Rainbow Cupcakes with Vanilla Cloud Frosting

24 cupcakes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.

Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.Rainbow Cupcakes have been a looooooong time in the making for this blog. They are one of my absolute favorite desserts to make which most people who know me would immediately guess. When I would make surprise cakes or birthday cakes for my favorite clients I would usually make them towering rainbow cakes. In fact, these rainbow cupcakes have been on the calendar for me since before I even started this blog 10 whole months ago (I can’t believe it has been 10 months already!) and I can’t think of a better way to toss aside all the hearts, pink and cupid and celebrate the month of March.

Let’s just get this out of the way ahead of time… yes, these cupcakes have food coloring. No, I don’t normally use food coloring in recipes and yes, I know it isn’t healthy/good for you/GMO free/it kills baby seals and kittens around the world I’m sure. 99% of the things I make/bake in our house are made with whole foods, not processed or minimally processed and be it important or not, organic. Which is exactly why I have no qualms about making these gorgeous cupcakes for us to enjoy the one time a year that we do. And yes I gave them to the little ones too. But c’mon, if you were a kid, wouldn’t this make you smile? Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.I’m not even a kid and I am grinning as I am typing up this post. Brace yourself for more photos than I normally include, I loved so many of these photos!

When we had our oldest we made the nursery a rainbow theme, the first birthday party was rainbow sprinkles themed and I am proud to say I’m raising rainbow obsessed little kids (one of whom sleeps in a rainbow-ed out four post bed with rainbow curtains and a soon to be added rainbow duvet, pillows and a giant cloud headboard.  So like I said, our house, rainbow friendly and definitely rainbow cupcakes friendly.

Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.

The other part of this recipe that I adore is how easy it is in spite of the lack of cake mix. The batter is a delicious white vanilla cake base with gel food coloring to brighten things up and the cloud-like frosting is made with clear vanilla and lots and lots of butter.

A few tips/tricks for these awesome Rainbow Cupcakes just to make your lives a bit easier since there’s quite a few little bowls of batter:

  • Don’t bother weighing out the batter to ensure it is evenly dispersed. Use a 1 cup measure and any little bit left over can be extra of your favorite color. This isn’t a cake, so if one layer is a bit more prominent in some, no big deal. 🙂
  • If you would like to bake these without the cupcake wrappers, I highly recommend a silicone muffin tin.
  • Ziploc bags! I pipe them into the muffin tins with ziploc bags to make life SO much easier than spooning and spreading each layer.
  • Clear vanilla keeps your frosting a bright white! If you want blindingly white frosting swap out your butter for shortening. Butter tastes better though.
  • Don’t overbake, you don’t want the tops turning brown.
  • Use a large closed star decorating tip for your frosting.


Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.

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Rainbow Cupcakes with Vanilla Cloud Frosting

Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.
Yield 24 cupcakes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 cup butter , softened
  • 2 1/3 cups sugar
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk , warmed for 30 sec in microwave to bring to room temp
  • Rainbow colors of Gel food coloring
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar , sifted
  • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla (if you use normal vanilla it will not be as white, but will be just as delicious)
  • tiny pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In your stand mixer cream the butter and sugar together until much lighter in color, like a easter-y spring yellow (2-3 minutes).
  • Add in the egg whites and vanilla until totally combined.
  • Add the salt and baking powder to the flour.
  • Add in the dry ingredients and the milk alternating 1 cup of flour and ½ cup of milk at a time.
  • Add one cup of the batter to 6 different bowls.
  • Color each bowl with your gel food coloring in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
  • Mix until the colors are fully combined.
  • Your choice here: Spoon or ziploc bags.
  • Either add the batter to 6 sandwich size ziploc bags and pipe just enough to make a thin layer of each color (maybe ¼ inch tall batter layers)
  • OR
  • with a small spoon, spoon just under a tablespoon of batter into each cup.
  • Start with purple, then blue, then green, then yellow, then orange and finally red.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • To make the frosting:
  • Whip the butter in your stand mixer with your paddle attachment(I LOVE LOVE LOVE this one with a built in scraper) until you see the butter is lighter in color (1 minute).
  • Add in the vanilla.
  • Add in the powdered sugar in 1 cup increments with the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, ending with powdered sugar.
  • Mix on high for 1 minute after each addition.
  • Your frosting should be SUPER light and fluffy, just like a delicious vanilla cloud.
  • Using a closed star tip and decorating bag, pipe your frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.


