These red, white, and blue cupcakes are so festive and also delicious. Memorial Day, July 4th, or WHATEVER the occasion - these vanilla cupcakes with colored vanilla buttercream will pop at the dessert table. These cupcakes require very minimal ingredients but they taste amazing and look super impressive! They are a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Red, white, and blue festive cupcakes
These festive cupcakes are so much fun to make! My family is obsessed with them whenever I bring them to our July 4th get-togethers. Not to mention, you can use the same colored buttercream technique with any color for any occasion, so don't feel like you are limited to just Memorial Day & July 4th.
There are two components of these festive cupcakes:
- The cake: this vanilla cake is a combination of a butter based cake and an oil based cake. Some recipes have just one or the other, but I like to use a combination of both. This leads to a super moist and delicious cake with the perfect crumb.
- The buttercream: in my opinion, I can eat the frosting by itself. I LOVE a good buttercream, so make sure to splurge on the good quality stuff.
Ingredients for festive cupcakes
If you need to run to the grocery store, here is your shopping list:
- All purpose flour: all purpose flour is the flour of choice for these cupcakes. It provides the perfect texture!
- Baking soda: baking soda is what helps the cupcakes rise.
- Unsalted butter: unsalted butter is my favorite to use in baked goods because you can control exactly how much salt goes into your recipe. We also use unsalted butter in the buttercream. Make sure to splurge on the good quality stuff!
- Vegetable oil: I love using vegetable oil in cakes because it makes them SUPER moist (sorry) and not dry and crumbly.
- Granulated sugar: granulated sugar is the sweetener of choice for the cupcakes.
- Eggs: eggs add moisture and bind all of the ingredients together.
- Vanilla extract: vanilla extract is used in both the cupcakes and the buttercream - we obviously need this flavoring in a vanilla cupcake!
- Whole milk: whole milk is used to thin out and add some moisture to the cupcake batter.
- Powdered sugar: powdered sugar sweetens up the buttercream and is fine enough so that you don't feel the sugar granules like you would with granulated sugar.
- Food coloring: while this blog post is specifically for red, white, and blue cupcakes, any colors work if you just want to make your cupcakes look pretty.
How to prepare the buttercream
The pretty colors in the buttercream are my favorite part of these festive cupcakes. It looks super impressive but it is SO easy to make.
- First, separate the buttercream evenly into different bowls. For red, white, and blue cupcakes we need three bowls, but if you are doing other colors and need more, so be it!
- Add a drop of food coloring to each of your bowls and mix to combine.
- Take a piece of wax paper (my favorite), parchment paper or saran wrap and spread the frostings vertically along the wax paper. They can be touching each other/slightly layering each other. I like to cut my wax paper into an 8x8 inch square, spread on the frosting, then cut off the excess paper if need be.
- Roll up the wax paper so the frosting is rolled on top of one another. Cut off the excess ends, place the wax paper in a piping bag with your favorite piping tip. Then pipe!
- Make the cupcake batter and bake for 16-18 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to cool completely.
- While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, prepare the buttercream.
- Once the cupcakes are cool, frost the cupcakes with the buttercream. Enjoy!
Other recipes you may like
Red, White, and Blue Festive Cupcakes
- 1 ¼ cups (157 grams) all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- ¼ cup (50 mL) vegetable oil
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120 mL) whole milk room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (340 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 6-8 cups (720-960 grams) powdered sugar
- 2 pinches salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4-6 tablespoons milk/heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and oil together on medium-high speed until completely combined. This will only happen if the butter is fully at room temperature. About 2-3 minutes.
- With the mixer on low speed, stream in the granulated sugar then beat on medium speed until combined and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well on low speed in between each addition, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla extract and mix on low-medium speed until combined.
- With the mixer on low, add half of the dry ingredients. Once almost fully incorporated, add half of the milk and mix until almost combined. Repeat this with the other halves of the dry ingredients and the milk. Do not over mix.
- Divide the batter evenly amongst the cupcake cups. The batter should be the perfect amount for 12 regular-sized cupcakes. Fill the liners until they are ½-3/4 of the way full.
- Bake the cupcakes for 16-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- In a medium-sized bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter by itself on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Add the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract and milk/heavy cream and beat until combined. You may need to add more powdered sugar (to thicken) or milk (to thin) depending on the desired consistency.
- Separate the buttercream evenly into different bowls. For red, white, and blue cupcakes we need three bowls, but if you are doing other colors and need more, so be it!
- Add a drop of food coloring to each of your bowls and mix to combine. Take a piece of wax paper (my favorite), parchment paper or saran wrap and spread the frostings vertically along the wax paper. They can be touching each other/slightly layering each other. I like to cut my wax paper into an 8x8 inch square, spread on the frosting, then cut off the excess paper if need be.
- Roll up the wax paper so the frosting is rolled on top of one another. Cut off the excess ends, place the wax paper in a piping bag with your favorite piping tip.
- Once the cupcakes are completely cool, frost the cupcakes with the buttercream. Enjoy!