I remember being a kid and making a low-budget U.S. flag cake every Fourth of July. It was a sheet cake made from a box of Duncan Hines yellow cake mix, messily slathered in Cool Whip (which was always still a little frozen, because we lacked the foresight to take it out of the freezer to defrost) and haphazardly striped with berries, never with the right number of stars or stripes.
It’s a tradition a lot of us haven’t put much thought into, but last summer, at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement and political unrest, a lot of us started thinking about flag cakes a little differently.
The American flag represents a lot of things to a lot of people ― some good, some abhorrently not good. To some, the flag represents life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, or perhaps a historical symbol of defiance. But it can also represent a threat ― a physical symbol used for political weaponization that alienates people who should be embraced in its folds.
You may think twice about the flag cake you typically make, or forego it entirely. But you could also turn it into something beautiful that represents your idea of what the U.S. is supposed to be. If the latter is your preference, you’ve got lots of options. Below, we’ve chosen 28 recipes from food bloggers who’ve masterfully donned their desserts in red, white and blue.