Cake recipe adapted from Whisk Kid, Buttercream recipe adapted from Add A Pinch.


Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 202mg | Potassium: 121mg | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 500IU | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Keyword: Rainbow Cupcakes with Vanilla Cloud Frosting

Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.

Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.
Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.
Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.
Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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    1. Would you prefer to read the recipe using metric measurements? Simply click on the word “Metric” and all the measurements will automatically convert to the metric system of measuring ingredients. Hope that helps! Enjoy.

  1. Thank you for this cupcake recipe! I’ve included it in my roundup of fun rainbow desserts over at ohshecooks.com and thanks again!

    1. Hi Victoria,
      Yes. You can arrange them in a single layer in an airtight container and store them for up to 3 months.

  2. Amazing recipe and i love the taste and the fact that is made without cake mix everyone eat my cupcakes ????for top i only made it with butter cream . Thanks ?

  3. Great fun recipe! Used “basic” food coloring rather than gel because I’m on a budget, colours still came out cute and kind of pastel ?
    Saying that though, just barely had enough batter for 18 cupcakes rather than 24, but that happens sometimes ????

  4. Hi, sorry to bother you again but I already regret posting that aggressive comment under the same name a few minutes earlier, I’m very sorry if this comment section/website is run by an individual person, I probably messed up the recipe myself and I’m just having a very bad week. I’d appreciate if you’d consider deleting the two of these comments and not post them (I don’t think I am able to delete them) and again I’m very sorry.

  5. I followed this recipe very precisely (for a frame of reference I’m autistic) and it didn’t work at all, the layers all combined. I’m afraid this picture is not at all accurate and I was very disappointed. Don’t use this recipe if you want clean layers.

    1. Hey! I’ve made these before and the layers always got muddy. I am currently making some now and they seem to be staying separate. My batter has been really runny in the past but I had to melt the butter(long story) and I added the flour all at once and then the milk and it’s thicker this time. I’ll let you know if it worked. (I’m autistic too and these cupcakes are always super fun) 🙂

  6. I made these a couple of years ago for my daughter’s 3rd birthday and they were AMAZING! A big hit with the kids & adults alike. She loves baking and requested them again for her upcoming 5th birthday. I am so excited to make them with her! ??????

  7. Hi! My niece has an egg and nut allergy. Is there an egg substitute we can use for this recipe? I have used plain greek yogurt before but am not sure how it would translate here. Im going to make the recipe for my daughter’s birthday and would like everyone to be able to enjoy them because they look so awesome. Thanks!

    1. I am not completely positive nor well versed in allergies and would hate to lead you in the wrong direction. Sorry!

  8. Hi!! I made the cake part last night in preparation for my daughter’s daycare birthday party tomorrow. I was wondering would the frosting be just as fluffy if I halved the sugar? Thanks!!

    1. I’ve not tested it that way so I’m not sure. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Good luck!

  9. Texture is great, colours are nice. Taste is intense! So sweet it’s nauseating. I love sugary cakes etc but this was just too much.
    If you make this cut the sugar wayyyy down.

  10. I was looking for gluten free version of rainbow cupcakes for my daughters 10th birthday and this came up in my search because someone asked if they could use almond flour to make this recipe gf. I was so intrigued by this recipe and the comments I decided to give it a try replacing the four with Bob Mills 1 to 1 cup gf flour (FYI not safe for nut allergy).
    As we started to split the batter into separate bowls to add food coloring the batter didn’t look quite right, I thought I probably should of mixed it a little longer, as some gf recipes call for a little added mixing time. The process of layering the batter in the cupcake liners was time consuming and I was wishing I did not start this project, but we persevered. I am so glad we did! The cupcakes were amazing and both of my daughters were ecstatic to break open the cupcakes and see the layers of color. I was also very happy with the results. Then we made the frosting following the directions exactly and did not needing to tinker with adjustments of more milk or sugar. My daughters friend tried one and said “how did you make this? It is the best frosting I have had.”
    I do not usually add comments to blogs but I had to let others who need to bake gluten free that this recipe was a winner. In addition 2 days later the cupcakes were as moist as when they came out of the oven, which is another downfall of gf baking things don’t have the same shelf like, you need to bake and eat or bake and freeze or it gets dry and crumbly!

