How to Make Bright Rainbow Cupcakes

rainbow cupcakes

Rainbow cakes are a popular dessert trend at the moment. I’ve been making them for years and the key to a bright, pretty cake is in the right gel colors and layering technique.

These simple steps will help you “bake a rainbow” for an upcoming St. Patrick’s Day party, birthday or special event!


This is what I used for two dozen cupcakes:
7 cups of vanilla cake batter
6 small bowls
24 white cupcake liners
6 Wilton piping bags
Duff brand Electric Color Gels
Wilton brand icing colors in Lemon Yellow and Orange
Vanilla buttercream icing


Step 1:

Divide the cake batter evenly into the bowls.


Step 2:

Use the color gels to add deep color to each bowl of cake batter and mix well. TIP: Kids love to help with this part of the process!


Step 3:
The bowls of batter will look like this after you have colored them. I use the pink in place of red in my rainbow cupcakes.


Step 4:
Transfer the colored batter into the piping bags.

TIP: Use a tall glass to hold the piping bag open while you pour each batter inside.


Step 5:
Once in the piping bags, your batter will look like this. I have special closures for my bags to cut down on mess. You could use rubber bands if you don’t have these.


Step 6:

Snip the end off of only one piping bag at a time. Gently pipe the batter in the cupcake liners in thin layers being careful not to disturb each layer below. Pipe them in this order: Purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and pink.





Step 7:

The rainbow cupcakes look like this after they are done baking. I let them sit in the cupcake pan for ten minutes before removing them.


Step 8:

Let the cupcakes cool thoroughly before adding your buttercream. I like these white liners because you can see the rainbow of colors through them!


Step 9:
Add your icing and decorations and enjoy these rainbow cupcakes at your next special event!

st. patrick's day cupcakes

Happy caking!


  1. Hi, is it alright to do the color arrangement of the batter the other way around like blue or green on top because the birthday celebrant is a boy… I am just worried that if I do this it might end up messy or won’t look good… Thank you in advance?

  2. Hello!! Ive done my daugthers cake this way last year and am considering switching things up for my youngest this year by making cupcakes to go along with her my little pony themed party. Could i do this with a strawberry cake batter?

  3. Thanks for sharing this great recipe (and doing such a great job of explaining it :)). I’m sure the results are much better with batter in icing bags, but I’m considering simply spooning the batter in…should work almost as well, right? Have you tried that? Thank you.

  4. hi I was hoping I can make this recipe: is there the recipe for the 7 cups of vanilla cake batter? I am a noob in baking…. if it’s already mentioned in the website, may I please have the link to it? thank you and loving the site! Learning heaps already <3

    • Hi Wendy. My recipe just bakes that way. It is a white almond sour cream cake. If you look up “WASC” recipes for short, you will find tons of great variations 🙂

  5. I made these cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday a few years back and all of the kids loved them. Super fun to make with the kids, too!


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