A classic vanilla cupcake, bursting with a slightly tart summer berry compote, and crowned with a halo of fluffy whipped cream cheese frosting. ‘Merica!
I don’t care what the calendar says. In America, summer starts on Memorial Day.
It’s the first of (arguably) four patriotic holidays of the year, and each one pretty much requires a fired up grill full of burgers and ribs, lots of beer, some sort of water games, and plenty of red, white, and blue all over the place.
And easy, handheld desserts of course. These perfectly patriotically delicious Firecracker Cupcakes totally fit the bill, right?!
Working in food retail, I spend most, if not all, of those holidays at work, helping the Monday through Friday crowd gather what they need to enjoy their three-day weekends. This year is no exception, but I’m actually celebrating the holiday today as I write this, sitting on the patio while my girlfriends play around with Dubsmash (our new obsession) and drink Corona and Porch Rocker, and our hubbies and friends (many of whom are vets) are having a blast inventing pool drinking games with crazy rules.
A typical gathering for us, really.
When we get together, we always potluck our dinner, and today’s spread consisted of pulled chicken sandwiches, homemade macaroni salad, oven roasted potatoes, creamed corn, baked beans, giant watermelon, and a couple dozen of my requisite dessert, cupcakes.
My friends always know to expect some sort of cupcake, no matter the event, and today’s were appropriately themed. Firecracker Cupcakes: not an original name, but I’ve never seen any like these before, and they’re perfect to share with you for this week’s #SundaySupper!
I debated for a full day on what to make for our get-together, and I finally settled on these simple but perfect filled cupcakes.
I started with my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe. It’s moist, fluffy, and not too dense, but sturdy enough to stand up to a good swirl of icing.
Scratch vanilla cupcakes are so hard to master!
When I was younger, every cake I made came straight out of a box. I’m pretty sure there was an ignorant time in my life where I didn’t even know cakes could be made from scratch!
When I finally discovered how to create yummy cupcakes from regular old flour and sugar, I was hooked. My first scratch cupcakes were Paula Deen’s red velvet recipe (a recipe I still turn to – though mine is heavily modified), and to this day, they are my most popular among my friends and family.
Those beloved red velvets, and these Firecracker Cupcakes, are both crowned with the best whipped cream cheese buttercream I’ve ever made. Its sweetness is wonderfully balanced, and it plays perfectly with the slightly tart berry compote filling that’s stuffed in to each one of these pretty single-serve desserts.
I cooked down some of the summers favorite fruit with a splash of orange juice, honey, and vanilla, and they still retained a lot of their natural lip-smacking tartness. At first, I worried it would be too much, but the final product ended up being the perfect blend of flavors, and they were a real hit!
I really enjoyed our little celebration this evening, and while I’ll be back to the grind for the rest of the holiday weekend, I hope you all will make the most of yours!
And maybe make some of these babies to take along to your festivities.
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) Churn84 unsalted butter, melted
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup buttermilk (or whole milk + 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar)
- Red & blue food coloring
- 3 cups fresh berries (I used blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
- 2 Tablespoons orange zest
- 5 Tablespoons orange juice, divided
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ cup (1 stick) Churn84 unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup cream cheese, cold
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- Sprinkles, edible stars, and flag decorations
- Prep a standard cupcake tin with liners, and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together sugar and melted butter, about 2 minutes, until combined.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition, then add vanilla and beat to combine.
- Alternate adding dry ingredients and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour.
- Portion out about ½ cup into two separate bowls. Add red and blue food coloring to each bowl and stir, until desired shade is reached.
- Using a small cookie scoop, place about 2 Tablespoons of red or blue cupcake batter in the bottom of each cupcake liner, then fill to about ¾ full with white batter.
- Drop any remaining colored batter in dollops on top if desired, and swirl with a toothpick.
- After putting cupcakes in the oven, drop the temperature to 175 degrees F and bake for 14-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow cupcake to sit in tins for about 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
- When cool, using a small knife held at a 45-degree angle, cut a 1-inch deep cone out of the top of each cupcake, creating a pocket for the filling to sit in.
- In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and 2 tablespoons orange juice and stir until combined. Set aside.
- Combine berries, 3 tablespoons orange juice, zest, vanilla, and honey in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Bring to a simmer and cook about 4-5 minutes, until berries begin releasing their juices, then muddle with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook another 5 minutes or so on low heat.
- Remove from heat and stir in cornstarch mixture, combining well. Feel free to add more honey if your compote is too tart. Allow to cool to room temperature before filling cupcakes with 1-2 tablespoons, mounding it higher than the top of the cupcake..
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese together for about 3 minutes, or until combined and smooth.
- Sprinkle in salt, and add confectioners sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well between cups and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla, beating until incorporated.
- Scrape icing off paddle, and fit the mixer with the whip attachment.
- Add heavy whipping cream, and after incorporating it in to the icing, whip on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes until fluffy.
- Fill a piping bag or zipper bag with icing, and pipe a circle around the filling, and a star dollop right in the middle of it.
- Decorate with sprinkles, edible star confetti, and patriotic decorations. Serve & enjoy!
What foods always show up at your Memorial Day gatherings?
Hungry for more red, white & blue foods? Take a look at what my fellow #SundaySupper folks have cooked up for you…
Food Using One Color
- Baby Back Ribs with Roasted Strawberry Barbecue Sauce by Crazy Foodie Stunts
- Baked Tomato Breakfast Cups by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Red Velvet Milk Shake by Nosh My Way
- Strawberry Meringue Tartlets by What Smells So Good?
- Strawberry Oat Crumble by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Alabama BBQ Sauce by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Blueberry Breakfast Cookies by Pies and Plots
- Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Blue Velvet Cupcakes by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Food Using Two Colors
Red and White Food
- Pickled Shrimp with Pico de Gallo by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Sausage Rougail (Rougail Saucisse) by The Petit Gourmet
Blue and White Food
- Blueberry Feta Cucumber Salad by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Blueberry Pierogi by Curious Cuisiniere
Red, White and Blue Food
- Berry Berry Celebrations by Momma’s Meals
- Berry Filled Firecracker Cupcakes by The Crumby Cupcake
- Berry Patriotic Chia Seed Pudding by Tasting Page
- Easy Chocolate Covered Marshmallows by Palatable Pastime
- Eton Mess by Caroline’s Cooking
- Greek Yogurt Parfait Bar by Family Foodie
- Grilled Shrimp, Tomato and Bleu Cheese Flatbread by Our Good Life
- Individual Loaded Red, White, and Blue Salads by The Weekend Gourmet
- Patriotic Cocktail by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
- Patriotic Panna Cotta by The Freshman Cook
- Red White And Blue Coleslaw by Nik Snacks
- Red, White, and Blue Parfaits by Life Tastes Good
- Red, White and Blue Cherry Pie by Savory Experiments
- Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Red, White and Blue Sangria by Food Lust People Love
- Red White and Blue Sundae by Desserts Required
- St. Honore Cake by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Strawberry, Blueberry & Raspberry Cheesecake Crumble by Food Done Light
- Tomato Blue Cheese Crostini by Magnolia Days
- Triple Berry Coconut Chia Pudding Parfaits by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Vanilla Pound Cake with Fresh Berries by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Watermelon, Feta & Beet Appetizer by Take A Bite Out of Boca
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