I am not, by nature, an overly patriotic person. (So sue me - it's just not my thing.) I don't decorate for the 4th of July, I don't cry listening to the Star Spangled Banner, and neither do I dress in red, white and/or blue. Scratch that last one - I am wearing blue shorts right now, but it was not done with the intent to display patriotism, they were simply the first relatively clean shorts I came across this morning. So the reasoning for the following recipe is not patriotism - it is a thinly veiled excuse to make cupcakes. Although, if you want to make these to display your patriotism and love of all things Fourth of July, by all means, enjoy.
White cake cupcake batter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar and then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla extract. Mix the baking powder and flour in a separate bowl and then add to the butter mixture, mixing well. Add the milk and stir until the batter is smooth. Divide the batter into three different bowls. Leave one batch plain, then add blue food coloring to one bowl and red to the third. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners and spoon the batter into the tins, filling to between 2/3 and 3/4 full. Put the red batter in first, then the plain/white batter, and top it off with the blue. Try to spoon the batters in even layers so that the finished cupcake will have good color separation. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The cupcakes are done when the batter is set and the cake springs back to the touch.
Let the cupcakes cool and then frost. I was too lazy to make frosting today (and my mom insisted I use the can of store bought stuff we had in the pantry so that there wouldn't be any extra frosting around to tempt us) so I just used the white store bought stuff and topped it with sprinkles. If you wanted to be fancier, you could color your frosting blue or red and if you wanted to get really crazy, you could take blue, red and white frosting, spoon them into a piping bag, and pipe on a swirl of the three colors. I tried piping but my piping skills are not as good as I would like so they didn't turn out quite as pretty as I would have liked. Fortunately their looks have nothing to do with their taste and they were pretty good.
NOTES: If you want, experiment with adding flavor of some kind to the base batter to give the cupcakes whatever flavor you like. Also, to make adding the batter to the muffin tins easier, I put the batters into three different sandwich bags and then snipped the corner off the bag to give more control when adding the batter to the tins. To make getting the batter into the sandwich bags easier, I folded the edges of the bag down over a wide mouth canning jar so that I could keep the bag open while I poured the batter into the bag. Both bag tricks worked out really well and made the job much simpler. I am either very creative, or very lazy. I'm still not sure which.