Happy Birthday, America! On July 4, 1776, we adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring our nation’s independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Though, technically, most delegates didn’t sign it until August 2 which means we actually could celebrate for a whole month! The signed copy now resides at the National Archives in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, along with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Yes, there is more than one copy. Hundreds were printed on July 4 to be sent to specific destinations in the 13 colonies. Of that, only 26 copies survived. If you haven’t made the trip to Washington D.C. to see our nation’s greatest documents, I highly recommend it.
Not only do we celebrate our freedom every fourth of July, but we eat good food. Lots of barbecuing, baking and alcohol fill our weekend while enjoying fireworks. Instead of traveling to another race track, I was actually home for the holiday cooking, baking and trying to keep Zu calm from the sounds of a war zone that was our neighborhood. I wanted to make something fun, simple and patriotic, so….fireworks cupcakes!
Before doing anything else, I made the white chocolate “fireworks” streams. Melt white chocolate wafers, or chips, in a make-shift double boiler…a large pot with a handle, large stainless bowl on top. Add about four inches of water to the pot, set stove on medium to high heat, set stainless bowl on pot and let the steam do the melting. Once it was melted, I set it to the side and just pulled what I needed for the first batch. Leaving the rest in the pan will help keep it melted until you get to it. It’s hot so let it cook slightly before putting it in to a plastic icing bag. I used a Wilton tip 8 and made the designs on parchment. It’s not easy to sprinkle the sparkling sugar before the chocolate hardens. So instead, I put the sparkling sugar in a rectangular bowl, sprayed the chocolate squiggles with a little water and dipped them in to the sugar.
Next, I made the cupcakes so they could be cooling. The white cake recipe is very straight forward except for the the egg whites. It’s important to separate the eggs properly. Even a little bit of yolk can mess things up so separate in different bowls so you don’t have to start over.
- Use a clean bowl to beat the egg whites
- Separate eggs in different bowls to make sure there is no yolk
- It takes several minutes for peaks to form
- Test your whites by pulling the beater straight out of the mixture. If peaks form, you’re good.
- Do not over-beat.
Since I was making cupcakes, I replaced canola oil with filtered coconut oil (doesn’t taste or smell like coconut). It gives the cupcakes a crunchy top, like a muffin. Just be careful when baking. If the tops get too golden brown, the cake inside may not retain it’s moisture. Again, being these were cupcakes, I did not use clear vanilla to keep the cake white. I love bourbon vanilla (purchased at Trader Joe’s) so I use that in many of my recipes. I used a Wilton 1M frosting tip for the buttercream.
I used my favorite buttercream recipe from Sprinkles. The buttercream, crunchy top and moist cake…it’s a nice bite.
- Double boiler or microwave
- Wilton no. 8 tip
- Icing bags
- 12-cup cupcake pan (2)
- 24 cupcake liners
- KitchenAid® Professional 600 Series Mixer
- Rubber spatula
- Large mixing bowl
- Medium size bowl
- KitchenAid® 7-Speed Digital Hand Mixer
- 1 Toothpick
WHITE CHOCOLATE DECORATIONS
- 24 ounces white chocolate wafers or chips
- red food coloring
- blue food coloring
- sparkling sugar
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter softened but cool
- ⅔ cup coconut oil filtered
- 2 cups extra fine sugar (regular granulated sugar is fine)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract (use clear for whiter cake)
- 2⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup whole milk room temperature
- 6 large egg whites (¾ cup) room temperature
- 24 cupcake liners
- 2 batches Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 1 Wilton tip 1M
- 1 Wilton tip no. 8
WHITE CHOCOLATE DECORATIONS
- Melt white chocolate in make-shift double boiler or microwave. Allow to cool slightly.
- Add food coloring then fill icing bags with the chocolate. I used a Wilton #8 tip.
- Make straight and squiggle lines on parchment paper. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar before the chocolate hardens.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place liners in cupcake pans, set aside.
- With a hand or stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy.
- Add sugar and coconut oil, beat until well combined and creamy. Scrape sides of bowl, then mix in vanilla extract.
- In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- On medium speed, add part of the flour mixture and milk, alternating until all ingredients are added and combined.
- In separate bowl, beat egg whites with a hand mixer on high-speed until stiff peaks form.
- With a spatula, gently fold egg whites into the batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, combine ingredients well but do not over mix.
- Spoon batter into cupcake liners.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes depending on your oven.
- Inserted toothpick should come out almost completely clean. Cupcake tops should be lightly golden brown when baking is complete. Move cupcakes to cooking rack.
- After cupcakes are completely cool, decorate with buttercream frosting, sprinkles and white chocolate accents.