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Learn how to make an amazing American flag cupcake cake! I can promise, it’s easier than you think. Using boxed cake mix and prepared frosting makes this pull-apart cupcake cake so easy to make. It will be the star of your patriotic celebration!
Table of Contents
Why We Love This Recipe
If you’re looking for the perfect dessert for Memorial Day and the 4th of July this year, this cupcake cake might just be what you’re looking for! It’s easy to make with some shortcuts and the best dessert to serve a crowd! You can make these regular or mini sized too!
I LOVE a pull-apart cake for a party! Cupcakes are easy to serve – everyone can just grab one, and there’s no hassle with slicing a big cake. Even though it’s not a cake, you can still decorate it like it is – in this case, the cupcakes are frosted and arranged so they look like the American flag.
We are keeping things simple with this recipe! No complicated from-scratch cupcake recipe. We’re using a cake mix to make soft and tender cupcakes and store bought frosting for ease. But you can use my vanilla cupcake recipe and vanilla buttercream if you want to make it from scratch.
- White cake mix – I always use 15-ounce boxes, so double-check the size.
- Prepared white frosting – you’ll tint some of the frosting, so you’ll want to buy three containers.
- Egg whites – using just the whites to make the cupcakes keeps them very white. You can use whole eggs, too, but that means your cupcakes will have a subtle yellow tint. See the notes in the recipe card for more details about this.
- Vegetable oil
- Milk – you can use whole, low fat or nonfat
- Food coloring – I recommend using gel food coloring for the best colors. You’ll need red and blue.
- White sugar pearl sprinkles – you’ll use these on the blue cupcakes to create the stars.
How to Make the Cupcakes
Regular Sized Cupcake Cake: You’ll need about 35 cupcakes (the recipe makes 38).
Mini Cupcake Cake: Just use one box (half the recipe as written) and you’ll have plenty. It makes about 60 mini cupcakes.
1. First, make the cupcake batter. Combine the cake mixes with eggs, milk, and oil. You can mix by hand with a spoon or with a hand mixer. Mix until the batter is smooth.
2. Line your cupcake pan with liners and fill each about half full with batter. You don’t want to fill them much more than that – otherwise, they will puff up too much and be hard to frost later.
3. Bake the cupcakes at 350°F for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before decorating them.
How to Make a Cupcake Cake
Once you have your cooled cupcakes, it’s time to turn them into an American flag cupcake cake!
Display: Place your cupcakes on a cake board or a wire rack covered in parchment paper. Arrange them into five rows of seven cupcakes each. Place them right next to each other, so they’re snug.
Next, divide your frosting and tint your frosting:
- Place 1 ½ containers of frosting in a medium bowl and add the red gel food coloring. You’ll need approximately one teaspoon. Mix well until you have a uniform color.
- Place one container of frosting in a separate bowl and tint that one blue. Mix well.
- Reserve the rest of the white frosting – you should have 1 ½ container left.
- Place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with either an Ateco #826 tip or Wilton 1M tip.
White Stripes: Frost the second row and then every other white. Frost the cupcakes close together so the frosting of each cupcake meets.
Red Stripes: Frost the same way, but fill in with red frosting.
Blue: The size of the blue section will depend on how many cupcakes you have. Large cupcakes: the top 6 cupcakes. Mini Cupcakes: Use the top 9. Start frosting on the edge of the first cupcake moving counterclockwise in one fluid motion until you reach the middle of the cupcake. Once you reach the center, lightly press the tip down in the center and pull it up to create a little spike in the center.
To create the stars, sprinkle the white pearl sprinkles over the blue frosted cupcakes (optional).
- The food coloring is really important, and I don’t recommend using water-based food coloring because the colors aren’t as vibrant and it’s hard to get true red. A Gel type is best, and I use either Americolor or Wilton brands. You can also use store-brand gel coloring.
- When you tint the frosting, it’s always better to start with a small amount and add more until you get your desired color. I think frosting always looks the best once it’s on the cupcakes, so don’t worry if the color doesn’t look perfect in the bowl. Once it settles into the frosting, it will look great.
- If you use another frosting tip than what is suggested in the recipe, you may need more frosting.
- Definitely start on the outer edge of the cupcakes when you frost them. This will give your cupcake cake a more uniform look for the frosting.
