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Patriotic Pinwheels :: Cupcake Monday

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Hi, it’s Carrie Sellman from Half Baked – The Cake Blog.  I’m excited to be back today, sharing a new cupcake tutorial just in time for the 4th of July holiday.  I’m putting a fun spin on the traditional stars and stripes of the American flag.  Patriotic Pinwheel Cupcakes!  With bold stripes and playful dots, these fondant toppers are a festive addition to your Independence Day cupcakes!  And I’m going to show you how to make them!

If you’ve never worked with fondant before, this is a great place to start!  To simplify this tutorial, I’m using pre-colored, store-bought fondant, available at most craft stores.  A small multi-color pack, like this one, contains both the red and the blue we’ll need.  (Plus some yellow and green you can save for a later project.)  If you’ve ever played with playdough,  you can make a fondant pinwheel!

a DIY by Carrie Sellman


  • Your Favorite Cupcakes
  • Fondant in red, white and blue (about 4 oz  of each)
  • Rolling pin
  • Parchment paper
  • Square cookie cutter or ruler
  • Sharp knife

Step by Step Instructions

STEP 1:  Kneed fondant in hands until soft and smooth like playdough.

STEP 2:  Take a small amount of red and roll it out onto parchment paper using a rolling pin.  Roll just as you would pie crust but we want this thinner.  About 1/4 of an inch or thinner.  Cut a square using a square cookie cutter or a ruler and sharp knife.  Roll out and cut a blue square, just as you did for the red.  You now have two squares.

STEP 3:   Lightly brush a few drops of water onto the red square.  (Go easy with the water, you only need to lightly dampen the fondant.)  Place blue square on top of red square.  Gently roll again with your rolling pin to seal these two layers.  Don’t worry that it is no longer a perfect square.

STEP 4:  Use your cookie cutter again to trim the excess edges, leaving behind a straight square.  (Discard your trimmings or save for a purple project later).  You now have one square that is red on bottom, blue on top.

STEP 5:  Using your knife, make diagonal slits cutting from each corner towards the center.  Lightly moisten the very center with a dab of water.

STEP 6:  Gently pick up one corner and bend it in so that the point reaches the center.  Press down gently so the point sticks to the center.

STEP 7:  Repeat Step 6, folding in every other corner until you have a pinwheel shape.

STEP 8:  Roll or cut a tiny ball of white fondant for the center.  Attach to center with a light drop of water, if needed.  Push down gently to seal.

STEP 9:  Let pinwheels dry on parchment paper overnight or until completely dry and firm.  Place on top of cupcakes when ready to serve.

If you want to simplify this even more, make your pinwheels a single solid color (skipping steps 3 and 4).  If you’re up for some additional fun, add dots or stripes to your pinwheels!

I hope my Patriotic Pinwheel Cupcakes are a fun addition to your Independence Day!  For more 4th of July baking inspiration, please come join me at Half Baked – The Cake Blog.  This week we’re showcasing fabulous new cakes inspired by the American flag.  Enjoy!  ~ Carrie

  1. Sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more

    June 25th, 2012 at 5:52 am

    very cute, and so many different colours to do this in.

  2. Tina Dahl

    June 25th, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Love this…thanks os much for the simple tutorial!

  3. rosana zorrilla

    June 25th, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I’ve been wanting to learn some basic fondant & this is really easy! just in time for 4th of July. I’ma take a stab at this. thanks a bunch!

  4. Rosanne

    June 25th, 2012 at 10:40 am

    What a great idea. Thanks for the tutorial.

  5. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    June 25th, 2012 at 10:50 am

    love these!!

  6. Carmen

    June 25th, 2012 at 11:09 am

    LOVE these! They look simple enough for a beginner. Thanks for sharing Carrie.

  7. Glory/ Glorious Treats

    June 25th, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Super adorable!!

  8. Madison A

    June 25th, 2012 at 11:31 am

    There are so cute! Question though from a complete fondant newbie – how do you make the stripes and polka-dots? Do you just cut thin strips or circles of white fondant and put them directly on the red or blue sides? This looks like a fun first fondant project!!


  9. Stephanie

    June 25th, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I was wondering the same thing. I think the peek-a-boo patterns are my favorite part! 🙂

  10. Leigh

    June 26th, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I’m wondering the same thing! Guess I’ve got some trial and error to work on 🙂

  11. paula

    June 26th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I’m wondering the same thing!

  12. Carrie Sellman

    June 27th, 2012 at 3:22 am

    I will try to put together the steps to show how to create the stripes and polka dots!

  13. Marla

    June 25th, 2012 at 11:56 am

    These are sooooo fun!!

  14. Anne @ Have a Cookie!

    June 25th, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    These are adorable! Thanks for the tutorial!

  15. Marian (Sweetopia)

    June 25th, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I’m in love! Cutest 4th of July cuppies ever!

  16. Barb

    June 25th, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    These are so gorgeous. I’ll do mine green and gold for Australia.

  17. Carrie Sellman

    June 27th, 2012 at 3:20 am

    Thank you for all of the kind feedback! Looks like I need to put together a quick tutorial showing how to do the stripes and polka dots!

  18. paula

    June 29th, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Thanks!! 🙂

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    June 27th, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Australia removable wall stickers

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  22. Denise

    July 1st, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Can you tell me what size square you used? I tried this and it didn’t quite come out right.

  23. Half Baked – The Cake Blog » DIY: Patriotic Pinwheel Cupcakes

    July 2nd, 2012 at 4:59 am

    […] been wonderful!  I shared the step by step instructions to make the basic solid colored pinwheel {here} but many of you have asked about the peekaboo patterns.  The bold stripes and playful dots add a […]

  24. Carrie Sellman

    July 2nd, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Two new tutorials, showing the peekaboo stripes and polka dots, are now available on my site! Enjoy!


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    August 5th, 2012 at 9:30 am

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    […] (Source: http://www.thetomkatstudio.com/patrioticpinwheels/ […]

  27. Kerri Green

    January 15th, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Hi I made thse but they don’t look beautiful like yours. Have you used just fondant or is this gumpaste?

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    […] Patriotic Pinwheels […]

  29. KateSondersFoodWriter

    June 22nd, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    These are simply amazing! Wondering what brand of fondant you use?

  30. Amy @ItsAMindfulLife

    July 2nd, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Hi Carrie:
    I am super excited to find your website and this fun tutorial! It is absolutely brilliant! I am honored to feature it in my “Top-Rated 4th of July Recipes Round-Up” on my website, The Mindful Shopper! http://mindful-shopper.com/lots-fun-stuff/mindful-lifestyle/scrumptious-recipes

    I will definitely be back!

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