Remember that pack of gum that you always begged your parents to buy you, the Fruit Stripe kind with the Zebra on the package and the tongue tattoos? Even though the flavor faded within the first 30 seconds, it was the coolest gum ever. It didn’t matter if it ended up flavorless by the end, as long as you had the tongue tattoos and the Zebra to get you by.
Yeah, these cupcakes are kind of like that, except the flavor doesn’t fade at all. Packed with stripes of fruity flavor, these have all of the nostalgia of the zebra stripes, with none of the downsides. Sadly, tongue tattoos are not included.
I’m going to say right off the bat, this isn’t a recipe. You can do this with literally any cake mix you love, provided you have enough of it to divide it into two batches. However, I love using the Duncan Hines Spring Velvets because they’re pre-colored, which is no work for me, and they’re nice and rich, even before you add in the fruit flavored extracts.
To make fruit stripe cupcakes, you’ll need your ingredients for your cake (listed on the box, or as spelled out in your own personal favorite recipe; the Duncan Hines Spring Velvets take 2 eggs, some water, and half a stick of butter per cake mix included in the box), one fruit flavored extract for each color you’re using, and some fun toppings… I chose Cool Whip and these beautiful SweetWorks Pearls to add a pretty springtime touch.
One basic thing you’ll want to remember about making Fruit Stripe Cupcakes is to make sure your flavors are complimentary. You probably DON’T want to do Lemon and Root Beer extracts in one cupcake, right? Nevermind that Root Beer isn’t a fruit anyway. If it were, they’re just not compatible flavors. Consider flavors that work well together– chocolate and strawberry, lemon and raspberry, etc. I decided to go with lemon and raspberry for my cupcakes to make a raspberry lemonade flavor mix.
Make your first mix according to package directions or recipe, and, if it’s a white cake, go ahead and tint it the color of your choosing. Since I was using the Duncan Hines Spring Velvets that are already yellow and pink, I didn’t need to add any food coloring to the mix. It’s at this point that you’ll choose one of your extracts and add in about a teaspoon, to taste. I decided to make the lemon yellow, because, well… that just makes sense. Set that aside.
Repeat the process with your second cake mix, adding in your chosen flavor, about a teaspoon or to taste. I used the Raspberry flavoring in the pink mix, again, because it made sense. It was really convenient to buy the Spring Velvets mix because the colors looked perfect side-by-side and didn’t need any food coloring. Plus, who can resist that perfect texture?
Now, you’ve got two mixes with two different flavors and colors, which will create an awesome striped effect inside the cupcake and allow the flavors to swirl seamlessly. You’ll start by lining your cupcake pans with cupcake liners of choice, then grabbing a tablespoon and a teaspoon, or figure out how to eyeball it.
Start with a tablespoon of each cake mix in your cupcake liner, one on top of the other. Don’t spread it out or anything, just let it do it’s thing. It’ll stripe on it’s own. If some of your mix falls more to one side than the other, that’s okay. That’s part of the charm of these cupcakes. What I like to do is make sure that if I started one on pink, I started the next on yellow, then back to pink, to really add to their character. Which means one cupcake would be yellow-pink-yellow-pink, and the next pink-yellow-pink-yellow.
Add a teaspoon of each batter on top of the tablespoons, continuing the pattern. As you can see, when you add the next bit of batter, it starts to make the lower parts spread out, filling the liner and moving the mixes a bit to give it it’s own swirl and character. Every cupcake will be different.
Bake your cupcakes according to recipe or package directions. As you can see, every cupcake’s top looks different from the next, and each one has it’s own swirl and character lurking beneath the surface. When you bite in, you’ll get both flavors at once, but in varying intensities as you get through the cupcake, giving it a unique flavor that makes every bite better than the last, versus just putting both extracts into a mix and making a cupcake with the whole flavor throughout.
Once cooled, frost and decorate your cupcakes. I personally went with piped Cool Whip because it complimented the fruit stripe flavor without overcomplicating it or overpowering it.
Plus, it looks so deliciously inviting when swirled on top!
And who could resist adding some of the SweetWorks Pearls on top? For an easy spring display, add some Easter basket grass or shredded paper to a cupcake tree, then nestle the cupcakes into the grass. Bonus? You can use out-of-season cupcake liners and no one will notice if they’re hidden beneath the grassy display.
To be honest, these cupcakes are so delicious and inviting that my family couldn’t even wait until I was done photographing them for the blog before trying to snatch them up.
Luckily, my little guy’s thievery gave you a chance to see a cross-section of the cupcake and show you how every cupcake is unique, and each bite will contain it’s own swirl of flavors unique to that bite.
The flavor will depend on where you bite into the cupcake, and what flavors are on that section of the cupcake. Isn’t that cool?
These totally took me back to the fruit stripe days of my childhood, and made me realize that these great cupcakes could be tailored to any party colors and theme. Chocolate mint cupcakes for tea, raspberry lemonade for a summery party, root beer and vanilla for a backyard barbeque, and any color choices you like. They’re surprisingly easy to make, too.
What flavor would you make? Let me know in the comments below!