Colorburst Cupcakes

My Mom is a really creative woman. I didn’t realize it until I grew up and became a mother myself. Now that I look back on the birthday parties she threw and the incredible cakes she created, I’m really amazed at the things she came up with back in the day when you couldn’t run to Target or Walmart and basically buy a party in a bag. Halloween costumes were no exception. We never, ever had store-bought costumes growing up. My Mom was a great seamstress and her creativity had no boundaries. I look at old family pictures and I love how she took simple ideas and turned them into something fun. Take me for example, around age 5:

That my friends, is a rainbow. And I thought it was the coolest costume ever. I was obsessed with this chick, and if you look at every picture I ever created out of any sort of art media between the ages of 3 and 9, it undoubtedly included 3 things: hearts, flowers, and rainbows. To this day, I still get a little bit giddy inside when I see all of those colors together. Something about rainbows just makes me happy.

So it’s no wonder these cupcakes make me smile.  Every time πŸ™‚

Gel food colors work especially well for this. Gel color adds a ton of color with a small amount of dye. You can find gel colors at craft stores like Michaels and Roberts, and in the cake decorating isle of Walmart. If using red, make sure to get the one that says “No Taste”

Divide your batter and tint each one

Then layer it by color into the cupcake papers.  (See my tips in the recipe for easy layering).  Sometimes I do red on top and sometimes I do the reverse so blue is on top.

Bake them up

And cool them on a rack before frosting.

Then you can frost and decorate to your heart’s desire!

The best part comes when you peel off that paper.  Use white liners to show off the colors, or foil or dark liners to make it a surprise!

Even better is taking the first bite and seeing the inside:

Try them with the color of your favorite sports team, or your kids’ school colors.  They’re sure to be a hit!





  1. My riding instructor always makes me back cause I cut corners, few weeks back i made horse cookies. I think ill make these next πŸ™‚

  2. So I made these cupcakes twice, a practice round and then for the birthday party. The first batch didn’t seem to have any flavor, so with the second batch I used strawberry yogurt instead of vanilla and it was awesome.

  3. happened to see the “rainbow cupcakes” (exactly like the picture) at a community garage/bake sale. Bought 1 just to see what it was like. wonderful colors. any child will love this. i will definitely be making these for Easter .

  4. Thanks so much for the inspiration… did same sort of thing with cookies my 4yr old LOVED them turned out awesome

  5. THANKS SO MUCH!!!!! For the inspiration…. I used same sort of idea for cookies my 4yr old said “FABULOUS mommy” he loved them thanks again my cookies looked so cute and colorful.

  6. I just made these cupcakes for my daughter’s 2nd birthday and they were so yummy. I used strawberry flavored yogurt. I also tried the frosting and it was great and pretty easy to make. The layers on the cupcake were not so easy, but I’m not a perfectionist, so I wasn’t too picky! πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. I made these for my daughter’s 2nd birthday with a Sesame Street theme and they turned out amazing! The primary colors were perfect for the theme. Even the paper was pretty when you pulled it off! I think every single person at the party commented on them, and best of all, they tasted DELICIOUS! Thanks for the idea… (and the tips!)

  8. I am making these tonight for my son’s 1st birthday tomorrow and am so excited!! My 7 year old can’t wait to help me make these. They look fantastic!

  9. Hi!! I am just wondering about the red dye..what i have on hand is the red that doesn’t say “no taste” should I just avoid using it all together :(? and thanks for posting this recipe we are trying to tomorrow for my daughters spring fair at school!!

  10. hi sara! thanks so much for the inspiration. i made this today using a white cake mix and followed the instructions there but as you said pimped it so i did πŸ˜€ added yogurt and it was soooo soft! it doesnt tasted like it came out of the box!! and the frosting i simply used white chocolate frosting. its a flour frosting with white chocolate. got it from rosie of sweetapolita, here is the website:

    so fun making this cake! cheers!

  11. im loving this recipe, i want ti try it for my lil sisters school party, but i don’t know the baking temperature and time, could you please help me? thanks.

