rwb cupcake

Red, White & Blue Cupcakes for Memorial Day Weekend

If you’re planning a barbeque this Memorial Day weekend, these cupcakes are an easy to make dessert, and are sure to be a hit with the kids.

Warning: If you are one of those individuals with food coloring issues, stop reading and please, please, I’m begging you… don’t let me know how you feel in the comments. I’ve read other bloggers’ posts when they have made colorful creations with food coloring and know that there is a group of food coloring haters who feel it is their mission in life is to educate us regarding the evils of food dye. Colors make me happy, and if indulging in a little food dye means risking my life, then so be it. What can I say, I like to live life on the edge. 

I made these red, white, and blue cupcakes in two different ways. I like the layered look above the best. I love how the color seeps through the white cupcake liner, enticing you to peel off the cupcake wrapper. I also made a few by adding spoonfuls in three different sections of the cupcake liner. These are a novelty and fun for kids to join in the baking process.  See, food coloring is your friend!




1. Bake up your favorite white cupcake recipe. Divide batter into three bowls. Use blue and red gel food coloring in two of the bowls (see notes about gel-paste below.)

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. For the layered cupcake, spread a tablespoon of one color of batter into the bottom of a cupcake liner. Add a second tablespoon in another color on top. Be careful when you spread it around so that the two colors don’t mix. Do the same with the final color. The other option is to place spoonfuls of batter into three different sections. Again, doing your best not to mix the colors.

3. Bake, cool, and decorate!





 Food for Thought for My Food Color Loving Friends

There are several types of food coloring on the market. My preference is always the gel-paste food coloring. The color is concentrated, so it does not require a lot to achieve the hue you’re going for. It also will not water down the icing or batter. Beware of the liquid food coloring from the grocery store. It is readily available, but because of its liquid form, it will alter the consistency of your batter. Powdered food coloring is also vailable from specialty stores. This is the most concentrated in form of food dye.

Tips on gel paste colors:

  • A little goes a long way. Start with a small amount, you can always add more.
  • Know in advance that the color you mix will darken over time. When making black icing, you need only mix it until it turns dark gray. Then give it an hour or so and it will be black. If not, add a bit more. 
  • There are several gel-paste brands on the market. I am a born-again Americolor girl. I originally started with Wilton colors, and do still use them for particular colors.
  • The Americolor dye comes in a squeeze bottle which completely eliminates the mess. Wilton and some of the other brands require you to add the color using toothpicks. I’ve learned with this type of gel-paste to have paper towels very accessible and more toothpicks out than I think I might need.
  • The other plus of Americolor is that they offer “Super” colors. I use the super black, brown, navy and red all of the time. These achieve the true color with a very small amount.
  • Maybe it’s because I’m an 80′s girl, but I do have a thing for the neon line of Americolors. They bring me back to my flourescent sweatshirt and socks days.
  • Here are a few online stores that offer Americolors, Shop Baker’s Nook, Global Sugar Art, Sugar Craft
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31 Responses to Red, White & Blue Cupcakes for Memorial Day Weekend
  1. Michelle
    May 26, 2010 | 7:32 am

    These are great. I did the same thing last Fourth of July and they were the biggest hit with all the kids. : )

  2. Tami
    May 26, 2010 | 11:16 am

    I am totaly making these for Memorial Day! Thank you for the WONDERFUL recipe and thoughts on food coloring/food/life,etc…LOVE IT!

    P.S. Thank you for the pink candle and delicous cupcake the other night! YUM!

  3. Lynn
    May 26, 2010 | 3:56 pm

    I used to work at Young Chefs Academy and we made these for our July 4th BBQ last year. They are so fun!! I am going to have to check out Americolor, I despise using little contatiners of gel and toothpicks, what a mess.

  4. Kate
    May 26, 2010 | 5:08 pm

    Hi Lynn,

    I just took a peek at your blog. It is darling. I can’t wait to check out all of your creations. So glad you commented, so that I could find your site.

  5. Kate
    May 26, 2010 | 5:10 pm

    Hi Tami!
    You’re so sweet! Hope you’re doing something fun for Memorial Day weekend! I’m thinking of doing a wine tasting/cupcake tasting at our next book club. Cupcakes, cocktails, and we’re set!!

  6. Jessica
    May 27, 2010 | 3:56 pm

    I just found your site and these are so cute! My first batch is baking in the oven now as I type. How did you get the colors to bake in a slanted shape?

    Thanks for the great site!

