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Add these super fun Firecracker Cupcakes to the celebratory Fourth of July spread this summer! These easy cupcakes are festive red, white, and blue 4th of July desserts that are perfect for potlucks and holiday gatherings.
Firecracker Cupcakes – Fourth of July Dessert
I love the 4th of July! It’s definitely one of my favorite holidays. From the gatherings with friends and family, outdoor activities, beautiful fireworks, and let’s not forget: the delicious food!
Every year, I try to make a different dish. Last year I made my red, white, and blue poke cake and it was a hit! So, I thought I would stick to dessert and do cupcakes this year.
These firecracker cupcakes are the perfect thing. They are festive and fun and easy to make. My kids had a lot of fun helping me decorate them. Using a box mix makes the prep really easy. Even with decorating these are finished in an hour! Everyone will love your tasty red, white, and blue dessert.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Festive, fun cupcakes
- Red, white & blue dessert – perfect for Independence Day
- Quick and easy to make
- Holiday cupcakes recipe
- Kid-friendly and approved
- Perfect 4th of July Dessert
- Delicious cupcake recipe
- Box cake mix makes quick and easy prep
- Simple ingredients list
- Perfect for a group gathering or potluck
- White cake mix
- Blue & red gel food coloring
- White chocolate chips
- Salted butter
- Powdered sugar
- Heavy cream
- Lemon juice
- Red pull and peel licorice
- Red, white, and blue sprinkles
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How to Make Firecracker Cupcakes (4th of July Cupcakes)
Prepare box cake mix according to instructions. Pour cake into 3 separate bowls.
Add blue color to one bowl, and red to another. Leave one bowl white.
Alternate scooping each batter color into the cupcake tins.
Get an even amount of each color in each tin.
Use toothpick to lightly swirl the cake batter in each tin.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 18-21 minutes.
Melt white chocolate in the microwave.
Pro-tip: It’s important to allow the white chocolate to cool down or it will melt the butter. It can still be a little on the warm side, but not warm enough to melt butter. If you see it changing the consistency of the frosting because it was too warm, put the frosting in the refrigerator for a couple of minutes to cool down.
Beat the salted butter until creamy and gradually add powdered sugar, followed by heavy cream and lemon juice and stir to combine.
Add white chocolate to the frosting mixture and whip together until light and fluffy.
Use a piping bag to frost the cupcakes. Cut licorice and pull apart the top portion.
Decorate with sprinkles and licorice.
Pro-tip: To make these even more festive, feel free to use patriotic cupcake liners!
Variations / Options / Add-ins
- WHITE CAKE MIX: If you need to, you can use a yellow cake mix for this as well.
- BLUE & RED GEL FOOD COLORING: Blue or red jello powder can be used. Just mix it in with the bowl of batter.
- WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIPS: You can use white chocolate chips or white candy melts for this.
- SALTED BUTTER: I like to use salted butter for sweet recipes because the salt helps to cut through the sweetness. But if you want to use unsalted butter, feel free.
- HEAVY CREAM: The heavy cream can be replaced with milk or half and half.
- LEMON JUICE: Replace this with lime juice, either fresh or from concentrate.
Frequently Asked Questions
These cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. After that, cover them well and store them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days before they begin to dry out. You can also freeze these in a container that won’t affect the frosting much for up to 3 months.
Have some fun with this recipe! Here are some things you could try. Instead of one cupcake with three different colors, make red cupcakes, blue cupcakes, and white cupcakes. This is a little simpler. Or, you can add food coloring to the white frosting. Perhaps you make three different colored frostings and alternate colors when decorating. There are a lot of different types of sprinkles you can buy, or add some red, white, and blue pop rocks to the frosting on the top for some truly firecracker bites.
Other Easy Fourth of July Desserts
American Flag Cake | 4th of July Red, White and Blue Jello Shots | Patriotic Chocolate Covered Strawberries | BBQ Grill Cupcakes | 4th of July Sugar Cookies | 4th of July Rice Krispie Treats | Red White and Blue Cheesecake Pudding Shots
For the Cupcake:
- 1 box white cake mix (+ ingredients listed on box)
- Blue gel food coloring
- Red gel food coloring
For the Frosting:
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 cup salted butter (2 sticks), softened
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar
- 5-7 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (about half a lemon)
For the Decorations:
- 6 pcs Red pull and peel licorice
- Patriotic sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare a cupcake pan by lining it with cupcake liners. You can do patriotic cupcake liners if desired.
- Prepare box mix according to package instructions.
- Pour cake batter into three separate bowls. In one bowl add the blue gel food coloring and mix until you reach your desired color. Do the same for bowl number two but with the red gel food coloring. Leave the last bowl as original cake batter.
- Pour the cake batter into the cupcake pans alternating between the three colors to achieve an even amount of the blue, red, and white batter. Only fill ¾ of the liner.
- Use toothpick to lightly swirl the cake batter in each tin.
- Bake in the oven for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- In a microwavable bowl, melt the white chocolate by microwaving it in 15 seconds intervals stirring between each interval. Let the chocolate cool down.
- In the meantime, use a mixer to beat the salted butter until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar and then add in the heavy cream and lemon juice. Beat until just combined.
- Once white chocolate has cooled, add it to the mixer and beat everything together until desired consistency is reached. Add more powdered sugar or cream until it reaches a pipeable frosting consistency.
- Turn mixer on and beat frosting for 5 minutes on high speed until very light and fluffy. This is easiest with a stand mixer, but it’s not mandatory.
- Frost the cupcakes with a piping bag and your favorite frosting tip (I use a Wilton 1M) once the cupcakes have cooled completely.
- Decorate with patriotic sprinkles and red pull and peel licorice to achieve a firecracker look.