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.Β  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.Β  (See my tips in the recipe for easy layering).Β  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.Β  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.Β  They’re sure to be a hit!




  1. I never said you were a snob, I just said that there were definitely some foods that you preferred to avoid! I’m the same way, just ask my in-laws I NEVER eat the desserts they make because they are so foreign to my palate. Ella is in love with these, and I’m betting we make these for FHE today, ’cause she lacks patience just like me and wants them NOW. I heart you too!

  2. Those are so flippin’ fun. I love how bright the colors turned out. I’ve never used gel food colors but now I see that I’ve been missing out! lol

  3. I made some of these for the 4th of July last year. Red, white and blue. They were super cute. And everyone ooh and aahed over them.

  4. Even though Isabel’s birthday was last month, when she saw these cupcakes she promptly insisted that I make those for her birthday! Very cute!

  5. My son is turning 8 in a little over a week and I have had a hard time figuring out what to do. But this post rocks, Paker loves BSU,so blue and orange cupcakes here we come!! Thanks Sara!

  6. Oh my goodness! Those look so fun! My girls would love to have these for their birthdays! Thanks for sharing this colorful recipe.

  7. WOW! Those are so cute and fun! They look a little time consuming, but maybe I’ll get ambitious. They look great!

  8. Sara, I love this, as I was reading this I was trying to think of the next something that I could make them for. The first time I ever saw anything like this was my friend colleen made a cake like this and posted it on her blog. I am a cupcake girl and I never though of doing that. Dough! I LOVE IT! Your halloween picture is the best. What a cute little girl. Thanks for the great ideals.

  9. Very cool cupcakes!! I would have never thought to make them look like that! When my girls were little I did the special birthday cakes and parties too. And every year I made their halloween costumes. Those were some fun years.


  10. Hmmm… I’m in charge of refreshments for a stk YW leadership training and I’m thinking Value colors… though that new gold Virtue is throwing me off a little! πŸ˜‰
    Either way, these look very fun and I can’t wait to make some!

  11. Jennifer–What about gold frosting? Maybe you could get some of that edible glitter stuff in the cake decorating section of Hobby Lobby or Michaels. That was my first thought, at least…. πŸ™‚

  12. I absolutely love rainbow cupcakes of any kind! Your colors turned out GREAT!

    I can’t wait to try this idea out for my kids, they’ll love it.

    Gorgeous cupcakes, well done!

  13. So cool!! my kids are alergic to food coloring, but I can always order natural foods coloring and still do this! So cute!!!

  14. I think that perhaps, you are a genius! These are awesome, and something I could possibly do with 2 children 2 and under! Baby #2, who says you have to miss out! Thanks!

  15. Birdie, we have a tracker, so we’ve been following that bbc thread πŸ™‚ We found it quite amusing at first when a cute little cupcake could cause such debate! I’m glad the drama subsided and so many people over there are trying them and liking them. Are you a poster there? If so, make sure to thank all the ladies over there for the crazy traffic you’ve sent our way! lol

  16. Did you use sour cream because the cake mix box had it in the recipe, or because it is what is needed for this specific recipe for the colorburst cupcakes?
    My White Cake mix does not say to use sour cream, so I just wanted to check.
    Do I follow the box directions, or yours?

  17. Oh sorry if I wasn’t clear on that Dawn. You *can* just use a normal white cake mix and follow the directions on the back if you want. Any regular ol’ cake mix will do. My recipe is just a way to doctor it up a bit. So if you use my recipe with the sour cream and the other ingredients I listed, then just ignore the directions on the cake box. Does that make sense?

  18. Wow, these are cute!! I’m a new reader here from Tip Junkie and love your site already! But please tell me, I have been trying to find the tool that makes the BIG star pattern in the frosting. I always see that type of design on bakery cupcakes and such and I want to do it at home, but don’t know where to find the tool…where did you get yours?!

  19. Haylee, welcome to our blog! The tip I use is the Wilton 1M. I actually bought this cupcake decorating set which comes with several tips, including one for piping filling to the insides.