  7. Kate
    May 27, 2010 | 4:05 pm

    Oh, fun! Let me know how they turn out Jessica. The slanted shape was in no way planned, and I wasn’t sure what it would even look like until I cut it in half. When I cut the cupcake I made sure that both halves would have all three colors, if that makes sense. If you figure it out, let me know!! Have a great Memorial Day weekend!!

  8. Paula
    May 28, 2010 | 5:39 pm

    The cupcakes are so bright and cute. Great job and I’m sure a bit of work too. I haven’t used Americolor…yet. Can’t find a supplier in my area but I can order it from Toronto and will be doing so with my next order. Anxious to try it.

  9. Sarah
    June 3, 2010 | 9:57 am

    Love this! I saw it too late to make them for this past weekend but I will defintely be making them for 4th of July! I already have the sprinkles for it from the Target dollar zone :)

  10. Jessica
    June 14, 2010 | 11:01 am

    Wow! These are fantastic! You just changed my mind about my son’s July 4th birthday cupcakes :) oh, and I too hate food coloring . . . because it makes me want to EAT MORE!!! On my way to order Americolor!

  11. Dewey
    June 14, 2010 | 3:34 pm

    Very delicious looking, I’d like to try myself. Paula where in Toronto are you ordering the Americolor from? I’d be interested to get them as well and try them out.

  12. Emma
    July 3, 2010 | 6:12 pm

    I made these for Fourth of July. I used Wilton colors–dang, those things are strong! And hand-stainy! But I had a lot of fun and they look great.

    Here’s a photo:

  13. Kate
    July 3, 2010 | 8:12 pm

    They turned out great! Thanks for sharing your picture. Have a great Fourth of July with your family! I’m sure everyone will love your creation!

  14. Sara
    July 6, 2010 | 11:12 am

    I made these cupcakes over the holiday weekend. They were a hit and super yummy! Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!

  15. Bridget
    May 27, 2011 | 2:56 am

    I know what you said about food coloring comments, BUT I had to just make one. Is eating food colored food any worst them holding the mercury in our bare hands from the broken thermometer as a child, Now really!!

    Okay here’s my question what icing do you use on the cupcake, I hope to make these this Saturday for a church bar-b-que. And just love your site and your cupcakes too.

  16. Kate
    May 27, 2011 | 7:13 am

    Hi Bridget,

    This recipe for the frosting I use can be printed at the bottom of this link. It tastes very much like bakery frosting. Have a GREAT holiday weekend!!

  17. Valerie
    May 27, 2011 | 10:11 am

    I know I’m a year late then everyone else(lol) but saw these, and going to make these tonight after I get home from work. My husband is in the service and we love supporting him anyway possible even with red, white, and blue themed food :)

  18. Aimee
    May 29, 2011 | 6:12 pm

    Please help me! I just tried to make these and used another recipe which called for food coloring. I’m not sure if that was my issue but I used the white color on the bottom and it still showed up at the top and the tops of my cupcakes look more tie-died than solid colors. I wanted the cupcakes to look layered like this and put a drop of each color in layers for baking but again, the colors on the top are all mixed together and I don’t know what I did wrong. Any help you can provide is much appreciated. THANKS! And I do plan to use food gel next time :)

  19. Kate
    May 30, 2011 | 8:09 pm

    Hi Aimee,

    What a bummer! Hmmm… I’m not sure why they didn’t turn out in layers. My only guess is that it has to do with the regular food coloring. It can water down the batter, which may have caused the layers to gel together. Once I mixed the gel coloring into the different bowls of batter, the batter was still pretty thick. The tricky part on these was spreading each layer without mixing. Sorry these didn’t end up how you envisioned. Hope you had a great long weekend in spite of it!!

  20. Megan
    June 12, 2012 | 3:24 pm

    I LOVE THIS IDEA!! I’m doing a bridal shower next weekend for my best friend and its a Western/Texas themed shower (Ive gone more on the patriotic side, lol) and Ive been looking for ideas for the cupcakes. I’m definitely going to do this! I just hope my lack of frosting skills gets better, lol.

  21. Lizzi
    June 30, 2012 | 3:05 pm

    These look soooo cool! Exactly what I was looking for. I’m using this for my fourth of July party soon. I have a question, though: Will regular food coloring work instead of the gel? I don’t have those and don’t have time to get a hold of any. Thanks!

  22. Victoria
    May 25, 2013 | 6:22 am

    I love these cupcakes!! :) I can’t wait to make them! I was just wondering what kind of icing is used? Does it matter what kind of icing I use?

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