Rainbow Cupcakes with Vanilla Cloud Frosting

Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.

Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.

Rainbow Cupcakes have been a looooooong time in the making for this blog. They are one of my absolute favorite desserts to make which most people who know me would immediately guess. When I would make surprise cakes or birthday cakes for my favorite clients I would usually make them towering rainbow cakes. In fact, these rainbow cupcakes have been on the calendar for me since before I even started this blog 10 whole months ago (I can’t believe it has been 10 months already!) and I can’t think of a better way to toss aside all the hearts, pink and cupid and celebrate the month of March.

Let’s just get this out of the way ahead of time… yes, these cupcakes have food coloring. No, I don’t normally use food coloring in recipes and yes, I know it isn’t healthy/good for you/GMO free/it kills baby seals and kittens around the world I’m sure. 99% of the things I make/bake in our house are made with whole foods, not processed or minimally processed and be it important or not, organic. Which is exactly why I have no qualms about making these gorgeous cupcakes for us to enjoy the one time a year that we do. And yes I gave them to the little ones too. But c’mon, if you were a kid, wouldn’t this make you smile? Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.I’m not even a kid and I am grinning as I am typing up this post. Brace yourself for more photos than I normally include, I loved so many of these photos!

When we had our oldest we made the nursery a rainbow theme, the first birthday party was rainbow sprinkles themed and I am proud to say I’m raising rainbow obsessed little kids (one of whom sleeps in a rainbow-ed out four post bed with rainbow curtains and a soon to be added rainbow duvet, pillows and a giant cloud headboard.  So like I said, our house, rainbow friendly and definitely rainbow cupcakes friendly.

Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.

The other part of this recipe that I adore is how easy it is in spite of the lack of cake mix. The batter is a delicious white vanilla cake base with gel food coloring to brighten things up and the cloud-like frosting is made with clear vanilla and lots and lots of butter.

A few tips/tricks for these awesome Rainbow Cupcakes just to make your lives a bit easier since there’s quite a few little bowls of batter:

  • Don’t bother weighing out the batter to ensure it is evenly dispersed. Use a 1 cup measure and any little bit left over can be extra of your favorite color. This isn’t a cake, so if one layer is a bit more prominent in some, no big deal. 🙂
  • If you would like to bake these without the cupcake wrappers, I highly recommend a silicone muffin tin.
  • Ziploc bags! I pipe them into the muffin tins with ziploc bags to make life SO much easier than spooning and spreading each layer.
  • Clear vanilla keeps your frosting a bright white! If you want blindingly white frosting swap out your butter for shortening. Butter tastes better though.
  • Don’t overbake, you don’t want the tops turning brown.
  • Use a large closed star decorating tip for your frosting.

 

Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.

Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.
4.76 from 33 votes
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Rainbow Cupcakes with Vanilla Cloud Frosting

Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Rainbow Cupcakes with Vanilla Cloud Frosting
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 24 cupcakes
Calories 363 kcal
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter , softened
  • 2 1/3 cups sugar
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk , warmed for 30 sec in microwave to bring to room temp
  • Rainbow colors of Gel food coloring
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar , sifted
  • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla (if you use normal vanilla it will not be as white, but will be just as delicious)
  • tiny pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In your stand mixer cream the butter and sugar together until much lighter in color, like a easter-y spring yellow (2-3 minutes).

  3. Add in the egg whites and vanilla until totally combined.
  4. Add the salt and baking powder to the flour.
  5. Add in the dry ingredients and the milk alternating 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of milk at a time.
  6. Add one cup of the batter to 6 different bowls.
  7. Color each bowl with your gel food coloring in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
  8. Mix until the colors are fully combined.
  9. Your choice here: Spoon or ziploc bags.
  10. Either add the batter to 6 sandwich size ziploc bags and pipe just enough to make a thin layer of each color (maybe 1/4 inch tall batter layers)
  11. OR
  12. with a small spoon, spoon just under a tablespoon of batter into each cup.
  13. Start with purple, then blue, then green, then yellow, then orange and finally red.
  14. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

  15. To make the frosting:
  16. Whip the butter in your stand mixer with your paddle attachment(I LOVE LOVE LOVE this one with a built in scraper) until you see the butter is lighter in color (1 minute).
  17. Add in the vanilla.
  18. Add in the powdered sugar in 1 cup increments with the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, ending with powdered sugar.
  19. Mix on high for 1 minute after each addition.
  20. Your frosting should be SUPER light and fluffy, just like a delicious vanilla cloud.
  21. Using a closed star tip and decorating bag, pipe your frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.

Recipe Notes

Cake recipe adapted from Whisk Kid, Buttercream recipe adapted from Add A Pinch.

Nutrition Facts
Rainbow Cupcakes with Vanilla Cloud Frosting
Amount Per Serving
Calories 363 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Cholesterol 42mg14%
Sodium 202mg9%
Potassium 121mg3%
Carbohydrates 52g17%
Sugar 40g44%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 500IU10%
Calcium 56mg6%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.

Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.
Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.
Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.
Rainbow Cupcakes with fluffy cloud-like vanilla frosting that is guaranteed to make anyone who sees them smile. No cake mix, still EASY.

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. I was looking for gluten free version of rainbow cupcakes for my daughters 10th birthday and this came up in my search because someone asked if they could use almond flour to make this recipe gf. I was so intrigued by this recipe and the comments I decided to give it a try replacing the four with Bob Mills 1 to 1 cup gf flour (FYI not safe for nut allergy).
    As we started to split the batter into separate bowls to add food coloring the batter didn’t look quite right, I thought I probably should of mixed it a little longer, as some gf recipes call for a little added mixing time. The process of layering the batter in the cupcake liners was time consuming and I was wishing I did not start this project, but we persevered. I am so glad we did! The cupcakes were amazing and both of my daughters were ecstatic to break open the cupcakes and see the layers of color. I was also very happy with the results. Then we made the frosting following the directions exactly and did not needing to tinker with adjustments of more milk or sugar. My daughters friend tried one and said “how did you make this? It is the best frosting I have had.”
    I do not usually add comments to blogs but I had to let others who need to bake gluten free that this recipe was a winner. In addition 2 days later the cupcakes were as moist as when they came out of the oven, which is another downfall of gf baking things don’t have the same shelf like, you need to bake and eat or bake and freeze or it gets dry and crumbly!

  2. i really loved this recipe,

    my only complain is it sais it takes 50 minutes, however it took me 1.5 hours

  3. I tried making this recipe and the cupcakes did look pretty, but my icing was VERY runny. I did not want to add more sugar because it was already so sweet. The flavor of the cupcake was ok otherwise, and the cupcake looked pretty. I did add food coloring to the icing to try and make them even more prideful, but even before that the icing was runny. Next time I might look at not adding any milk. I brought them in to work and people got really excited so I guess things worked out ok in the end. Despite it not being a complicated recipe it was still very tiring in how long it took to get all the colors right and then into the cupcake pans.

  4. Hello, dear.
    I’m just a simple queer young adult planning ahead for next Pride. They surely look rainbow, but I have one concern. Won’t the batter mix and the colours bleed into each other? How do you do that? Otherwise, it’s probably safe to say I’ll pin this. 🙂
    Thanks in advance,
    Yuna McHill

    1. I used a gentle touch when piping in the batter and didn’t have any issue with them bleeding. Definitely give it a try!!

  5. This is the best homemade cupcake recipe I’ve made. Always a crowd pleaser. Any tips on how to convert this to a cake instead of cupcakes? Same baking temp, just longer in the oven? TIA.

  6. Hi! I want to make these for my son’s 4th birthday but was wondering if I could use liquid egg whites instead of separating them myself (I’m horrible at that!!) and if so, how much would I use? Thank you!

    1. Both the cake and the frosting require 1 cup of softened butter each. They’re both listed in the ingredient list. Enjoy!

      1. It depends on how vibrant you want the color. Start with a few drops and add until it reaches the shade you want. 🙂

  7. Tried these cupcakes a little while ago but they are without a doubt the best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten. So light and fluffy and just great all around. Definitely going to use this recipe again.

  8. These cupcakes are very pretty but incredibly bland and the frosting is overly sweet would not make again. They were also a little dry and tough but that could be from over mixing/baking on my part. Very time consuming to make.

  9. The cupcakes turned out amazing!!! But the instructions were a little hard to understand. I might know because I’m 21and I needed a rainbow recipe.

    1. If you click on metrics below the ingredient list, it’ll change it to grams. 🙂 It’s highlighted in green. Enjoy!

  10. These look amazing. Just double checking that you can use premade cake mix and still follow the directions with layering and frosting. I tried to look through the comments and didn’t see how it turned out with cake mix. Or is using cake mix a terrible idea? Trying to save a little time in the preparation for my son’s birthday party. Thanks!

    1. I’ve not tried it but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in a pinch. Let me know how they turn out if you decide to try. Thanks!

  11. I LOVE these cupcakes! They are soooooo amazing and delicious. I am a 13 year old girl scout and I have made these cupcakes for my gs events twice now. One thing I did notice was that I can only get 21 regular sized cupcakes and I get 3 half cupcakes. That is most likely just me though but I just wanted to put it out there Incase anyone else has the same issue. Thank you for sharing this recipe!!!!???

    1. What is the best way to store these? I’m making them the day before my daughters birthday…should I refrigerate them or can I leave them at room temp the night before?

      1. I would make the cupcakes ahead of time and leave them out but covered (not in the fridge). You can always make the frosting ahead of time but frost the cupcakes the day of by leaving it in the piping bag in the fridge. Then in the morning take out the icing 30 minutes before you’re ready to go, snip off the end and ice. I even sometimes just roll the icing bag (assuming you haven’t snipped the end and you’ve rubber banded the end of it) on the counter to soften it faster. Don’t microwave or heat the icing to speed up the warming though. Enjoy!

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