If you’re looking for a complicated 4th of July dessert that takes hours to prepare, this is NOT it.
However, if you’re looking for an easy, delicious, and beautiful 4th of July dessert, then you’ve found it!
This 4th of July Dessert Cake is easy, beautiful, delicious and healthier than most
I give you ideas below to make this dessert much healthier than pre-made desserts from the store, and you can make it fit any allergy or dietary preferences such as gluten-free or dairy-free to fit your family’s needs.
I love this simple yet beautiful 4th of July dessert cake because first of all, it’s the middle of summer and hot out, so a hot dessert or heavy frosting just isn’t in the cards. Using chilled whipped cream (I use my healthier coconut whipped cream) and fresh berries really hits the spot on a hot summer day. Also, you’re probably making herby potato salad or a summer salad for the party so you don’t need to fuss with a complicated dessert.
Plus, it’s fun to make! Kids love to join in on the decorating and they love the dessert, too.
What you need for 4th of July Dessert:
a cake (see options below)
coconut whipped cream (or any whipped cream you prefer)
Assembling your 4th of July Dessert:
Step 1. Make or Aquire a Cake (Day Before)
The day before or early in the morning, make your cake. Don’t be afraid to take some help from the store on this one. I love yellow cake here, but anything works. Chocolate cake, angel food cake, or heck, even a 9×13 pan of brownies would work here. Use a box mix (choose the healthiest option if you can), buy an undecorated cake at a bakery, or make one from scratch.
Thrive Market has great healthier cake mix options for just about any preference
If I made one from scratch, I’d look for a recipe on my friend Sarah’s site Broma Bakery
Important Tip! Your cake needs to be completely cooled before assembling, so I suggest making it (or acquiring it) the day before. Let it sit at room temperature or in the fridge covered with a clean kitchen towel. If you leave it at room temperature, refrigerate it a few hours before decorating (if possible) for extra insurance that it holds together. You may have a full fridge for your 4th of July party, just make sure your cake is nice and cool before adding the whipped cream.
Step 2. Make Your Whipped Cream (a few hours before)
A few hours before you plan to eat it, make your coconut whipped cream. Whipped cream tends to fall a little bit, so I like to do this a few hours before we eat. However, I’ve decorated this cake the night before and left it in the fridge and it looked great the next day. I usually do this around 3pm when we eat at 6pm.
You can of course use any whipped cream, but I love coconut whipped cream because it’s healthier and the texture is incredible. It has a very faint coconut flavor and pairs wonderfully with the berries. Whatever you use, just make sure your cake and whipped cream are both chilled when assembling. Watch me make coconut whipped cream and get the recipe here.
Step 3. Decorate Your 4th of July Dessert Cake
The fun part!
Decorating Step 1. Prepare your cake stand: I like to take my cake out of the pan to decorate it and show it off. We spend the 4th of July at a lake house so I don’t have my usual platters and definitely don’t have a cake stand there, but no problem. I just flip a baking sheet over and top it with a big sheet of parchment paper, and voila! Instant DIY cake platter. Or, you can leave it in the baking pan if you prefer.
Decorating Step 2. Using a large spatula or spoon, add about two cups of whipped cream to the middle of the cake and gently spread it over the entire cake. I like to spread it to the edges and let it naturally fall to make a pretty edge. Add more whipped cream as needed, and save the rest in the refrigerator so people can add extra to their dessert if they want.
Decorating Step 3. Use fresh berries to make your flag pattern. Frozen berries will bleed juices, so use fresh berries here.
On a 9×13 cake, I do 5 rows of 7 blueberries in the top left, then 4 or 5 rows of sliced strawberries for the stripes. To make your cake look beautiful, take care to arrange your berries to that they’re all facing the same direction. For example, either the tops or bottoms of all blueberries are top side up, and that all of your strawberries are sliced the same way and facing the same direction. It seems trivial, but it’s really the difference between a mediocre-looking cake and a beautiful cake.
See the video above for how I slice the strawberries and arrange the cake. The amount you need will depend on the size of your berries. I buy a pint of both fresh blueberries and fresh strawberries for this cake. You’ll have some left for breakfast the next morning.
Step 4. Chill Until You’re Ready to Serve
Again, this 4th of July dessert cake is best slightly chilled. It’s fine at room temperature for a few hours, so don’t stress if your fridge is full. If it’s extra hot out where you’re at, do your best to keep it chilled until you serve it.
4th of July Dessert Cake can be made to fit any allergies or food preferences
Coconut whipped cream is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free and soy-free. Choose a cake mix that fits your allergy preferences.
This simple 4th of July dessert cake pairs cool coconut whipped cream with fresh berries and cake for a perfect warm holiday treat. Use any cake mix that fits your needs. Check out my recipe for coconut whipped cream and watch the video above to see the assembly. Once the cake is made, it takes about 30-ish minutes to make the coconut whipped cream and assemble the cake. Factor in your cake making/acquiring time the day before.
one 9x13 sheet cake (from a boxed cake, preferably from the natural foods store if you want a healthier one)
2 cups coconut whipped cream (or whipped cream of your choice)
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1 pint blueberries (you’ll need about 35–45 blueberries depending on their size)
Bake the cake the day before. Make sure it’s completely cooled before using. Use a cake mix that fits any allergy or dietary needs.
Tip: always add 1/4 teaspoon extra vanilla extract to boxed cake mix to make it taste even better.
Add 2 cups of coconut whipped cream to the cake and smooth to the edges. Use more as needed.
At the top left, make the blue “stars” with 5 rows of 7-8 blueberries depending on their size. Take care to face all of the blueberries the same way for symmetry (it will make your cake prettier!)
Cut off the green tops of the strawberries, place the flat cut top down on the cutting board, then slice your strawberries (the long way) about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Aim to make most of your strawberries the same size if possible. Place them in rows for the “stripes” all facing the same way for symmetry.
Chill your cake until you serve it. Save the leftover whipped cream if there is any to the side so people can spoon more on if they’d like.
No cake stand? No problem. Flip a sheet pan over and cover it with parchment paper to create your own DIY cake stand.
Frozen berries will bleed into the whipped cream, so use fresh berries for this cake.
Keywords: 4th of July Dessert, Flag Cake, 4th of July Cake