Use blue paper cupcake liners to give these cupcakes a patriotic appearance. For the swirled piping effect, you’ll need three large clear disposable piping bags and an extra-large closed star decorator’s piping tip (see blog post for sources). For the cake confetti, I used Betty Crocker Decorating Decors in Red, White, and Blue. These are usually available in the cake mix aisle at the grocery store. Pick up two 1.75 ounce bottles for the required 1/2 cup of sprinkles needed for this recipe.
1/2cupredwhite and blue sprinkles (I used Betty Crocker Jimmies)
1cup2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 1/2cupsconfectioners’ sugar
2teaspoonsred gel food color
Milk or heavy creamoptional
Preheat oven to 350°. Line 22 muffin cups with paper liners.
Make the cupcakes: In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk. Beat well after each addition. Scrape the bowl down and beat again briefly. Fold in the sprinkles using a large rubber spatula
Fill prepared cups 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
Make the frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Begin on low speed until crumbly, and then increase to high and beat for 3 minutes.
Add vanilla extract and beat again for another minute. If you find the buttercream is too stiff, you may add milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is spreading consistency.
Place half of the frosting in a 16-inch disposable piping bag. Close the top with a rubber band. Tint the remaining icing with the red food color. Transfer to another 16-inch disposable piping bag; close with a rubber band. Fit a third piping bag with a large star tip (just drop it in the bag no coupler needed –see this video for further instruction). Snip ends of the frosting-filled piping bags and fit their tips evenly into the piping bag fitted with the star tip. Hold the bag over the cupcakes while squeezing the bag and rotating it in a clockwise motion. Make at least two passes. Decorate with American flag picks, or as desired.