Christy Rost
celebrating home and family

Star-Spangled Celebration

Christy Rost |
2 min read

‘Tis the season for hometown parades, backyard picnics, ice cold lemonade, grilled hot dogs and burgers, and everything red, white, and blue. Randy and I are celebrating the Fourth of July in our Colorado home again this year. American flags line our driveway and adorn large flower-filled planters on the front steps. Red, white, and blue bunting hangs from the front veranda railing, and stars-and-stripes pillows brighten the blue and white cushions on our porch furniture.

Like small towns across America, the town of Breckenridge, Colorado will host its annual Fourth of July parade. There’s something heartwarming about community parades where neighbors and friends design, build, and ride on the floats, firefighters spray kids with water as shiny fire engines pass by, high school bands play the patriotic music we love, everyone is decked out in red, white, and blue, and the American flag waves proudly from every corner.

After the parade, the fun will continue at our home with a star-spangled celebration for friends and neighbors. Long tables draped in red linens are set up on the front veranda where guests can enjoy the mountain views. Stars and stripes placemats, white dinnerware, red glassware, flag napkins, and casual floral arrangements adorn the tables. Randy will fire up the grill for lemon chicken and ribs so tender the meat all but falls off the bone, and our guests, who are all great cooks, are bringing their favorite side dishes for all to enjoy.

For dessert, Star-Spangled Cupcakes provide an All-American finale that is sure to delight guests. These light, diminutive lemon cakes hold a secret center of raspberry jam and are capped with a swirl of Fluffy Whipped Cream Buttercream and a flourish of red, white, and blue sprinkles. The cupcakes may be made one day ahead and lightly covered with foil until ready to serve. Avoid using plastic wrap as it will stick to the frosting. Happy Fourth of July!

Star-Spangled Cupcakes

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¾ teaspoon vanilla
8 teaspoons seedless raspberry or strawberry jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans with 16 paper liners. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually beat the flour mixture, alternately with the milk, into the creamed mixture to create a thick batter. Add lemon juice and vanilla and beat well.

Spoon batter to a depth of 1/2-inch into each cupcake liner and top with ½ teaspoon raspberry jam. Spoon the remaining batter over the jam to fill the liners 2/3-full, gently spreading the batter to completely cover the jam. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Remove the pans from the oven and transfer the cupcakes from the pans to a wire rack while they’re still hot so they don’t become soggy. Cool completely, frost with a swirl of Fluffy Whipped Cream Buttercream, and garnish with red, white, and blue sprinkles. Yield: 16 cupcakes

Fluffy Whipped Cream Buttercream

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
Dash of salt
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and salt. Add confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, alternately with the cream, until the frosting is thick and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat well. Yield: Frosting for 16 cupcakes

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