  11. i really loved this recipe,

    my only complain is it sais it takes 50 minutes, however it took me 1.5 hours

    1. Question the gel food coloring do you need to mix colors to get the purple and the yellow or do they sell the individual colors? Also when you say combine the vanilla and egg whites that doesn’t mean stiff peaks right?
      Final question how far in advance can I make the cupcakes and frost prior to serving ? Would I freeze them or can they be in an air tight container stored in refrigerator for about 6 days ? Tia

      1. I would not keep them for more than a day, the frosting will really dry out and even after a few days the cupcakes will too. The gel colors I buy I don’t have to mix, I buy these Gel Food Colors. No on the egg white stiff peaks too, just until they’re well incorporated.

  12. I tried making this recipe and the cupcakes did look pretty, but my icing was VERY runny. I did not want to add more sugar because it was already so sweet. The flavor of the cupcake was ok otherwise, and the cupcake looked pretty. I did add food coloring to the icing to try and make them even more prideful, but even before that the icing was runny. Next time I might look at not adding any milk. I brought them in to work and people got really excited so I guess things worked out ok in the end. Despite it not being a complicated recipe it was still very tiring in how long it took to get all the colors right and then into the cupcake pans.

  13. Hello, dear.
    I’m just a simple queer young adult planning ahead for next Pride. They surely look rainbow, but I have one concern. Won’t the batter mix and the colours bleed into each other? How do you do that? Otherwise, it’s probably safe to say I’ll pin this. 🙂
    Thanks in advance,
    Yuna McHill

    1. I used a gentle touch when piping in the batter and didn’t have any issue with them bleeding. Definitely give it a try!!

  14. This is the best homemade cupcake recipe I’ve made. Always a crowd pleaser. Any tips on how to convert this to a cake instead of cupcakes? Same baking temp, just longer in the oven? TIA.

  15. Hi! I want to make these for my son’s 4th birthday but was wondering if I could use liquid egg whites instead of separating them myself (I’m horrible at that!!) and if so, how much would I use? Thank you!

  16. My first time making a homemade cake batter. It taste good but looks grainy and I believe runnier than it should be.

    1. Sorry to hear that! I’m glad it tasted good but not sure why it would have been grainy. If you want to trouble shoot, you can always email contact@ dinnerthendessert. com

    1. Both the cake and the frosting require 1 cup of softened butter each. They’re both listed in the ingredient list. Enjoy!

      1. It depends on how vibrant you want the color. Start with a few drops and add until it reaches the shade you want. 🙂

  17. Tried these cupcakes a little while ago but they are without a doubt the best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten. So light and fluffy and just great all around. Definitely going to use this recipe again.

  18. These cupcakes are very pretty but incredibly bland and the frosting is overly sweet would not make again. They were also a little dry and tough but that could be from over mixing/baking on my part. Very time consuming to make.

  19. The cupcakes turned out amazing!!! But the instructions were a little hard to understand. I might know because I’m 21and I needed a rainbow recipe.

    1. If you click on metrics below the ingredient list, it’ll change it to grams. 🙂 It’s highlighted in green. Enjoy!

  20. These look amazing. Just double checking that you can use premade cake mix and still follow the directions with layering and frosting. I tried to look through the comments and didn’t see how it turned out with cake mix. Or is using cake mix a terrible idea? Trying to save a little time in the preparation for my son’s birthday party. Thanks!

    1. I’ve not tried it but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in a pinch. Let me know how they turn out if you decide to try. Thanks!

  21. I LOVE these cupcakes! They are soooooo amazing and delicious. I am a 13 year old girl scout and I have made these cupcakes for my gs events twice now. One thing I did notice was that I can only get 21 regular sized cupcakes and I get 3 half cupcakes. That is most likely just me though but I just wanted to put it out there Incase anyone else has the same issue. Thank you for sharing this recipe!!!!???

    1. What is the best way to store these? I’m making them the day before my daughters birthday…should I refrigerate them or can I leave them at room temp the night before?

      1. I would make the cupcakes ahead of time and leave them out but covered (not in the fridge). You can always make the frosting ahead of time but frost the cupcakes the day of by leaving it in the piping bag in the fridge. Then in the morning take out the icing 30 minutes before you’re ready to go, snip off the end and ice. I even sometimes just roll the icing bag (assuming you haven’t snipped the end and you’ve rubber banded the end of it) on the counter to soften it faster. Don’t microwave or heat the icing to speed up the warming though. Enjoy!