    Because the 1M is oversized you’ll need a larger coupler as well (the plastic thingy that screws on to secure the tip to the bag) You should be able to find everything at a well stocked baking or craft store. I got my things at Michael’s Crafts.

    Hope that helps!

  20. WOW!! My son's preschool teacher is leaving and I made these for her going away party with the kids. They are SO awesome…and terrific color! Thank you so much for such great recipes and terrific tips!!!

  21. I made these yesterday for my daughter's 3rd birthday party. They were a huge hit. I put big swirly frosting tops on some for the grown-ups, but left the kids' unfrosted and let them frost their own. It was fun!

  22. nicole you can also use koolaid instead of food coloring then nothing special to buy but if use koolaid use sugar free and when u seperate to equal parts #depends on how many colors u want use one pack of sugar free koolaid and 3TBSP sugar to each color and u can use a reg white cake mix per directions on the mix if ur kids like sour things use less sugar gives a lil kick but still very good just another idea

  23. I want to make these for my daughters 3rd birthday in a month, but I can't find those sprinkles or cupcake liners, or food coloring gel anywhere! Can you tell me where you got that stuff? I absolutely LOVE how these look, and I'd like to get my to look as close as I can to what you did. Thanks!

  24. Stacia- you should actually be able to find most of that stuff in the baking isle of a normal grocery store. Grocery stores don't usually carry Wilton gel colors, but there's another brand (betty crocker I think?) that makes a small pack sold at grocery stores. I found these specific cupcake liners, candles, and sprinkles at Walmart. If you're having trouble finding stuff, check a craft store that carries baking supplies. Good luck!

  25. Thank you! I already went out and got everything! I can't wait to make them… we are having a huge carnival party, and these are going to go perfectly with everything!

  26. Just made these cupcakes today and they were wonderful. I like how the sour cream makes them really moist. And I made the frosting and it was sooo good! Love your website!

  27. You should send this idea to Family Fun Magazine! Your blog is seriously so DELICIOUS! I've spent over an hour on here tonight just pouring over different things. The photography is simply stunning too. You two should be paid! If you are, that's great! I love these cupcakes-truly brilliant and gorgeous!

  28. I made these for my daughter to share with her friends for a birthday and she loved them. She insisted we make them for her little brother too. I found that you need to use a top quality food coloring paste/gel if you want vibrant colors. I used the little generic tubes for my sons and the colors were really disappointing.

  29. I am making these right now. Just waiting on them to cool so I can frost. Mmmm. Usually I don't get that excited about cupcakes, but I think you may have changed my mind. These are sooo cute. I am addicted to your site I might add! Oops have to run my timer just went off for the second pan πŸ™‚

  30. Thanks for the great idea. My 18 yr old is really going to like this one. I plan to make them for her 19th birthday coming up in a few months.

  31. I really like the idea of this; the only thing I wonder about is if they will make my guests as uncomfortable with the rainbow/homosexual connection as you appeared to be in this post. Thank you, however, for avoiding the easy "I'm not gay, but…" leader usually used. And, thank goodness baking, cooking, and kitchens in general tend to not discriminate!

    I do love your site and recipes, I just wished this one didn't come with awkward declarations of sexuality in general.

  32. Okay, I totally want to make these for my daughters first birthday next weekend! I'm SO excited! I'm thinking pink, yellow, and green! So Fun!!! I can't wait to try that frosting too! I do have a question though. Is it just me or do others cupcake liners always stick to the cupcake and end up leaving me with only about 1/2 of the actual cake part? It's frustrating. Any tips?

  33. Just got done baking these for my daughter's 2year birthday party later today. I did a test run earlier this week, so I already know that these taste great, and she loved them. (not to mention her daddy πŸ˜‰ ) But I do have a few questions…

    I used the Betty Crocker gels and they didn't turn out as vibrant as yours and some of the others I've seen posted. I'm just wondering if this is because you used Wiltons? I remember my mom always having them and being awesome, but I couldn't find them for this.

