These Brownie Cupcakes are sure to be a hit for the 4th of July! Not only are the cupcakes topped with chocolate frosting, chocolate ganache, and patriotic sprinkles, they’ve also got a brownie bite sitting on top, swirled with red-white-and-blue frosting too! A glitter star topper is the final flourish that makes these cupcakes a must for your fourth of July dessert table!
I’ve got lots of fun and easy Cupcake Recipes for Parties and celebrations for you to try out – right-click and open these other recipes in a new tab so that you can read them after this one!
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I think that these brownie cupcakes are one of the more decadent cupcakes that I’ve shared on my blog! I mean, a triple chocolate fudge cupcake topped with a mini brownie bite? Plus all that yummy chocolate frosting and ganache, not to mention the patriotic swirl of frosting on top of the brownie – what is not to love about these cupcakes?
I’m never averse to kitchen shortcuts like using a cake mix – which is exactly what we’re doing in this cupcake recipe! And who has time to make mini brownies when you can just purchase some brownie bites from the store?!
That said, if you want to bake your cupcakes and brownies from scratch, then of course you totally can – just follow the rest of the recipe for the decorating instructions.
I highly recommend reading a recipe all the way through before starting to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required and understand the steps.
Ingredients used in this recipe
The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
However, there are some of the more specialised ingredients you will need for this recipe which I’ve linked below to Amazon for your convenience.
- Betty Crocker Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix – or your favorite brand of cake mix, we will be substituting the usual box ingredients to enrich the cake mix!
- Unsalted Sweet Cream Butter – in the UK, sweet cream butter is our regular butter – buy unsalted. Read A Guide to Different Butters on Great British Chefs.
- Heavy Whipping Cream – to make the frosting, known as double cream in the UK
- Vanilla Extract
- Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
- Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips – around 50% cocoa solids, in the UK use plain chocolate
- Patriotic Sprinkles Mix – or you could mix your own
- Red Gel Food Coloring
- Blue Gel Food Coloring
- Brownie Bites
For my UK readers: When I go on vacation to the USA, I like to stock up on my favourite American food products and ingredients, so you’ll find them used in some of the recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog. Luckily, we can buy a lot of American ingredients online these days, and in supermarkets (check the World Foods aisle!) which is awesome! (Although sometimes the price can be on the high side…) When I use American ingredients in recipes that I share on my blog, I always aim to suggest British alternatives or include Amazon affiliate links to where you can buy them online.
Equipment used in this recipe
You are likely to have many standard cooking tools in your kitchen but I’ve added some Amazon links for your convenience should you need to use something specific for this recipe.
- 4th of July Cupcake Liners
- Red, White, and Blue Glitter Star Cupcake Toppers
- Cupcake Pan
- Wire Cooling Rack
- Ice Cream Scoop – this helps to scoop cupcake batter and frosting evenly. Get one with a trigger mechanism.
- Piping Bag
- Medium Star Piping Tip
- Mini Angled/Off-set Spatula
- Squeeze Bottle
- Electric Mixer – stand or handheld
More Recipes Using Cake Mix
We’ve made these cupcakes using a cake mix, and they’re a great shortcut! Here are some more recipes using a box of cake mix for you to try out:
Brownie Cupcake Recipe Tips
- This recipe amps up the richness of the cake mix by replacing the box’s listed ingredients with unsalted sweet cream butter (instead of oil) and milk (instead of water).
- You can mix the cake mix by hand or use an electric mixer.
- Use an ice cream scoop to equally divide the cupcake mixture between the cupcake liners.
- The cupcakes should be ready in about 20 minutes – test their doneness by inserting a toothpick into the cakes and it should come out clean when the cupcakes are cooked through.
- The cupcakes should be transferred to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
Cupcake Decorating Tips
- There are two different kinds of frosting in these cupcakes. Read through the recipe to ensure you know how much frosting to save for coloring with food gel coloring.
- Food Coloring Tips: Use good quality food coloring gel or paste as the color will be more vibrant. Do not use liquid color as this will change the consistency of the frosting, and really won’t taste good!
- Remember that you can always add more color, but not take it away. Add a little to start with and add more to get the shade required.
- Use an ice cream scoop to add a scoop of chocolate frosting to the cupcakes and use a small angled/off-set spatula or a blunt knife to smooth, round-off and slightly flatten the top.
- Chocolate ganache is very easy to make – you simply pour heated cream over chocolate chips. Leave them to stand for about a minute before whisking until smooth and glossy.
- You can use a squeeze bottle to drizzle the ganache over the cupcakes, but if you don’t have one you could use a piping bag or a plastic food bag with the corner snipped off.
- The mini brownie bites are kept in place on top of the cupcakes using toothpicks – make sure you let guests know that they are there before taking a bite!
- A cake makers trick is to use dry spaghetti instead of toothpicks – this is a lot safer for children.
- The brownie bites are topped with a three-color frosting. You can do this in three different ways: Scoop one-third side of the piping bag with red frosting, another third with blue frosting, and the final third with white, then squeeze some frosting out until the three colors mix together.
