Rainbow Cupcakes

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We had so much fun making these rainbow cupcakes, figuring out how to layer our cake batter colors, and just how adorable these turned out. You could use them for a whole host of different occasions- birthdays, pride celebrations, or St. Patrick’s Day!

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Rainbow Cupcakes

Rainbow Themed Cupcakes

We used a white cake mix boxed mix for this- the hard part comes in getting the colors right and layered, so we kept things easy with our batter. Than, we topped them with our favorite cream cheese frosting, rainbow airheads candy, and miniature marshmallows. Let’s dive in to how they are made.

Rainbow Cupcake Ingredients

For the full ingredients list-

  • 16 oz. box of white cake mix + ingredients on the back (water, oil, eggs)
  • Rainbow of gel food coloring- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½  tsp. Vanilla
  • Approx. 72 miniature marshmallows
  • 12 pieces of airheads extremes rainbow berry candy
  • 12 cupcake liners (we used white)

To make them, we start with the cupcakes, and getting those layered just right. There’s kind of a technique to making these layers, so let’s talk about it.

How to Make Rainbow Layered Cupcakes

Start by preparing your box mix white cake according to the directions, and preheating your oven according to the box, probably 350 degrees.

Cake batter

Then, you’ll divide your batter equally into 6 smaller bowls. You’ll turn each bowl into a different color of batter! I highly recommend using gel food coloring for this- you just get way deeper color than when using regular food coloring.

dyed cake batter

Once all of your colors are prepared, you can add your cupcake liners to your tin and get ready to layer that batter. Here are a few important things to know-

  • You’ll work backwards adding your batter to your cupcake tins- starting with purple, then blue, green, yellow, orange, red.
  • Your goal is to make even layers of each color. If you pool too much of one color it will sink down and alter your layers. A little of this is okay but it can quickly get out of hand.
  • We did this by using piping bags, and drawing a circle around the outside edge of the cupcake liner and filling it in. It’s best to have everything prepared so you can work quickly.

So, you’ll add your colored batter to your piping bags and get to work on your layer. You’ll add about 1 1/2 tbsp, of each color to the cupcake liners, but there’s no real good way to measure and still get your even layers so you’ll want to eyeball it and make sure you leave room for all 6 colors. Remember, cupcake liners are usually only filled about 3/4 of the way, too, so your cupcakes have some room to puff up.

layering cake batter

Once all of your layers are completed, carefully transfer the cupcakes to the oven to bake, according to box directions. Once the cupcakes are cooked and cooled completely you are ready to frost!

Here’s how our layers came out-

inside of rainbow cupcakes

You can see that I was a little heavy handed with the red, which is why it sank into the cupcake a bit, but overall I was super happy with how these came out and I can’t wait to try more cupcake coloring techniques.

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Rainbow Cupcakes Toppings

To do your toppings for your rainbow cupcakes, you’ll start by making your frosting, here’s what you’ll need.

We love this frosting because it makes for some really pretty cupcakes, and its delicious! Here’s how to make it-

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened cream cheese and powdered sugar, mixing until well combined. Add vanilla, and mix again to incorporate.
  2. In a separate large bowl, beat heavy whipping cream until it thickens and begins to form peaks. This will take a couple of minutes. Might be best to break out the stand mixer! My husband got me this KitchenAid mixer for Christmas and its been a life saver!
  3. Fold the heavy whipping cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Then, using a frosting piping bag and tip, frost cupcakes. For the candy rainbows, take your airheads rainbow candies and trim about 1 inch off of each of them. Take one candy per cupcake and make your rainbow shape, pressing the ends into your frosting. Add 3 marshmallows to the bottoms of each side of your rainbows.

Rainbow Cupcakes

Such cute rainbow cupcakes! I can’t handle it.

When you are making your Rainbow Cupcakes, these supplies might come in handy-

For a printable version of this recipe, see below-

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Rainbow Cupcakes

Rainbow Cupcakes

Adorable and delicious rainbow layered cupcakes with rainbow toppings made from candy and marshmallows!

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


  • 16 oz. box of white cake mix + ingredients on the back (water, oil, eggs)
  • Rainbow of gel food coloring- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla
  • Approx. 72 miniature marshmallows
  • 12 pieces of airheads extremes rainbow berry candy
  • 12 cupcake liners (we used white)


    1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with your cupcake liners.
    2. Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box.
    3. Divide the cake batter evenly between 6 different bowls (or the same number as the different colors you are making).
    4. To each bowl add your gel food coloring- it must be gel color to get the vibrant cakes. Do one bowl red, one orange, one yellow, one green, one blue, one purple, or whatever combination you like.
    5. Stir the cake batter well to incorporate the colors and add additional color if needed.
    6. To add the batter to your cupcake liners, you’ll want to spoon the batter into a ziploc bag or a frosting piping bag. Cut off the tip of the bag to pipe the batter into the liners, beginning with the last color first, purple.
    7. You want to make a flat surface of your layered colors, so I did this by going around the outside and then quickly filling in the center, making sure not to overload the batter in any certain spot. You want just a thin layer of each color so that they’ll all fit into the cupcake liners. Work backwards, starting with purple, then blue, green, yellow, orange, red.
    8. Repeat this process for the remaining colors creating even layers of batter.
    9. Bake the cupcakes according to the box directions.
    10. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
    11. To make the frosting, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together until combined. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
    12. In a separate bowl, whip the whip cream with your mixture until it is fluffy and peaks begin to form.
    13. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
    14. Add your frosting to a piping bag prepared with your favorite frosting tip.
    15. Add your frosting to your cupcakes.
    16. Take your airheads rainbow candy, and trim about 1 inch off of each one with scissors or a knife.
    17. Fold the rainbow candies and press them into your cupcake frosting.
    18. Finish by adding 3 miniature marshmallows to the ends of both sides of your rainbows.
    19. Enjoy! Be sure to refrigerate any leftover cupcakes, as this frosting recipe cannot be left out at room temperature.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cupcake

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 399

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Rainbow Cupcakes

You might also like these fun Pastel Layered Cupcakes we made for Easter!

And, these Rainbow Jello Shots!

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