Rainbow cupcakes are perfect for birthday parties, unicorn-themed parties, and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations!
Learn how to make rainbow cupcakes with cake mix to make baking for special days even easier! With food coloring and store-bought frosting, these colorful cupcakes are a simple take on treats that look incredible!
You can make these with any cake batter recipe you have. But using cake mix is the quickest way to get started cooking rainbow cupcakes. So if you’re looking for quicker prep, I definitely recommend making rainbow cupcakes with yellow cake mix or white cake mix. With white, you’ll get cleaner colors but yellow works just fine too!
We made these as St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes but I’ve had a request to make them for my daughter’s birthday now too! I love how versatile they are!
RELATED RECIPES: Rainbow Pancakes, Mint Oreo Fudge, St. Patrick’s Day Brownies, Mint Chocolate Candy Bark, Lucky Charms Candy Bark
HOW DO I MAKE TWO DIFFERENT COLORED CUPCAKES?
Making two different colored cupcakes is a very simple way to practice before you use all of the colors to make rainbow ones.
To make cupcakes with multiple colors you simply split the prepared cake batter into two separate bowls and mix in your desired food coloring. Then add one color to your cupcake liners or muffin tin before adding the second color.
This is the same process you use when cooking rainbow cupcakes too. Just with more colors!
CAN YOU PUT FOOD COLORING IN CUPCAKES?
The quick answer is yes. It’s the key ingredient in making multi-colored cupcakes. The amount of food coloring you use is a personal preference and depends on how vibrant you want your colors to be.
I recommend using gel food coloring to get the best colors for your rainbow cupcake batter but you can use any food coloring you have on hand too.
DOES FOOD COLORING HAVE A TASTE?
Food coloring can have a taste but you usually won’t be able to taste it much, especially in a cake. If you taste food coloring on its own, you will get a bitter taste.
One other thing to be careful with when you’re adding food coloring to cake batter is overmixing. When you’re mixing in your coloring and trying to get even distribution, try not to over mix the batter. It can toughen up and then you might end up with big pockets of air when it bakes.
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HOW TO COOK RAINBOW CUPCAKES
When it comes to baking cupcakes with multiple colors, you’ll follow the same baking directions as you would when you bake cupcakes that are one color. There are no special tricks when it comes to the actual baking!
The prep work comes in splitting the batter and coloring each one. If you split your batter into zipper plastic bags and then mix the color, it makes prep quicker than splitting the batter into bowls.
HOW DO YOU FROST CUPCAKES WITHOUT TIPS?
Once these cupcakes are baked and cooled, using a piping bag with a tip is the easiest way to make the frosting look like clouds on top of the cupcake. But you can frost the cupcakes without tips!
All you need is a zipper-top plastic bag. Scrape your frosting out of the can (if using premade icing) and use a spatula to put it into the open plastic bag. Then push the frosting towards one of the bottom corners of the bag.
Twist the open end of the bag closed and then use scissors to cut the bottom corner of the bag. The larger you cut the corner, the bigger “tip” you’ll be working with. To make the frosting look like clouds, cut a medium-size tip off the bag.
It’s better to start smaller because you can always cut it bigger but once it’s cut, you can’t make it smaller!
HOW TO MAKE A RAINBOW CAKE TOPPER
If you’re making St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes, then you definitely want to try making a rainbow cake topper! Ours uses cereal and mini marshmallows, so it’s super easy to make. It does use floral wire so it is not completely edible.
You’ll want to make sure everyone knows it has the wire if you take these cupcakes to parties.
All you have to do is thread the marshmallows and cereal onto the wire and then curve it before putting it on top of the frosted cupcakes. Of course, these cupcakes look adorable with or without the rainbow topper!
HOW TO MAKE RAINBOW COLORED CUPCAKES
- Cupcake liners
- Floral wire
- Quart-sized zip-top plastic bags
- 1 box white cake mix
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- Gel food coloring (red, orange, yellow, green, and blue)
- 1 container white or vanilla frosting
- 48 mini marshmallows
- 2 cups fruit cereal
- Combine cake mix, water, oil, and eggs in a large bowl. Mix with a mixer on medium speed or beat vigorously by hand for 2 minutes.
- Separate the batter evenly into five quart-sized zip-top bags. Add a different color food coloring to each bag and zip closed.
- Put the desired amount of food coloring (one color per bag) in a bag and mix the food coloring into the cake mix.
- Use scissors to snip off a bottom corner of each bag.
- Pipe a thin layer of each color of cake batter into each liner, placing one color directly on top of the next until the cupcake liners are filled 2/3 of the way full of batter.
- Bake cupcakes according to package instructions and allow to cool completely.
- Stir frosting with a spatula and then scrape into a piping bag or a zip-top plastic bag. If using a bag, snip off one bottom corner of the bag to turn it into a piping bag.
- When cupcakes are cool, pipe dollops of white frosting on top of each cupcake to resemble clouds.
Rainbow Cake Topper
- Cut a piece of floral wire 2-3" long.
- Thread one mini marshmallow onto a piece of floral wire.
- Add two pieces of red cereal, orange cereal, yellow cereal, green cereal, blue cereal, and purple cereal onto the floral wire to create a rainbow look.
- Add a second marshmallow to the other end of the cereal.
- Carefully bend the wire to form a rainbow and place one topper on each cupcake.
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