Yield: 6 red white and blue cupcakes // Total Time: 45 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
If you are looking for some quick and easy cupcakes for the 4th of July, these are it right here. Red white and blue cupcakes with a twist: there’s no artificial dye present! The red and blue in the marbled frosting is made red and blue from dried strawberries and blueberries. The cupcakes are seriously light and fluffy, and it’s only made better by the strawberry blueberry buttercream! These cupcakes are small batch and yield 6 cupcakes, but you can easily double or triple the recipe as needed!
Red white and blue cupcakes
I wanted to make red white and blue cupcakes to be festive for the 4th of July, but I wanted the recipe to be more than vanilla cupcakes with vanilla dyed buttercream. That’s when I came up with the idea for naturally dyed red white and blue cupcakes, using freeze dried strawberries and freeze dried blueberries! Not only are these friendly for if you are trying to stay away from artificial dyes, but they are also deliciously flavorful thanks to the strawberries and blueberries.
Red white and blue cupcakes recipe tips
Weigh your ingredients
Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient. In a small batch recipe it is especially important to get those correct measurements because there is less room for error. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!
Mix the batter carefully
It is super important to not overmix the cupcake batter. Overmixing the batter leads to more gluten development which will make the cupcakes super tough and chewy. Only mix just until the last bit of flour is incorporated.
Room temperature ingredients
It is important for the ingredients to be at room temperature so that they properly incorporate with each other. If you have ever had your batter look curdled, it is most likely due to the ingredients separating from being at different temperatures. Take out the egg and buttermilk at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hr 30 min. before starting the recipe.
Try to not overbake the cupcakes
Cupcakes like to go from under-baked to over-baked super quickly so it is important to keep a close eye on them. Start checking at 15 minutes with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out wet, check them again in 2 minutes and so on until only a few moist crumbs stick to the toothpick.
Ingredients and substitutions
For the vanilla cupcakes:
All purpose flour: gives the cupcakes their structure.
Baking powder: for helping the cupcakes rise.
Salt: for balancing and bringing out the sweetness of the batter.
Unsalted butter: for tenderizing the cupcakes and adding that nice buttery flavor to them. You can substitute in salted butter, just be sure to omit the extra salt in the batter.
Vegetable oil: for tenderizing the cupcakes. If you don’t have vegetable oil on hand, you can use another neutral oil such as canola.
Granulated sugar: for adding sweetness and for locking in moisture.
Egg: for binding the batter together and adding moisture.
Vanilla: for flavor. I use and love this vanilla extract!
Buttermilk: for tenderizing the cupcakes and adding moisture. I recommend using full fat buttermilk for the best texture. I highly recommend using buttermilk but I know it can be hard or annoying to purchase, especially if you don’t plan on using it for anything else. It won’t be completely the same, but you can make a homemade buttermilk substitute. For this recipe, simply combine 5 mL lemon juice with 80 mL whole milk at the beginning of the recipe.
For the strawberry blueberry buttercream:
Unsalted butter: the base of the buttercream. You can certainly use salted butter, just be sure to omit the added salt from the buttercream.
Salt: balances and brings out the sweetness of the buttercream
Powdered sugar: to sweeten and thicken up the buttercream. If you are looking for a melt-in-your-mouth buttercream, I recommend using organic powdered sugar which uses tapioca starch rather than corn starch.
Vanilla: for flavor. I use and love this vanilla extract!
Milk: I use whole milk, but any milk will work here. We only need a small amount to thin out the buttercream so it can be piped.
Freeze dried strawberries: I usually find these at target, but you can also find them online here. If you wanted, you could replace the strawberries with raspberries for raspberry-blueberry buttercream!
Freeze dried blueberries: I usually find these at target, but you can also find them online here.
Butterfly pea powder (optional): This is optional but recommended. It will take your blueberry buttercream from light blue / deep purple to deep blue! This is the butterfly pea powder I use and love.
How to make red white and blue cupcakes
1. Combine the wet ingredients. For the cupcakes, melt the butter and then whisk in the sugar, followed by the egg and vanilla.
3. Alternate the dry ingredients and buttermilk. Alternate mixing in half of the dry ingredients, followed by the buttermilk and then the rest of the dry ingredients. Be super careful to only mix until the mixture is cohesive. Overmixing can lead to tough and chewy cupcakes!