  22. I love these cupcakes so much!!!!! They came out beautiful and delicious and I used them to come out to my parents as lesbian today because of pride month!!!!! It may be just because of the positive experience I know affiliate with them, but I will always love these cupcakes now, so I want to say thank you

  23. These are delicious and gorgeous! I used buttercream instead of the frosting in the recipe, it was easier and still tasted good, but was yellowish. I made them because it’s pride month and I actually used them to come out to my parents as a lesbian! It went super well and I’ll always love this recipe, thank you

  24. I made these cupcakes 2x already for my daughter’s class and her classmates and friends would request for them whenever my daughter’s birthday comes around. It’s my go to recipe for holidays since I can always change the color combination depending on the occasion.
    Thank you for sharing!

  25. These are not worth the time it takes to make them. They look really cool, but taste like nothing but sugar. I threw most of them away.

  26. These are a lot of work but totally worth it. The colors are amazing and the cake tastes great!! If you follow the recipe exactly everything comes out great. Read a poor review and got nervous to make these but thought what the heck I’ll try it. Worth a shot. Not sure what went wrong with that persons cake. These cooked just fine. Not too dense and not too moist as the reviewer had indicated. Wish you could delete that review 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Thank you so much for trying it and coming back to let me know how much you enjoyed them. I really appreciate the 5 stars.

  27. My friends and i love this cake, its send such good vibes.Were craving these in class right now! How did you get them so bright? Mine turned out quite dull colour

  28. Really was looking forward to making these, the pictures are beautiful! I followed the recipe closely, only difference is I mixed by hand. Frosting was delicious, (obviously not whipped and fluffy) I used cream instead of milk. NBD. The cake though was dense and ‘wet’ so I put them to bake for 5 more mins and – I think it’s the amount of egg whites? – it is just yuck and I’m not too picky.
    For the amount of work that went into these (I wish I halved the recipe) I’m really dissappointed
    Last thing I’m thinking is that I used liquid color instead of gel, about 15-18 drops per color, I’m not experienced enough with food color to know? Maybe that changed the density of the cake? It was heavy. ..
    I’ll been looking for a new recipe for rainbow cakes. My daughter’s LOVE rainbow!

  29. Would I be able to use almond flour for a gluten free option? If so should I arrange other aspects to keep the consistency and quality of the cupcakes? Thanks for sharing!

    1. I haven’t tested it so I’m not really comfortable give a recommendation. I do know that if you use almond flour as a substitute you may need to add more egg to adjust. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Good luck!

  30. These are amazing. Made these for my little rainbow baby’s first birthday to rave reviews. Not only were they beautifully colorful they really tasted lovely too! Thank you so much.

    1. Oh no, poor girl! I would freeze them uncovered at first to avoid them from squished and help keep the frosting shape, take them out, individually wrap them and place them back into the freezer in a storage safe container. Hope she gets better soon!

  31. These look amazing. I’m so excited to try them. How long do they keep and how do you store them. I was hoping to make them 2 days ahead for a party.

    1. I would make the cupcakes ahead of time and leave them out but covered (not in the fridge). You can always make the frosting ahead of time but frost the cupcakes the day of by leaving it in the piping bag in the fridge. Then in the morning take out the icing 30 minutes before you’re ready to go, snip off the end and ice. I even sometimes just roll the icing bag (assuming you haven’t snipped the end and you’ve rubber banded the end of it) on the counter to soften it faster. Don’t microwave or heat the icing to speed up the warming though. Enjoy!

    1. Sorry about the confusion.
      Everything after the food coloring gel on the ingredients list is for the frosting. So you’ll need 2 cups of butter total for this recipe.
      Hope this clears things up.

  32. Plain and simple, these are fun cupcakes and delicious! The recipe is perfect as written and requires no improvement.

    Two questions: Instead of the colors being a straight line, mine sunk down in the center. Any tip to prevent that from happening? The cupcakes separated from the wrapper. Did I overspray with pam?

    Thank you for a great recipe!

    1. I’m so glad you loved them!! The only thing I can think of suggesting when it comes to the layers is to be very gentle when either piping or spooning each layer so they have a better chance of staying in layers. As far as them separating, it’s either from underbaking or allowing them to cool while still inside the tin. Make sure to remove them from the tin to cool. Hope this helps for next time!

