Colourful rainbow cupcakes
fun rainbow cupcakes! An easy recipe for colourful cupcakes that kids and toddlers will love to bake.
Rainbow cupcakes are the ultimate cupcake for colour loving kids. I love how fun, bright and colourful they are and so did my kids.
We made them recently as a birthday treat for my daughter, and her and her friends demolished them in record time. They’ve got a real wow factor kids love so they’re perfect for kids birthday parties, celebrations and special occaisions.
If you’ve never made colourful cupcakes before, don’t be put off thinking they’re harder than they look. They’re actually very easy to make, but are a little bit more time consuming than regular cupcakes.
Simply, use your favourite vanilla cupcake recipe (or use ours below), then separate the batter out into six bowls, (or however many colours you’re using). Add the food colour to each bowl, then spoon a little into each cupcake case. It’s that easy.
Don’t feel you need to use all the colours of the rainbow. You can use a few of your favourite colours and make two or three tone cupcakes.
What food colours are best?
To make sure the cupcakes come out a lovely vibrant colour, you need to use bake safe food colourings. I’ve used the liquid food colours you find in supermarkets in the past, and while they look great as you put the batter in the cases, they fade in the oven which can be a bit disappointing.
The best colours to use are gels or pastes. I use either Wilton colours or Sugarflair pastes – you can find them on Amazon or your local craft store. While the inital outlay might seem a lot – these colours last a long time so are actually quite good value for money.
How can kids help to make easy rainbow cupcakes?
As with all cupcake recipes, kids will get to measure and mix all the ingredients together to make the batter. We also had fun making the rainbow of colours with the cupcake batter before spooning them into the cupcake cases. It’s a job that is a little bit messy and time consuming but a fun one for kids to get their hands messy doing.
Lastly, your kids can practice their piping skills, or if they’re younger and find that too difficult, they can help to decorate the cupcakes. (Because it wouldn’t be a kids cupcake without some sprinkles!)
How to store the cupcakes
These cupcakes will keep in an air tight container for a few days (if they last that long – they don’t in our house!)
If you freeze them, they’ll keep for a few months. If you want to do this, freeze them before you add the frosting. Simply wrap them well in cling film/glad wrap and pop them in a freezer bag.
Defrost them overnight, then add the frosting and sprinkles and enjoy.
Do these work with any cupcake recipe?
Yes. If you’ve got a favourite cake mix, follow the instructions on that, and then add the colours (you can see how we did that below).
We used a simple Victoria sponge type recipe where we weighed the eggs, then added the same weight of flour, butter and sugar. I love the simplicity of this recipe and find it pretty full proof. It’s a great lesson in measuring for kids as well, as it puts them in charge of how much of everything to add, rather than just reading the recipe.
If you don’t have scales, or would rather follow the recipe, i’ve put approximate quantities below (it’s about 150g).
Other fun cupcakes for kids
If you and your kids love making cupcakes, check out some of our other easy cupcake recipes below:
Time: 45 minutes + 25 minutes baking
Serves: 12 cupcakes
3 eggs, large
150g (1 1/4 cup) self raising flour*
150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
150g (2/3 cup) butter/margarine
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the vanilla frosting
250g ( 2 cups) icing sugar
80g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened
25ml whole milk
A few drops of vanilla extract
*If you don’t have any self raising flour, use plain or all-purpse flour and add a teaspoon of baking powder.
How to make rainbow cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 180C / 170C Fan / 350F and prepare your baking tray
Get your little ones to fill a muffin tray with paper cupcake cases. Colourful ones work best if you have them.
Mix the everything together
We used the method where we added the same weight of all our ingredients, so start with your eggs.
Get your kids to crack the eggs into a small bowl. Weigh them, to find out how much of the other ingredients you need to add. For our three eggs, it worked out as around 150g (we rounded up to make it simpler for the kids).
Add your eggs to a large mixing bowl or freestanding mixer.
Next, get your kids to weigh the flour, sugar and butter/margarine and add them to your mixing bowl. If your butter isn’t soft enough, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to make it easier to mix (but be sure not to melt it).
