Rainbow Cupcakes (+ Video)
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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 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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
- 1 (15.25oz) box white cake mix
- Ingredients for cake mix as stated on box (Use only egg whites if that is an option. My box said 1 1/4 cup water, 1/3 cup oil, 4 egg whites.)
- Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple Food Coloring/Gel
- 1 recipe The BEST Cream Cheese Frosting (link in instructions below)
- 1/2 (8oz) tub whipped topping (Cool Whip)
- Rainbow Sequins/Celebration Confetti/Rainbow Sprinkles
- 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.
- Using food coloring or paste, mix these 6 colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
- Prepare cupcake pan(s) with 18 paper liners.
- 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.
- Squeeze the colored batters, one at a time, into the paper liners. Pipe the edges of each cupcake first, right up against the cupcake liner, then fill in the centers. Pipe colored batter in the order the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. (If you want red on top, like a real rainbow, start with purple and go backwards. Updated pictures are below the recipe card.) Smooth each layer of batter with your finger before moving on to the next color. *TIP: Do all the red batter first, then all the orange, etc.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
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1/25/17: I’m updating this post to include new pictures of these cupcakes with the colors in the proper order of red on top, and purple on bottom. They look pretty either way, but here they are so you can see the difference and decide for yourself. 🙂