Want an easy peasy cake for British themed celebrations? This Union Jack Traybake Cake is very simple to make and doesn’t require any specialist equipment or cake decoration skills. (It’s a great cake to make with kids!) But the Union Flag pattern on top makes it the perfect cake to serve at British-themed celebrations, garden parties and street parties!
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Need a Union Jack cake for a British-themed celebration?
If you are throwing a party, or need a dish to take to a British-themed celebration, then why not make this gorgeous Union Jack Traybake Cake?
It’s perfect for patriotic celebrations, street parties, garden parties, picnics… any time you need a British-themed cake!
A very easy Union Jack cake
While it looks impressive, this Union Jack Traybake Cake is super easy to make and decorate (even if you are not blessed with the greatest cake making skills!)
All you need to do is make a simple vanilla sponge, then top with a simple vanilla buttercream. Finally make a Union Jack flag pattern using strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.
You don’t need any specialist equipment or decoration skills… and it’s a great bake to make with kids too. Even the smallest children will have fun putting the berries in the right place to make a Union Jack flag pattern!
Top tips for making Union Jack traybake
To ensure your Union Jack Traybake Cake looks its absolute best, I have three tips:
- You may want to consider buying slightly more berries than stated in the recipe, in case not every berry is usable. (I often find there are a few berries in every pack which are too soft or the wrong shape.) This is especially important if you are making this cake with kids… as you might find not every berry makes it to the cake!
- You may find that your cake rises a little more in the middle than at the sides. This is not a problem… but for best results I recommend slicing off the top of the cake to give yourself a flat-ish surface to work with… otherwise your berries might slide off the cake! (The spare cake is Cook’s perks, naturally!)
- Because you are using fresh berries on this cake, it is best to decorate the cake as near to when you want to serve it as possible. This cake is best eaten as soon as possible after you have decorated the cake. If that’s just not possible and you need to decorate the cake earlier in the day, I recommend keeping this cake in the fridge until 30 minutes before you serve it.
What to drink with Union Jack Traybake Cake?
At this point in my recipes, I usually put a wine recommendation. But I think if you are keeping things truly British, you’ll probably want to serve this Union Jack Traybake with a cup of tea!
Alternatively, if you want something alcoholic, this kind of vanilla sponge cake works well very with sweet sherry, tawny port or sweet madeira.
Another great option is Champagne. However dry styles of Champagne do not at all go well with cake… so try and find a sweet Champagne (called demi-sec or doux).
Or, to keep it British, you could go for an English Sparkling Wine. We make sparkling wine to rival Champagne these days and if ever there was an excuse to splash out on a bottle of English Sparkling Wine, it’s surely a British-themed celebration! Nyetimber do a demi-sec called Cuvee Cherie that you can get on Amazon*, Drinks Supermarket or at Majestic.
How to store Union Jack Traybake Cake?
Because you are using fresh berries, it is best to eat the cake as soon as possible after you have decorated the cake. However, if that’s just not an option, and you need to decorate the cake earlier in the day, I recommend keeping this cake in the fridge until shortly before you serve it.
If you need to store the cake for any length of time, you should keep it in an airtight container… If that’s not possible, you could pop it back in its tin and cover it with clingfilm (AKA Saran wrap). Another good option is to use a traybake tin that comes with a lid, like this one*
How long will Union Jack Traybake Cake keep?
The cake itself – either undecorated or with just buttercream on it – will keep well, in an airtight container for up to 1 week. However, it tastes at its best in the first 3 days.
Once you’ve put the berries on, I recommend serving this cake on the same day as you decorate it. However, if you store it in an airtight container in the fridge, it should last for a few days once decorated – it really depends on the berries.
Can you freeze Union Jack Traybake Cake?
You can certainly freeze the actual cake. Vanilla sponge cake freezes very well. Simply place the sponge cake in an airtight container / freezer bag and put it in the freezer, where it will keep for up to 3 months. Do make sure you freeze the cake BEFORE you add the icing and decoration. (The icing and decoration WILL NOT freeze well.)
Defrost at room temperature overnight (or for about 8 hours). Ice and decorate the cake when it is completely defrosted.
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Union Jack Traybake Cake
Vanilla Traybake Cake
- 350 g butter (or margarine, if you prefer) softened
- 350 g caster sugar
- 6 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or to taste
- 350 g self-raising flour (AKA self-rising flour)
- 4 tablespoons milk
Union Jack Icing and Decoration
- 150 g butter (or margarine, if you prefer) softened
- 300 g icing sugar (AKA confectioner's sugar) sieved
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or to taste
- 300 g blueberries (See Note 1)
- 100 g raspberries (See Note 1)
- 400 g strawberries cut flat across the top (See Note 1)
Vanilla Traybake Cake
- Preheat your oven to 180C / 160C fan / gas mark 4 / 350F. Grease and line a traybake pan (33 by 23cm / 13 by 9ins).
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar thoroughly, until the mixture starts to look a little bit paler.
- Add in one egg at a time and stir until each egg is completely mixed in before adding the next one.
- Add in the vanilla extract and stir to ensure it is evenly mixed in.
- Add in half the flour and stir gently until mixed in. Add in the remaining flour and, again, stir gently until the flour is mixed in.
- Add in the 4 tablespoons of milk and stir until mixed in.
- Tip the mixture into the lined traybake pan. Smooth over the surface with the back of your wooden spoon.
- Put the traybake into your preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. After 35 minutes, remove from the oven and check to see if it’s done using a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake. If the skewer comes out clean, it is cooked. If the skewer is covered in batter, return to the oven for a further 3 minutes and test again. Repeat if necessary, until the skewer comes out clean. (See Note 2.)
- Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack (See Note 3.) and allow to cool completely. This should take approximately 1 hour.
Union Jack Icing and Decoration
- Don’t try and ice the traybake cake until it is completely cold! For best results, decorate just before serving. (See Note 4.)
- Put the softened butter, vanilla extract and sieved icing sugar in a bowl and beat together until smooth.
- Trim off the top of the cake, if necessary, so you have a nice flat surface to work with.
- Using a knife, smooth the icing over the top of the cake as evenly as possible. (It doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect!)
- Finally, use the blueberries, raspberries and strawberries to create a Union Jack pattern on the top of the cake. Use strawberries for the red vertical/horizontal cross, raspberries for the red diagonal cross, and blueberries to fill in the gaps to make the blue background.
- You may want to consider buying slightly more berries than stated in the recipe, in case not every berry is usable (I often find there are a few berries in every pack which are too soft or the wrong shape!)
- If you don’t own a skewer, you can use the handle of a teaspoon, a chopstick or a toothpick instead!
- If you don’t own a cooling rack, you can use the rack from your grill instead – or anything that allows air to flow under the cake.
- Because you are using fresh berries on this cake, it is best to decorate the cake as near to when you want to serve it as possible. This cake is best eaten as soon as possible after you have decorated the cake.
- Suitable for freezing.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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*This blog post contains affiliate links, this means if you click on a link and go on to buy the product I recommend, I will get a small commission, but you will not be charged a penny more – thanks in advance!