    I did have some browning on the bottom, but from reading through some other treads I see that it seems to be a chance thing so far.

    I was wondering about the frosting. The one you posted looks great, but I think it might be a little too much for us right now. So I was wondering if I don't do the high tops and do just a single batch should I still try piping it on or just use my frosting knife? Cuase I'm having a hard time trying to figure out how I'd pip it on an not have it be a lot.

    Excuse my rambling, I always do it when I have a big day ahead of me. And don't worry if you don't get back to me in time for the party, I'll come up with something and have what ever advice is given for next time. πŸ™‚

    Cheers, Callie

  34. Callie-

    The only gel color I've ever used is Wilton, so I can't weigh in about other brands. But with any gel color, you just have to keep adding it to get a more intense color.

    I've never had a browning problem, so it might be the pan you used.

    As for the tops- ya that would be a lot of frosting for little kids (I know because the ones pictured were for my one year old's birthday!) You can still pipe it on, just do a single swirl on top and not a big ol' pile like I did. Or you could just spread some on with a knife. A single batch should be just enough for that.

    Hope that helps and have a fun party!

  35. ever thought of putting a mini marshmallow into the cupcake and baking it? ..just wondering if anyone has ever tried it!

  36. Hi There!

    I have been so excited to make these for my sons first birthday. I have been waiting about a month and now the day is here and I am a little nervous. I am not really the baking or cooking type but since my son has been eating table foods I have developed a real love for it actually. Anyway, that being said I need some advice. I would like to make these tonight for his party tomorrow. Yeah, I'm a little late on the nervousness…probably should have figured this out a while ago. : ) I am going to make the recipe as it is on the box and I am making both regular size and minis using the Wilton Gel Color. Probably 12 regular and then however many left in minis. My questions are, what is the best way to do these in advance? Is there a best way to store them? Should I make the frosting the night before? Should I frost the night before? πŸ˜€
    Sorry for all the questions….I just really want it to turn out well. Any advice would be so appreciated.
    Also I have to say, I love this site. I have found so many fun things I would like to try!
    Thanks so much in advance!
    Oh, and I am going to use the frosting you put on them too. I've been looking for a light frosting that is like my local cupcake bakery without having to spend a fortune. πŸ˜€

  37. I made these but with neon food dye… they turned out amazingly epic! I ended up bringing these around to a couple bars and people LOVED them! Best birthday cupcakes ever!

  38. Gorgeous cupcakes! I saw this on family fun too, but I think I will try your cupcake recipe instead of just a regular box mix. The swirls you put on top look great! Thanks for sharing this!

  39. We made these today to celebrate St. Patty's day. These represented the pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing.

  40. Dumb question (I'm a newbie to this baking thing!), but how do you get your frosting in that pretty swirl? It kind of looks like soft server ice cream! What tip do you use to get that effect?

  41. Would that "Doctored up" cake mix work with other boxed cake mixes too…like chocolate cake and yellow cake? (obviously not the colors, but the sour cream) Also do you have or know of chocolate frosting recipe that would pipe as nicely as the white frosting you have in this post? I am doing 2 cakes this weekend and need something easy but that looks nice!

  42. Heather- yes it should work fine with other flavors of cake as well. You can always google "doctored ___ cake mix" and get one specific for certain flavors. And yes, I do have a chocolate frosting for you- I'll email you!

  43. I am making these with my kids on tuesday for my oldest childs preschool class on wednesday! They are so very excited! Thank you for the recipe! πŸ˜€

  44. Hi! these r so vibrant i want to make them for my sons 2nd birthday and 1st birthday party! i think its a great idea cause there is nothing that matters more than colours and looks! i did a trial run today along with ur frosting. My question here is why is my colouring pattern not like urs? i do not get 1 colour on the top i got a mix and on the outer walls were all blue so it did not look super exciting unless i cut it. Also why r my cupcakes not flat on top its like a moutain peak that too on a side not centre. i really hav to get these right when i bake them for my guests. please help!

