If you’ve read my earlier columns, you probably know I cherish tradition. At Christmas, I believe every inch of my home should sparkle with red, green, gold and silver decorations to celebrate the season. Spring is a time for pastels, tulips and planting, and summer, well summer, is a time for America.
Since Memorial Day, my yard has slowly transitioned into a lush, green oasis where my family and I spend most of our time after work and on the weekends. Bright red chairs brighten up my dull-colored house, a patriotic-themed flag hangs proudly underneath my mailbox and inside my kitchen you’ll find fresh blackberries, strawberries and blueberries that I use frequently in my cooking.
Most recently, I used the triad of berries to create my aunt’s Red, White and Blue cake. Since I can remember, my family has celebrated almost every Fourth of July with this cake. It’s sweet, but not too sweet. It’s colorful, because it features fresh berries and whipped topping. And it could be considered somewhat-healthy since it does feature over 6 cups of fresh berries.
The night before Independence Day, my younger sister and I worked rhythmically in the kitchen on the star-spangled baked good. While the cake was in the oven, she chopped berries for the top of the cake and I started on the berry syrup that gives the cake its deep blue color and moist texture.
While we completed each step, music played in the background from our childhood and we reminisced over past Independence Days. There were stories about the time we both burned our hands on sparklers (who knew fire could be hot), the time we found a random patch of blackberries near our childhood home and picked so many we filled our moms colander to the brim and the time we both thought that snake fireworks were the coolest thing ever (even though all the do is fizzle).
By the end of our cooking adventure, we had finished our anti-oxidant and sugar-filled summer desert, something that didn’t end up as pretty as we hoped, but that brought back some great memories. If you’re looking for something festive to create this summer, you’ll find my recipe for my family’s Red, White and Blue Cake on this page. Who knows, it may become part of your Independence Day celebration.