My sister-in-law, Audrey, is a bad influence on me.
She shows up at my house armed with an overabundance of enthusiasm and dessert recipes. Recipes that generally involve cupcakes.
Audrey loves cupcakes.
Actually, a more appropriate way to put it would be “Audrey is OBSESSED with cupcakes.”
We’ve spent late nights playing with frosting, experimenting with piping and attempting to recreate some intricate dessert that’s more art than cupcake she’s found on the internet.
The funniest thing is that I can’t remember ever seeing Audrey eat a cupcake!
She usually leaves the whole batch at my house and my husband uses this as an excuse to have cupcakes for breakfast. (We still haven’t completely let go of our college kid eating habits yet, can you tell?)
Needless to say, when Audrey told me she wanted to make “layered cupcakes” I expected a challenge.
What we got was a surprisingly simple, easy and fun way to make elaborate looking cupcakes.
Feeling patriotic, we made ours red, white and blue but you can use whatever colors you like.
In fact, the recipe that inspired our experiment was for rainbow cupcakes. You can find that recipe (and lots of others that sound amazing) at Our Best Bites.
So without further adieu, here are our cupcakes that are patriotic both inside and out!
Red, White and Blue Cupcakes
1 white cake mix
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
White cupcake papers
Red and Blue food coloring
1 can frosting
1. Mix cake mix, eggs, yogurt, milk and oil in a large bowl. Once combined, beat with a mixer for 2-3 minutes.
The yogurt makes this batter thick, which keeps it from mixing with the other layers. That being said, those of us who love light and airy cake batter will feel like 3 minutes of mixing is not enough. Trust me, ignore those instincts!
2. Divide the batter evenly into three bowls. In one bowl, add blue food coloring; in another add red. Its going to take a lot of red to make the batter look red and not pink. We used half of the little bottle!
3. And now the fun part: start layering! We did one batch of cupcakes and one batch into a 9 x 13 cake pan. The cake pan layering is much easier to do and illustrated the layering much nicer.
In the cupcakes, we did about a teaspoon of each color. The top layer took more like 1 1/2 teaspoons so we alternated starting with blue or red so that we wouldn’t run out of any one color.
We kept the white layer in the middle so that the blue and red wouldn’t run together and look purple.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until they pass the “toothpick test.”
5. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Bonus points if you pick up the “Fourth of July Funfetti” frosting like we did! (There’s that inner college kid again, she keeps jumping out!)
Frosting tip: If you’re planning to transport the cupcakes to a holiday gathering this weekend, wait to frost them until you arrive. This way you can avoid both the frosting smearing en route or melting into the cupcake in the heat.
Whether you make these patriotic pastries for the holiday weekend or swap the colors in favor of your favorite team, these cupcakes are sure to impress any crowd!
Maybe that sister-in-law of mine isn’t such a bad influence after all.