These Rainbow Cupcakes are seriously the BEST rainbow cupcakes EVER! Super easy to make and SUCH a show-stopping dessert for any occasion!
Life’s crazy right now, but you don’t need me to tell you that.
There’s a lot of uncertainty and confusion, with news changing by the minute and panic rising – it’s a lot to take on for sure.
Thankfully, things have been pretty okay around here. I have been laughing my booty off on TikTok (not just for 12-year olds, thankyouverymuch) and catching up on a huge list of books to read! Work-wise, I’m grateful to all of you wonderful people who are baking my recipes! It’s been fantastic seeing your photos of these gorgeous creations. I’ve loved every minute of it!
But whether you’re staying afloat or not, now more than ever we need some joy in our lives! Enter: Rainbow Cupcakes. How can you not be joyful when you look at these cuties?!
Rainbow cupcakes are nothing new, but boy, are they adorable and cheerful! I posted a version long ago on my site but wanted to resurrect it to show you how simple they are to make. I just think it transforms a humble cupcake into something extraordinary and so very cool. Plus, now that many of you are also stay-at-home parents and teachers, it’s a great project to take on with kids of all ages.
To start, you’ll want to grab a box of white or vanilla cake mix. Yep, cake mix. For one, it’s the easiest and most readily available in these times (especially since flour is now in a national shortage apparently) and it consistently produces a moist, delicious product. Of course, you’re welcome to use your own favorite vanilla or white cake recipe if you desire.
You’ll make the cake mix and stir in my secret ingredient for making cakes extraordinary: instant dry pudding mix powder. It really adds great moisture and texture, making the cupcakes ultra fluffy and soft. Delicious and easy!
Then you’ll divide your batter among 6 bowls and tint each bowl a different color of the rainbow. I like using gel food coloring by Wilton because it is SUPER concentrated and isn’t as liquidy as regular food coloring.
It’s as simple as layering the colored batter into the muffin cups, stacking color on top of color. The key for bright, vibrant, clear layers is DO NOT SWIRL! Swirling the batter muddies the colors and it is super easy for people to get carried away marbling the batter. My version creates a still marbled-looking effect with cool layers of color.
After they bake, simply frost, eat and enjoy! You can decorate with rainbow sprinkles (my personal favorite) or these cute sour rainbow belt candies I arced like a rainbow on top 🙂 So adorable!
Best Ever Rainbow Cupcakes
- One box white or vanilla cake mix
- 1 cup water or milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
- One (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla pudding mix just the dry mix, do not prepare the pudding
- Gel food coloring in rainbow colors
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream or milk
- 3-4 cups confectioners' sugar
- Rainbow sprinkles or sour rainbow candy belts for decoration
- Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Line 1 muffin tin with 12 paper liners; set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, water, eggs, oil, and dry pudding mix powder together with a handheld electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Portion the batter evenly among 6 small bowls. Tint each bowl a different color of the rainbow. For my cupcakes, I used red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. For best results, I like concentrated gel food coloring for this.
- Spoon a heaping teaspoonful of purple batter into the bottom of a muffin cup. Top with a teaspoon of blue, then a teaspoon of green, then a teaspoon of yellow, etc. Or, you can alternate cupcakes, starting with red on bottom and ending with purple on top like I did. Do NOT swirl the colors together. It's okay if the colors don't completely line up; this is what makes them look unique and cool! Swirling, however, may muddy the colors.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist, but not wet, crumbs. Cool completely.
- For the buttercream: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add in the confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time, alternating with the heavy cream until frosting is light and fluffy.
- Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Garnish with rainbow sprinkles or sour rainbow candy belts cut in half and arced onto the cupcake frosting.
These are seriously SO beautiful, cheerful and fun! I know you’re going to love them!
Want more cheerful treats? Check out these recipes!
Have a super sweet day!
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