4. Bake. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out with only a few moist crumbs (~15 minutes!)
5. Make the buttercream. Beat the ingredients together, then divide the buttercream into three separate bowls. Here we’ll flavor the strawberry and blueberry parts of the buttercream!
6. Frost the cupcakes. Frost each cupcake with the strawberry, blueberry and vanilla frosting. Serve for a festive 4th of July treat, or just to enjoy!
How to marble frosting
Getting the marbled frosting look is actually quite easy! Tear out a piece of plastic wrap and lay it flat on your work surface. Make three lines all next to each other: one of the strawberry red frosting, vanilla frosting, and blue blueberry frosting. Roll up the plastic wrap, making sure to not roll the plastic wrap in between the frosting (think of a sausage casing – gross, I know, but I think it helps to understand what I’m trying to say! Lol) Cut off the bottom of the plastic wrap so that there is a hole for the frosting to come out of, then place the whole thing into a piping bag fitted with a piping tip of your choice. Then, frost and enjoy!
Red white and blue cupcakes Q & A
Can I double this recipe?
Of course! Obviously they will not be small batch anymore but small batch isn’t always what we need! Simply double all of the ingredients in the recipe to make 12 delicious cupcakes. I even more strongly recommend measuring by weight if you are going to double the recipe for the best results.
Can I make these cupcakes ahead of time?
Definitely! The cupcakes will taste the best and most fresh on the day that they are baked, but you can make them a day ahead and keep the cupcakes stored in an airtight container at room temperature. I would recommend waiting to make the buttercream until the day you serve the cupcakes.
How to store red white and blue cupcakes.
These cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, frosted or unfrosted.
Why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale, and here’s an article about why I use a kitchen scale, and why you should too!
A note on oven temperature
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature. For example, I always have to set my oven to 330°F if I want it to bake at 350°F. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.
Tools and ingredients
Muffin pan: I absolutely love USA pan products because of their great quality. This is their muffin pan.
Cookie scoops: I have gone through a lot of cookie scoops in my baking journey, and these ones have lasted me the longest without breaking. Plus they are dishwasher safe! I love using cookie scoops to get an even amount of batter in to each muffin tin.
Vanilla: I love using Rodelle vanilla extract. Not only is it a great quality product, but it’s on the lower end of the price that vanilla can be! This is the one I use.
For a full list of tools, equipment and ingredients that I use and love, you can check out this page here.
Did you make these red white and blue cupcakes?
If you made these red white and blue cupcakes I would love to see them and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Red White and Blue Cupcakes
- 90 g all purpose flour (¾ c.)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 40 g unsalted butter (3 tbsp.)
- 32 g vegetable oil (2 ½ tbsp.)
- 100 g granulated sugar (½ c.)
- 1 egg room temperature
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 85 mL buttermilk room temperature
Strawberry Blueberry Buttercream
- 113 g unsalted butter room temperature
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 180 g powdered sugar (1 ½ c.)
- ¼ tsp. vanilla
- 1 tbsp. milk
- 10 g freeze dried strawberries crushed (1 tbsp. + 1 tsp.)
- 8 g freeze dried blueberries crushed (1 tbsp.)
- 2 g butterfly pea powder (1 tsp.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line a muffin tin with six parchment liners.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In another small bowl, melt the butter. Whisk in the sugar, followed by the egg and vanilla.
- Whisk in half of the flour mixture just until no flour streaks remain, then whisk in all of the buttermilk. Whisk in the remaining flour just until no flour streaks remain.
- Distribute the vanilla cupcake batter evenly between the six parchment liners. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Strawberry Blueberry Buttercream
- In a medium sized bowl with a hand mixer, beat together the butter and salt for 1 minute. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar until it has all been incorporated. Add in the vanilla and milk and beat for 2 minutes.
- Divide the buttercream into 3 parts. To one part, mix in the freeze dried strawberries. To another part, mix in the freeze dried blueberries. If desired, mix in the butterfly pea powder for a deeper blue.
- Lay down a piece of plastic wrap on a clean work surface. Place down the frosting in lines right next to each other, then roll up the plastic wrap, making the seam outside of the frosting. Cut a hole in the bottom of the plastic wrap, then place the whole thing in a piping bag fitted with a piping tip of your choice.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled to room temperature, pipe on the frosting. Serve and enjoy!