  12. Hi I am a student and I was wondering if you can give me permission to use your picture for a assignment of mine. Please reply if it’s a yes!

    Thanks a bunch!
    (And by the way they look beautiful!)

  13. I have made these numerous times – always a hit! Just wanted to let others know that if you have run out of plain yogurt or sour cream then cottage cheese works!! I was making a double batch and didn’t have enough yogurt but had cottage cheese an have it a go. Cannot tell the difference! It all beats up just fine in the mixer no curds whatsoever!!

    Thanks for the awesome recipes you share. Love the site πŸ˜€

  14. I love these cupcakes. I made them for my Kindergarten class and they loved it. The tip about spreading the batter with a wet finger is amazing. I ended up making two batches back to back for the whole class, and one other tip I would suggest is when you are dividing the batter, if you are making them all in the same order (which I did as at the K level – you always need to pick from alike things!), whatever colour going on the bottom does not need as much as the colour going on top – as the shape of the cupcake is smaller on the bottom then on the top – on my first batch I struggled to spread my top couple of colours!

    Thanks for the amazing recipes – they are delicious!

  15. I made these when I first came across them in March, about St Patricks Day, and my daughters daycare loved the look of them so much that they made them as a holiday activity yesterday with the children. There was colour everywhere but they looked spectacular so Thank you for posting this fantastic recipe it has brought pleasure to alot of young people in Milton, New Zealand.

  16. Thank you so much for the recipe idea. The girls love it and cannot wait for the bday party in a couple of hours.

  17. I made these last night for my daughter’s 8th bday!
    And they came out not only beautiful, but fluffy and
    Delicious!!! The water bowl tip was a huge help!

    Thanks for sharing!!

  18. I made the cupcakes and icing from this post for my son’s third birthday last year. It took me a solid 7 hours to complete, but they were GORGEOUS!!! I used the excess batter to make mini cupcake bites and arranged those by color too. This year, I’m referencing your thoughtful post again for blue batman cupcakes. The cake and icing were both so good. Thanks!

  19. Hi I know you recommend using a cake packet but can we do this without using a packet but actually ingrediant, like flour, butter, eggs sugar and so forth?

  20. Amazing I love them they taste great my friends are going to love then tomorrow at my birthday party

  21. My 14 yr. old daughter made these using half tinted blue batter and half white as those are our school colors. She donated 2 dozen to our after prom committee’s silent auction and each dozen brought $30 as everyone thought they were so cool! This is the best recipe and the cupcakes tasted wonderful! We use sour cream and the cupcakes are so moist. Also added a little vanilla extract. This is now our new white cupcake recipe. Did not try the frosting recipe as we like our vanilla buttercream recipe. Thanks Sara for sharing!

  22. Hi ! I’m a French girl.

    I’d like to try to make the rainbow cupcake… But I don’t understand the meaning of “C” in the ingredients : 1 C yogurt (any smooth textured fruit flavor is fine!) or sour cream
    1/2 C milk
    1/3 C vegetable oil

    C means “cup” ??

    Thanks for your answer.

  23. Not only are these cupcakes adorable, but they taste phenominal as well! Thank you for sharing! I will definitely be baking these on a regular basis from here on out!

  24. These are awesome! I can’t wait to try making them, thank you for sharing. Also where did you get those sprinkles? They would be perfect for my daughter’s bday party.

  25. Amazing! I made these tonight and I can’t wait to share them at work tomorrow! If they last… my hubby can’t stay away from them. The colors are amazing! They made me feel like a kid again, I was dancing in the kitchen with delight. Thanks for the excellent directions and hints. πŸ™‚

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  27. You are soooo awesome! The last comment was posted 2012, and now it is 2014, but the info you have given us is just fantastic. Thank you so much.

  28. ooooooh my GOD they are sweeet and i have not tested them i looooove baking but wat i have seen av never seen before they are ouwesome

  29. This recipe was a hit for my birthday! The only thing I would change would be less baking time.

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