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4th of july cupcakes

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Celebrate America’s birthday with festive 4th of July cupcakes! These patriotic desserts feature American flag colors. These red, white and blue cupcakes are topped with swirls of frosting and spangled with edible stars.

PIN PATRIOTIC CUPCAKES

4th of July Cupcakes on a dessert table with glass bottles of milk.

Like these patriotic meringue cookies, it’s easy to assemble an elegant batch of red, white and blue cupcakes. Divide white cake batter into 3 bowls, adding a few drops of tint (red and blue) to 2 of the bowls. Then fill each well of the cupcake pan with a bit of each colored batter.

Making American flag frosting (red/white/blue) is simple. Divide buttercream into 3 bowls, adding tint to 2 bowls. Pipe lines of colored frosting onto plastic wrap, and roll it up like a log. Stick the roll into a piping bag fitted with a metal tip. Pipe tall swirls of frosting onto the 4th of July cupcakes.

My favorite part of this festive recipe is adding the finishing touch. The edible silver stars. This glittery garnish makes these patriotic desserts absolutely spectacular.

American Flag Cupcakes topped with swirls of tri-colored buttercream frosting in red, white & blue.

Heading to a 4th of July block party? Bring a double batch of these gorgeous patriotic desserts. These show stoppers will earn plenty of oohhs and aahhs from excited party guests. Everyone will want one.

Serve the fourth of July cupcakes as everyone’s getting seated for the fireworks display. At the end of the evening, you’re guaranteed to come home with an empty dish.

HOW TO ELEVATE THE LOOK: Decorate red white and blue cupcakes with American flag picks. Or transform the treats into firecracker cupcakes. Cut red licorice into short strips. Place a strip in the center of the frosting.

Five fourth of July cupcakes with swirled red, white & blue frosting.

INGREDIENTS

4th of July Cupcakes

  • All-purpose Flour:  This main ingredient provides strength and structure for the fourth of July cupcakes.
  • Granulated Sugar: Is a wonderful sweetener that helps with browning and contributes to the soft tender texture of these special treats.
  • Baking Powder: Helps create air bubbles within the batter to assist with rising in the oven so cupcakes will have a light fluffy texture.
  • Sea Salt: Enhances the flavor of the other ingredients while balancing out the sweetness.
  • Whole Milk: Adds silky texture to the batter while binding ingredients together. It helps keep the desserts moist so they don’t dry out.
  • Vegetable Oil: Contributes moistness and richness to the cupcake batter. It also slows down gluten formation so cupcakes are tender.
  • Large Eggs: Adds richness, moistness, color and flavor, while also assisting with leavening and providing structure for the cupcakes.
  • Vanilla Extract: For patriotic cupcakes, I use Mexican Vanilla extract. I love this type for its delicious vanilla taste with rich buttery notes. To help keep white cake batter white (and red and blue colors crisper), use “clear” vanilla extract rather than amber-colored vanilla.
  • Red Gel Food Color: For these 4th of July cupcakes I used AmeriColor “Red Red” icing color. But you can also use Wilton “Red (No-Taste)”.
  • Royal Blue Gel Food Color: These patriotic cupcakes feature AmeriColor “Royal Blue” icing color. But Wilton “Royal Blue” works too.
Ingredients for patriotic 4th of July cupcakes.

Swirled Flag Frosting

  • Salted Butter: This primary ingredient gives buttercream frosting structure. Use a high-quality brand like Tillamook, Vital Farms Pasture-Raised Butter, or Kirkland brand butter from Costco.
  • Powdered Sugar: This ingredient stiffens the frosting to a pipeable texture, while providing it with sweetness. If the frosting is too stiff, add a tablespoon of milk. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: If you’d like to keep the white icing white and the icing colors sharper, use “clear” vanilla extract.
  • Sea Salt: If the frosting tastes way too sweet, add a tiny pinch of salt to the buttercream mixture. It’ll help tamp down the sweetness.
  • Heavy Cream: This ingredient contributes to the thick creamy texture of the buttercream icing while thinning it out to a pipeable consistency.
  • Red Gel Paste Food Color: For 4th of July cupcakes I enjoy using AmeriColor “Red Red”. But Wilton “Red (no taste)” is also a good option.
  • Blue Gel Paste Food Color: Use AmeriColor or Wilton “Royal Blue”.

Decorative Garnish

Edible Silver Stars: These thin airy stars are made of edible glitter. They’re the finishing touch on these elegant patriotic cupcakes.

