These rainbow cupcakes are one of the prettiest little treats you can make as spring and summer arrive. We can’t think of a cuter way to celebrate the return of warmer (and sometimes wetter) weather!
Sometimes on Sweets and Treats, we like to get a little bit extra with our cupcakes. We’ve taught you how to make ombre cupcakes and the accompanying frosting, for instance. Our galaxy swirl cupcakes are always a hit. And we adore making pinata-themed cupcakes that explode with adorable sprinkles every time.
Listen…cupcakes are just a fun way to express yourself and get creative! (And maybe a little dramatic, too!) It’s never a bad time to bring some color into your friends’ and loved ones’ lives. That’s why we have to share our rainbow cupcake recipe with you today!
Gorgeous, right? But never fear: these colorful cupcakes are very simple to make, and quick, too. We’d never share a recipe with you that required a ton of advanced, five-star-pastry-chef kind of skill. After all, awesome cupcakes should be accessible to everyone! Especially rainbow cupcakes, because who doesn’t want bright sweetness in a little wrapper?
Rainbow Cupcake Recipe: Ingredients & Supplies
Excited to make these awesome layered cupcakes?! Here’s what you’ll need…
For the batter:
- White or vanilla cake mix: Grab your favorite, as this is the easiest way to begin your rainbow cupcake journey! You can also make the batter from scratch, of course. (This tends to just be quicker.)
- Oil, water, eggs: These are likely the ingredients you’ll need to make your cake mix. Always check the back of the box!
- Vanilla pudding mix: You’ll add this to your batter to enhance that yummy vanilla flavor.
- Sprinkles: Any that you like, although we recommend rainbow-colored ones to match the cupcakes, like our Rainbow Bright Mix.
For the frosting:
For this recipe, we used our tried-and-true buttercream frosting recipe.
- Unsalted butter: The base of your frosting.
- Powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream: You’ll add this to your creamed butter.
- Vanilla extract: The final ingredient for the frosting. Use clear extract if you want to have super white frosting for your cupcakes!
- Cupcake pan: To bake your cupcakes, of course! You’ll want to fill each liner up about 3/4th of the way with batter, so use however many pans (in whatever size) you need.
- Cupcake liners: We recommend our white cupcake liners! They’re greaseproof, so no ickiness when you pull the cupcakes out of the pan.
- Large mixing bowl: For your batter.
- Food coloring: In standard rainbow colors…red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple! (You could probably do this with other colors too, but we’re going for the ol’ classic rainbow today.)
- Small bowls: Six of them, to divide up the six colors of your batter.
- Decorator bags: This makes it easier (and quicker, and neater) to put the colored batter into your cupcake liners. You can also use something like Ziploc bags with the corners cut, if necessary.
Let me show you just how easy these colorful cupcakes are to make.
Like with every cupcake, you will need to begin by getting all your ingredients and supplies ready, including preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and adding the cupcake liners to the pan.
Then mix all the ingredients together until smooth, according to our recipe directions below.
After the batter is ready, you will divide it into 6 small bowls. You should have a little less than 1 cup of batter per bowl.
Now color each bowl of batter with 2 drops of food coloring: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
Baker’s Tip: Transferring the batter to disposable decorator bags makes filling the cupcakes SO much easier!
To fill the cupcakes, simply squeeze equal amounts of each color into the cupcake liners, starting with purple and ending with red.
Be sure your cupcake is filled about 3/4 of the way. Check out our tips on how to full cupcake liners evenly for perfect cupcakes.
Into the oven they go to bake for 15-18 minutes.
And after the cupcakes have cooled completely, it’s time to decorate them! Of course, it’s our favorite part!
You can certainly decorate the cupcakes with your favorite sprinkles, we added Buttercream Frosting and our Rainbow Bright Sprinkle Mix.
Rainbow Cupcake Recipe: FAQs
We’ve gathered up a few questions we’ve gotten about this recipe right here!
How many rainbow cupcakes does this recipe produce?
About 18-24, depending on how much batter you make, how much you fill up the liners, etc.
How long does it take to make rainbow cupcakes?
A little more than a half hour. Generally, it takes us about 20 minutes to prep the ingredients, then 15 or so minutes to bake them.
What oil is best to use with this recipe?
We find that canola oil is the all-around winner when it comes to cakes, cupcakes, and other similar treats. However, any neutral-flavored vegetable oil will do.
Aren’t our colorful cupcakes so adorable?!
This rainbow cupcake recipe is magic, by the way…it instantly creates smiles no matter the circumstance. Seriously! Try handing a rainbow cupcake to your favorite person and watch the joy appear! And when you’re finished scarfing down all these cute sweets, leave a comment down below about the recipe. No matter what you have to say, we’d love to hear from you!
Other cupcake recipes here on Sweets and Treats…
It’s never a bad time to bake up a round of cupcakes for all your besties! If you’re looking for other recipes, check out:
- Easy Watermelon Cupcakes
- Monster Cookie Dough Cupcakes
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Chocolate Funfetti Cupcakes
- 1 box (15.2 oz) white or vanilla cake mix
- 1 box (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding
- 1 cup water or milk
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- ⅓ cup oil, canola or vegetable
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream or milk
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and add cupcake liners to pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cake mix, eggs, water/milk, and canola oil. Add instant pudding mix.
3. Mix on medium speed until completely smooth.
4. Divide batter into 6 small bowls. You should have a little less than 1 cup of batter per bowl.
5. Color each bowl of batter with 2 drops of food color, creating colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
6. Transfer batter to disposable decorator bag to make it easier to fill cupcakes.
7. Squeeze equal amounts of each color into cupcake liners, starting with purple and ending with red. Note- fill the liners up ¾ way.
8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
9. While cupcakes are baking, prepare buttercream frosting
10. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack.
11. Decorate with buttercream frosting and add sprinkles or other decorations.