  45. Neha- try using a small spoon sprayed with cooking spray, or your finger dipped in water to spread and flatten each batter layer a bit. It takes extra time, but in the end you'll get better layers of color. The more even your batter is, the more even it will cook up.

  46. love this idea. did a two color batch for my daughter's birthday. everyone loved them, especially the frosting. thanks for the idea.
    i've shared your website with all my friends and they, like me, are enjoying your tasty recipes. thanks for your great postings!

  47. Ok, so when I make these for some reason they shrink/shrivel….what am I doing wrong? They are still delicious, but not the size I intended them to be. I make according to your recipe. Please help! Thanks

  48. miss lazy daisy–Sour cream is AWESOME in cakes! πŸ™‚ Think buttermilk pancakes. The acid in the sour cream makes cakes tender and moist, but you can't taste the sour cream at all.

  49. I LOVE these cupcakes. I found this recipe a year ago and can't stop making them. In fact I think that my kids get sick of me making them. πŸ™‚ They just make me feel happy when I bake the bright vibrant colors.

  50. Ok, I know this is an old post, but I was searching today b/c I'll be making cupcakes tonight for my sons party tomorrow.

    Can you tell me how you get the tops of the cupcakes so perfect? Am I overfilling my pan? How full do you make them?


  51. I made these for my daughter's class for her 6th birthday (with the frosting) and they were a big hit!! The kids all 'oohed' and 'aahed' when they open the cupcakes and the teachers are after me for the recipe! They tasted great and looked beautiful!! A++!!!

  52. My mother used to make rainbow cakes when I was a kid but she used jello for the coloring and used cool whip for the icing! They were my favorite. I am now taking a cake decorating class and I have to bring in cupcakes this week. I am SOOOOO making these to take in. Thanks!

  53. I found a picture of your rainbow cake along with these cupcakes. I was disappointed to not find the recipe for the cake on here. Is it a family recipe? If not, would you mind posting it on here please? πŸ™‚

  54. i LOVE this idea. note: the mini cupcake baker is GENIUS. nothing like easybake– it tastes delicious. takes 5 minutes to bake 7 cupcakes! best purchase i ever made (cupcake wise). i suggest it to every baker out there. πŸ™‚

  55. I want to make these for a baby shower I'm throwing, but because I have to cook and bake so many things for the party, I was wondering how far in advance I could bake them. And if I am able to do them ahead of time, should I freeze them or store them at room temperature? Thanks for all of the great recipes!

  56. Maria, cupcakes freeze beautifully! Just let them cool completely after baking. Once they are at room temperature place them in an airtight storage container in the freezer. When ready to use, just let them thaw at room temp.

  57. I can't wait to try these cupcakes for my daughter's second birthday party–a princess theme, so pink and purple cupcakes! How would I get the colors to be more of a pastel than such a vibrant color? Can I just use regular food coloring?

  58. Made these last night… AMAZING! Food coloring or not, I will always make my cupcakes using this recipe, it added sooo much to the cupcake. I was out of yogurt and scared of adding the sour cream, but it was perfect!!! Thank you!! PS: Can't wait to get your cookbook!!

  59. I just made them for Sophie's 2nd birthday! Pink, purple and blue! Thanks Sarah. I'm so happy you started this! Say Hi to your Dad for me

  60. I made a practice run of these. Going to make them for my son's birthday party next month (Noah's Ark theme). Everyone that I had try them said they liked them, I wasn't crazy about them though. I used a vanilla cake mix – white might turn out better, not sure. But my question is (to anyone who might have an opinion) do you think yellow cake mix would work with the food coloring? I love yellow cake, not so big on the plain white and want something fun and good for the party… any thoughts? Thinking if I add sour cream or vanilla yogurt to the yellow might not be quite so yellow… not sure though! Might just have to make another practice run. I'm sure my family members won't mind!