Ingredients for buttercream frosting with American flag colors: red, white & blue.

RECIPE STEPS

4th of July Cupcakes

RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-well cupcake pan with good-quality paper cupcake liners.

  • STEP 1: In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  • STEP 2: In a large bowl, briefly whisk together dry ingredients: flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Whisk until just combined. Do not overmix.
  • STEP 3: Divide the cupcake batter between 3 bowls. Use the original bowl, plus 2 smaller bowls. Add a squirt of gel food coloring to the smaller bowls: red in one, and royal blue in the other.
  • STEP 4: Stir briefly, just until the color is incorporated. Do not overmix.
How to make red, white & blue cupcake batter for patriotic American Flag cupcakes.
  • STEP 5: Add red, white and blue batter to the prepared wells of the cupcake pan in a random order. Fill each cupcake wrapper about 2/3 of the way full.
  • STEP 6: Bake fourth of July cupcakes for 21 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Don’t allow the cakes to become golden! The white areas should remain pale. The bright colors should not be “muddied” by the cake becoming golden. Remove pan from oven. Immediately transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool.
Tri-color batter in cupcake pans for baking 4th of July cupcakes then cooling them on a rack.

Swirled Flag Frosting

  • STEP 1: Add softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, or until light and fluffy.
  • STEP 2: Reduce speed to low. Slowly add powdered sugar and mix until fully incorporated. Add vanilla extract and heavy cream. Mix until smooth and luscious. If thickening is needed, add more powdered sugar. If it needs to be thinned, add a little more cream. If the frosting’s too sweet, add a pinch of salt to tamp down sweetness.
  • STEP 3: Divide buttercream into thirds. Use original mixing bowl plus 2 small bowls. Add royal blue gel to one small bowl and mix well. Add red gel to the other small bowl and mix until fully incorporated.
  • STEP 4: Spoon each colored frosting (red, white & blue) into its own piping bag with the tip cut off. Pull out a 12 x 12 square of plastic wrap. Pipe the 3 individual colors onto the plastic wrap in columns (each 8″ long, and 1 1/2″ wide). Columns should touch but not overlap.
How to create tri-colored frosting for patriotic swirled frosting.
  • STEP 5: From the long side, carefully roll up the plastic (like a roll of sausage). Crimp and twist both ends. Snip off one end and place it inside a large piping bag fitted with a metal tip. (Make sure the open end of the roll is facing down toward the metal tip.)
How to prep tri-color patriotic swirled frosting for piping onto 4th of July cupcakes.
  • STEP 6: Once cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe tall swirls of frosting onto the center of the 4th of July cupcakes. Leave an unfrosted border of exposed cake around the sides. Sprinkle the red, white and blue cupcakes with edible silver stars.
Freshly frosted fourth of July cupcakes.

RECIPE FAQ

These are the most commonly-asked questions when making 4th of July cupcakes, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.

WHAT ARE THE BEST CUPCAKE LINERS?

The best cupcake liners are made with grease-proof paper so the cakes don’t stick to the wrappers. For 4th of July cupcakes, avoid printed designs and colored liners, because they’re much too busy looking for elegant tri-colored cakes. Stick with basic white for that classic bakery-style look. I prefer these professional white baking cups.

HOW TO TAMP DOWN THE SWEETNESS IN FROSTING?

Add a pinch of salt to the buttercream mixture. It’ll tamp down the sweetness and balance the flavors.

CAN I USE LIQUID FOOD COLORING FOR THE FROSTING?

No, this is not recommended. Always use gel paste colors for frosting, not liquid food coloring. Gel paste is highly concentrated. A tiny bit goes a long way. And gel will not change the consistency of the icing.

WHAT PIPING TIP TO USE FOR SWIRLED FROSTING?

These 4th of July cupcakes were decorated with a Wilton 2D metal tip. But you can use any decorating tip of your choosing. Ateco 849 and Wilton 1M also make lovely tall swirls. Wilton 8B is another favorite.

HOW TO KEEP THE SURFACE OF THE CUPCAKES FROM DRYING OUT?

After the cupcakes have completely cooled, wrap them in plastic wrap. Then frost the cupcakes within 2 hours of serving. Or if cupcakes must be frosted several hours in advance, frost the entire surface (rather than leaving an unfrosted border around the edges) to prevent the cakes from drying out. Store them in a tall airtight container.

Unwrapped patriotic cupcake shows red, white & blue colors of the tri-colored cake.