  33. The recipe is a good tasting cake and frosting flavor. However, it made more than 24. By tge time I figured it out, my 24 cupcakes were overflowing the pan, and I had to use and lot of frosting to cover the rough edges, so not as pretty an outcome as I had hoped for.

  34. Making these today for our pride party we’re hosting tomorrow! They look gorgeous! I’m sure our kids will love these too! Thanks for the recipe!

  35. Hi Sabrina
    I will definitely try for my daughter’s cake sale at school. This is so awesome and know this will be sold out first!

  36. Amazing taste and so easy to make. But my top colour (red) oozed down through the cupcake and ended at the bottom?

  37. Oh my goodness. I never write comments but I’ve been baking my whole life and I swear these are some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had!! They were super moist and the frosting was so light. Instead of putting the batter in bowls I lined cups with the ziplock bags and just dumped the batter in. Then I kneaded the closed bag to get the colors to mix. The colors came out so vibrant and I didn’t have any clear vanilla extract so I used titanium dioxide instead. I’m definitely making these again!

  38. How did you keep the colors from mixing? I layered them using a spoon as suggested, and every single one of the colors became mixed up. Instead of looking like a layered rainbow, it looked more like a colorful marble. Any suggestions to prevent this from happening? Thank you!

    1. When you cut it from the inside, mine also look marbeled. 🙂 You just have to gently spoon in the colors for the layered look on the outside. I’ve tried every way possible for it be layered all the way through and unfortunately it never worked….though it was a yummy experiment, haha!

  39. These cupcakes were amazing! I made them for my daughter’s birthday party and they were a big hit. My daughter especially loved the rainbow colors. Definitely the best cupcakes I have ever made. Thank you for the recipe!

  40. We really enjoyed this recipe, it may very well be a staple. We made this diabetic friendly, using a Splenda Naturals instead of sugar. The batter came out fantastic and it made great cupcakes. I didn’t use a lot of Coloring Gel, so my colors were more pastel. The only obstacle was the frosting. I didn’t have any confectioners, so I made my own. I ended up using all of remaining Splenda Naturals on the batter, so I used Ideal with a cornstarch blend. It just didn’t combine well with the butter and became very granular. The taste is fine, it just feels different in your mouth. That just gives me an opportunity to try something different for the next time. I still had a very happy 4yr old, as she was able to help and her wish for rainbow cupcakes came true.

  41. I made this as instructed but used chocolate ganache for the frosting instead and it was a hit. The colors were so vibrant, made everyone feel happy – it’s moist and not to sweet! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    1. I’ve never tested it before but the recommendation for substituting cake flour for AP flour is to add an additional 2 tablespoons for every cup. I’d love to know how it turns out if you decide to try.

  42. Hi! These are absolutely gorgeous! I want to try to make these the night before a potluck and was just wondering how should they be stored? Do they need to be refrigerated or can we leave them out overnight? Thank you!

    1. I would leave the cupcakes out but covered. Then I’d ice them the day you meant to eat them because there is milk in the frosting.You can make the icing the night before and leave it in the piping bag. Then in the morning take out the icing 30 minutes before you’re ready to go, snip off the end and ice. I even sometimes just roll the icing bag (assuming you haven’t snipped the end and you’ve rubber banded the end of it) on the counter to soften it faster. Don’t microwave or heat the icing to speed up the warming though.

  43. I’m so excited to make these for my daughters 5th birthday , can I make the frosting the night before or should I make it the day of her birthday party?

    1. Personally, I would make it the day of but if you have to make it prior swap out the milk in the frosting with water so the milk doesn’t go rancid overnight. ? Hope she loves them!

  44. Not tried making these cupcakes yet but they look awesome. Going to make them for my daughters rainbow and unicorn themed birthday. I’m from Scotland and we have plain flour or self raising flour. The recipe just says flour. What one would i be best using? Thanks.

    1. I used all purpose flour (AP Flour) for this recipe so I would assume the plain flour you have in Scotland would be the same. Sounds like our daughters are very much alike!!

    1. I really don’t think it’ll work. There are too many layers that either the cake will be huge or the colors will all get mixed in to be more of a tie dye look. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out.

  45. Hi, I want to try these for New Year’s Eve, but I wanted a word of advice. Is it possible to add like a spoon of nutella, or a small piece of chocolate in the middle? I have this picture of it when you take a bite a melted chocolate comes out, I am just afraid that once they started baking and chocolate starts melting that it will ruin this rainbow beauty. 🙂
    Thank you!