If they are able to, get your little one to spoon the baking powder into the mixing bowl. If they don’t have a steady enough hand yet, let them help you level it off before adding it in.
Add the vanilla extract. Again, if you’re kids are young and can’t manage to pour and hold the measuring spoon, give them a hand.
Mix everything together using your the k-paddle attachment of your mixer or a handheld whisk or wooden spoons) until it is well combined and smooth.
Add the colour to the rainbow cupcakes
To make the rainbow cupcakes, divide the batter mixer into 6 small bowls (or however many colours you are using).It doesn’t matter if this isn’t exact – i just used a large spoon to try to divide it roughly equally. If you end up with a little more of one colour and a little less of another your cupcakes will still look great.
Add a few drops of colour to each bowl and give it a mix until the colour has incorporated.
Get your little ones to spoon a dollop of each colour into each paper case. We used a teaspoon to add just a small amout to each. Don’t worry too much about how even the colours all are – Hannah and Lewis just had fun make a colourful mess! Give the edges of your baking tray a little wipe before you put them in the oven if there is a lot of batter mess.
Bake the rainbow cupcakes
Pop the cupcakes in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t go too brown on top. They ready when the sponge bounces back when you touch it or if a metal skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove from the oven, leave them to cool slightly in the baking tray then turn them out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the icing
Get your toddler to measure the icing sugar (250g) out into a small bowl. Add it carefully to your mixer.
Measure the butter (80g), soften it if you need to for a few seconds in the microwave. Add it to your mixer.
Mix everything together slowly at first (cover it with a tea towel if you want to stop some of the mess), and then on a medium setting until the butter and sugar come together.
While it’s mixing, get your little one to measure the milk (25ml) out into a cup or measuring jug. Add a few drops of vanilla extract.
Slowly add the milk to your icing mixture, stirring it all the time. Once the milk has been incorporated turn the speed up to a high speed and mix it for a few minutes.
The longer you beat it, the lighter and fluffier the icing becomes.
Spread it on to your cupcakes with a spoon or palette knife or piping bag with a large star shaped nozzle attached.
Get your little ones to add some sprinkles on top of your rainbow cupcakes for a nice finishing touch.
Serve and enjoy!
- 3 eggs
- 150 g (3/4 cups) caster sugar
- 150 g (1 1/4 cups) self raising flour
- 150 g (2/3 cups) butter or margarine softened
- 1/5 tsp baking powder
- 1/5 tsp vanilla extract
- Food colouring*
For the vanilla frosting
- 250 g (2 cups) icing sugar
- 80 g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter softened
- 25 ml (1-2 tbsp) whole milk
- A few drops of vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180C/170C Fan / 350F and line your muffin tray with cupcake cases
Mix all the ingredients together
- Weigh the eggs in a small bowl then add them to a freestanding mixer or large mixing bowl.
- Add the same weight of sugar, flour and butter (around 150g), as well as the baking powder and vanilla extract.
- Give it all a good mix until everything it is well mixed into a nice, smooth batter.
Colour the rainbow cupcakes
- To make the rainbow cupcakes, divide the batter mixer into 6 small bowls (or however many colours you are using). Add a few drops of colour to each bowl and give it a mix until the colour is well mixed.
- Spoon a dollop of each colour into each paper case.
Bake the cupcakes
- Pop the cupcakes in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t go too brown on top. They ready when the sponge bounces back when you touch it or if a metal skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven, leave them to cool slightly in the baking tray then turn them out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the icing
- Measure the icing sugar out into a small bowl. Add it carefully to your mixer. Add the softened butter.
- Mix everything together slowly at first and then on a medium setting until the butter and sugar come together.
- While it’s mixing, add the milk and a few drops of vanilla extract.
- Slowly add the milk to your icing mixture, stirring it all the time. Once the milk has been incorporated turn the speed up to a high speed and mix it for a few minutes.
- Spread it on to your cupcakes with a spoon or palette knife. Add sprinkles on top to finish them.
Pin rainbow cupcakes for later
This recipe was originally posted in November 2017 and updated in September 2020.