Fireworks Cupcake Jars
July 1, 2017 by Nicole Collins
Can anyone believe that today is the first day of July?!?!? How are we at the halfway point of 2017 already?
This year is FLYING by. I'm gonna need summer to slow it down a little bit. It just got here!
But the good news is that if today is July 1st, that means July 4th is right around the corner. And that means BBQs, and parties, and fireworks, and desserts. And celebrating the birthday of the USA, of course.
I have a confession to make though. This is a sad one. I couldn't tell you the last time I actually stayed awake to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July. #oldlady
The thing is is that it's all fine and good that we get off of work on the holiday, but what about the day after? It's back to business as usual, and some of us have to get up at 5:30am. So, I'm way past the age where I can stay up all night and function all day, which means no fireworks for me. I think it should be a thing that holiday time includes the holiday and the day after. Recovery time is important. Just saying...
Ok, but if I'm being really honest (which, why not at this point), even when the holiday falls on the weekend, I'm still in bed by 9pm...hence, still missing the fireworks. Oops! I'm an early riser; I can't help it!
So, since I oftentimes don't make it to the fireworks on the Fourth, I'm putting the fireworks in our dessert today!
Well, not literally. But, the icing for these cupcakes definitely pops and fizzles!
We start with a basic red velvet cupcake. I told you last week that I hate making red velvet cake. (I truly don't know why.) So, I used some help from the grocery store on this one and jazzed up a boxed cake mix. Plus, I am OVER making red velvet cupcakes after making 70 of them for that wedding last week.
The star of these cupcakes, though, is the icing. It starts with a basic cream cheese frosting. No big deal. But, what makes these cupcakes literally have mini explosions in your mouth are the addition of a special ingredient...Pop Rocks!
The Pop Rocks were a little harder to find than I expected. But, I just had to have them. You can buy popping sugar online, but I wanted the tried and true. My mom was certain that I wouldn't be able to find them anywhere. And, she even went as far as to say that she was pretty sure if I asked any 6 year what Pop Rocks were, they wouldn't know. She thought Pop Rocks had fizzled out...<-- See what I did there?
But, also at her suggestion, I found them at the Dollar Store! So, I bought a couple trio packs that had the colors I was looking for inside (red and blue), and poured them straight in to my frosting. Ok, well I gently folded them in to my frosting to avoid activating the carbonation, but you knew what I meant.
Anyway, the flavors of the Pop Rocks I used were strawberry and tropical punch, so it actually pairs really well with the chocolatey cake. The flavor is subtle which is great too. And, you can see the red and blue speckles throughout the white frosting, so these are totally patriotic!
And as if these cupcakes weren't special enough, I packaged them in little jelly jars, threw some garland on them, and attached a wooden spoon. That makes them totally transportable and a great treat to take along with you while you're watching the fireworks! They'd also make a super cute party favor if you're the one hosting the BBQ this year. You're welcome!
So, let's get the party started now, and get the fireworks show going in our mouths. Pop. Fizzle. Crackle. Boom!
Fireworks Cupcake Jars
Serves: 24 cupcake jars Print
For the Cake:
1 box red velvet cake mix (I use Betty Crocker)
½ cup cream soda
¾ cup water
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
For the Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 stick (½ cup) butter, softened at room temperature
4 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
4 packets strawberry Pop Rocks
4 packets tropical punch Pop Rocks
4 oz jelly jars
red, white, and blue garland
small wooden spoons
gel food coloring, optional
For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with 24 cupcake liners. Mix all cake ingredients by hand until everything is combined (roughly 2 mins). (Batter will have lumps.) Fill cupcake lines 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 14-17 mins til a toothpick inserted in to the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Remove from pan, and set aside to cool.
For the frosting: Add softened cream cheese and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix together on medium high speed for 1 minute until everything is mixed together and looking creamy. Add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla to the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds until the sugar starts to incorporate in the butter mixture. Turn up to medium high speed, and finish mixing for about 1-2 minutes until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Gently fold in Pop Rocks until incorporated. Transfer to a piping bag or ziploc bag with the end cut off.
Once the cupcakes are completely cool to the touch, remove liners from cupcakes. Cut the cupcakes in half horizontally. Place the bottom half of the cupcakes in the mason jars. Pipe a layer of frosting on top of the cupcake bottoms. Top with the cupcake tops. Place the lid on the jars. Decorate with garland and a wooden tasting spoon, if desired.
*These are best served right away. They are still delicious for the next 2-3 days, but the Pop Rocks lose their fizzle after a few hours.
*For some of mine, I dyed the frosting blue. I split my frosting in half, then used 2 drops of royal blue Americolor icing gel. I've decided that I prefer leaving the icing white, so I can see the Pop Rocks.
*If you don't like red velvet cake, you could use a white or yellow cake mix, and dye it red with food coloring or icing gel.
*You don't need a piping bag or even a piping tip for this. Just cut the corner off of a ziploc bag, and pipe the frosting in to the jar. It's easier than trying to lay it in there with a spoon.
*I've always mixed box cake mixes by hand. This isn't an official ruling, but I believe that mixing by hand prevents over mixing which in turn leads to a fluffier cake. The batter is thin enough that it's not a struggle to do. That's what I tell myself anyway!
*You don't have to order these cute spoons from online. I actually find mine at the craft store! They're in the wood work section near the popsicle sticks.