Patriotic Cupcakes

Happy Fourth of July (or, you know, fifth, or sixth or . . .)!  NES and I have another fun and busy summer weekend going.

I decided a week or so ago that I was going to make cupcakes for the S's Fourth of July party.  And with all these reunions of apartmentmates from senior year, it reminded me of our cupcake-making adventure a year and a half or so ago.  It's fun to look back and see how much has changed since then.  No longer are we LBM, MLF, MW, JG, and DJR, but LBMS, MLA, MW, JG and DJL.  Things are changing!  And it is exciting.

So, I actually decided on these cupcakes all by myself.  I didn't necessarily see the idea anywhere besides the tie-dye idea.  And then the evening after I made them, I saw these on Pinterest.  So much for being original.  Oh well.

Making colored cupcakes is really easy.  It just creates extra dishes.  And now I don't have a dishwasher to help offset the extras.  I survived though!  And making only three colors didn't create too many extra dishes.

Really, it is no harder than making white cake batter, then splitting it into three (or however many colors you plan on making).  Then again, being able to measure things correctly always helps.  Thankfully, it wasn't noticeable that there was an incorrect measurement in there.

I used a combination of paste and liquid food coloring.  I was planning on using paste, but then got tired of trying to use toothpicks to swirl it in.  So I switched to using liquid.  But I did manage to get some pretty bright colors.  And thankfully, bright pink in combination with blue and white looks plenty red.

Then I scooped a spoonful of each color batter into the muffin tin.  And voila, multicolor cupcakes!

The recipe suggested brushing the cupcakes with simple syrup if they aren't going to be eaten immediately.  I did make them a couple days in advance (what can I say?  it's been a busy week!)  and thus took the advice.  I hadn't tried it before.  And since I don't know how they would have been without the syrup, who knows how much difference it made.  But now I have extra simple syrup waiting for a recipe to use it in.

I also had some frozen frosting that I wanted to get rid of, and the frosting recipe with the cupcakes was very similar to the frozen frosting.  So, what I decided to do was make a half recipe of new frosting.  Then, I added the thawed leftover frosting, which was pretty hard and a little bit of a strange consistency, to the new frosting and let the mixer beat for a while.  I had to add a little extra sugar just to get the consistency right.  But it was impossible to tell that the frosting had not been made fresh.

And then there were sprinkles!  Of course!  Sprinkles make everything more festive.  Since it was a couple days early, and they were in the fridge, the sprinkles did run a little.  Next time I'll remember to wait until before I serve them.

Then I was struck with a last minute Pinterest-inspiration.  After a remarkably gross and humid run on Thursday morning and before we headed to the S's, I decided to make pinwheels!
I had some leftover scrapbook paper from my "projects" that I've been working on recently.  I cut out small squares, cut slits in the corners and taped down the corners in the center.
I used a tiny square of the opposite color as the center.
I broke bamboo skewers into four pieces.  I taped the pinwheel to the skewer, and had to tape the other end because it was a little splintery.  I probably wouldn't have, but NES decided to be concerned for the people I was feeding them to.  Apparently he is nicer than I.
The party was hot, but fun.  I'm ready for this hot weather to leave.  But thank goodness for swimming!  We also had a yummy strawberry-rhubarb coffee cake that PLS made.  Everything was tasty!  And we had a great evening watching the fireworks over the lake!

White Cupcakes with Vanilla Butter Frosting 
adapted from Mmm . . . is for Mommy

4 egg whites
1 cup milk
1 tbsp. vanilla
3 cups cake flour (I used regular flour and replaced 2 tbsp. of each cup with corn starch)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine egg whites, milk, and vanilla in a bowl or measuring cup, and whisk lightly.

Stir together cake flour, sugar and baking powder in the bowl of a mixer.  Add the butter and mix on low until the flour is thick enough to not spray everywhere.  Mix on medium speed until the flour is fully incorporated (about 2 minutes).

Add the liquid while mixing on low speed in three batches, allowing time between.

Divide the batter into the same number of  bowls that you want colors.  Add food coloring until the desired color is reached.

Spoon each color evenly into a lined cupcake pan and bake for 18 minutes.  While still warm, brush simple syrup over the top of the cupcakes.

Allow to cool fully and frost.

Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Stir together the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.

Allow to cool.  Can be stored in the fridge.


1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. half and half

Cream the butter, then add the sugar, vanilla and half and half while the mixer is on low speed.  Gradually turn the speed to medium and beat for 4-5 minutes, or until fluffy.


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