Celebrate the Fourth of July with these awesome Patriotic Unicorn Cupcakes! Red, white, and blue are in every bite from the multi-colored frosting, to the patriotic sprinkles mix, and even inside the cupcakes themselves. They taste so good and are perfect to make for Independence Day!
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!
Patriotic Unicorn Cupcakes!
How fun are these unicorn cupcakes? I think they look so freaking cool and should take pride of place on the dessert table for the 4th of July!
If you are worried that they are too complicated to make, let me reassure you that they’re not as tricky as they look – you just need to follow the steps in the recipe and you’ll have a platter full of yummy patriotic unicorn cupcakes to serve to guests at your picnic, potluck, or cookout on the fourth!
The cupcakes themselves are really quick and easy to make thanks to a box of cake mix, but if you want to bake cupcakes from scratch you can use your favorite recipe or check out the best vanilla cupcakes recipe!
These are another cupcake that are full of the red, white, and blue, much like my pretty and patriotic 4th of July cupcakes.
These unicorn cupcakes have got red, white, and blue jimmies sprinkles baked right into the cupcakes themselves, and are then double topped with frosting!
One frosting layer is covered with a patriotic mix of sprinkles that you can buy ready-mixed, or make your own patriotic sprinkles mix! That frosting/sprinkles layer is topped with a two-color swirl of frosting.
The unicorn decorations come from a Wilton Cupcake Decorating Kit (pictured below) which in the USA you may be able to find in Walmart or Michaels, and in the UK you may find in Hobbycraft.
But if you can’t find the exact kit, don’t worry because I’ve got some alternative options which I’ll list in the ingredients section below.
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 French Vanilla 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
- Red, White & Blue Jimmies Sprinkles – these are baked inside the cupcakes
- Patriotic Sprinkles Mix – or you could mix your own
- Red Gel Food Coloring
- Blue Gel Food Coloring
- Wilton Unicorn Cupcake Decorating Kit – this is not the exact one used in these cupcakes but a good alternative. If you are unable to source the unicorn cupcake kit there are ways around it. Check out my Unicorn Reindeer Cupcakes which demonstrates how you can make the unicorn’s horn and ears using fondant.
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.
- Cupcake pan
- 4th of July Cupcake Liners
- Ice Cream Scoop – this helps to scoop cupcake batter and frosting evenly. Get one with a trigger mechanism.
- Piping Bag
- Medium Star Piping Tip
- Wire Cooling Rack
- Electric Mixer – stand or handheld
Patriotic Unicorn Cupcake Tips
- French vanilla cake is also a vanilla cake, but with a more distinct flavor. If you can’t find a French vanilla cake mix, a box of the regular vanilla will be fine to use.
- 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 – remember to stir in the red, white, and blue jimmies well to evenly distribute.
- 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 layers 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 white 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.
- These unicorn cupcakes are topped with a two-color frosting. You can do this in two different ways: Scoop half the side of the piping bag with blue frosting and the other half with red, then squeeze some frosting out until the two colors mix together.
- Or, use the double piping bag method 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.
- 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 two mixed together!
More 4th of July Recipes
Need some more treats for 4th of July? Take a look at these recipes next:
- Red, White & Blue Marshmallow Pops
- Red, White & Blue Cherry Almond Cookies
- Red, White & Blue M&M’s Cookie Bars
How Do I Make Patriotic Unicorn 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!).
For the Cupcakes
- 1 box of French Vanilla cake mix
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup Patriotic Jimmy Sprinkles
For the Frosting
- 3 cup unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
- 6 cup powdered sugar
- 5-7 Tbsp heavy whipping cream (double cream)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Red gel food coloring
- Blue gel food coloring
For the Decoration
- Patriotic sprinkles mix
- 1 package of Wilton Unicorn Icing Decorations
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line cupcake pan with 24 cupcake liners.
- To make the cupcakes, place the cake mix, eggs, butter, and milk into a medium bowl and beat to combine using an electric mixer or by hand.
- Stir in the patriotic jimmies.
- 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 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.
- Scoop 1½ cups of the frosting into another bowl and set aside.
- 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.
- Pour the patriotic sprinkles into a bowl and dip the cupcake into the sprinkles to coat the frosting mound.
- Using the frosting that was set aside, divide it between two bowls.
- Mix red gel food coloring into one of the bowls of frosting to the desired shade.
- Mix blue gel food coloring into one of the bowls of frosting to the desired shade.
- Both colors of frosting will go inside one bag for a double-color swirl. Scoop the red frosting onto one side of the piping bag and scoop the blue frosting onto the other side of a large piping bag fitted with a star tip.
- Pipe a swirl of the red and blue frosting combo onto the center of the cupcake.
- Place the Unicorn Horn and Ears from the icing package into the frosting swirl.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 544Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 368mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 0gSugar: 45gProtein: 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: Balsamic Mozzarella Stuffed Grape Tomatoes
- Main Dish: Sweet & Spicy Bourbon Steak Kebabs
- Side Dish: Garlic and Rosemary New Potatoes in foil packets
- Side Salad: Five Bean Salad with Chilli Citrus Dressing
- Beverage: Watermelon Breeze – cocktail and mocktail versions included
- Dessert: Patriotic Unicorn Cupcakes of course! But if you want to try another patriotic sweet treat, try these Red White & Blue M&M’s Cookie Bars
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy! Please feel free to check them out too.