  61. I made these in Mardi Gras colors for my 30th (mardi gras themed) birthday party! They were awesome and soooo easy!

  62. I made these for my son on his first birthday, And they were amazing! Thanks so much! I have told everyone I know about these cupcakes and also told them about your site! :]

  63. I have to make these for my kids’ birthday party. Maybe not in rainbow (cause my kids are afterall, boys…..) but in school colors or in their favorite colors.

    wow, getting lots of inspiration for their birthday party next month! πŸ™‚

  64. This just makes me happy. SImply and happy. Is it so wrong that I want to make these for MY birthday in a few days? That little girl could have been me.

  65. im sure you have heard this counless times,but I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!!!
    im new to all this blogging stuff, and recently found this blog. im hooked, and just purchased your book. these cupcakes look great, and i cant wait to make and sell them at my next bake sale. you guys are awesome!

  66. We do these as “tye-dyed” cupcakes… We do four colors, plus add lemon flavoring (1/8t) to the yellow and strawberry flavoring to the red or pink (1/8t) and then swirl them with tooth picks. Our kids BEG to make these! (Also, we put the batter into ziplock bags, clip a corner and squirt into each liner, SO easy and no drips!)

  67. I made these this morning with my youngest daughter. We are bringing them to her daycare class tomorrow to celebrate her birthday. She picked four colors. By the end, I had the amount measured out better. It takes some practice and time, but I think it is worth it. The gel food colorings are intense! I was hoping for a light pink, but we got more of a hot pink. My daughter didn’t seem to mind though!

  68. Thank you SO much for sharing your wonderful recipe with us! You made me a rock star at my daughter’s school today–these rainbow cupcakes made a huge impression on all of the adults AND the kids gobbled them all up! Your page is going on my homescreen for future reference! πŸ™‚

  69. I just found your wonderful website in the last few weeks and you guys are amazing!! I made the color burst cupcakes this weekend for a baby shower and a house warming present and they were huge hits. Can you also use the same recipe to make a cake out of it? I was thinking of making it to take home for Easter for my family and using Easter colors. Any help would be appreciated!! =)

  70. Just finished making these today for my son’s 1st b-day. Love them but I have an idea…

    I found these to be “time-consuming” because I’m a perfectionist. To hasten the process, one could put the batters into a quart-sized baggie (with one bottom corner snipped off) after being tinted and then squeeze them into the baking cups. This way you could also spread the batter out evenly and hopefully it would be a little less messier than using your finger.

    No, you couldn’t perfectly measure the amounts out but you could more accurately even the layers out. Probably one of those “pick your poison” deals.

    Thanks for the great ideas (food and crafts) and can’t wait to see more!

  71. OMGosh, again, I am so amazed! Fantastic. I don’t give my kids much in the way of artificial food coloring. I’m going to try to figure this out using something natural. Thanks for the idea.

  72. The cucpcakes are AMAZING i used vanilla yogurt and they were so moist. Our daughter loved them as well as the kids at her daycare.

  73. just got done making these for my daughters 1st birthday but i used the whole ROYGBIV scale when making them, 6 colors ^_^ uber pretty, ty for inspiring me!

  74. I just wanted to pop in here to tell you that these cupcakes are indeed awesome! I baked them for my 4 y/o’s Mario Bros. party and they were a big hit. I’ve read through some of the comments and wanted to say that I found my Wilton colors at JoAnn’s and was able to use one of their coupons which made them around $5 for a set of 8. I also put the batter in sandwich bags and snipped the corner which gave me cleaner layers than trying to do it with my finger. I stopped making boxed cakes a couple of years ago, but I’ll be making these again.

    You ladies are so clever in the kitchen! I try at least one recipe weekly from your site! Thanks for all of the inspiration.

    1. I wish I would of seen your post while I was making mine this morning. I could of used the tip on the batter in the bags. I will try this next time for sure.

  75. So, I have been wanting to create these cute little” bundle of happiness”, for my kids and I did this morning. I had a small problem with my cupcake liners not wanting to stay still. They kept spinning around and then folding on the sides when I tried to smooth the cake batter. Very frustrating. Any tips?

  76. i have a question…the picture with the liners shows colored liners, but you mention white liners? do i just buy plain white liners (i want the colors to show through). thanks!

