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Blue suede cupcakes.

April 18, 2012


The color of these is almost like suede, isn’t it? Blue suede, denim, blue velvet, whatever… they’re awesome. Blue Suede cupcakes, at your service, ma’am.

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of “the Sun Sound”; Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, etc. I love any and all things Rockabilly, but more so the authentic Rockabilly. My mother is a big Elvis fan & I was surrounded by his music growing up. As I got older, I got more into the Man in Black & started getting into all the old school Sun artists more. I just love that sound: “steady like a train, sharp like a razor.” Ever since I was a kid the song “Blue Suede Shoes” has been a favorite. It’s such a pop culture standard, it’s a song everyone knows. But really, not many people realize the history behind the song, and that it wasn’t originally Elvis’! It was Johnny Cash’s idea, and written/performed by Carl Perkins, then by the King.

Gorgeous man. Anyway so, when I got the idea to make blue cupcakes, that’s exactly what song title popped into my head! Therefore, inspired by the King himself, who in August will be gone 35 years (and of course my main man Johnny Cash)… it’s a perfect blue cupcake.

The batter was so blue.

And of course… that made blue cupcakes!

You can call them whatever you like. To me? They’re blue suede.

Blue Suede Shoes” is a rock and roll standard written and first recorded by Carl Perkins in 1955 and is considered one of the first rockabilly (rock and roll) records and incorporated elements of blues, country and pop music of the time. The song was notably covered by Elvis Presley.

Johnny Cash planted the seed for the song in the fall of 1955, while Perkins, Cash, Elvis Presley, and other Louisiana Hayride acts toured throughout the South. Cash told Perkins of a black airman whom he had met when serving in the military in Germany. He had referred to his military regulation air shoes as “blue suede shoes.” Cash suggested that Carl write a song about the shoes. Carl replied, “I don’t know anything about shoes. How can I write a song about shoes?”[1]

When Perkins played a dance on December 4, 1955, he noticed a couple dancing near the stage. Between songs, Carl heard a stern, forceful voice say, “Uh-uh, don’t step on my suedes!” Carl looked down and noted that the boy was wearing blue suede shoes and one had a scuff mark. Good gracious, a pretty little thing like that and all he can think about is his blue suede shoes, thought Carl.[2]

That night Perkins began working on a song based on the incident. His first thought was to frame it with a nursery rhyme. He considered, and quickly discarded “Little Jack Horner…” and “See a spider going up the wall…”, then settled on “One for the money…” Leaving his bed and working with his Les Paul guitar, he started with an A chord. After playing five chords while singing “Well, it’s one for the money… Two for the show… Three to get ready… Now go, man, go!” he broke into a boogie rhythm.[3] He quickly grabbed a brown paper potato sack and wrote the song down, writing the title out as “Blue Swade”; “S-W-A-D-E — I couldn’t even spell it right,” he later said.[4] According to Perkins, “On December 17, 1955, I wrote ‘Blue Suede Shoes’. I recorded it on December 19.”[5] Producer Sam Phillips suggested that Perkins’s line “go cat go” be changed to “go man go”, but it didn’t.

Thanks to Sprinkle Bakes for the idea of adding a bit of a purple color to make the cupcake less green. Genius! See by the very nature of having a yellow egg yolk in there, the blue turns a sick greenish color if you don’t add a counteractive color, i.e. violet. I suppose a teeny bit of a red could work too if you don’t have violet, but I stress the teeny part.



Makes about 2 dozen*


  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (NOT dark!)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon blue food coloring
  • a drop of violet food coloring


  1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Grease and flour two 8″-inch cake pans, or prepare muffin tins with liners.
  2. Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Add remaining liquid ingredients and stir together with whisk until blended. Set aside.
  3. Place all the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together really good with another wire whisk. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined.
  4. Pour into muffin tins about halfway full and then drop the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  5. Wait, and after about ten minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
*I always get more.

This is an adapted red velvet cake recipe. So in theory, you can use almost any food coloring just by adjusting the amount. If you’re using green, use 1 oz. (two tablespoons). If you’re using red, use double that amount (four tablespoons). For the blue you only need half an ounce (one tablespoon). I’d use one tablespoon for purple or violet as well. The recipe can also be halved successfully. As a matter of fact thats exactly what I did.

I put them in leopard liners with gold sugar topping… because it just seemed right. He had a safari-themed room at Graceland, aka “the jungle room,” so the leopard isn’t too much of a stretch. And The King did like his gold. Remember that suit? Or that jumpsuit?

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  1. I just used her coloring tips as well to make a Purple Velvet Cupcake for a Lupus Awareness Event ! Fabulous color blue on yours ! Blue Suede is an awesome name !

  2. AHA! that’s the trick to non-green blue cupcakes!

    my mouth is watering for a blue suede cupcake, and all i have is this stupid yogurt.

  3. Thanks Danielle! I love that you made Lupus Awareness cupcakes.

    Mandee- yep, that’s the trick! Makes sense, right? Purple is opposite yellow on the color wheel, so they kinda counteract one another! Genius! And yogurt kinda sucks ;D

  4. You’re so creative, Marilla! I love the addition of the animal print cupcake liners. Perfect.

    I am working my way up to being in a baking mood. It could happen soon! In the meantime, I am enjoying and being inspired by your cupcake posts.

    I have a question about the food coloring. Do you think it affects the flavor of the cake at all?

  5. These are so gorgeous! Is there any way to make this in a lighter color, like orange or yellow?

  6. Thank you Alese! For lighter colors, like pink/orange/yellow I’d recommend not going the “red velvet” route & instead use a white cupcake base (no egg yolk). The color comes out much brighter & clearer with no muddiness from the cocoa. For purple/blue/green/dark red this recipe is fine. For pale colors like mint green/pale blue/violet/pale pink/orange or yellow I’d go with the following recipe (you can see how amazing the color pink is with it):

    Thanks Pola! I hope you get the baking bug again soon. I myself am kinda in a slump right now. But I’m gonna be making something this week that’s totally new for me so I hope that invigorates me!

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