American Flag Butter Cake


Yes, I know I missed Fourth of July by over a month and I know that I don’t live in America. But you see my sister is off on a six-month adventure to Santa Cruz in America for a university exchange. To celebrate we had a big family farewell lunch for her this weekend.

Seeing my sister about to embark off on the incredible adventure that is exchange made me reminisce about my own exchange. I was lucky enough to spend a year in Paris as part of my international studies degree. The friends I made in that year and the experiences I had are something that I will forever cherish. It’s a year of discovery. You discover more about who you are as a person. It makes you stronger because you have to deal with so many foreign experiences. For me, the French bureaucracy was one of the hardest things I faced. But by the end, it is this new knowledge that makes you a more well rounded person and better abled to equip yourself with whatever life throws your way. It is also a year of discovery of the city you find yourself in. I may be biased, but I think Paris is the best city to get lost in. You uncover so many hidden gems walking down tiny alleys searching for the way back to your apartment; cafes that you would have never known existed and charming boutiques that only the locals know about.



I could probably talk about my time away forever, suffice to say it was incredible, and I am so envious of my little sister and what I know is in store for her. While France may be the land of fromage and baguettes, America is better known for its red velvet cakes, smores and fried chicken wings. So, in keeping with an American theme I decided to make and American flag cake. Having seen some of the fantastic creations on other food blogs for Fourth of July I was inspired to try my own.


The cake I’ve made here looks more impressive than it actually is. It is essentially a simple butter cake with butter cream icing, topped with fresh fruit. Depending on the theme you were after you could simply lay the fruit out in a different pattern (i.e. to make a French or Japanese flag or simply arrange some berries on top). But the beauty of a simple cake is that it is a classic. It is simple because the flavours work. The buttery crumb of the cake is light and moist and the icing is sweet and delicate. And the addition of berries helps make the cake seem somehow fresher. This is the sort of dessert your grandma would have made, and she had good reason to. So make grandma proud and give this a go for yourself.





American Flag Butter Cake with Buttercream Icing

Serves 24

Butter Cake:

  • 500g butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 ½ cups  plain flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk

Butter Cream Icing:

  • 250g softened butter
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk


  • 1 punnet blueberries
  • 2 punnets raspberries


  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease two 20cm square cake tins or one large rectangle tin.
  • Beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until the light and creamy and the mixture is light in colour.
  • Beat eggs in one at a time.
  • Stir in sifted flour and milk in four batches, first flour then milk.
  • Pour mixture into pans and even out with a knife.
  • Bake cakes for 1 hour. Stand in tins for 5 minutes then invert, top-side up, onto a cooling rack.
  • Once cool, trim the tops of cake with a serrated knife to even the surface if necessary.
  • To make icing mix butter, icing sugar and milk together until smooth. Once smooth, beat with electric beaters for a minute or two until the icing becomes light and airy.
  • Assembly: If using two square cakes you will need to cut one of the square cakes into pieces to form a rectangle with the two cakes. Otherwise, if you using rectangle cake you can just start icing with the buttercream.
  • Use a knife dipped in hot water to ice cake as it makes the icing easier to spread. Spread icing evenly on top and sides.
  • Place blueberries in top left hand corner making a rectangle shape. Then place raspberries in straight lines across the rest of the cake.

Superfood Granola with Stewed Rhubarb


So I woke up the other morning and felt like something healthy to start my day. Why you may ask? That would be because it was a Monday and thus time to purge all previous bad eating habits and start afresh…that is until Tuesday when birthday cake appeared in the office and it seemed rude not to have a piece. I mean, how could I say no. So I vowed to start this healthy regime the following Monday. But it did still leave me longing for something yummy and healthy. So I looked in the cupboard and threw in together a bunch of ingredients that turned out pretty darn well.


This granola happens to be full of goodness and the perfect way to help you kick start your morning. Almonds, walnuts and quinoa are high in protein and good fats, pepitas are high in iron, chia seeds are high in fiber, cacao nibs are high in antioxidants and coconuts are full of healthy fats. All things you need to help you last until lunch time and maybe help you politely decline the next office birthday cake. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking, but hey, at least you’re trying.


Eating just for health however is a very sad way to live. Taste needs to play an important role in all meals; otherwise you’ve got yourself a pretty bland little life. So I’ve made sure this recipe doesn’t scrimp on flavour. It’s got a double dose of coconut. The coconut oil and and coconut flakes add a beautiful subtle sweetness that won’t see you running for the gym. The cacao nibs give you your chocolate hit the healthy way. And the delicious nutty flavour of quinoa complements the almonds and walnuts.

granola in a bowl

And then there is the stewed rhubarb. I mean is there really a fruit that says comfort on a cold wintery morning better? I don’t think so. The rich, vibrant deep pink  fruit has a way of  subconsciously lifting your mood during dismal winter mornings. It’s hearty, yet healthy and the perfect accompaniment to this granola. Add some yoghurt and you almost have a reason to get out of bed. Almost.


Superfood Granola with Stewed Rhubarb


  • ¾ cup chopped natural almonds
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup pepitas
  • ¾ cup quinoa flakes (you can substitute for rolled oats if you prefer)
  • 1 tbs flaxseed
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs cacao nibs
  • 2 cups coconut flakes
  • 2 tbs melted coconut oil (can substitute for butter or canola oil)
  • 2 tbs rice malt syrup * or honey
  • I tsp vanilla paste


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and use your hands mix everything together.
  3. Pour onto the baking tray and use the back of spoon to even it out so it is spread across the tray evenly.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden, using a fork at halfway to move the ingredients about so the top of the granola doesn’t burn.
  5. Take out of oven and leave to cool.
  6. Break granola into pieces and serve with yoghurt and fruit.

*Rice malt syrup is a sweetener made with rice and water that contains no fructose and is available in the health food section of most supermarkets.

Stewed Rhubarb


  • 1 bunch rhubarb, rinsed and chopped into 3cm pieces
  • ½ cup water
  • 1-2 tbs rice malt syrup or honey.
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste


  1. Place all ingredients into a medium sized pot, cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat for about 5-10 minutes. Check it every few minutes and give it a stir so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. If your water is evaporating too quickly then add some more but having the lid on should help prevent this. The rhubarb is ready when it  appears to have dissolved into the liquid and all you can see are the stringy pieces of the fruit.