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Beautifully swirled cupcakes that taste as great as they look! Perfect for any patriotic celebration or any time you want some American pride in your dessert.
And JUST LIKE THAT it’s time for another round of red, white, and blue swirly twirly desserts.
Because it’s July 1st.
To be perfectly honest, this post was supposed to publish last week, but instead, I pushed it to today because things are ABSOLUTE INSANITY over here, and I’ll be sharing all about why that is next week (though if you follow me on Insta, you’ve probably seen some teasers already).
Let’s just say… Things are about to get a whole lot sprinklier and colorful around here.
But first, we cupcake.
And not just any cupcake, might I add. A cupcake that will dazzle and impress your 4th of July party go-ers to no end, because just look at them!!
These cupcakes may look complicated, but rest assured, they most certainly are not. They take a little more time to assemble than your typical cupcakes, but can you not see already the trade-off is so amazingly worth it? The swirly patriotism inside this cupcake should help you answer “yes” to that question.
This is a cupcake recipe you’ve seen before, but it’s a bigger version and we’ve removed the Oreos. My tried and true mini cookies & cream cupcakes recipe has never let me down, and I knew it produced a flavorful and sturdy cupcake, so I dyed it all up.
No regrets. Sorry about the Oreos. We’ll use them again sometime soon, k??
You might be thinking this is about to get complicated, but it’s super simple. Take a peek at the photos in this red, white, and blue swirl bundt cake post if you need some visuals, but all you’ll need to do here is whip up your batter, split it into 3 parts, and dye one bowl red and one bowl blue.
And, as aways, my preferred method of dyeing is gel color. They work SO much better than liquid color, and they produce the most vibrant colors in batter and frosting.
My favorite brand is AmeriColor.
You’ll use the coloring in the batter itself, and, if you’re feeling jazzy, in the buttercream you’ll swirl on top. More about how to do that one in a bit.
In order to get the tri-color cupcakes happening, all you’ll need to do is put one heaping Tablespoon of each color into your cupcake liners.
It’s easiest to work with one color at a time, filling all of the liners with one color before moving onto the next. Though, it’s absolutely fine to change it up to keep all of your cupcakes looking completely different.
The best way to get the batter from the Tablespoon measure into the liner is with a clean finger. That way, you get all the batter possible out of the spoon and into the liner.
Just keep in mind that the color you put in last will be the color on the top of your cupcake.
Not that I have any cupcake regrets, but in hindsight, I may have saved white for the top of my cupcakes because the red is pretty intense.
Your cupcakes, your color order.
The frosting is a little tricky, but you can totally do it.
You’ll make the frosting as normal and then separate it out into three portions: a red, a blue, and a white.
You’ll want to lay out a large piece of plastic wrap, approximately 18″ long, and line three stripes of frosting side by side in the middle of the piece of plastic.
Your stripes should be about 6-8″ long.
Once all 3 colors are in there, roll it up into a log and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
Your log should have about 4-6″ of “tail” on either end.
When you’re ready to pipe the frosting, fit a piping bag with whatever tip you’d like to use. I like a Wilton 1M for cupcakes.
Thread one end of the log through the bag and pull it through the tip, snipping off the tail when it’s seated nicely in the piping bag. Then you’re ready to pipe!
The only un-fun part about this is that you’ll have to reload your piping bag in this fashion every time you want to do more swirled cupcakes.
So, as you can see, I opted for more of an artsy frost job, which involved taking a small dollop of each frosting and slapping it on the top of each cupcake. I then swirled it around with a small offset spatula.
Until next week, please enjoy perfectly and beautifully swirled red, white, and blue cupcakes this 4th of July. Because NO 4th should pass by without patriotic desserts!
And if you’re looking for other patriotic desserts, check out the compilation I put together last July!
Red, White, & Blue Swirl Cupcakes
- 1 and ⅔ cup all-purpose flour be sure to measure properly
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup yogurt plain, vanilla, Greek, or regular, any fat content; you may also use sour cream
- ¾ cup milk any
- 1 and ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon red gel food coloring
- ½ teaspoon blue gel food coloring
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ to ⅓ cup milk or cream
- salt to taste
- red and blue gel food coloring* as needed
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large microwave safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave and allow to cool a bit. Whisk in the sugar, egg, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until no lumps remain.
- Pour the batter evenly into 3 bowls– one for white, one for red, and one for blue. Add the red food coloring to one of the small bowls, stir, and add more coloring until it is to your liking. Repeat with a second bowl and the blue coloring.
- Using a Tablespoon measure, add 1 heaping Tablespoon of batter to each cupcake liner, starting with whatever color you prefer. Remember that whichever color you end on will be the color of the top of your cupcakes. You should have enough batter for 3 heaping Tablespoons of batter in each liner, and any leftover can be distributed evenly.
- Bake cupcakes for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Allow to cool completely before decorating.
- In a large bowl with a handheld mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- With the mixer on low, add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk or cream. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until completely smooth, about 3 minutes. If frosting is too stiff, add more milk. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar. Add salt to taste.
- For more buttercream troubleshooting tips, see my book, The Home Baker's Guide to Basic Buttercream.
DECORATE THE CUPCAKES
- Separate the frosting into 3 equal portions– one for white, one for red, and one for blue. Add the red food coloring to one of the small bowls, stir, and add more coloring until it is to your liking. Repeat with a second bowl and the blue coloring. Set aside.
- Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap, approximately 18" long. Line three stripes of frosting side by side in the middle of the piece of plastic. Stripes should be about 6-8" long.
- Once all 3 colors are in there, roll it up into a log. Log should have about 4-6" of "tail" on either end. Refrigerate log for about 10 minutes.
- While the frosting chills, fit a piping bag with the tip of your choice (I like a Wilton 1M for cupcakes). When the frosting is ready, thread one end of the log through the bag and pull it through the tip, snipping off the tail when it's seated nicely in the piping bag. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes.
- Alternatively, you can forego swirled frosting and dollop the three different frostings onto the top of the cupcake and swirl with a small offset spatula. Cupcakes stay fresh covered tightly at room temperature up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.