Food, fireworks and family gatherings -- Americans celebrate the Fourth of July with a big bang.
Enlist the help of family and friends to plan the celebration. For an alfresco supper try old favorites such as baked beans, fried chicken, potato salad and a molded gelatin salad.
Everything except the chicken and the decorations for the cake can be made ahead. All dishes are portable, making potluck possible.
For a grand fireworks finale, serve this Fourth of July Flag Cake while the Roman candles are going up outside. The cake looks very impressive, but is a snap to make.
Fourth of July flag cake
Makes 12 servings.
1 package yellow or chocolate cake mix
2 pints fresh blueberries
3 pints fresh strawberries
3 cups whipping cream (do not use whipped topping in aerosol can)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
Bake cake according to package directions in 9-by-13-inch pan. Cool. (May be made ahead and frozen.) Set on serving plate or board.
Whip cream with confectioners' sugar. Cut strawberries in half lengthwise. Spread cream evenly around sides of cake.
To decorate: Using a pastry bag, pipe (or dollop and spread with a spatula) rows of cream alternating with rows of strawberries for the flag "stripes." Make a background of blueberries in the upper left-hand corner, then pipe or dollop stars on top to create the "star" field of the cake. If making cake ahead, arrange fruit several hours before serving. Add cream up to an hour before serving.