Fireworks Cupcakes – Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Popping Candy

These Fireworks Cupcakes are an easy and fun way to celebrate Bonfire Night! Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes are filled with popping candy, aka “pop rocks”. And Neon buttercream is swirled with black buttercream to create an awesome fireworks in the night sky look! Sprinkle with more popping candy, and you’ll be ooh-ing and ahh-ing through every bite of these Fireworks Cupcakes! Also a great cupcake to serve at your New Years’ Eve Party!

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Fireworks Cupcakes - Gluten free vanilla cupcakes with black buttercream swirled with neon buttercream, there is a sparkler above them - full size image


Remember, remember the 5th of November,

Gunpowder, treason, and plot,

I know of no reason, why the gunpowder treason,

Should ever be forgot

Recipe Video:

If you’re not in Britain, or one of the common wealths (is that the correct term?), then you might not be all that familiar with Bonfire Night. Also known as Guy Fawkes Night or Fireworks Night, it is a British holiday on 5th November where we celebrate a failed plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament by the Catholics, who wanted to kill King James I and oust his government because they were Protestant (that’s a very, very basic description of the events – some of which may even be wrong!). It was foiled when Guy Fawkes was discovered guarding all the gunpowder in the tunnels beneath. So, naturally, we celebrate his capture and gruesome execution by setting off fireworks and burning an effigy of Guy on a bonfire – because that’s a totally normal thing to do! It may have a slightly odd reason behind it, but Guy Fawkes Night is always such a fun celebration – you wrap up warm to watch pretty fireworks, eat fairground style food, and just have a generally good time! 

Fireworks Cupcakes - close up of the gluten free vanilla cupcake with black buttercream that is swirled with neon buttercream, 3 cupcakes in the background

There are lots of traditional foods served on Bonfire Night, Toffee Apples and Bonfire Toffee being the most well-known to me – Jane over at Little Sugar Snaps has an awesome Bonfire Toffee Recipe you definitely need to check out.  I went the less traditional route for the food this year and made cupcakes along the theme of the best part of the night – the fireworks! I’m heading to a Bonfire Night Fireworks Display on Friday night and I cannot wait, I haven’t been to one for a few years. There are usually firework displays all throughout the week and weekend of 5th November which means you usually have lots of opportunities to go to one, but it’s not so great when you have pets! Most of our dogs and cats aren’t too bothered by fireworks luckily, but our miniature dachshund, Missy, is terrified of them, bless her! As soon as they start, she’s shaking like a leaf and trying to climb on your head (apparently it’s safer on your head?). She’ll be being looked after by my stepdad while I take my mum and little sister to a display on Friday night!

Fireworks Cupcakes - Four gluten free vanilla cupcakes with black buttercream swirled with neon buttercream on a white cake stand with sparks from a sparkler in the background

These Fireworks Cupcakes are all the fun of fireworks but they’re more dog friendly (to their ears and sensibilities anyway, I wouldn’t advise you feed your dog cupcakes!). The popping candy in the centre and sprinkled all over the top of these Fireworks Cupcakes give you that pop and crackle of fireworks, but in a yummy, edible way. Plus, they look so fun with those bright neon colours swirled throughout the black buttercream  like fireworks in the night sky, say it with me now – Oooh, Ahhhh!

I used Wilton’s Neon Gel Food Colouring {affiliate link} to get those bright colours and I couldn’t recommend them enough, I was a little dubious about how neon and bright the colours would actually be but was very pleasantly surprised! Then I just used this black gel food colouring {affiliate link} for the black. Gel food colouring is an absolutely necessity (or paste) when trying to get a real black and those bright colours, as you only need a small amount to get a vibrant colour. If you use liquid food colouring, you have to add a ridiculous amount to get a good colour and then it changes the consistency and gives you a nasty after taste!

Fireworks Cupcakes - four gluten free vanilla cupcake with black buttercream swirled with neon buttercream in a diagonal row

Fireworks Cupcakes are really easy to make, as demonstrated by the video above! There are a few ways you can get that swirled effect in piped buttercream, and I show you the easiest way to do with four colours in the video – putting each colour into individual small piping bags, snipping the ends off and putting those into a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Another way is to still put each colour in their individual bag, but then “piping” or squeezing those into the larger bag next to each other – this way will make it slightly easier on the hands to pipe but has the potential to get very messy! The third way is to spoon each colour into one piping bag next to each other (rather than on top of each other), this is how I do it when I’m just using two colours, but any more than that and it can get a bit difficult to ensure you get all the colours coming out at once!

