4th of July is right around the corner! I already shared a mayo-free Herbed Potato Salad recipe earlier this week that would be great for your celebratory picnic but no meal is complete with dessert. If it were up to my husband, a 3 course meal would consist of the courses: cookies, cakes, and ice cream!
This festive cupcake is quite easy to make and reapplicable to any holiday's colors. Dye the blue batter green instead and suddenly, you've made Christmas Cupcakes. Dress them up with shades of pink and maybe purple for Valentine's Day. The possibilities are endless and this cake base is to die for! It's moist with a tender crumb. Deee-licious!
PS: I apolgize for the not-so-great photo. We nearly forgot to take one before they were all gobled up and I actually made these for last year's 4th of July when my photo skills just flat out sucked (but hey, with practice, we all get better!)...
Red, White, and Blue Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Cupcakes:
- Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the buttermilk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the buttermilk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating. For red, white and blue cupcakes: Separate the cake batter into 3 different bowls. Add blue food coloring (I use gel) to one bowl, the red to another, and leave the third bowl as is. Using a small spoon, fill each cupcake liner with a small, even layer of blue, then white, then red on top.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to cooling racks and cool completely before frosting them.
- Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading or piping consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.