Rainbow Cupcakes

These Rainbow Cupcakes are made with a simple boxed white cake mix, colored, and layered to make a rainbow, with whipped cream cheese frosting on top!

 

These Rainbow Cupcakes are made with a simple boxed white cake mix, colored, and layered to make a rainbow, with whipped cream cheese frosting on top! (Includes photo tutorial, and tips on baking cupcakes to perfection!)

These Rainbow Cupcakes make me giddy!  The bright colors, in perfect layers, peaked cupcakes, and whipped cream cheese frosting!  So much goodness going on in one cupcake!  These are perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

 

These Rainbow Cupcakes are made with a simple boxed white cake mix, colored, and layered to make a rainbow, with whipped cream cheese frosting on top! (Includes photo tutorial, and tips on baking cupcakes to perfection!)

When you can slice right through a rainbow cupcake and see the rounded (not sunken) top and layers of colors, that is success right there!

 

These Rainbow Cupcakes are made with a simple boxed white cake mix, colored, and layered to make a rainbow, with whipped cream cheese frosting on top! (Includes photo tutorial, and tips on baking cupcakes to perfection!)

And normally, I’m not a fan of sprinkles, but these little confetti/sequin sprinkles, are just fun!  I do like dots better than lines though.

 

These Rainbow Cupcakes are made with a simple boxed white cake mix, colored, and layered to make a rainbow, with whipped cream cheese frosting on top! (Includes photo tutorial, and tips on baking cupcakes to perfection!)

If you couldn’t tell, I was having a lot of fun photographing these!  Too many pictures to choose from, but the awesome thing is, I’m going to show you how to make these, and I’m sharing TWO TRICKS to baking the perfect cupcake!

 

These Rainbow Cupcakes are made with a simple boxed white cake mix, colored, and layered to make a rainbow, with whipped cream cheese frosting on top! (Includes photo tutorial, and tips on baking cupcakes to perfection!)

Let’s start with these rainbow cupcakes.  It’s a boxed mix people!  Grab a white cake mix from the store, mix it up with the ingredients on the label (do the egg whites over whole eggs, if there are two options), then divide the batter into 6 bowls.

 

Using food coloring or paste, mix these 6 colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

 

Rainbow Cupcake Batter - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.

This next part may be an extra, unnecessary step, but I’m OCD to getting as even of layers as I possibly can…

 

Put each batter into a zip-top sandwich bag and cut off one corner to pipe with.  It’s best if you cut one bag at a time, so the cake mix doesn’t spill out as you layer the batter.

 

Rainbow Cupcake Batter in sandwich bags to pipe into cupcake liners.

Squeeze the colored batters into paper lined cupcake tins in the order the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  Smooth each layer of the batter as close to the edges as you can with your finger.

 

You can optionally spoon the colored batters into the cupcake liners and spread the batter with your finger to save time and plastic bags.

 

You can see the succession of layers below.

 

Rainbow Cupcakes - layer colored cake batter in order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.

Now, the trick to getting peaked cupcakes (or muffins) is to first, FILL EACH CUPCAKE MOLD 2/3 to 3/4 full.  I HIGHLY recommend only doing 18 cupcakes even when your boxed cake mix says it makes 24 cupcakes.

 

The next trick is to BAKE AT 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 11 to 13 minutes.  Depending on the batter and your oven, it may take less or more time.  You want the cake to spring back when touched lightly.  Baking cupcakes at a higher temperature forces the cake to grow upwards and bake quicker, so it doesn’t have time to spill over the top and get sunken in the middle.  I do this with EVERY cupcake and muffin recipe.  Times may vary depending on the type of batter, but the 11 minute bake time is a great gauge to start checking the doneness from.

 

Voila!  Beautiful cupcakes rounded over the top of the cupcake liner, ready to be frosted.  Baking them this way also helps you use less frosting to get that towered look on top!

 

These Rainbow Cupcakes are made with a simple boxed white cake mix, colored, and layered to make a rainbow, with whipped cream cheese frosting on top! (Includes photo tutorial, and tips on baking cupcakes to perfection!)

