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Celebrating the red, white, and blue with cupcakes

June 26, 2009

Happy Independence Day… early!  These cupcakes were going to be my Fourth of July treat, but all my nieces and nephews are coming today and I wanted them to get to enjoy them too.   So I’m a week early.  I’m pretty sure I won’t hear any complaints.

My kids were so excited over these, I barely got to frost them before their hands were reaching to snatch them away from me.  They loved biting into them and seeing all that color.  And who wouldn’t?  These are a perfect dessert to have at a Fourth of July picnic or party, don’t you think?  Make enough for the grown-ups too.  They’re hard to resist.

To help speed things along, I used a boxed cake mix.  The white cake is a good palette for the colors.  I divided the mix into thirds, and added red and blue to two bowls.  I just layered each color into each cupcake liner and voila.  I found the cute cupcake liners in the dollar section at Target, so I was lovin’ that.  Super frugal dessert with a huge presentation.  (The sprinkles were from a pack of Christmas sprinkles – I just took out the green trees that were included.)

Recipe:  Red, White, and Blue Cupcakes

1 box of white cake mix  (I used Pillsbury)

Wilton red (no taste) gel

Wilton royal blue gel

buttercream icing


Follow the directions on the box to mix the cake batter.  Divide equally into three bowls.  Leave one bowl white, and add gel colorings to the other bowls to get red and blue.  Layer the batters into your cupcake liners by the spoonful.  You can be neat with flat layers or just goop it in for a more swirly effect.  Follow the box’s instructions for cupcake baking time.  (My box said I should get 24 cupcakes, but I only got 18.)

Recipe:  Vanilla Buttercream Icing

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

4 1/2 c. confectioners sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

5-6 Tbsp. milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in confectioners sugar and vanilla.  Add enough milk to achieve desired consistency.  Yields about 3 cups

24 Comments leave one →
  1. June 26, 2009 11:40 am

    These are adorable and my kids would love this for the Fourth, will be making these for sure. Thanks for the idea!

  2. June 26, 2009 4:52 pm

    how festive! the colors are so rich, and clearly perfect for independence day. great job!

  3. astareal permalink
    June 26, 2009 10:40 pm

    Gorgeous! I love the colours :)

  4. June 27, 2009 3:27 pm

    This is a great Idea and they look good. We have a grandchild that loves to mess in the kitchen baking so this will be great for her to try. Thanks again.

  5. June 27, 2009 7:09 pm

    So patriotic! Love them!

  6. June 28, 2009 2:20 am

    these are awesome. they really do make an beautiful presentation, i love how saturated the colors are.

    I am going to save this recipe to make with my stepson this weekend.

  7. June 29, 2009 8:56 pm

    mmmmmm….cupcakes….. must make.

    I love the colors too. I’ll have to stock up on my food coloring!

  8. Dani permalink
    July 23, 2009 10:57 am

    I did not make the patriotic cupcakes but my four-year-old wanted to make a “Shane Special” this evening to prepare for our company. We made rainbow cupcakes. They are excited to see what they will look like when we bite into them.

  9. April 17, 2010 4:25 am

    Hi there!
    Your blog is DELICIOUS! I was looking for a patriotic cupcake to post on our wedding planning blog and stumbled upon your blog in doing so, and I’m glad I did :) The owner of the company was supposed to be retuning home to CA from London, however, with the ash situation, she’s stuck there until next week. I was interested in using the first photo to post on our blog, and I have to admit I published for a day until I realized you wanted permission to use your photos, so I took it down, immediately, I apologize! Please let me know if it would be OK with you if I featured your photo here: Thank you and I apologize for the little oversight!


  10. oneordinaryday permalink
    April 17, 2010 5:06 am

    Hi, Aimee.
    You can definitely use my patriotic cupcake on your blog. I only ask that you link back to One Ordinary Day so I get credit for the photo and recipe.
    Thanks for asking and for the kind comment.
    ~ Michelle

  11. April 17, 2010 5:15 am

    Thank you, Michelle!

    Have a great weekend :)

  12. Nicki permalink
    June 27, 2010 8:11 am

    This recipe was really fun, but a bit difficult. I’m not the best baker around, so I generally had some trouble making the right colors and equally separating the batter. It was fun, though, until my cupcakes came out tie-dye! The blue and red and white was all on the top, in circles around each other! I used frosting to cover it up, but you could still see it partially. What do you think I did wrong? I tried really hard to make them perfect!!

  13. oneordinaryday permalink
    June 28, 2010 1:36 pm

    Hi, Nicki. I can’t explain what happened with your cupcakes, but it sounds kind of neat. : ) Were you happy with the tie-dye look? I just layered the colors by spooning them into the liners one at a time, then spreading each out a little bit. I hope you weren’t disappointed!
    ~ Michelle

  14. Kelly permalink
    June 21, 2012 5:43 pm

    These look amazing! I am making 80 cupcakes for a Fourth of July part and I was wondering how many batches of the butter cream icing I should make? Also how much of the food coloring did you have to use to get such vibrant colors??? Thank you for your help!

  15. oneordinaryday permalink
    June 25, 2012 7:51 am

    Kelly – I’m not sure what to tell you about the icing amounts, but our theory is that more is always best. (If we have leftover icing, we love spreading it on crackers for snacking!) I always use the cake decorating gel from craft stores or stores like Walmart that have a cake decorating section. It’s a Wilton brand and the colors are always so bright and never disappoint. Good luck with all your baking – I’m sure they’ll be a huge hit. :)
    ~ Michelle

  16. Kirsten Martin permalink
    June 27, 2012 9:39 pm

    These are adorable and so festive. I can’t wait to make these for my companies annual 4th of July party. I’m sure they are going to be the talk of the department. :-)


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