MORE 4TH OF JULY RECIPES

Hosting a 4th of July BBQ? Add these all-star favorites to your Independence Day menu. Print the recipes for later, or pin them to Pinterest.

Bite taken out of an unwrapped fourth of July cupcake.

RATE THIS RECIPE ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Taste testers rated these the BEST 4th of July cupcakes! They loved the ease of this simple recipe. The patriotic look is spectacular. The cake is tender and fluffy and tastes amazing. The yummy frosting is super festive.

If you agree these are the BEST patriotic cupcakes, give them a 5-star rating in the comments. Then share the recipe with a friend. Pin it to Pinterest.

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com
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Five fourth of July cupcakes with swirled red, white & blue frosting.

4th of july cupcakes


Description

These 4th of July cupcakes are spectacular! And they’re super easy to make. Celebrate America’s birthday with these tender cupcakes with swirled flag frosting and glittery edible stars.


Ingredients

Units Scale

4th of July Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 squirt (about 1/8 teaspoon) AmeriColor Royal Blue food gel
  • 1 squirt (about 1/8 teaspoon) AmeriColor Red-Red food gel

Swirled Flag Frosting

  • 2 1/2 cups salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 10 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons “clear” vanilla extract (not amber colored)
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 scant pinch of salt, if needed to tamp down sweetness
  • 6 squirts AmeriColor Red-Red (gel paste food color)
  • 6 squirts AmeriColor Royal Blue (gel paste food color)

Decorative Garnish

Edible Silver Stars 


Instructions

4TH OF JULY CUPCAKES

RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-well cupcake pan with good-quality paper cupcake liners.

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.  In a large bowl, briefly whisk together dry ingredients: flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Whisk until just combined. Do not overmix. 
  2. Divide the cupcake batter between 3 bowls. Use the original bowl, plus 2 smaller bowls. Add gel food coloring to the smaller bowls: red in one, royal blue in the other. Stir briefly, just until the color is incorporated. Do not overmix.
  3. Add red, white and blue batter to the prepared wells of the cupcake pan in a random order. Fill each cupcake wrapper about 2/3 of the way full.
  4. Bake 21 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not allow cupcakes to become golden! White areas of the cake should remain pale. The bright colors should not be “muddied” by the cake becoming golden brown. Remove pan from oven. Immediately transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool.

SWIRLED FLAG FROSTING

  1. Add softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, or until light and fluffy.
  2. Reduce speed to low. Slowly add powdered sugar. Mix until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and heavy cream. Mix until smooth and luscious. If thickening is needed, add more powdered sugar. If it needs to be thinned, add more cream. If the frosting’s too sweet, add a pinch of salt to tamp down sweetness.
  3. Divide buttercream into thirds. Use original mixing bowl plus 2 small bowls. Add royal blue gel to one small bowl and mix well. Add red gel to the other small bowl and mix until fully incorporated. Spoon each colored frosting (red, white & blue) into its own piping bag with the tip cut off.
  4. Pull out a 12 x 12 square of plastic wrap. Pipe the 3 individual colors onto the plastic wrap in columns (each 8″ long, and 1 1/2″ wide). The columns should touch but not overlap. From the long side, carefully roll up the plastic (like a roll of sausage). Crimp and twist both ends. Snip off one end and place it inside a large piping bag fitted with a metal tip. (Make sure the open end of the roll is facing down toward the metal tip.)
  5. Once cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe tall swirls of frosting onto the center of each cake. Leave an unfrosted border of exposed cake around the sides. Sprinkle the desserts with edible silver stars.

Notes

USE GEL PASTE ICING COLORS: Do not use liquid food coloring. Gel colors are highly concentrated, so a tiny bit goes a long way. You would need a lot of liquid food coloring to achieve the needed vibrancy of color. And all that added liquid would affect the consistency of the batter. Gel colors are also important for tinting the icing.

POWDERED SUGAR: 1 pound = 3½ to 4 cups unsifted powdered sugar. So for the frosting buy 3 16-ounce boxes. You’ll need the first 2 boxes plus some from the third box.

  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: 4th of July Cupcakes, Fourth of July Cupcakes, Patriotic Cupcakes, July 4th Cupcakes, American Flag Cupcakes

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

4th of july cupcakes > join the conversation

Have you made a batch of these 4th of July cupcakes? What did your family and friends think of these special patriotic desserts? Share your thoughts on these red, white and blue cupcakes in the comments below.

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