    1. Oh, shoot….totally missed this one for NYE 🙁 So sorry. I think this sounds like a wonderful idea but I wouldn’t bake them with the nutella because the weight of it will seep all out. I would suggest to core the middle of the cupcake and put the nutella in that way. Sounds delicious!

  46. These look AMAZING!! My Daughter wants a rainbow party for her birthday so I plan to make these soon! The only issue is, I don’t have a stand mixer, only a hand mixer. Since I won’t have the paddle attachment, can I just use a spoon or spatula?

  47. Gonna make these tomorrow with my granddaughters, the baby (she’s four) is rainbow crazy so I know these will be a big hit. I just got heart shaped silicone cupcake liners so we’re gonna make rainbow heart cupcakes. I’m thinking of omitting pink in the cupcake and using it in the frosting, or piping three colors when frosting. Not sure but your recipe is going to come in handy! Thanks for sharing it.

  48. I made these for my brother’s ninth party and they were a big hit!!
    I used the exact same recipe with 3 colors: reb + blue + yellow and he loved them!
    Thankyou very much for sharing this recipe they made the exact amount that we needed 🙂

  49. I want to be clear on baking these…can we use a metal tin if we plan on using a liner? Or, should we use a liner in a silicone cup (I would prefer to use a liner)? Our 3 kids are turning 8, 6, and 4 this month and I want to make these for the party. I know they will love them, as long as I can pull off what you did. THANK YOU!!!

  50. Thank you for this fantastic recipe. My mom and I made these for my daughter’s 2nd and 4th birthday. They were ecstatic! And everyone else was very impressed with the look and taste. Thanks again!

    1. I used unsalted butter for this recipe. Actually, I use unsalted butter for just about everything. If I want added salt, I just add salt. Hope you enjoy them!

  51. Hi! This is my first time baking so I’m not so good in this so i just wanna know what type of butter did you use and is it salted or unsalted? 🙂

    1. yes, but remember the yellow in the eggs may muddy the colors a bit. I use whites just to make sure the colors pop as much as possible.

  52. Did you use standard white cupcake liners here? It seems like you can see the colors through the wrapper want to make sure I get the same ones!

    1. The colors don’t show very well through white liners so I would suggest just getting cute liners 🙂 I like silver foil but you can use anything that works for you theme or makes you happy! Once they unwrap the cupcakes, they’ll have a great surprise!

  53. Hi Sabrina,

    Just curious here. Why no egg yolks for this recipe? Also, have you tried baking this with the yolks too?

    I’m planning on baking this for my daughter’s birthday tomorrow.


    1. So sorry I’m just now seeing your question. I didn’t want to use egg yolks because it will make the batter yellowish and the colors will lose some of the vibrancy. Hopefully it still all worked well for your daughter’s birthday 🙂

  54. Hello – I plan to make these for my daughters birthday and I had planned to not use liners at all but rather to grease (crisco or butter) the muffin tin, is this a mistake? I’ve had issues in the past with the liners adhering to the cake and thought it would ruin the rainbow effect. Do you have any suggestions for me?

    1. Oh no! Your question was stuck in a spam file 🙁 I wouldn’t suggest making them in a metal tin because even with greasing, the cupcakes will get browned and you’ll lose the vibrancy of the colors. My suggestion would be to use silicon liners if you’re worrying about the paper ones sticking to the cupcakes. They’ll peel right off and the colors will stay bright and colorful!

    1. I’m sorry but I don’t have recommendations as it ranges. You might be able to find some good resources online depending on your specific altitude.

  55. I made these today for my 6-year-old niece’s birthday. Oh my gosh. They were soooooooo good. I knew they looked good, but they tasted even better. What an amazing recipe. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. I have had no issues with frosting holding up but if I make them for the day before I swap out the milk in the frosting with water so the milk doesn’t go rancid overnight. 🙂 Hope you love them!

  56. Hi! This recipe is so cute and creative. I was wondering whether it would be okay to use liquid food coloring instead of gel? Thanks!

    1. Yes, you definitely can! Just start by adding a little at a time and stir. Keep going until you get the vibrance you’re looking for.

  57. Do you suggest using white cupcake liners? Will the color show through? I’d love that! Or is it best to buy a cute liner?

