Hooray for the 4th of July!! It is one of my favorite holidays for a few reasons. Why do I love it? Let me count the ways:
- I loooooove nautical print. Something about the combinations of red, white, blue and gold drive me nuts! Not necessarily all of those colors together on the same ensemble…but you get the idea.
- FIREWORKS! I don’t think there is anyone who dislikes fireworks. Hello!? Lighting something on fire only to have it explode into a beautiful burst of color, what’s not to like? Here’s a little known fact – blue fireworks are the most expensive to produce (because of the instability of the chemical Copper Chloride) so it is the color least seen in a fireworks display! Sometimes not seen at all. Bet you didn’t even notice!
- I am a BIG fan of grilled burgers and hotdogs. Nothing fancy, just a juicy cheese burger (American cheese of course) with ketchup and mustard. On my hotdogs I even pile on some relish. Delish! I cannot be held accountable for the number of grilled items I consume at a BBQ. I call this a Judgement Free Zone as any of my friends or family can attest to.
This year I was invited to my best friend’s townhouse for a party called “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Drunkenness.” I read the word “BBQ” and immediately responded yes. My best friend Aimee lives with 4 other girls. They were going to provide all of the food for the party and the guests just needed to bring their drink of choice. My parents taught me that guests never show up to a house empty handed, so of course I was going to bake something.
A week before the 4th I saw a really cool cupcake trending on Pinterest. It was a Rainbow Cupcake! I thought I’d modify the idea and simply do a red, white and blue cupcake in honor of the 4th. After a quick search in Google I realized I was not the only one to think of this idea.
The idea seemed simple enough – make a vanilla cake batter, die 1/3 red and 1/3 blue, stack the batter, bake, frost and voila! And you know what? That’s exactly how it went – only about 3 times slower. These cupcakes took me F.O.R.E.V.E.R (it’s supposed to be read like how Ham, the red head kid, says it in the movie The Sandlot when telling the story about The Beast). Seriously, I think I spent 6 hours on these from start to finish. BUT – I’m also a beginner baker who had zero idea what I was doing. You could probably do it in half or even a quarter of the time.
I decided to try the Vanilla Cupcake Recipe from one of my favorite baking bloggers, Glorious Treats. Her blog posts are amazing and incredibly helpful – she tries to perfect the art of baking by trying numerous recipe modifications, teaching different piping techniques for frosting and even puts “How To” videos up on her site. She baked over 6 batches of vanilla cupcakes just to get the perfect recipe!
After putting together the cake batter, I divided it equally into three bowls. I used three bowls of equal size so I could eyeball how full each one was.
Then I dyed one bowl red and one bowl blue using Wilton’s Icing Colors that I bought at Sur La Table. For $12 I bought a set of 12 different colors. A little goes a long way with these so it was a deal.
I ended up using about 1/4 tsp of red and blue to get the colors turn out as deep as I wanted them.
I began to layer the colors into the cupcake tins. I read a tip online that the tin should be about 2/3 of the way full, about 3 TBSP. Based on this logic I put 1 TBSP of blue into each of the tins.
Followed by white…
And then red…
This part was NOT easy and it was incredibly time consuming! If you simply poured the next color right into the center of the other, the color pressure from the added color forced the bottom color to overflow upwards making your layers mix together. To do the layering you need to slowly drizzle the new color into the tin starting with the edges, circling around to the center so the bottom color is completely covered. Repeat this technique with the third color.
The cupcakes baked for the exact time listed on the recipe (I told you she was good!!) and came out looking like the most patriotic baked good I’ve ever seen!
I actually made these on the 3rd of July and planned to frost them on the 4th before the BBQ. I kept them in my Rubbermaid Tupperware Carrying Case (picture later) which worked fantastically. The cupcakes were still moist the next day.
I made the American Buttercream Frosting recipe on the Glorious Treat blog. It was beautiful and tasted deliciously sweet. Side note: If you’re a calorie counter like myself, you’ll find it helpful to know that the average cupcake has 1/4 cup frosting on top of it.
This was my very first time piping frosting so I was VERY nervous. Especially since I worked so hard to bake these darn cupcakes in the first place. I purchased a Wilton Cupcake Decorating Set from Target (About $7) which included everything a beginning baker would need to pipe frosting.
I decided to use Tip 1M to create a swirl. I had watched this video prior to piping and found this genius idea to put the piping bag into a glass to hold it steady while filling it with frosting.
I followed the piping directions from the video and out came this GORGEOUS looking cupcake top!! Luckily I was alone in my kitchen and wasn’t embarrassed by my reaction of jumping up and down clapping my hands together in excitement.
Just look at this cupcake!
But wait…we’re not done yet! THEN I put on some Patriotic Sprinkles!
I decided to only sprinkle half of the cupcakes. I’m not really sure why I made that executive decision, but I did.
These Red, White & Blue Cupcakes are the biggest accomplishment of my baking career to date! I was so excited to bring them to Aimee’s party. I loaded them up into my Rubbermaid Tupperwear Carrying Case and easily transported them to the party.
Everyone one was amazed at the cupcakes. Some people took pictures to post on Facebook and Instagram! When it came down to eating them, everyone agreed that they were moist and delicious. Their blue mouths were just the icing on the cake 😉