4th of July Cupcakes

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Layered Red, White & Blue Vanilla Cupcakes with Fool-Proof Cream Cheese Frosting

Well hi friends! Before we get into all this cupcake business, I first need you all to go ‘like’ my Chicken Pad Thai photo on the Around the World in 80 Plates page. You see, I’m trying to get the most likes on my photo so I can beat a bunch of other bloggers and prove to them that my readers are the best ever! I’ve won the last few weekly contests, but I need to win one more to clench victory! Please oh please if you have a minute, go click the like button. THANK YOU!

Moving on……

Happy 4th of July! 

Wait, what? 

Oh. It’s not today? Are you sure?

Ok good cause I was just kidding….and I just happened to make Red, White and Blue Cupcakes for the fun of it. Riiiiiiiiiiight.

You guys, these are the bomb dot com. My go-to vanilla cupcake recipe pimped out with food coloring, killer cream cheese frosting and sprinkles! Nothing says summer holiday quite like sugar on sugar on sugar. Basically, every kids’ dream come true.

I brought these to a BBQ a few nights ago and people ended up fighting over them. Like mother against daughter “give me a bite of your cupcake!!” I think they were surprised that a plain old vanilla cupcake could taste that awesome.  Moist, sweet and tender cake with a tangy, perfectly sweet and creamy frosting. Simplicity at it’s best. AND, you probably have all the ingredients on hand 🙂 Cha-ching! Money in the bank. Just be sure to NOT over-bake the cupcakes and to use Philly cream cheese. Those are my tips.

Here’s how you make them:

Whipping Egg Whites

Start by whipping some egg whites to stiff peaks. An easy job for a handheld or stand mixer.

Whipping Egg Whites

Once they’re nice and foamy, transfer over to another bowl and set aside.

Cupcake Mixture

Into that same bowl you mixed the egg whites in, whip up some butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Be sure to add in some vanilla to this too.

Dry Ingredients

In a small bowl, measure out and stir all the dry ingredients together.

Wet Ingredients

With the mixer on low, alternate pouring in the dry ingredients with the milk until there’s nothing left.

Cupcake Mixture

Before you know it, you have some yummy vanilla-y concoction. This tastes awesome, by the way…..not that I swiped a lick–or 14.

Cupcake Mixture

Last step now if to fold in the egg whites! That’s the cake batter!

Cupcake Mixture

Now comes the fun part. Kiddies would be perfect for this next job! Divide your cake batter into 3….

Food coloring

grab a little food coloring,

Blue Cupcake Mixture

and have at it! I tried to find a balance between bright colored cupcakes and tastes like gross food coloring cupcakes.

Layered Red, White & Blue Vanilla Cupcakes

Now you just spoon small amounts of each color into your cupcake liners and bake! Once you pull these babies out of the oven, let them cool completely.


For the frosting, cream your butter and cream cheese together. Add in the powdered sugar


and vanilla and mix. Scrape the sides, mix again and then increase the speed to lighten the frosting….maybe 3 minutes. Frost cooled cupcakes and top with sprinkles if desired.

Layered Red, White & Blue Vanilla Cupcakes with Fool-Proof Cream Cheese Frosting

After you pull the paper liners off, kids go NUTS for these! This one was all three colors BUT

Layered Red, White & Blue Vanilla Cupcakes with Fool-Proof Cream Cheese Frosting

This is a fun blue and white one that was just as tasty! All my Canadian friends could do red and white for Canada Day too! OR, you could pick out some favorite colors and turn these into birthday cupcakes. And, come to think of it, this is almost THE recipe my sister uses for the wedding cakes she makes. Yes, my sister is super cool cause she makes wedding cakes. And since she’s not here to accept all that praise you want to give her, I’ll take it on her behalf. Thank you for your cooperation.

