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Bake Up a July 4th Celebration

MISSION, KS -- (Marketwired) -- 06/06/14 -- (Family Features) This Fourth of July, after the family has enjoyed the burgers, brats and potato salad, the only thing they'll be looking forward to more than fireworks are simple-to-make, delectable desserts to end a perfect summer night.

It's easy to simplify special occasion menus with cake mix and now, bakers of any skill level can easily make summer celebrations even more memorable and delicious.

You're sure to impress your July Fourth guests when you serve up patriotic treats that go beyond the box with surprising ingredients, such as rich cream cheese and mouthwatering fruit filling. Friends and family will find it hard to resist a second helping of treats that highlight the fresh strawberry flavor of the season. Here are two great summer recipes that take an easy and different spin on strawberries, for creative, delicious results.

For tips on how to incorporate a yummy finale to your July Fourth fare, as well as recipe ideas, visit www.duncanhines.com.

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 24 bars

1     package Duncan Hines® Signature French Vanilla Cake Mix
1/2   cup melted butter or margarine
3     eggs
1     package (8 ounces) cream cheese
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1     can (21 ounces) Comstock® or Wilderness® Strawberry Pie Filling and
      Topping

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In large bowl combine cake mix, butter or margarine and 1 egg; blend well. Reserve 1/3 cup of mixture for topping.

Pat remaining mixture into bottom of well-greased 9-by-13-inch pan.

In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy, beat in 2 eggs and 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar. Pour over cake mixture in pan. Spread strawberry fruit filling on top and sprinkle with reserved cake mixture.

Bake 1 hour or until lightly browned. Refrigerate until chilled; cut into bars and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar.

Sunshine Strawberry French Vanilla Cake
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
Servings: 12

1     package Duncan Hines® Signature French Vanilla Cake Mix
1     container Duncan Hines® Creamy Home-Style Vanilla Frosting
1     can Duncan Hines®, Comstock® or Wilderness® Strawberry Pie Filling &
      Topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray.

Prepare and bake cake according to package directions.

Cool cakes on wire rack 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool completely.

Arrange one cake on serving plate and evenly spread with 1 cup frosting, leaving sides bare. Add layer of pie filling on top of frosting. Top with second cake layer. Garnish with remaining frosting and pie filling.

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