Rainbow Cupcakes
 
These Rainbow Cupcakes are made with a simple boxed white cake mix, colored, and layered to make a rainbow, with whipped cream cheese frosting on top!
Yield: 18 cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 1 (15.25oz) box white cake mix (I like Pillsbury)
  • Ingredients for cake mix as stated on box (Use only egg whites if that is an option. My box said 1¼ cup water, ⅓ cup oil, 4 egg whites.)
  • Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple Food Coloring/Gel
  • 1 recipe The BEST Cream Cheese Frosting
  • ½ (8oz) tub whipped topping (Cool Whip)
  • Rainbow Sequins/Celebration Confetti/Rainbow Sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Prepare cake mix according to directions on the box (do the egg whites version over whole eggs, if there are two options), then divide the batter evenly into 6 bowls.
  2. Using food coloring or paste, mix these 6 colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
  3. Prepare cupcake pan(s) with 18 paper liners.
  4. Put each batter into a zip-top sandwich bag and cut off one corner to pipe with. It’s best if you cut one bag at a time, so the cake mix doesn’t spill out as you layer the batter.
  5. Squeeze the colored batters, one at a time, into the paper liners in the order the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. Smooth each layer of batter with your finger, getting as close to the edges as possible. *TIP: Do all the red batter first, then all the orange, etc.
  6. Once all the layers are finished, bake the cupcakes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 11 to 13 minutes. Baking them at a higher temperature forces the cake to grow upwards and bake quicker, so it doesn’t have time to spill over the top and get sunken in the middle.
  7. Prepare The BEST Cream Cheese Frosting. Beat in half of an 8oz tub of whipped topping with a handheld electrical mixer. Fit a piping bag with a coupler (no tip or band) and then fill the bag with the frosting.
  8. Pipe the frosting on top of each cupcake from the outside in towards the middle. Sprinkle with rainbow sequins. (*Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 or 5 days.)
Notes
*Optional: To save time, spoon the colored batters into the cupcake liners instead of squeezing the batter from bags, and spread each layer of batter with your finger.

© DESSERT NOW, DINNER LATER! All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-create the recipe, snap YOUR OWN PHOTO and re-write the recipe in YOUR OWN WORDS, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

These Rainbow Cupcakes are made with a simple boxed white cake mix, colored, and layered to make a rainbow, with whipped cream cheese frosting on top! (Photo tutorial, plus tips on baking cupcakes to perfection!)
These Rainbow Cupcakes are made with a simple boxed white cake mix, colored, and layered to make a rainbow, with whipped cream cheese frosting on top! (Photo tutorial, plus tips on baking cupcakes to perfection!)

Comments

    • Amber says

      Oh, I’m obsessed with Cream Cheese Frosting, and every now and then I make it lighter in texture with the cool whip! So yummy! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Amber says

      Cupcakes are my favorite to photograph! They can sit out longer for me to get the shots I want! Thanks for pinning!

    • Amber says

      Thanks Aimee! The frosting on top is part of the reason I love this so much! You can’t beat a good cupcake with incredible frosting!

    • Amber says

      They are pretty easy! If you can mix colors and even just spoon the layers on top of each other, you can make these!

  1. H says

    Do NOT follow the 400* baking suggestion! I just RUINED my batch of rainbow that took an hour to assemble the batter in the cups!! My kitchen stinks of BURNT cupcakes, and they are totally pointy and lopsided- probably from raising too fast.

    • Amber says

      I’m so sorry you had a bad experience Heather! I have an oven thermometer in my oven to make sure the temperature is just right. Everyone’s oven bakes differently, but I always bake my cupcakes at 400 degrees with no problems. I know that doesn’t take away from your horrible experience though. :(

  2. says

    Amber, may I use one photo and the link back to your blog for a rainbow cpubupcake round up I am doing on my blog? My publish date is 2/20. Thanks for considering it!

  3. says

    Brilliant. My 7-year-old wanted a rainbow cake for his birthday, and you’ve just solved all of my problems <3. Your photos are gorgeous.

  4. Michelle says

    Love these cupcakes i tried them out and they were a great hit. Thank you Amber. Keep posting awesome fun cute cupcakes.

  5. Stacey says

    These look incredible! Have you tried freezing them without the frosting? I’m hoping to make these for my daughter’s birthday but want to get a head start and make them in batches.

    • Amber says

      Hi Stacey, I haven’t frozen them, but I would cool them completely, then put them on a sheet tray close together, and put a layer of wax paper or parchment paper on top, then wrap the whole thing really well. When you go to use them, just thaw at room temperature. I’m thinking the paper may come off better if they are still slightly frozen when you take it off, but I can’t say for sure. Good luck! Let me know how it works out!

  6. Veronica says

    These look amazing!! I wish to try but I do not think I will have such an great result with the coloring gel I have.
    Which brand/colours do you use? Thanks!

    • Amber says

      Hi Veronica! I used Wilton gels and I bought a multi-pack with all of these colors in it. I love Americolor gels too though. For the most vibrant colors, use gels over liquid food coloring.

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