  77. These were great…I made them for my daughter’s painting party for her 7th birthday they were a hit! I also made them for this past year’s Super Bowl…2 different batches and tinted them with the colors of the teams that were in the game…they definitely don’t last long!

  78. Hi! I really love those cupcakes, and i would really like to make them, but i don’t have all the igrediens. I live in Denmark and we dosen’t have the same shops, and ingrediens, and some of the things in this recipy i don’t know what is. Can you compare your ingrediens to some other? Cous i’m confused :/
    Lovin your cupcakes! <3

    1. Emilie, in the US you can buy a box at the store called a “cake mix”. It’s just a short-cut to a cake where you just have to add eggs and water. You can use any homemade cake recipe you like for these cupcakes and just color them as I’ve shown. Enjoy!

  79. These are amazing…I also made it as a layer cake using four colors, two colors in each pan and used the frosting/filling recipe you posted with just a touch of lemon extract it was to DIE for! I am SOOO glad I found this blog! You guys ROCK!

  80. So, I know this is an older post, but I am going to make these for my friends 24th birthday! I just need to hide the rainbow colors so it’s a surprise. He is going to kill me, it;s going to be great!

  81. Great post. I think you could probably save a lot of time and trouble by putting the colors into piping bags with say a #12 tip and filling the cups that way. That would allow you to fill it in in a spiral and not have to worry about spreading it with your fingers.

  82. I have tried your recipe and it turned out great they were so delicious!!!! The cupcake were so colorful i used 7 colors!!! HEHE THANKS!!

  83. for an extra hint of color, use white icing, put it on the cupcae, then add a drop of food coloring on top of the icing. finally use a tooth pick to spread the food coloring around in swirls. =)

  84. I LOVE this soo much… i made this yesterday for my daughters 3rd birthday and everything worked out GREAT! i used your version of the recipe and used vanilla yogurt and they taste AWESOME! and your tips works so well! i had a friend come and help me make them because i had a lot to make! it was a lot of fun also i felt like a kid myself when making the cupcakes. i felt like i was finger painting it was so much fun. and my daughter loves all the colors! Thanks for the amazing idea and recipe! πŸ™‚

  85. Hi,
    I LOVE that costume!
    I’m sure your mother is really creative.
    Those cupcakes are so cute!
    Did you know you can bake a rainbow pie too?
    It’s awesome πŸ™‚

  86. How much does the flavor of the yogurt impact the flavor of the cupcakes? And what about sour cream vs. yogurt? Just wondering about a preference for my first attempt. THANKS!!! (I am planning on trying more than one option, eventually…)

    1. Honestly, I use all different flavors of yogurt. It doesn’t matter at all. Any fruit flavored yogurt actually tastes really good, and it doesn’t make the cake taste overly fruity at all, it’s just a different level of sweetness with a hint of flavor. Just use one that’s very light colored or it could change the outcome of the cupcake. Sour cream works great too!

  87. Love this recipe, I used it to re-enforce colors with my toddler boys. It is such a moist cake. Def going to get your cookbook!!

  88. I am now obsessed with colored cakes for my kids’ birthdays! My son had the whole rainbow cake, and for my daughter’s birthday it is half pink and half purples…love it! The best part is, this cake tastes amazing, too! Love the added yogurt and the fluffiness after you beat it for two minutes πŸ™‚ You have made me a much cooler mom πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  89. My 3 year old son saw a picture of these cupcakes, and insisted that I make them for his birthday party. Leading up to his birthday, if anyone asked what he wanted for his birthday, he would answer “Rainbow Cupcakes.” It was his only request. He was so happy when I made them for his party and everybody loved them. Thanks for the great recipe!

  90. Do I have to use all the extra ingredients like the yogurt veg.oil etc.?? Or can I just use the white cake mix?? or also is it possible to us a diff cake mix besides white???

    1. No, you can certainly make any cake recipe you want. Just make sure it’s light colored so it doesn’t affect the colors!

