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

4th of july cupcakes


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.


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 



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.


  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.


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