    1. It won’t show through that well on white liners, I would just suggest the cutest liners. I like silver foil and a friend loves using goil foil liners so it is like a pot of gold and a rainbow.

      1. Just wondering what iiners you used in your picture? It looks like some of them have a liner and the color shows through?

  58. These look beautiful! I am planning on using Wilton gel food coloring. Could you tell me roughly how much food coloring to add for each color? For example, a few drops or a teaspoon? I want to make sure I add enough to achieve a vibrant color. thanks!!

    1. Gel food coloring is very concentrated so I just start with a few drops and stir. Keep adding a few drops at a time until you get the perfect vibrance you’re looking for.

  59. Hi Sabrina.. I tried these for our 7th anniversary.. and I made a hydrangea bouquet using these cupcakes.. they were superb in taste and also to look at.. my friends complained that they were soooo pretty to eat..thanks a lot for the recipe… can I use the same recipe to bake a cake….if yes.. which pan and baking temp plz..

    1. 2 regular cake pans 8 inch or 9 inch, 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the cake springs back up when touched. That bouquet sounds gorgeous!

  60. Made the rainbow cupcakes for my twin girls for school last week. Everyone (and their moms!) l-o-v-e-d the beautiful colours, not to mention the taste. I have subsequently used the recipe to make a rainbow layered cake this past weekend and just whipped up a chocolate cupcake version using your recipe for my son’s birthday tomorrow! Won’t be using any other cupcake recipe, EVER! xxx

  61. Hi, I would really LOVE to make these cupcakes! But I don’t understand one sentence (I am not a native speaker): “Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar in 1 cup increments with the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, ending with powdered sugar.” Could you please explain it to me?

    1. It means to first, add one cup of powdered sugar, then add a tablespoon of milk, then a cup of powdered sugar, then a tablespoon of milk, and continue with that pattern until all of it has been added to the recipe.

  62. Sabrina! These are the best things ever. I love them so much. Pinned to make for my rainbow and unicorn loving daughter.

  63. WOW these are amazing! I’ve made a layered rainbow cake once before for a friend’s birthday and it was so much fun. I also use food colouring when I make my red velvet cupcakes.

  64. We’ve made these before, but you reminded me that these would be perfect for St. Pat’s Day! And your photos are gorg!

  65. Hey, I saw this come across my Pinterest earlier today and saved it to try later! I can’t wait! My girls are going to love these!

  66. I am a sweet fiend and this looks soo good. I could totally go for a few now and then a few for tomorrow at lunch. lol

  67. Those look very good. My daughters would love all the colors. I think those rainbow colors are great for cupcakes. Lots of color can really make them stand out!

  68. I love the look of these cupcakes. I will have to try making some for my Daughters Birthday. She will be so surprised when she takes a bite to see all the colors.

  69. So much fun! And I agree with you completely–I rarely use food coloring, never buy anything colored, but I definitely own it and have no problem using it occasionally to put a big smile on my kids’ faces. These cupcakes would do the trick–and I appreciate that they are from scratch.

  70. I am a huge fan of rainbow cakes- I’ve made several but never cupcakes. I definitely pinned this to my ‘life’s a rainbow’ Pinterest board!

  71. The colors on these are absolutely stunning! So bright and happy. Birthday season has arrived here, so I’m sure I can find an excuse to make these.

  72. Great recipe! The colors are so pretty! Going to make these for my girls birthdays! Thanks for the recipe!

  73. These cupcakes look amazing!!! I love using bright colors in food like this, they would be perfect for a birthday party.

  74. My daughter would love these cupcakes!! These turned out so colorful and would be perfect for a birthday party!

  75. Oh my goodness, these totally remind me of rainbow brite… ha! Super-cute. My kids would flip if I make them. Thanks for sharing

  76. I just took cupcakes out of the oven but sadly they’re not your gorgeous Rainbow Cupcakes! My grandkids will love your delightful rainbow colors. Happy soon to be St. Patrick’s Day!!

  77. I have always wanted to learn how to make a colorful cake like this without mixing all the colors! Thanks for sharing!

      1. Looks amazing! Definitely, want to make this! Can you provide any advice on the colours? use the same amount of drops for each colour, colour mixing suggestions for best turn out for purple?

        1. Thank you so much! Honestly, I just eyeball it. Start with a drop or two and then mix, keep adding a drop or two at a time until the desired shade you’re looking for. For the purple, I mixed equal amounts red and blue coloring. Good luck!