 full with batter.

Bake 15 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pan. Cool completely. Frost.

Garnish tops with chocolate star, or decorate with red and blue frosting or gel. To make chocolate stars, cut several cupcakes into 1/2 inch slices; cut out star shapes from cake slices.

Makes about 30 cupcakes.

(To make sour milk: Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.)


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened butter

1/4 cup shortening

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups powdered sugar, sepa-rated

3 to 4 tablespoons milk

Beat together butter, shortening and vanilla. Add 1 cup sugar; beat until creamy. Add 3 cups powdered sugar alternately with milk, beating to spreading con-sis-tency.

Makes about 21/3 cups.

- Nutritional information per serving of 1 cupcake: 230 cal., 8 g fat, 15 mg chol., 200 mg sodium, 36 g carbo., 3 g pro.

- Recipe from Hershey's Cocoa