Why just sing “The Star Spangled Banner” when you can eat it? Show your patriotic spirit by bringing a tray of these American flag cupcakes, inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction, to the party! Here, we have not only the recipes for scrumptious cupcakes and frosting, but also the tips and tricks for arranging them to make up your favorite patriotic dessert.
Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day — or, really, any day you’re feeling appreciative of our country — all need a dessert that dazzles with the red, white and blue. Cupcakes arranged to represent our American flag are so much easier than oft-served sheet-pan flag cakes — no slicing required! Everyone can just grab a sweet frosted cupcake without missing a minute of the celebration.
To make this the best patriotic dessert you’ve ever made, we used two special recipes from Sally’s Baking Addiction: very vanilla cupcakes and vanilla bean frosting. You’ll need a total of 50 cupcakes: 12 with blue frosting on top, 18 with red, and 20 with white. (We used colored cupcake liners, too, to play up the colored effect.)
The “flag” itself is made up of 48 cupcakes — six rows of 8 cupcakes — with two additional cupcakes that you can set alongside to represent Alaska and Hawaii.
If you’d like stars on the blue cupcakes, just pipe some on with the white frosting, or roll out some white fondant and cut out a few stars. Fifty cupcakes later, you will have an edible rendition of the American flag with a cupcake for each state!
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup vanilla or plain Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt or sour cream)
3/4 cup vanilla or plain almond milk, cow's milk or soy milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean
Vanilla bean frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4–5 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean
Salt, to taste
Gel or paste icing color or liquid food coloring in red and blue
White fondant (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.
In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In large bowl, melt butter in microwave.
Whisk sugar into butter. (Mixture will be gritty.)
Whisk in egg whites, yogurt, milk and vanilla extract until combined.
Split 1 vanilla bean down middle lengthwise. Scrape seeds from half into wet ingredients. Reserve other half for frosting.
Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until no lumps remain. Batter will be thick.
Divide batter among 12 cupcake liners.
Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.
Set cupcakes on wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Beat softened butter on medium speed with electric or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy.
Add confectioners' sugar, cream, vanilla extract and remaining vanilla bean seeds with mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if too thick. Add pinch of salt if too sweet.
For blue or red frosting, add coloring to white frosting, beating after each small addition, until you achieve desired color.
Frost cooled cupcakes with pastry bag fitted with open star tip.
Store cupcakes in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and in refrigerator for up to 7.
Using piping bag for each color of frosting, frost cupcakes: 12 blue, 18 red, 20 white.
To make white stars, use star tip and white frosting, or cut them out of white fondant.
Line up frosted cupcakes to form flag as follows, from left to right:
Top row: 4 blue starred cupcakes, following by 4 red cupcakes
Second row: 4 blue cupcakes, followed by 4 white cupcakes
Third row: 4 blue cupcakes, followed by 4 red cupcakes
Fourth rows: 8 white cupcakes
Fifth row: 8 red cupcakes
Sixth row: 8 white cupcakes
Off to left and under flag, place two red cupcakes for Alaska and Hawaii.
You need five batches of cupcakes and frosting for the flag.
If vanilla beans are unavailable, add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract instead.
Heavy cream is recommended for thickest consistency.