Gluten Free Red, White & Blueberry Cupcakes Recipe
When I was growing up, it was not popular to appear patriotic. It was a time of conflict, confusion and corruption followed by apathetic indifference. And yet, despite the unpopularity, I do believe that in my own way, I was patriotic.
My father was an Air Force pilot and he spent the majority of his life defending freedom and doing what he felt was best in the service of our country. I am very proud of him. I didn’t always agree that what he thought was best really was what was best, but I always believed in why he did it. I will never forget the day I cut school to attend a protest against the war that he repeatedly risked his life to serve in. He wrote a note to my school the next day excusing my absence and told me that doing what you believe in at all costs is the patriotic thing to do.
I have not always flown the American flag from dusk ‘til dawn at my house like my father did at his hilltop home overlooking the airfield. Not all my cars have been American-made and I am even a little fuzzy on the last few words of the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
I am, however, very proud to be an American. I am proud of our history, of our forefathers who fought for freedom and of our eloquent documents that so beautifully lay out the principles which we strive to uphold. I get teary eyed when the “Star Spangled Banner” is played and I love the 4th of July.
My own form of patriotism is certainly more subtle than my father’s, but it is there all the same. And this year I thought I would show off that patriotism with one of the things that I do best – gluten free cupcakes.
The red, white and blue of these cupcakes is, like my show of patriotism, somewhat subtle but it is there in spirit if not literally. The red in the cupcakes is actually pink thanks to some maraschino cherry juice and the blue is really more like purple due to the blueberries but the sentiment is there. If you are someone who prefers a less subtle approach, then by all means add a little red and blue food coloring to your layers.
To my non-American readers, I hope you understand that just because I love my country does not mean that I can’t love yours too! In fact, I hope you are as proud of your nationality as I am of mine. And to all you Americans out there – here’s wishing you a happy and safe 4th of July!
- 1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten free flour blend – use divided
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- ½ cup milk at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup blueberries – use divided
- 4 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
- 12 maraschino cherries with stems
- Red white and blue sprinkles
- ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1½ cups flour, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Turn the mixer to low, add half the flour mixture, then the milk and finally the remaining flour mixture. Add the vanilla extract and mix well. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all the ingredients are fully combined.
Place ½ cup of blueberries in a small mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon of flour and toss the blueberries with the flour. Add ¾ cup of batter and gently fold the blueberries into the batter. Divide the mixture among the prepared muffin cups and smooth down the batter with a small offset spatula or a moistened finger, making sure to spread the batter all the way to the sides.
Place ¾ cup of batter in a small bowl, add the remaining tablespoon of flour and the maraschino cherry juice. Mix well. Gently spoon this batter on top of the blueberry layer. Even out the batter and spread all the way to the sides. Gently spoon the remaining batter on top of the cherry layer and spread as before. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes are starting to brown and a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the ½ cup butter with the 1/8 teaspoon salt on high speed until creamy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and mix, starting on low and increasing the speed until fully combined and fluffy.
Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and garnish each cupcake with a maraschino cherry, the remaining blueberries and some sprinkles.
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