April 27, 2014

Deployment Homecoming and American Flag Fruit Filled Cake with Whipped Frosting

 Guess who's home from deployment?!

 
 Last week my husband came home to Ft Polk from Afghanistan with his EOD unit. We were so excited to have him home (a couple months early too!) and the day of the homecoming all Ava could day was "Daddy" about 5 million times! 
 
 Our deployment countdown finally said: "00". The day is here! 
 Flag Cake ready: CHECK!
(Recipe below)
Welcome home gift basket of Ashton's favorite things: CHECK!
Signs for the ceremony: CHECK!
Car cleaned and decorated: CHECK!
 Banner hung outside: CHECK!
Awesome quality and design and FREE for military from Build A Sign
My princess in her adorable welcome home outfit (Thanks Margo!) with her sign: CHECK!
I think we're ready to go get Daddy!!
 
The sign outside the EOD shop where the ceremony was held.
Ava and I patiently waiting for the bus to arrive.
She could not stay still (what's new!). She just wanted to see her Daddy!

 Our guys were escorted home by these motorcyclists and they stayed for the whole ceremony.

There's Ashton getting off the bus and getting in formation!!
Welcome Home 705th EOD!
Finally in each other's arms!
Daddy brought Ava a toy and after a minute of being unsure....
she ran right into his arms too!
The Hood Family: together again!
The ceremony was surprisingly short and sweet and then we grabbed his bags and we were 
home a few minutes later. Dylan was beside himself to see his Dad again too!
 Time to relax and enjoy being together as a family again and eat some cake!

Flag Cake Ingredients:

  • Box of angel food cake mix, or premade 9X13 angel food cake
  • 4-5oz/half a container of Philadelphia strawberry cream cheese spread, at room temp
  • 1/3 cup or approx 40 blueberries
  • 1 cup or approx 15 large strawberries, stemmed and sliced thin

Whipped Frosting:

  • 8oz Philadelphia cream cheese, softened and cubed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream 

Directions:

  1. Place a mixing bowl and beaters/mixer into the freezer so they will be icy cold for the whipped frosting. 
  2. Bake cake according to box instructions in a 9X13 pan. 
  3. Let cool completely then flip upside down onto a tray or baking sheet.
  4. Using a large serrated knife, slice through the middle of the cake width wise and separate the layers.
  5. Spread the strawberry cream cheese spread onto the bottom of the split layer and smooth onto the whole layer.
  6. Replace the layer so the strawberry spread is in the middle of the cake.
  7. Take the bowl and beaters out of the freezer and add cream cheese and sugar to the bowl. 
  8. Mix on medium until smooth then slowly add the heavy cream. Beat on high until fluffy.
  9. Add vanilla and almond extract and beat on low until blended. 
  10. Frost onto cake (you will have some left over) covering the top and sides.
  11. To decorate: in the top left corner add 6-7 rows of blueberries about 6 across, these are the stars of the flag.
  12. Now add horizontal rows of sliced strawberries, lying flat on their sides slightly on top of one another. You should have about 4 rows. 
  13. Chill until ready to serve then slice into squares and enjoy!

I chose to use a boxed angel food cake mix, which only requires the addition of water. 
Bake in a 9X13 pan and place a baking sheet underneath in case of overflow. Bake according to box instructions which should be around 30-35 minutes. 
Cool in the pan, then flip over onto a baking sheet. 
Slice in half width wise with a serrated knife, forming two layers.
I use room temp strawberry cream cheese spread so it is smooth and easy to spread. 
Spread strawberry cream cheese all over the bottom inside layer.
Add the top layer back on. Now time to frost the cake.
These few ingredients make a fluffy whipped frosting that is perfect for this angel food cake!
Cube up softened cream cheese. 
Using a cold bowl and beaters (I put mine in the freezer for 30 minutes) mix 
together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. 
Add heavy cream slowly to the bowl.
Beat on high until fluffy. Add vanilla and almond extract and mix until combined.
Fresh and delicious Driscoll's strawberries are beautiful on this cake. 
Using about 1 cup or 15 strawberries, stem and thinly slice each berry. 
Add about 1/2 of whipped frosting to the top of the cake and spread over the top and sides.
Smooth frosting over the entire cake and then decorate with fruit. 
Add blueberries to the top left corner in 6-7 rows of about 6 berries. 
These are the flag stars.
Now add sliced strawberries in four rows slightly overlapping each other. 
These are the stripes.
A beautiful American Flag Cake to serve my military man!
Pretty and delicious too! 
Ava had a piece too and loved it just as much as her Daddy.
Our family is complete again. 
Welcome home Ashton!
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