Patriotic Cupcakes are a fun red, white, and blue cupcake for Memorial Day and 4th of July dessert, or any summer barbecue. Fun for kids to make and eat, these firecracker cupcakes are dyed blue and red and filled with yummy sprinkles for a sugary bite! This recipe comes with 2 options: homemade cupcake batter or store bought.
Make these fun patriotic cupcakes part of your 4th of July dessert table this year! Your kids will thank me, I promise! This recipe is easy, fun, and your kids will love helping dye the batter.
My 5 year old ate 3 of these firecracker cupcakes in 1 day. I shouldn't have let her, I know I know. It was one of my bad mommy moments, but they are so darn good and she was so helpful while making and photographing them that I couldn't tell her no.
These cupcakes are made with blue and red cupcake batter poured into muffin cups that resembles a tye-dye t-shirt. The inside is stuffed with sugar sprinkles.
I also call these red, white, and blue cupcakes "firecracker cupcakes" because when you get to the center, it's like a pop of sugar in your mouth! They are frosted with homemade cream cheese frosting and decorated with more patriotic sprinkles.
Please let me know what you thought about this recipe in the comments, and follow me on Pinterest for the latest recipes. I hope that you and your family enjoy these delicious patriotic cupcakes as much as mine does!
You have 2 options when making these patriotic cupcakes: using boxed cake mix or homemade cupcake batter. The recipe I am sharing with you makes a fantastic moist cupcake, but if you find it easier to pop open a box and make the batter that way, no worries!
To make the homemade cupcake mix, you need: flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, eggs, butter, sugar, and milk.
You also have 2 options for the icing: using store bought or making a homemade frosting. I make patriotic cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting this recipe includes, but feel free to make your favorite frosting recipe or use packaged frosting for simplicity.
To make the cream cheese frosting, you need: cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and confectioner's sugar.
You will also need red and blue food coloring, patriotic sprinkles, 3 piping bags and piping tips, and muffin liners. I recommend using an electric hand or stand mixer, too.
How To Make It
The first step to making patriotic cupcakes is to make the cupcake batter and dye it red and blue. For ease, use a vanilla or white boxed cake mix. Then divide the batter into 2 bowls and add red or blue food coloring to each bowl. Start with 4-5 drops of dye, mix, and add as needed for the color you like. Once you have the red and blue batter mixed thoroughly, pour it into piping bags. Make sure to secure the end of the bags with rubber bands! If you don't, you risk the batter coming out the top and making a giant mess.
Next, line the muffin tin and dollop a few teaspoons of each color batter into the cups until they are ⅔ of the way full.
Bake those lovely looking firecracker cupcakes for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool for 15 minutes before inserting the sprinkles and icing. While they cool, make the cream cheese frosting if you are going this route. I'll tell you how to do this in the next section. If not, prepare the icing of your choice.
Once those delicious red, white, and blue cupcakes have cooled, it's time to insert the sprinkles! This is the part the kids like the best (aside from eating them, of course!).
To make a hole in the center of each cupcake, insert a straw and twist it just a little bit. This will either push the insides down a little or pull them out with the straw, making room for the sprinkles! Put a funnel into the hole and dump some sprinkles in, shaking the funnel a little bit to help them slide down.
Now it's time to frost them! Using another piping bag, squeeze frosting onto your beautiful patriotic cupcakes in the design you like.
And the very last step, add the sprinkles.
And they are ready to eat!
Making Cream Cheese Frosting
Making a delectable cream cheese frosting is so simple and so much tastier than a store bought icing. You'll need butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and confectioner's sugar. Make cream cheese frosting in 2 easy steps:
- Using an electric mixer, beat the vanilla extract, softened butter and cream cheese until smooth.
- Add the confectioner's sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until smooth.
Transfer the frosting to a piping bag or use a knife to spread it on cooled cupcakes or cake.
You can also dye the frosting any color you'd like, as we did with the cupcake batter.
Serve these patriotic cupcakes as a 4th of July dessert, a Memorial Day dessert or just to be patriotic during the summer holiday season. Enjoy!
- standard muffin tin, muffin liners, electric hand mixer, 3 piping bags
- blue and red food coloring
- blue, red, and/or white crystal sprinkles
Packaged Cupcake Option
- 1 package vanilla or white cake mix, plus package ingredients
Homemade Cupcake Option
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ⅓ cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
Cream Cheese Frosting Option
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar
- Preheat oven to temperature indicated on cake mix package. Line muffin tins. If making homemade cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°.
- For packaged cupcakes, make cake mix according to package.For homemade cupcakes, beat the sugar and butter on high for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla extract, and milk and beat for 2 minutes. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and beat until just combined, about 1 minute.
- Divide the batter between 2 bowls. Dye 1 bowl red and 1 bowl blue with food coloring. Use 3-4 drops to start, adding more to reach your desired hue. Transfer icing to piping bags and secure end with a rubber bands. Alternate adding drops of blue and red icing to each cup until they are ⅔ full.
- Bake for time indicated on package, or 15 minutes for homemade cupcakes. Let cool 15 minutes before adding sprinkles to inside and frosting.
- To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract on medium speed until smooth. Add the confectioner's sugar 1 cup at a time and beat until smooth. Transfer icing to a piping bag and set aside while filling cupcakes with sprinkles.
- Fill cupcakes with sprinkles. Insert a straw into the center of each cupcake to form a hole. Use a funnel to pour blue, red, or white sprinkles into the center of each cupcake.
- Ice cupcakes with the piping bag. Alternatively, use a knife to spread on icing. Top icing with red and blue sprinkles.
Patriotic cupcakes can be made ahead of time and stored at room temperature or in the fridge. You can ice them ahead of time too, and store them in the fridge for about 3 days before eating. If keeping them in the fridge, bring them to room temperature prior to serving.
I hope you've enjoyed making and eating this recipe! Please let me know how they turned out in the comments below.