Red Velvet and French Vanilla cake batter is swirled together to create a delicious (and patriotic!) cupcake base. Homemade cream cheese frosting is tinted blue to complete the colors of the American Flag. These are perfect for a 4th of July party!
I have set myself up for failure.
Over the past year, I have developed a reputation for bringing baked goods to the events I attend. Now, I'm talking all kinds of events - not just the potlucks of the world, but also birthday parties, days at work, threesomes, shopping trips, you name it.
Did you notice I said threesomes up there? Are you paying attention? That was a test, readers. I would never do anything like that...
MOOOOOVING ON. When my good friend and coworker Clay invited me to his 4th of July/housewarming party, I knew I had to bring something along. Partially because I love to bake, but mostly because I knew showing up empty-handed would have the masses up in arms and potentially get me ejected from the festivities.
Problem: I had no idea what to bake! So, I did what I always do when I'm at a loss for ideas - text my baking muse, Clay himself, to ask for inspiration.
He suggested I make cake pops.
I ignored him entirely and made these cupcakes instead. Sorry Clay :)
American Flag Swirl Cupcakes
To start, I gathered my ingredients:
- 1 box French Vanilla cake mix
- 1 box Red Velvet cake mix
- Ingredients to make the cake mix turn into cake (likely eggs, water, and vegetable oil)
- Blue food coloring
- 1 brick cream cheese
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 t vanilla extract
It is worth noting that I took the lazy girl route, and made this with a cake mix. If you are a spritely, go-getting person who drinks things that are green and helps old ladies cross the street and such, feel free to make the cake from scratch. However, I still made my own frosting despite my status as a drunken degenerate. If I can do it, anyone can.
You will begin by preheating your oven to 350F. Line your cupcake tin with liners, preferably patriotic, but I guess you can use plain ones if you are a peasant.* Then, whip up your cake mixes (in separate bowls) according to package directions.
*Sorry about calling you a peasant up there. Can we still be friends? Promise? Here, have a cupcake.
Next comes the fun part! Start by adding a dollop of red velvet cake batter to the bottom of each cupcake mold. Follow that guy up with another dollop, this time of french vanilla cake batter.
Then, use a butter knife to swirl the two together until they're as pretty as Ryan Gosling's smile!
Pop these babies into the oven for 17 minutes, and when they come out you'll be like WOW HOW DID I CREATE SOMETHING SO GORGEOUS?!
Now, you can repeat this process with the remainder of the batter and churn out a crap ton (scientific amount) of cupcakes. However, keep in mind that you're working with two separate cake batters... so that's a LOT of cupcakes. Solution: Turn some of that batter into a cake! (This was perfect timing for me, because I actually owed my friend Marissa a half-birthday Drake on Cake. Have I mentioned that I will bake for anyone, anytime?)
Now, you see that blue goodness up there, serving as the glue in the cake sandwich (omg EVERY CHILD'S DREAM)? That's homemade cream cheese frosting, my friends. And it couldn't be easier!
To make the frosting, simply blend 1 softened block of cream cheese with 1 softened stick of unsalted butter and 1 t vanilla extract. Add powdered sugar a cup at a time until you reach your desired texture and flavor. You should probably do this on low speed unless you want your apartment to look like a blizzard struck. That's a hard one to explain to the roommates, especially in the middle of July. Finally, mix in food coloring to obtain the color you want. Voila!
Frost those babies, and then you're all set! They were decidedly the star of the party, followed closely by Clay's dance moves, me dropping the pulled pork into the oven, and Clay's singing voice. Just your usual suspects.
The best part about these cupcakes is that they don't just have to be for 4th of July! Tint the frosting orange? Perfect for Autumn! Green? Merry Christmas! Pink? Someone's having a good Valentine's Day!
Oh, and as for that Drake on cake...?