happy july 4th flag cake (gloriously gluten-free!)

The Happy 4th of July Flag Cake is one of our favorite  family traditions.gluten free july 4th flag cake

And though I know that I could whip that puppy out in no time flat, inviting Maddy, Owen, and Cora into the preparation and assembly not only gets them comfortable in the kitchen, it also gives them a chance to play with numbers, science, and food. Who wouldn’t love that?

Each year the kids and I look forward to making it just as much as we enjoy eating it, and though last year we turned our cake into a candy and Rice Krispie masterpiece, this year we were back on track–but our cake did have a slightly different spin.

Instead of the light and fluffy double-layer yum, this one was. . . well, gloriously gluten-free.

And I haven’t figured out how to make light and fluffy gluten-free cake yet, but I tried–we tried.

Essentially, our Smart Summer learning today happened in the kitchen. Over lots of berries, butter, and sweets.

  • Happy July 4th Flag Cake (Gloriously Gluten-Free): For the past few weeks, we’ve been keeping our Cora gluten-free.  And it hasn’t been easy.

We’re doing what we can, learning every day, and trying to figure out why she keeps getting belly aches. We know she doesn’t have celiac disease, but we believe she may have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity.  What we do know for sure is that our removal of gluten from her diet seems to be working; her belly aches are subsiding, so we’ll stick with it for a while.


gluten free july 4th flag cake Yeah, Betty Crocker for adding gluten-free mixes to your line!


gluten free july 4th flag cake She’s been a trooper as I’ve fumbled through re-vamped recipes, different snacks, and a new way of eating and looking at foods.

I’ve tried more than anything to make her feel good about herself, so rather than making a very special July 4th Flag Cake for her, I was over the moon when I found a gluten-free cake mix. Thank you, Betty Crocker.

I picked up two boxes, hoping that we could still do our sinful, summery double-layer flag cake for the holiday.  I literally danced out of the grocery store.

Maddy, Cora, and I got to work–Owen took it easy because he has an ear infection, poor guy–and everything was going well until we got to the ‘how long does it bake’ question.

Cora and Maddy measured water, did a lot of ingredient-dumping, and cracked eggs.  Maddy read steps 1 and 2, but she got stuck on 3–baking time. I said, Just look for the size of our pan and tell me how much time it says, Maddy.


gluten free july 4th flag cake Thank goodness Maddy measured our pan!

She still couldn’t figure it out, so I took a look at the box and felt a wave of panic.  I grabbed our tape measure and asked Maddy to determine what size pan we had–and I’m glad I did.

We usually make our July 4th Flag cake a double-layer yellow cake, but this year, with the new gluten-free mix, I was totally off-track.


Our strawberries are cut, blueberries clean, and cake baked. . .


The cake pans we usually use are 9 x 13–a rectangle for the flag–but the mix was for a 9 x 9 pan. Yikes! We only had two boxes, enough for one 9 x 13 pan, so that’s what we did. Thank goodness Maddy checked, or we would have had a really skinny double-layer cake.


. . . our cake was ready to become a flag!

gluten free july 4th flag cake

I had a picture of a flag close by as a reference, and we worked together to put the blueberries as stars and the strawberries as stripes.


To keep the fruit in lines, I made a tiny poke in the icing with a toothpick, and Maddy, Owen, and Cora followed it with either a blueberry or strawberry. We tried to keep the strawberries going the same way, but it turned out that a few pieces were out of order–but that’s the beauty of it.



Our 4th of July y-u-m. . .


. . . made to celebrate our country and to keep our tiny one happy–and bellyache free!

Happy 4th, everyone!

Please join Candace of Naturally Educational, MaryLea of Pink and Green Mama, and me for the Smart Summer Challenge, a six-week campaign where we all pledging to sneak in some sort of fun learning into our children’s summer days.

You can follow our calendar if you’d like, but you don’t have to.  You can get really crazy, but you don’t have to do that either.

It can be simple learning–even 5 or 10 minutes a day. Anything and everything counts, and all we ask is that you link up here on Fridays and share what you’ve done (meaning: share one way you participated). Each Friday for the next six weeks, we’ll choose one participant to receive an awesome (and I mean totally worth your time awesome) prize.

Our goal is to show all parents that if we can do it, anyone can do it. And if we want our kids meet with success in school and to enjoy learning about the world around them, it’s our job to create a lifestyle of learning for our families.  Join us!




  1. Sarah says

    My daughter (7 years old) complained about tummy aches and we discovered it was wheat/gluten. We eliminated wheat and whatever else we could that may have gluten snuck in for a good month. We also did a dairy elimination but discovered it was okay after all.

    Now she’s been wheat free for months, maybe even 6 months. It’s a struggle when we go out and socially but we’ve found alternatives and gently remind her that if she was to eat it… you’ll be in pain. She’ll have it from time to time without issue but build up, belly aches start again.

    We made a family decision to all go wheat and gluten free. My 6 year old son protested but…We’ve discovered rice flour products and coconut flour can make some good items. There is a flourless chocolate cake we’ve thought of making and freezing slices. So when we or she goes to a party, she has something to eat. Or I bring her Lindt chocolate (70% and up).
    Good Luck!

    • amy says

      Sarah! Thanks for writing–so interesting how many others are suffering from gluten intolerance. I think we may need to go gluten free as a family, but I’m not sure how to break it to my husband (who is a huge dorito fan. . . ) :)

      Thanks for writing and please stay in touch–I’m sure I may contact you with ?’s!!

  2. Maritza says

    This is so cool! We started my son (18 months old) on a gluten free diet two weeks ago. He sleeps so much better now, and doesn’t have so many horrible melt downs throughout the day. I have yet to try the cake mix! Good luck with the gluten free diet. It does get easier!

    • amy says

      thanks, Maritza! There are so many others on this gluten-free journey, it’s nuts. Glad you figured out what worked for your son, and let’s hope it keeps working for our Cora, too!

  3. says

    We figured our youngest (16 months) had a gluten sensitivity when he was a few months old, so, with breastfeeding, I have been eating gluten-free for almost a year.

    If it helps with your husband, I think Doritos are actually a flavored corn chip, which is okay for gluten-free! (Just because it’s a “special diet” doesn’t means it’s healthy!)

    For cakes, I know my MIL found a conversion for the gluten-free cake mixes where you add pudding to it (as long as you don’t have a dairy issue as well). Makes SUCH a difference in avoiding the chalkiness of a lot of GF stuff. If you are interested, send me a message & I will get you the specifics.

    • amy says

      Gwen!! OH MY GOODNESS!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this information. You made my day. I would LOVE for you to send me the cake conversion info if it’s not a problem. My email is teachmama@verizon.net. SO exciting!!

  4. Alicia says

    I was curious if you recommended any books or sites to learn about going gluten-free. I have a feeling that my son has some sort of intolerance/sensitivity so I’m going to test an elimination diet. There are so many resources out there…it’s kind of intimidating! Any info you could point me to, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


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