Amazing Rainbow Cupcakes Pt. Deux–AND A VIDEO!

Everyone has their “thing.”

You know–a signature laugh, a signature walk, a signature lip color, a signature attitude… and yes, everyone has a signature.

I don’t really know what mine is.

In high school, it was my hair. I was notoriously known for my rainbow colored locks, amazing classmates left and right with my mermaid mane or my neon rainbow ‘do.

Secretly, my hackles rose a little when I’d spot an underclassman dye their hair hot pink or something… Was someone stealing my thunder?! Not that I owned the rights to dyeing ones hair crazy colors… but come on. My hair was ass-kicking, hair-murdering AWESOME. No lame pink streak could steal my thunder, even if that poor girl thought so.

My turquoise hair murdered her ass.

And I was fine with it.

But then that whole thing called ‘responsibility’ kicked in and I had to dye it normal for a job (read: boring). I had to forcefully give up my signature hair in favor of dress pants and paychecks, which, minus the dress pants part, was kind of worth it.

I was left to fend for a new identity, one which people could recognize me without my purple hair.

It became baking cupcakes.

Even without the cupcake tattoo proudly emblazoned on my right calf, I’m the Cupcake Queen. I reign supreme on these uncharted Internet waters, catching passersby in my web with my intriguing recipes and weird, irrelevant stories. I own these petite cakes!

And who would have thought one single cupcake recipe would dominate my cupcake life, both internet-wise and personal?! My Amazing Rainbow Cupcakes.

Ever since they graced the earth this past January, they’ve been the (proud) talk of the town ’round these parts. They’re the most viewed page on my blog, they’re consistently mentioned around my house as being craved, and they’re always reliable in impressing the hell out of family, friends, and fans.

I’m gonna have to call it here and now: my Amazing Rainbow Cupcakes are my signature. They’re my thing. And I couldn’t be happier.

Because of their immense (and rightful) popularity, it made complete sense to make them for my next video blog. What better way to make more friends by making them cupcakes… made of rainbows… with rainbow frosting… and sprinkles?

Without further adieu, I present to you, my pride and joy and signature cupcake!


Amazing Rainbow Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
3 egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup water
1 small box sugar free/fat free instant vanilla pudding mix
Wilton gel food colors in Lemon Yellow, Kelly Green, Royal Blue and Violet, as well as McCormick’s Red liquid food coloring
Rainbow Frosting (recipe and ingredients follow)
Rainbow sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 1 muffin pan with paper liners, set aside. (Note: this recipe, because of the manipulation of the batter, generally yields about 12 cupcakes. Feel free to double the recipe separately, as not to compromise the colors of the batter)
2. In a large bowl, beat together cake mix, egg whites, applesauce, and water until combined, about 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla pudding mix until blended. As best as you can, evenly divide batter among five separate bowls. (Note: When I originally made this recipe, I stupidly forgot orange! If you’re an orange freak, feel free to add it in and divide your batter among six bowls, or substitute out another color for the orange).

3. Color each bowl of batter a different color, using your gel food colorings. I like using a liquid red coloring because it’s much easier to add to enhance the color as opposed to the gel colorings, but use what you have on hand. For the gel colors, I generally use about the tip of a butter knife’s worth of coloring; it’s highly concentrated, so that’s usually enough for a small amount of batter. Tint each color to your desired shade (I like mine nice and bright!) and set aside.
4. Now begin spooning your batter into your muffin cups one color at a time. Start with a small teaspoon or cereal spoonful of purple batter and plop it into the bottom of the liner, spreading to cover the bottom if necessary. Top with a spoonful of blue, then a spoonful of green, then a spoonful of yellow, then a spoonful of red for last. **The key here is to LAYER the colored batter. DO NOT swirl or marble it–keep it layered! It’s okay if the bottom colors peek through; it’ll make for a nice kaleidoscopic effect once it’s baked 🙂 You can also experiment with doing a “reverse rainbow” by starting with red on the bottom and working your way backwards, like I did.
5. Once your cupcake liners are filled, bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Set aside to cool completely.

