These spectacular Rainbow Cupcakes will be the hit of the party. They are so bright and colorful while being absolutely delicious too.

rainbow cupcakes with icing.
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The next time you need a colorful dessert, try making rainbow cupcakes. Whether you need a fun treat for St. Patrick’s Day or a birthday party, this recipe is super cute.

The icing is decadent and the rainbow sprinkles really add the perfect touch. Once you bite into the cupcake, you can see all the stunning colors. It is such a pretty cupcake. You may also love Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes, Snickerdoodle Cupcakes and Confetti Cupcakes.

For a fun seasonal treat, try Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes.

Why This Recipe Works

I think you might be surprised just how easy these cupcakes are to make. The recipe starts with a cake mix and we jazz it up a little. Not only does it taste great but looks amazing.

The ingredients combine easily and always brings a smile to everyone.

Ingredients

Ingredients for recipe: powdered sugar, cake mix, sprinkles, food coloring, oil, butter, eggs and pudding.

For the Cupcakes

  • White Cake Mix 
  • Water 
  • Vegetable Oil 
  • Large eggs 
  • Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix. Just use the mix and do not prepare it based on the box.
  • Rainbow Colors of Gel Food Coloring

For the Icing

  • Unsalted Butter, softened at room temperature 
  • Clear Pure Vanilla Extract 
  • Confectioners Sugar. The powdered sugar should be sifted.
  • Milk 
  • Rainbow Sprinkles 

Scroll to see the full recipe and ingredients in the recipe card.

Variations Ideas

  • Store bought icing. You don’t have to make homemade icing. You can buy icing and place in piping bags to decorate the cupcakes.
  • Cake Mix. Feel free to use any type of cake mix.

Step by Step Instructions

  • Step 1. Preheat the oven. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven is warming up, line a muffin tin with 12 paper cupcake liners. 
Mixing bowl with  batter combined.

Step 2. Get out a large bowl. Use a handheld mixer or a stand mixer to beat the cake mix, water, oil, eggs and pudding mix. The flour mixture should be smooth and creamy.  

Batter divided into bowls with food coloring.

Step 3. Divide the batter into 6 small bowls. Then use the gel food coloring to dye each bowl of icing a different color of the rainbow.  I used red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.  

Batter piped into layers in each cupcake liner.

Step 4. Put each color batter in a ziplock bag. Cut off a small piece of 1 of the corners and pipe layers of the batter into the cupcake tins. I started with purple, then blue, then green, then yellow, then orange and finally red. 

Cupcakes baked and cooling.

Step 5. Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Then allow to cool completely. 

Mixing bowl with frosting ingredients.

Step 6. While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting. Use a large bowl to cream the butter until smooth. We used a stand mixer but you can use a hand mixer as well. Add the confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time using low speed. Then stir in the vanilla and milk.  Beat until combined and fluffy.

Cupcakes topped with frosting and sprinkles.

Step 7. Decorate the cupcakes. Use a piping bag with a star tip to decorate the cupcakes.  Finally, top with the rainbow sprinkles. 

Recipe Tips

  • Ziploc bags. I definitely recommend using these bags to place the batter in. It is so much easier than spooning all the different colors of batter into each individual tins. It also makes it easier to keep the colors separated, Sometimes, using a spoon can cause the layers to merge together.
  • Clear Vanilla Extract. This type of vanilla is highly suggested. It will keep your frosting a bright white color.
  • Frosting. Make sure you beat the icing until fluffy. You want it to resemble a fluffy cloud.
  • Batter. Be careful that you do not combine or swirl the batter. This will help to make sure each layer is prominent once baked. Try to layer the batter on top of each other as evenly as possible and don’t swirl the colors together. 
  • Topping. Instead of frosting, try making whipped cream with heavy cream. You can pipe some on each cupcake to resemble clouds. This is a tasty alternative to frosting while still looking great.
  • Sprinkles. You can use any type of rainbow colored sprinkles you prefer or have on hand.
  • Batter. We used the colors of the rainbow. However, it would be really fun to use team colors for your favorite sport or different colors to match a party theme. You can use any colors you want.
rainbow cupcakes with icing.

How to Store Cupcakes

If you have a cupcake storage carrier, you can use that. It is perfect because it has a spot for each cupcake and lid. These carries are also so nice for transporting cupcakes. They really are a handy container to have.

No worries if you do not have one. Just use any airtight container with an airtight lid.

Cupcakes with this type of frosting last about 2 days at room temperature. If you don’t plan to eat them within that time frame, put them in the fridge.

Just note that placing them in the refrigerator may cause them to dry out.

rainbow cupcakes with icing cut in half.

More Rainbow Desserts

We love to hear from you. If you make these Rainbow Cupcakes Recipe, please leave us a comment or a star review.

Rainbow Cupcakes

4.84 from 6 votes
These spectacular rainbow cupcakes will be the hit of the party. They are so bright and colorful while being absolutely delicious too.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Calories 368

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CUPCAKES:
  • 1 box White Cake Mix
  • 1 cup Water
  • cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Box Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix 3.4 oz box Just use the mix, don’t prepare it based on the box
  • Rainbow Colors of Gel Food Coloring
  • FOR THE ICING:
  • 1 cup Butter softened at room temperature
  • 1 tsp Clear Vanilla Extract
  • 4 cups sifted Confectioners Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Milk
  • Rainbow Sprinkles
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Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cupcake liners.
  • In a large bowl, beat with a hand held mixer or a stand up mixer the cake mix, water, oil, eggs and pudding mix until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  • Then divide the batter evenly into 6 small bowls.  Use the gel food coloring to dye each bowl of icing a different color of the rainbow.  I used red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
  • Place each color of the batter in a ziplock bag and cut off a small piece of 1 of the corners. Gently pipe layers of the batter into the cupcake tins. I started with purple, then blue, then green, then yellow, then orange and finally red.  Make sure to layer the batter on top of each other as evenly as possible and do not swirl the colors together.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Then allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
  • FOR THE ICING:
  • In a large bowl cream the butter until smooth.
  • Beat in the confectioners sugar (one cup at a time) on low speed until well combined.
  • Stir in vanilla and milk.  Whip until thoroughly mixed and fluffy on a medium-high setting.
  • Then icing the cooled cupcakes.  I used a star tip with a decorator’s bag to decorate the cupcakes.  Then top the cupcake icing with the rainbow sprinkles.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Calories 368kcal, Carbohydrates 35g, Protein 3g, Fat 24g, Saturated Fat 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat 4g, Monounsaturated Fat 6g, Trans Fat 1g, Cholesterol 82mg, Sodium 452mg, Potassium 50mg, Fiber 1g, Sugar 18g, Vitamin A 536IU, Calcium 109mg, Iron 1mg

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Desserts on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you create delicious desserts on a budget and do not require a ton of time. Together, we are going to make something sweet that the entire family will love!

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