If you’re looking for American flag cake ideas, you’ve come to the right place. Learn how to make and decorate easy 4th of July cupcakes.
With 4th of July just around the corner, you’re probably working on the menu or planning what you want to bring to your potluck or picnic. American flag cake ideas are always a fun and festive treat to show off some red, white and blue on the dessert table. Today we’ll show you just how easy it is to decorate the top of chocolate cupcakes to look like the American flag.
I love to celebrate holidays throughout the year, especially if I can find fun ways to do it with food. Nothing says 4th of July more than the stars and stripes of the American flag – and if you can make it with food, EVEN BETTER!
If you’re like me, you’re on the lookout for American flag cake ideas to make a special dessert to take to a picnic on the 4th of July. We’re both in luck because today my friend, Meaghan Lamm from Cook. Craft. Love. is here to show us how to frost American flag cupcakes. These red, white and blue cupcakes would also be great for Memorial Day, Labor Day and Veteran’s Day.
American flag cake ideas: How to Make 4th of July cupcakes
The best American flag cake ideas are the ones that are easy to do and can be made well in advance of your 4th of July picnic. With this simple tutorial for 4th of July flag cupcakes, you’ll be able to pipe on the frosting like a pro!
What you need:
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Kitchen Tools Needed:
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups
- Cupcake pan
- Disposable piping bags
- Wilton Star Decorating Tips
- Kitchen tweezers
These are the ingredients you’ll need. All the exact amounts are in the printable card at the bottom of this post.
- Chocolate cake mix, prepared batter
- Unsalted butter, room temperature
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Red gel food coloring
- Blue gel food coloring
- Black gel food coloring
- Star sprinkles
Baking & Decorating Tips to make the American Flag Cupcakes
1. Get prepared.
Preheat your oven and line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
2. Make the cupcakes.
Prepare your cupcake mix based on the instructions on the cake box. Then bake them until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Meaghan advises “You want to bake the cupcakes low and slow so that they bake up with a nice flat top and are easier to decorate. If you bake them at 350 like most box mixes recommend, they’ll come out with a dome making them hard to pipe on.”
Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
3. Make the Frosting.
While the cupcakes are cooling make the frosting. First, start by creaming the butter in a stand mixer until it’s pale and fluffy. Then add the powdered sugar a half a cup at a time, mixing after each addition until frosting reaches a stiff, pipeable consistency. Finally, add in the vanilla and mix well.
4. Color the frosting and fill piping bags.
Next, add 1/3 of the frosting into a disposable piping bag fitted with a small star tip. Then evenly divide the remaining frosting into two bowls. Use food coloring to color one bowl red and the other bowl blue. You can get a deeper color if you add a very SMALL touch of black to both. Meaghan warns “Don’t overdo the black gel color or you’ll end up with frosting the color of concrete. Not super appetizing.”
Put the red frosting in a piping bag, then do the same with the blue frosting.
5. Decorate the American Flag Cupcakes.
Use a toothpick to make a rough sketch of the boundaries you’ll need for each section on the top of the cupcake. 1/4 of the top will be blue like the American flag. Then each line in the flag should be about 1/2″ wide. Meaghan says she was able to get 6 stripes on each of the 4th of July cupcakes.
To pipe or decorate the cupcakes with frosting, hold the bag perpendicular to the cupcake and apply even pressure so that your stars are a consistent size. Pipe inside of the guide lines you created with your toothpick for the blue quarter and then each stripe. Meaghan says “I piped the white stripes first and then the red so that the red frosting wouldn’t get on the white tip and discolor the frosting.”
Before the frosting crusts place your white star sprinkles on the blue area. Meaghan said “I placed mine with a set of kitchen tweezers but you can use little fingers instead!”
6. Serve and enjoy!
As soon as you’re done piping the frosting on the cupcakes, you’re ready to serve them at your 4th of July picnic! If you’re not planning to serve them immediately, you can use a cupcake carrier with a lid to keep them covered and protected until your party. If you want to dress the American flags up, even more, you can add these free printable Patriotic Cupcake Toppers.
American Flag Cupcakes
- Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer
- Cupcake Pans
- Wilton Star Decorating Tips
- Kitchen Tweezers
- Prepare your cupcake mix based on the instructions on the box and then bake them at 325 for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool completely and then while they’re cooling make the frosting.
For the Frosting
- Cream the butter in a stand mixer until pale and fluffy. Then add powdered sugar a half a cup at a time, mixing after each addition until frosting reaches a stiff, pipeable consistency. Add in vanilla and mix well.
- Add 1/3 of the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a small star tip and evenly separate the remaining frosting into two bowls coloring one bowl red and one bowl blue. You can get a deeper color if you add a SMALL touch of black to both. Add each color to a piping bag with a star tip.
- Using a toothpick, make a rough sketch of the boundaries you'll need for each section on the top of the cupcake. 1/4 of the top will be blue and each line is roughly 1/2" tall. You should be able to get 6 stripes on each cupcake.
- To pipe, hold the bag perpendicular to the cupcake and apply even pressure so that your stars are a consistent size.
- Pipe inside of the guides lines you created with your toothpick for the blue quarter and then each stripe. We recommend doing the white stripes first and then the red so that the red frosting doesn't get on the white tip and discolor the frosting.
- Before the frosting crusts place your white star sprinkles on the blue area. (Using kitchen tweezers may help.)
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Need to bring a few things to your 4th of July picnic? Meaghan always has the best ideas, especially when it comes to festive food. Check out her Patriotic Rice Krispie Pinwheels or her Patriotic Swirl Cookies. She also has an amazing Ranch Potato Salad, if you want to bring a side dish too.
You may also enjoy these other American flag and 4th of July ideas on Ideas for the Home by Kenarry® –
- 4th of July Flag Cookies: An Easy Patriotic Dessert
- Personal Patriotic Pepperoni Pizza for An All-American Lunch
- Red, White and Blue Layered Jello Cake for 4th of July
- Patriotic Hot Cocoa Bombs
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Originally published June 2019. Updated April 2020.