  91. Thank you, thank you for this awesome recipe! I used it for my daughter’s 5th rainbow-themed birthday party and made an entire cake (as opposed to cupcakes) – it turned out amazing! Make sure to serve it on simple white plates so that the colors look especially cool :).

  92. These cubcakes are so cute!
    My kids can’t have artificial food dye (and I avoid it for me too) so I want to attempt something with natural colors. I have used natural food dye in the past, but I’m out right now and can’t buy more at the moment. I don’t want to experiment too much with different foods for the colors because I don’t want to ruin it, so I’m just going to do yellow and purple for my first attempt for my daughter’s 5th birthday party tomorrow.

    I think I will just use a lemon cake mix for the yellow (it gets the color from the egg yolks) but the purple will be a little trickier to figure out.
    I will use some blueberry juice for purple (I’m using a vanilla cake mix for that one) but I don’t want the batter to be too runny and get messed up. Should I use less milk if I’m adding blueberry juice? I won’t add tons, just enough to get some nice color. I’ve also heard that if you boil the plant based juice you want to use for coloring, it concentrates it so it’s more color for less liquid than it would be using straight juice. I’m going to try that. Also, I plan to use yogurt, is there much of a difference in flavor between plain and vanilla?

    I’ll leave a link with pictures after I make them! Thanks so much!

  93. Question for you. I bought an organic white cake mix to do something similar that I saw on another site (rainbow in a jar I like the idea of doctoring up the mix; however, I need to get my batter into a 1 pint canning jar. Since this is so think I’m wondering what I can do to improve the batter so it’s more homemade-ish but not thicken too much? Maybe just add an extra egg, a couple drops of vanilla and use milk instead of water? Just curious what you think.

    For those of you wondering, you can actually BAKE your cupcakes IN the canning jars. I’ve done lots of reading on this the past couple of days. You bake right in the jar, filling about a third of the jar. I’m making Chanukah gifts so my colors will be yellow, blue, and maybe a layer of plain mix not colored so I have the Chanukah colors. Then I will personalize the jars with a paint pen, add a piece of fabric on the lid, ribbons.

    Thanks for the suggestions in advance.

  94. Maybe this mix doesn’t need doctoring as it uses 3 eggs already and milk and oil, not water (3 eggs, 2/3 cups milk and oil (forget how much)

    1. Yes, we bake lots of cupcakes in jars around here!

      It doesn’t really matter how much you add to your mix because you can always just make more jars, so just add what you like. We often add sour cream or pudding to doctor up our mixes. Good luck!

  95. wait, it’s got to matter what I add. I mean, I would only add if there was a benefit but this mix seems to have the same ingredients others substitute. I think I better stick with the box as I have limited time and one shot :). I like your initial idea but am afraid it will be too thick to get neatly in the jars.

  96. These are adorable! I plan on making these for my girls, however I will be using a gluten free cake mix (Betty Crocker) due to their allergies. The gluten free mix calls for different ingredient add ins than a normal cake mix. Is it safe to assume that I can just follow the cake recipe on the box and use the same assembling steps in this recipe?
    Sorry for the simplicity of my question. I am very new to baking and even newer to gluten free baking. πŸ™‚

  97. I wanted to have some sort of rainbow food for my GSA booth at my schools involvement fair next week… these look perfect! Can’t wait to try them out. Thanks so much!

  98. 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™‚

  99. 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.

  100. 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 .

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

  102. 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.

  103. 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.

  104. 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!)

  105. 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!

  106. 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!!

  107. 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!

  108. 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.

  109. 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!)

  110. 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˜€

  111. 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!

  112. 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.

  113. 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!!

  114. 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!

  115. 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?

  116. 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!

  117. 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.

  118. 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!

  119. 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.

  120. 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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  122. 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.

  123. 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

  124. I know this is an old post, but I was looking for some fun cupcakes and came across this. Does it matter what kind of sour cream you use…like full fat, rduced fat, light, etc.?

    1. I always recommend full fat or light (but not fat free) for baking. And they will freeze great! You can frost them frozen or thawed, doesn’t matter. Enjoy!

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