- Feel free to make the cupcakes a day in advance, cool them completely, and store them in an airtight container. The next day all you will need to do is frost them.
This is the best dessert to serve friends and family for a patriotic BBQ or potluck! Cupcakes are so perfect for sharing, and I just love how this flag cake looks on a table – the perfect centerpiece! The shortcuts make it so easy to make, too. I hope you love it!
Store it loosely covered. I prefer the refrigerator just so the frosting doesn’t get too soft.
Yes, you can make this up to one day ahead. Store in the refrigerator.
To make this from scratch, DOUBLE my yellow cake recipe and make cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting.
That depends on the shape and size. This cake uses about 35 cupcakes. Make it bigger by doubling the recipe if you want.
More Patriotic Desserts You’ll Enjoy
- 4th of July Sprinkle Cookies
- No Bake Berry Shortcake Trifle
- Patriotic Apple Crumble
- Peanut Butter Flag Dip
American Flag Cupcake Cake Recipe
- 2 (approx 15 ounces each) boxes white cake mix
- 1 cup (124g) all-purpose flour
- 10 large Egg Whites
- 1 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 cup sour cream room temperature
- 1 ½ cups milk (any kind)
- 3 16-Ounce Containers White Frosting
- Red Gel Food Coloring
- Blue Gel Food Coloring
- White Sugar Pearl Sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F and line an average cupcake pan with white cupcake liners. Or use mini cupcake pans (you'll need at least two 24-cavity pans)
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cake mixes, eggs, milk, sour cream, flour and oil. Mix well using a hand mixer, or by hand. Remove as many lumps as possible.
- Fill each cupcake liner about half full. This was about ¼ cup each. You don’t want them to puff up too much past the liner top as it makes it harder to decorate them.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Move to a wire rack to fully cool.
- Using a cake board or wire rack covered in parchment paper, position your cooled cupcakes in 5 lines of 7 (35 cupcakes total). Push them right up against each other so they’re nice and snug.
- Place 1 ½ containers of the white frosting in a medium mixing bowl and red gel food coloring. Be sure to use “Super Red” or “Red Red” and you’ll need about 1 teaspoon. Note, it won’t look as red as you want it, but once it settles and you get it on the cupcakes, the red really pops.
- Place one container of frosting in another mixing bowl and add about ⅓ of the tube of blue gel food dye (if you use the same kind I do, see notes below). You can also add a bit at a time and mix it in until it reaches a rich blue. Be sure to mix until no white or blue streaks appear.
- Place the blue frosting in a frosting bag and use an Ateco #826 frosting tip or a Wilton 1M to pipe the frosting onto the top first three cupcakes of the first two lines. This will be 6 cupcakes total. Start at the top and outside edge of the cupcake, move in a counterclockwise motion, with fluid movement, keep moving your hand in a circle until you reach the middle. Ever so lightly, boink the tip down just a bit and bring it back up so it leaves a mini spike in the middle of the cupcake.
- Sprinkle the white sugar pearls over the blue cupcakes only.
- Repeat the frosting process for the red frosting and finish out the top first line, do the third full row of cupcakes, and the last entire row of cupcakes.
- Decorate the remaining cupcakes with the leftover white frosting. Enjoy!
- I prefer Americolor or Wilton for gel food coloring, but you can also use store brand. I don’t recommend using water-based food coloring (i.e. the grocery store aisle kind). Just take your time and add a bit at a time until you reach your desired color. The colors always look better once applied and turned into a cake. So, if it’s not exactly the color you were hoping for, it will still look amazing, so don’t fret.
- This batch of mix gave me about 38 cupcakes, so you may have a couple extra like I did. That’s ok. That gives you extra cupcakes to test your frosting work on before starting on the actual cake.
- You can use another cupcake frosting tip if you like, just know that some tips will allow more frosting to come out. This means you might need more frosting.
- When you normally frost cupcakes, you don’t start on the outer edge. However, with this cake, you want to cover as much space as possible.
- You want the cupcakes as snug as possible so it looks more like a cake and not separate cupcakes. This also makes it much nicer when doing the frosting.
- You can use just 2 large eggs instead of 4 egg white, if preferred. This will just make the cake mix have a slightly yellowish tint.
This American Flag Cupcake Cake will be the star of your patriotic celebration! It’s so simple to make using boxed cake mix and premade frosting.
Last Updated on June 17, 2022