ANYWAYS, enjoy your weekend! Hopefully these will be in your near future! Here’s the printable:
cake recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

4th of July Cupcakes

Say hello to summer with 4th of July Cupcakes. They have a moist, sweet cake with a tangy, perfectly sweet, and creamy frosting.
servings 18 cupcakes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins


for the cupcakes-

for the frosting-

  • 8 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup softened salted butter
  • 2 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Sprinkles optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  • In another large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
  • In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Alternate stirring in the dry ingredients with the milk until none remain. Scrape sides to ensure even mixing. Fold in whipped egg whites.
  • Divide batter between 3 different bowls. Stir red food coloring into one and blue into another one. Alternating between the white, red and blue cake batters, spoon into prepared cupcake pans, alternating colors. Once muffin tins are filled 3/4 of the way, bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean after inserted. Set aside to cool.
  • For the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter together to combine. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Scrape sides and beat 3 minutes until frosting lightens in color and thickens slightly. Frost cooled cupcakes and top with sprinkles.


Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 506IU | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 4th of July Cupcakes

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Recipe Rating

37 Responses
  1. Kathryn

    This is such a great idea, I’m not surprised they went down so well. It’s very hard to beat a good vanilla cupcake.

  2. Meghan @ After the Ivy League

    These are the cutest cupcakes ever! Even though I’m a chocolate nut usually, these vanilla cupcakes look so moist and delicious, not to mention festive! I’m a sucker for cream cheese frosting too…

  3. Living The Sweet Life

    Forget about the kiddies, this has me jumping off the wall!! Great recipe, I’ll be makin these for Canada’s Day … minus the blue ofcourse 😉 … but then a couple days later it doesn’t hurt to add the blue and celebrate the 4th of July too!!

  4. sally @ sally's baking addiction

    Lauren, I just love these. I first made layered, tie-dye cupcakes last year. They are MUCH easier than one would expect. And fool-proof CC Frosting is definitely a recipe to save. these look wonderful Lauren, and without a doubt – the showstopper dessert at any 4th of July party.

  5. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

    Voted for your picture – good luck!

    These cupcakes are so cute! I love the colors in there. I will be saving this to try in a couple weeks. I am making cupcakes and need a killer vanilla cupcake recipe. Thanks!

  6. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life

    Those are the cutest and most fun cupcakes!!! I love biting into “surprise” cupcakes! And that frosting is to die for…so fluffy!!!

  7. Julia {The Roasted Root}

    The swirls are pretty and fun! My neices and nephews would love to make these with me for the fourth. Great thinking!

  8. Debbie

    I love your blog. You come up with some fun and easy recipes. I made the cupcakes and the frosting. Everything turned out great and tasted good. My only question is I have a lot of left over frosting. Just wondering how that happened. I made 18 regular size cupcakes and frosted them generously.

    1. Lauren

      I typically always use a piping bag and doing that will make me use more frosting. Crack out the graham crackers and dig in!

  9. Shut Up & Cook

    These look so fabulous…cupcakes are an undeniable weakness of mine.

    Loved meeting you at BlogHer food and sharing the Trace dinner together.

    Hope all is well in Portland…give a shout if you get back up to Seattle and we’ll grab a drink!

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  11. Mary O

    I admit…I was making a bunch of desserts for a large party, so made the cake part with (gasp!) a cake mix. Don’t usually do that, but it was a time thing. Will definitely try the cake-part of this recipe here, fairly soon though.

    I did, however, make the frosting. I’m a sucker for all things cream-cheese and just couldn’t resist. It was very simple and had fantastic flavor. My only “complaint”, which I hesitate to use that word, is that on MY mini-cupcakes, the icing was runnier than I was expecting, so it didn’t set-up as nicely as I’d hoped. Perhaps I did something wrong, because I confess, as careful as I try to be, I had several different recipes going at once, so it’s not out of the question that I could have messed up.

    Perhaps, Lauren, you will chime in and say whether or not this frosting is a tad on the runny side…and by runny, I don’t mean it was melting…just enough that I was considering adding confectioner’s sugar. Chilling it didn’t help much.

    Still, it was uber-yummy and I will make it again and play around with it to get the consistency I prefer.

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  13. Elissa

    Fun idea. I used this recipe to make cupcakes for a graduation. I used the school colors for the cupcakes which turned out fun. The cake turned out pretty tasty, but the frosting recipe could use improvement as it was runny. I’ll try again with a different frosting.

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