Make these Easy Rainbow Buttercream Cupcakes by starting with your favorite cupcake recipe or mix then top with a beautiful swirl of brightly colored frosting. Let me show you how simple it is to create this colorful confection!
When the going gets tough, the tough make rainbow cupcakes. Is it just me, or do you find baking extremely therapeutic? I find it so calming to be in my kitchen, baking up a storm. I also find cake decorating to be good therapy as well. Especially when it involves buttercream frosting in all the colors of the rainbow! This recipe is quite simple but oh so satisfying. I love piping swirls of rainbow frosting onto cupcakes. I could do it all day long! Do you want to try it? Let’s bake up a rainbow…
How to Make Easy Rainbow Buttercream Cupcakes
1) Whip up a batch of your favorite cupcakes (I used a cake mix).
2) While your cupcakes are baking, make homemade vanilla buttercream (recipe follows)
3) Divide buttercream equally into 6 separate bowls. Add food coloring to each bowl and mix.
4) Place each bowl of frosting into a pastry bag, then twist and seal.
5) Pipe long stripes of frosting onto a piece of plastic wrap, then roll it up. Twist edges.
6) Cut off one end of the rolled up frosting and place into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1M tip.
Tips on Coloring your Buttercream
2) Add color a little bit at a time until you reach the desired shade.
3) Make sure you use a clean spoon for each color.
4) Stir the color into the buttercream very well, until it’s completely combined.
A Note About Pastry Bags
I order mine in bulk from Amazon. I like to used large tipless pastry bags that come in a box of 100. You don’t need a pastry tip for these if you just need a round opening on the bag. You can cut the desired size, whether it’s for piping a tiny line of frosting or a much thicker amount which is needed for this recipe.
How to Make a Rainbow Frosting Tube
This photo shows the piped lines of frosting on the plastic wrap. Once I piped all of the colors onto the plastic wrap, then I rolled it up into a big cigar like shape and twisted the ends to hold the icing in.
Now for the fun part! (I wish I had a photo of this step. Forgive me, I was too excited to stop and take a picture.) Place your rainbow frosting tube or “cigar” into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1M tip. Then pipe away until your heart’s content. The cupcake in the above photo has a lot more frosting than I would normally use, but I just wanted to do one in a video to see how pretty the frosting colors looked. You can see that video on my new TikTok account. Search for Mom Loves Baking.
There are several different piping techniques you can try, all with the same pastry tip – a 1M! Just do a little experimenting on a paper towel first to see how it feels and to figure out which technique you prefer. Which one is your favorite?
I personally love this close-up shot of the vibrant colored frosting swirl.
“Life is short. Eat dessert first.” – Jacques Torres
I hope you enjoy making these Easy Rainbow Buttercream Cupcakes as much as I do.
Tools for success
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Easy Rainbow Buttercream Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
- 1 box cake mix of choice prepared according to package instructions
For the frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar 16 ounces
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla flavoring I use clear so it doesn't interfere with the color
For the cupcakes
- Prepare cake mix batter according to package instructions and bake as directed. I lined two 12-cup muffins pans with cupcake liners and made 20 cupcakes (I've found that when you make 24 cupcakes from a cake mix, they come out too small). Let cool.
For the frosting
- Beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Add powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Note: If the frosting is too thick, you can add a little more cream. Just add one tablespoon at a time, then mix thoroughly until you get the consistency you like.
- To color the frosting: Divide buttercream into 6 medium bowls (like the size of a cereal bowl) and color each with the desired food coloring. I made red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple frosting using food coloring gels which I ordered online. Using traditional food coloring from the grocery store will not result in the vibrant colors you see in the photos of these cupcakes.
Decorating the cupcakes
- Place each frosting color into a tipless pastry bag, cut a small corner and pipe lines of buttercream onto a large piece of plastic wrap placed on your counter. Roll up the plastic wrap into a cigar like shape and twist the ends. Cut off one end and place into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1M tip. Pipe swirls of rainbow frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week. As in any baked goods, the taste is the best the first day.
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All text and images © Lise Ode for Mom Loves Baking. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate. This post may contain affiliate links.