WANT a festive grand finale for a patriotic party? Set out these spectacular sparklers. You're sure to draw "oohs" and "aahs" from the crowd. Simply follow our kitchen staff's directions to bake a jelly roll-style cake, cut it in two pieces and stand them on end. Them just spread on bright red, white and blue frosting and add gumdrop stars to turn the desserts into eye-catching firecrackers. With a luscious lemon filling, they're bound to delight taste buds, too!
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VERIFIED BY Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- LEMON FILLING:
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, cubed
- 2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- Red and blue paste or gel food coloring
- 8 large red, white and blue gumdrops
- 5 pieces uncooked spaghetti
- 1-inch star-shaped cookie cutter
- Line a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with parchment paper and grease the paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and lemon extract for 5 minutes or until lemon-colored. Gradually add 1/3 cup of sugar, beating well.
- In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Stir about a third of the whites into the yolk mixture. Fold in the remaining whites.
- Combine the flour and baking powder. Fold into the egg mixture just until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake at 375° for 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes.
- Turn the cake roll onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners' sugar. Gently peel off the parchment paper. Roll up the cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool cake completely on wire rack.
- For filling, combine the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and peel in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat. Cook and stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Add the butter and stir until melted. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
- Unroll the cake. Spread the filling evenly over the top of the cake to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Roll the cake up again. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
- Using the serrated knife, cut the cake roll into one 5-1/2-inch-long piece and one 3-3/4-inch-long piece. Trim off the uncut ends of each cake roll. With a cut end down, place each cake roll on the serving plate.
- For frosting, beat the cream cheese in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar, lemon extract and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency.
- Tint 1/3 cup of frosting red and 1/4 cup blue. Frost the sides of the large firecracker white. Referring to the photo above left for position, frost the small firecracker red, white and blue, creating a striped pattern.
- Flatten the gumdrops with a rolling pin. using a 1-inch star cookie cutter, cut eight gumdrop stars. Arrange three stars on the side of the large firecracker, press them gently into the frosting.
- Insert one end of each spaghetti piece into a remaining gumdrop star. Break off the opposite end of each piece to create different lengths. Insert the spaghetti into the tops of the firecrackers. Yield: 8 servings.
Originally published as Firecracker Cakes in Country Woman July/August 2003, p39