Showstopping Flag Ice Cream Cake for the Fourth of July

I love fireworks, but this year, 2020, proved different. With the Covid-19 mandate to avoid large crowds, most destinations canceled their annual event. I needed something to make the fourth seem like a holiday. Then, a photo of this Flag Ice Cream Cake caught my eye, and I made a plan.

Fourth of July Cake

Fortunately, I started early (on July 2nd) because I knew this project would take a long time. I began by baking the cake that would form the blue portion of the flag. I followed the directions on a white cake mix box and colored the batter cornflower blue with paste or cake decorator food coloring in my pantry. (The Food Network recipe directions calls for a different food coloring.)

After the cake baked and cooled, I removed a five-inch diameter circle from the middle. That portion of the cake is not needed for the flag but you could use it to make a colorful mini-trifle layered with mixed berries. That blue cake ring goes in the freezer. 

Decide what to use as the bottom of the cake for its presentation. I picked the base of my old Tupperware cake holder. Whatever you choose, the dish should be freezer-proof and fit your springform pan with extra room for frosting. FYI- make room in your freezer for this project.  The cake grows quite tall. 

On the morning of July 3rd, I lined the springform pan with a 30″ long section of parchment paper taped together with masking tape. This is a bit tricky, and in retrospect, lining and getting the first layer of sorbet down are the hardest step in the entire project. I scooped some of the sorbet from the pint container into a bowl and mixed it (just enough) to make it spreadable.  I spread on a layer and placed Cling Wrap on top. I used the bottom of a one-cup flat measuring cup to smooth it out. Then I put the lined pan with the sorbet layer into the freezer.  Wait at least an hour between layers. Since there are seven layers, plus the frosting, this project takes an entire day!! The layering is not tricky, just time-consuming. 

The next layer is vanilla ice cream. It took me a bit longer to mush the ice cream into a spreadable consistency than it did the sorbet.  Just be sure to work quickly, and don’t let your ice cream become runny. 

When you have two frozen layers each (four in total- red/white and red/white), it is time to add the blue cake ring. I pushed it down on the vanilla layer and then filled in the center section with red sorbet. Freeze, add a new layer of vanilla, freeze, and one more of sorbet. 

Now, the cake was ready to be frosted. The recipe called for two pints of heavy cream – which made too much, so I suggest cutting it down. Icing the cake proved easy, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I put the finished layered masterpiece back in the freezer for the night. 

Happy July 4th.  The completed cake is enormous and heavy, perfect if you have company coming to your house.  However, I volunteered to bring dessert, just for a few, so I cut the cake in half. I placed it in a cooler laden with ice for the drive. Warn your hostess that you will need freezer space.  

Expect compliments on the cake.  I must say it was impressive and tasted so yummy.  


From: Food Network Magazine

 Ice Cream Flag Cake

You can see a step-by-step demonstration of the Ice Cream Flag Cake on the Food Network’s website.


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 16-to-18-ounce box white cake mix (plus required ingredients)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I did not add this as some reviews suggested)
  • 28 drops royal blue gel food coloring
  • 4 drops violet gel food coloring
  • Unsalted butter, for the pan
  • 3 pints raspberry sorbet
  • 2 1/2 pints vanilla ice cream
  • 2 pints heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F; coat a 9-inch-round springform pan with cooking spray. Prepare the cake mix as directed, adding the cocoa powder and food coloring to the batter. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake until done, about 45 minutes.
  2. Let the cake cool, then remove from the pan; level the domed top with a serrated knife. Use a 5-inch circle of parchment paper as a guide to cut a circle from the center of the cake (you won’t need the small circle). Freeze the large cake ring.
  3. Cut a 6-by-30-inch strip of parchment paper. Clean the springform pan, then butter it and line the side with the parchment as shown; the paper will extend above the rim of the pan so you can build a tall cake.
  4. Let 1-pint sorbet soften slightly at room temperature. Spread in the prepared pan, then lay a piece of plastic wrap on top and use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the sorbet into the pan in an even layer. Freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  5. Let 1-pint vanilla ice cream soften, spread in the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and press evenly with the measuring cup. Freeze until firm, then repeat to make 1 more layer each of sorbet and ice cream (4 layers total). Freeze until firm.
  6. Place the blue cake ring on top of the ice cream, pressing gently; return to the freezer while you prepare the next layer.
  7. Cut off the top 1 1/2 inches of the remaining sorbet carton; remove the carton, and wrap the sorbet loosely in plastic wrap. Press into a 5-inch round, then place the flattened sorbet into the hole in the cake, smoothing as needed. Freeze until firm. (I made this layer the same as the others- mushing up the sorbet or ice cream and smoothing it out.) 
  8. Cut off the top 1 1/2 inches of the remaining ice cream carton (you won’t need the bottom). Flatten as you did the sorbet; place on top of the raspberry layer. Repeat with the bottom section of the sorbet. Freeze until firm.
  9. Beat the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Remove the springform ring and parchment collar from the cake. Cover the cake with the whipped cream. Freeze until ready to serve.