Amazing Rainbow Frosting

2/3 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tsp milk
About 5 cups powdered sugar
Wilton food gel colors in Lemon Yellow, Teal and Pink

1. Start by preparing your frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and vanilla extract until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition, until a paste forms. Add milk one teaspoon at a time until a nice, soft but spreadable consistency is reached. Divide your frosting evenly among three small bowls.
2. Tint each bowl a different color, as with the cake batter. Make one bowl a bright teal, another a hot pink, and the last, a nice and bright yellow.
3. Prep you frosting bag with your favorite tip (I’m using an open star tip; my fave). Begin spooning frosting into your piping bag, alternating colors side by side until your bag is full (e.g., start with blue, then add pink, then yellow, trying to smash them all together–doesn’t have to look perfect, just make sure you alternate the colors so they touch together).

**When you first pipe your frosting out, it may be a solid color (of the first color you put in the bag). Once you keep piping, the other colors will come through and create the rainbow effect you want!**
4. Pipe your frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Top with rainbow sprinkles. Impress the hell out of your friends and family.

While these may look hard, they’re incredibly easy to make, if not a little labor intensive. No worries–they’re worth the work because they’re so uniquely beautiful and totally amazing, hence the name.

You NEED to make these! Pretty please promise you will 🙂

Have an amazing day–thanks for watching!!

xo, Hayley


  1. I’ve made rainbow cupcakes before but yours look so much more fun than mine!

  2. I’ve done these before but couldn’t get the icing as pretty as yours 🙁 lol

  3. I’m inspired. I’ve seen rainbow everything these days on Pinterest (my mom actually has a board called “RAINBOW” lol) and you make this one seem so do-able. I love that it’s also been modified to make it healthier. I’m saving and I’m gonna do it!!!!!!!!!

    • You totally should, girl! These cupcakes are seriously some of the tastiest ones I’ve ever made… and they’re just a simple vanilla flavor! But I LOVE them and despite being a little labor intensive, they’re really easy. I know you’ll enjoy ’em!

  4. Making these.. right now! They are in the oven as i’m typing (:

  5. I love these! They look amazing 🙂 I’m making a rainbow my little pony cake for my stepdaughter this week and that rainbow frosting is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you for sharing this 🙂

  6. I just finished icing these guys! They look great and I can’t wait to share them with the family. The only issue I had was with the icing. My icing wasn’t as colorful and bright as your examples. It was my first time ever making icing and actually icing my own cupcakes. However, mine was darker and more muddy colored. Any suggestions? Either way -I will definitely be making these again!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Lara! When you use darker colors, like red, it tends to muddy the other colors, too. Stick to pastels, like pink, teal and yellow, and you shouldn’t get those brownish colors. Hope that helps!! Glad you enjoyed them!

  7. Hello, I’ve just recently made a WordPress account, your blog is my favourite so I thought I would ask you. My pictures won’t show up, they keep coming up as little rectangles and you can’t view te picture unless you click the little rectangle. How can I fix this?

  8. Just found this link on Pinterest 🙂 I just became a Big Sister through the Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation and this will be my first event with my Little!!! I am sure she will LOVE making them. I think I might even be more excited than her 😉 Thanks for the great recipe.

    • thedomesticrebel says:

      Amanda, that sounds like such a good idea! I’m sure you and your Little will have a blast baking them together 🙂 let me know how they turn out, or better yet, post a picture on my Facebook!!

  9. Hii! I came across your page through tumblr and I thought these looked amazing so I gave it a try. The cupcakes turned out okay but it was a little too sweet for my liking and there was this strange after taste to it. I was wondering if you could help me because I could figure out where I went wrong, I followed all your instructions. Would it be the food colouring that has the strange after taste? Normally after a recipe has gone wrong I usually just remind myself not to use the one but the cupcakes came out looking so great that I just had to ask!

    • thedomesticrebel says:

      Hi Nicole! Usually the food coloring doesn’t lend any flavor to the cupcakes (that I have noticed!) but that doesn’t mean it can’t be that! Maybe my palate is less sensitive to that kinda stuff. Otherwise I’m not sure what the other culprit could be for the aftertaste.. maybe the pudding mix? Usually I notice the pudding just makes the cupcakes moister and heightens the flavor. Next time, try omitting the pudding and see if there’s still that extra sweetness/odd aftertaste. It may be the problem!

  10. Thank you for the video! Beautiful cupcakes and I am going to use this method for my 4th of July cupcakes in red white and blue.


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