Fireworks Cupcakes - close up of the gluten free vanilla cupcake with black buttercream swirled with neon buttercream, with 3 cupcakes in the background

As well as the video showing you how to create these Fireworks Cupcakes, I of course have a recipe for the Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes and Vanilla Buttercream! These are the same base recipes that I used in my Gluten Free Funfetti Cupcakes – they’re easy to make and totally delicious, so there’s no need to change it up. The GF vanilla cupcakes are light and fluffy with a good hint of vanilla flavour, a good quality vanilla extract is non-negotiable if you want a good vanilla cupcake! The vanilla buttercream is both creamy and fluffy with the use of whipped butter and double cream – it’s my favourite way to make buttercream frosting, again good quality vanilla extract is a must!

Fireworks Cupcakes - a gluten free vanilla cupcake with black buttercream swirled with neon buttercream, multiple fireworks cupcakes in background

These Fireworks Cupcakes are not only great for celebrating Bonfire Night, but would also be great for New Year’s Eve! Change up the colours in the buttercream frosting to be red, white, and blue and these Fireworks Cupcakes are the perfect treat to serve at your Fourth of July parties! So, let’s get baking!

Square cropped image of close up for fireworks cupcakes

4 votes


Fireworks Cupcakes




Yield 12 Cupcakes

Gluten free vanilla cupcakes filled with popping candy, topped with black vanilla buttercream swirled with neon buttercream and more popping candy sprinkled on top. Perfect for Bonfire Night or New Year's Eve


For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups (240g) gluten free all purpose/plain flour blend*
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your GF flour blend already has xanthan gum in, or you're using regular gluten flour)
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) white sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk**
  • 2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp popping candy (approx.) 

For the buttercream frosting:

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4.5 cups (530g) confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream (double cream)
  • 1.5 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • Black and neon gel food colourings
  • Popping candy for sprinkling


To make the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F/180C and line a 12 count muffin tin with cupcake liners. 
  2. Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum (if using) in a mixing bowl, whisk together to combine. Set aside
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a handheld electric beater, beat the butter on a high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes
  5. Turn the mixer speed down to medium, and add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. 
  6. Stir the vanilla into the buttermilk. 
  7. Turn the mixer speed down to low, and add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat to combine. Then add 1/2 of the buttermilk and beat to combine. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat to combine, then add the other 1/2 of the buttermilk and beat to combine. Add the last remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. 
  8. Spoon the cupcake batter into your liners, filling about 3/4 full (approx 2.5 tbsp of batter per cupcake).
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until they are springy to touch and a skewer comes out clean.
  10. Cool in the tin for 5 mins, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the buttercream:

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a handheld electric beater, beat the butter on a high speed until very pale, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add the confectioners sugar, cream and vanilla. Turn the mixture on to its lowest setting and beat until  combined (this is to avoid the sugar cloud!). Turn the mixer back up to high and beat until fluffy - about 3-5 minutes. 
  3. Divide the buttercream into 4 bowls, with one bowl having approximately twice as much as the other three.
  4. Add 4 drops black colouring to the bowl with the most buttercream in, stir until evenly coloured. Add more colouring as needed to get desired shade. 
  5. Add 3 drops of neon pink, purple, and teal (or other neon colours of your choice) to the remaining bowls - one colour per bowl of course! Stir until evenly coloured. Add more colouring as needed to get desired shades. 

To assemble the fireworks cupcakes (see video for visual instruction):

  1. Spoon each colour of buttercream into a separate small piping bag and snip off the end. Place these piping bags in a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Set aside.
  2. Cut a hole from the centre of each cupcake, and fill with popping candy. From the cut outs, cut the top off and place back over the hole to act as a lid. Eat the rest of the cut outs 😀 
  3. Take your piping bag and pipe a little out into a bowl to ensure all four colours are coming out. Pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake
  4. Sprinkle with more popping candy


Best served the day they are made (due to the moisture of the cupcake making the popping candy not so popping after a day!). 

*I use Dove's Farm Flour Blend which I love, if you're in the US I've heard good things about Bob's Red Mill GF flour blend but haven't tried it myself. If gluten isn't a concern, you can use regular AP/plain flour in the same measurements.

**You can buy store bought buttermilk or make it at home. I make it myself by putting 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar OR fresh lemon juice in the measuring jug, then topping up to 1/2 cup/120ml needed. Leave to sit for 5 minutes, it will look a bit curdled. 

Calorie information is estimated using a third party app, and should be used as a guide only. 

Courses Dessert

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 cupcake

Amount Per Serving

Calories 585

% Daily Value

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


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