Happy Canada Day to Kitchen Parade's many Canadian readers!
I sure hope you have a good imagination or better yet, a good sense of humor, because when my Inner Martha Stewart emerges, it’s not pretty, it’s just not.
Let’s back up.
For the Americans who read, July 1 is Canada Day, that’s like the 4th of July only cooler and low-key.
Last week, I asked my Canadian family from my mum's side, all of them great cooks, “What do you cook for Canada Day? What is the traditional Canadian food that binds Canada Day celebrations like hot dogs, potato salad and cold beer do for Independence Day menus?”
The answer? Absolute silence.
I couldn’t help myself, I so wanted to inspire a generation of Canadians! my own family at minimum! with a special treat for Canada Day. The Canada Flag Cake caught my eye awhile back. It’s from Kraft, it uses a cake mix, how hard could it be?
Now me being me, I set out to make not one but two cakes – stop laughing, cousins! – the first one with a cake mix, jello and Cool Whip, just to practice. The second cake, I fantasized, would be a homemade sponge cake with a fruity layer and whipped cream frosting. Both cakes would be ooo-ahhh-like-fireworks beautiful – the strawberries perfectly aligned to form the proud Canadian maple leaf and stalwart red side bands.
With a little imagination, okay, a lot, you might conjure up a maple leaf from my strawberries. That first cake undid me entirely, the homemade cake must wait for another day, another year, maybe another decade.
But y'know, for my Canadian family and Canadian readers, an easy but festive cake just might work. When it comes to summer, especially low-key summer celebrations, perfection just might be, well, un-Canadian.
AMERICAN FLAG CAKE for the 4th of JULY Follow the same idea, perhaps substituting frozen blueberries for strawberries in the jello. To decorate, create a star field with fresh blueberries, then red stripes of fresh strawberry.
TALK ABOUT a RACKET How much will we pay for sugar? I paid $.57 for a box of Jello, the equivalent of $30 a pound! Yikes!
CANADIAN FLAG CAKE
Time to table: 6 - 24 hours
- 1 white cake mix
- 2 small boxes sugar-free strawberry Jello
- 2 cups boiling water
- 3 cups ice cubes
- 16 ounces (450g) frozen strawberries, thawed and sliced
- 12 – 24 ounces (340 – 680g) Cool Whip Lite, thawed (see TIPS)
- Fresh strawberries, about 1 pound (450g), trimmed and sliced thin
CAKE Bake as directed on package in a 9x13 pan. Let cool completely.
STRAWBERRY LAYER In a large bowl, stir the boiling water into the jello, stir until the jello dissolves completely. Add the ice cubes and stir until cool, then remove any remaining ice. Stir in the strawberries. If you want the mixture to soak into the cake, pour the mixture over the cake, distributing the berries as evenly and flat as possible, otherwise, let the mixture thicken up a bit, then pour over.
TOPPING Cover the cake evenly with 12 ounces Cool Whip. Chill for four hours (overnight works). If using a second layer of Cool Whip (see TIPS), apply again, then chill for an hour.
Two or three hours before serving, print the maple leaf template, cut it out, then trace the outline with a toothpick (see TIPS). Fill the maple leaf with slices of strawberry, then line up slices on the sides.
SERVE Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Will keep for several days although the top becomes increasingly stained by the berries.
ALANNA’s TIPS Be sure to get the Cool Whip out early to thaw, it takes forever to thaw! The original recipe calls for 2 cups Cool Whip. When I used this amount, the strawberries stained through, not pretty, so I added another layer. The whole “trace the maple leaf template with a toothpick” thing didn’t work for me because of adding a second layer of Cool Whip, it was just too soft.
That's a Maple Leaf, Eh?
It's the thought that counts, right, please?
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More Ideas for Canada Day & the Fourth of July
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