Fourth of July Watermelon Cupcakes

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This Fourth of July dessert is not red, white, and blue. Gasp! It’s not that I’m not patriotic, but there are so many red, white, and blue desserts going around at this time of year, I wanted to make something a little different and more summer themed for the party I’m going to. I got a little inspiration from here and there, but the recipe and design is from Bird on a Cake. I adapted her watermelon cake into a cupcake sized treat and decorated the tops a little different. I also chose to modify the frosting by nixing the cream cheese and opting to go for a buttercream instead. I used this recipe for the frosting but left out the vanilla and added the watermelon puree and watermelon jello from the original frosting recipe from Bird on a Cake. Start with the recipes I linked above. For decorating instructions, look below:

You’ll want to have a lot of red food dye. Gels are the best for getting that strong deep color. I picked up one of those red icing dye pots from Michaels and used a good 2/3rds of it between the batter and the frosting. Just keep adding dye until it’s the color of watermelon. I had my real watermelon cut open when I was dying the batter so I could color match it. I think the batter ended up being a better color than the frosting I put on top.

Bake the cupcakes for only 20 minutes as opposed to what it says in the cake recipe. Let them cool completely before you frost the cupcakes. The amount of frosting in the Quick Buttercream frosting recipe linked above is plenty of frosting for all of the cupcakes even though it may not look like it. I didn’t think so and ended up opening a small can of white frosting instead of making more.

Since you have to pre-color your frosting break it up like this: about half should go to the dark green color, a quarter of the frosting goes to the watermelon red color, and the last quarter can be separated into the light green and the white. Since you put butter and the pink watermelon jello in the frosting the white won’t be super white but I think that will look ok. If you prefer it to be extra white, you can open a can of white frosting.

I didn’t trust that I had originally made enough frosting and ended up with a ton of red frosting left and used the white can of frosting for the light green and the white frosting. If you have a better idea for separating the frosting for the right amount for each color, please leave me any suggestions in the comments.

For the “cut open” watermelon cupcakes, frost the center of the cupcakes with the red frosting, then pipe some of the dark green frosting around the edge with a #12 frosting tip, pushing downwards as you go to flatten the frosting out. With a #4 tip, pipe the white frosting in between the green and red frosting for the rind part of the watermelon. You may want to switch the frosting tips for this part if you’d rather have more white than green showing. Lastly, push a couple of mini chocolate chips into the top for seeds. You could also use black candy coated sunflower seeds.

The “whole watermelon” cupcakes are even easier to make. Frost the entire top of the cupcakes with the dark green and then pipe the light green in squiggly curved lines with the #4 tip. When these ones are cut open they look pretty cool. Unfortunately my mini chocolate chips fell to the bottom even though I followed Bird on a Cake’s suggestion to coat them in flour before putting them in the batter.

These cupcakes ended up being very strongly flavored of watermelon. If you try Bird on a Cake’s cream cheese frosting recipe, let me know how it tastes with the cake. I decided to use buttercream mainly because I am making some bacon-wrapped cream cheese jalapeño poppers for the same party and don’t want everything tasting like cream cheese, but I imagine the watermelon flavored cream cheese frosting is great with this cake too.


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