- Use a triple piping bag by putting a piping bag of each color into another piping bag fitted with the tip and frosting as usual. Wilton has a great demonstration video on YouTube that I highly recommend. It’s actually for a double-bag but would work for triple too.
- Or why not invest in the Wilton 3-Color Coupler Set which will make piping a breeze even for novices!
- If you are not confident with your piping skills you can practice on some parchment paper first and scoop the frosting back into the bag – just make sure you practice with ONE color and not the three mixed together!
- OR just use single color frosting and divide them between the batch of cupcakes – 8 of each color.
- If you can’t source a patriotic mix of sprinkles you can always make your own combining any shapes of red, white, and blue sprinkles that you like!
- If you can’t source the glitter start toppers you can easily make your own! Cut star shapes from red, white, and blue paper and attach to a wooden cocktail stick/toothpick. Use non-toxic glue and food-safe glitter to decorate the stars with if you wish.
More Brownie Recipes
Need some more brownie recipes? Take a look at these ones next:
- Triple Layer Pumpkin Brownies Recipe
- Peanut Butter Pumpkin Brownies Recipe
- Candy Cane Chocolate Brownie Truffles
How Do I Make Brownie Cupcakes?
Just check out the recipe card below with full ingredients, instructions, and demonstration photos. You can print the card out too (don’t worry, the pics don’t print to save your ink!).
Save my Patriotic Brownie Cupcakes for the 4th of July recipe video to your 4th of July Sweet Treats YouTube Playlists so that it’s always there when you need it – don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel while you are there!
For the Cupcakes
- 1 box of triple chocolate fudge cake mix
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
- 1¼ cup whole milk
For the Chocolate Frosting
- 3 cups unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
- 6 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)
- ½ cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
- 5-7 Tbsp heavy whipping cream (double cream)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Ganache
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream (double cream)
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (plain chocolate)
- ¼ cup patriotic sprinkles
For the Red White & Blue Frosting
- ½ cup unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
- 2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3-5 Tbsp heavy whipping cream (double cream)
- Red gel food coloring
- Blue gel food coloring
For the Decoration
- ¼ cup patriotic sprinkles
- 24 premade mini brownie bites
- 48 wooden toothpicks
- 24 glitter star topper picks
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and place 24 cupcake liners into cupcake pans.
- To make the cupcakes use a stand or handheld mixer. Place the cake mix, eggs, ½ cup of butter, and milk into a bowl and mix on medium speed until combined.
- Use an ice cream scoop to distribute the cupcake batter between the cupcake liners - about three-quarters full.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the chocolate frosting use a stand or handheld mixer
- Place the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cream, and vanilla into a mixing bowl, and mix on medium speed until combined and smooth.
- Use an ice cream scoop to place a scoop of frosting onto each cooled cupcake.
- Using a mini angled spatula, lightly spread and smooth evenly into a thick mound of frosting.
- To make the chocolate ganache place the cream into a small saucepan and slowly bring to the bowl.
- Place the chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl and pour the hot heavy cream over the chocolate. Leave for 1 minute before whisking until smooth. Pour into a squeeze bottle.
- Squeeze the ganache on top of each of the frosted cupcakes in a kind of asterisk design as shown in image below.
- Add a sprinkling of patriotic sprinkles on to the ganache.
- To make the red, white, and blue patriotic frosting use an electric mixer (standing or handheld). Place the butter, powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla into a mixing bowl, and mix on medium speed until combined and smooth and creamy stiff peaks form.
- Scoop one-quarter cup of frosting into one bowl, and another one-quarter cup of frosting into another bowl. Add red gel food coloring to one of the bowls of frosting and mix to the desired shade. Add blue gel food coloring to one of the bowls of frosting and mix to the desired shade. Leave the remaining frosting white.
- Fit a medium star tip to a large piping bag and place inside a large cup, pulling the bag over the cup's edge.
- Spoon the red frosting down one-third side of the piping bag.
- Spoon the white frosting down one-third side of the piping bag.
- Spoon the blue frosting down one-third side of the piping bag.
- Twist the top of the piping bag and squeeze the frosting down to the tip. Set aside.
- Insert two toothpicks into the base of each mini brownie bite and push into the cupcakes just off-center.
- Pipe a swirl of the patriotic frosting onto the mini brownie bites and add some more sprinkles.
- Place the glitter star toppers into the cupcake just next to the brownie bite.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 644Total Fat: 46gSaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 270mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 1gSugar: 55gProtein: 3g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
Make It A Meal!
You’ve made the dessert, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full meal!
- Appetizer: Cheese-Stuffed Taco Meatballs
- Main Dish: Sheet Pan Steak Dinner: Garlic Parmesan Steak with Asparagus
- Side Salad: Rainbow Salad with Zesty Dressing
- Beverage: Raspberry Lime Vodka Cocktail
- Dessert: Looking for another 4th of July dessert? Try these Patriotic Unicorn Cupcakes!
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy! Please feel free to check them out too.
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