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How To Bake Rainbow Cupcakes With Food Colouring And Organic Dye

Updated on February 10, 2014
Rainbow cupcakes with white frosting
Rainbow cupcakes with white frosting | Source

What You Will Need

  • 1 box or packet of white cake mix. Ingredients for the cake mix will be provided on the back of the packet.
  • 1 large bowl for cake mix.
  • Food colouring. You can purchase these in any local supermarket. If you wish to make your own food colouring or prefer to create your own organic food colouring, please see the table below.
  • 6 separate small bowls and 6 different spoons for food colouring.
  • Cupcake or muffin liners.
  • Frosting ( optional )
  • Decorations ( optional ).

Rainbow cupcakes are a beautiful and unique way of creating cupcakes. They are especially great for a child's birthday party or just when you want to add a bit of colour to your baking. The good thing about this is, rainbow cupcakes are quite easy to create and the colour possibilities and schemes are almost endless.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to make Rainbow cupcakes using synthetic food dyes ( which can be purchased in almost any supermarket ) or by using vegetables and juices to make organic and chemical-free dyes for those who wish to take a healthier approach.

Please note that you do not need to use pre-packaged cake mix and frosting for this recipe. If you have your own cake or cupcake recipe that you wish to follow, please feel free to do so!

Rainbow cupcake with colours placed at random.
Rainbow cupcake with colours placed at random. | Source

Make Your Own Food Dye

# Of Red Drops
# Of Yellow Drops
# Of Blue Drops
Note: you will need to have at least purchased Red, Yellow, and Blue dyes to create these colours.

Tips To Consider

  • Take caution when mixing food dyes. They can be very messy and will stain skin and clothes very easily.
  • To make an Aquamarine colour, mix more drops of blue food colouring to green.
  • To make a Lime green colour, mix more drops of yellow to green food colouring.
  • To make a Lavender colour, mix no more than drop of red to dye the batter pink first. Afterwards, mix in drops of blue ( starting with one drop at a time ) until desired colour has been reached.

How To Make Organic Food Dye

Vegetable / Ingredient
Beet Juice / Strawberries
Boil beets in very little water / or blend strawberries and strain the liquid.
Carrot Juice
Blend carrots and strain the liquid.
Turmeric Powder
Boil 1 cup of water. Add small amount of powder and mix
Liquid Chlorophyll / Spinach Juice
Purchase liquid chlorophyll at a health store. Purchase spinach juice at a supermarket.
Red Cabbage
Chop and boil for 1/2 hour. Strain liquid. Slowly add baking soda to the liquid.
Red Cabbage
Chop and boil for 1/2 hour. Strain cabbage and use liquid.

Tips To Consider

  • Try to use as little of the ingredients needed as possible. Some ingredients may alter the taste of the cupcakes.
  • You do not need to chop whole heads of lettuce, carrot juice, etc when making dyes. A few leaves and a bit of chopped up carrot will do.
  • Be careful when making dyes ( especially with Turmeric Powder ) as dyes have a tendency to stain skin and clothes very easily.
  • Store dyes in glass containers with a tight lid. They will usually keep for about six months.
  • To lighten colours, slowly add in water until the desired shade is reached.

Rainbow Batter
Rainbow Batter | Source

Step 1

Creating Batter

  1. Follow instructions on box or packet of white cake mix.
  2. One batter is fully mixed in, evenly distribute into different bowls in preparation for the dyeing process. I recommend spooning 1/2 a cup of batter into each bowl until it is all used up.
  3. Add in food colouring. If you own every colour that you wish to use, add two drops of food colouring into each bowl. Adding less with result in pastel colours. Adding more will result in darker colours. Those using organic home made dyes should use no more than two drops as well to avoid altering the taste. Follow instructions provided in the table above if you need to create secondary colours.

Smooth out batter by gently shaking pan or using a knife
Smooth out batter by gently shaking pan or using a knife | Source
For cupcakes with a random colour scheme, spoon different colours in at different times and do not even out.
For cupcakes with a random colour scheme, spoon different colours in at different times and do not even out. | Source

Step 2


  1. Once you are happy with your colours, prepare your baking trays by lining them with cupcake or muffin holders.
  2. Carefully spoon batter into cupcake holders. I recommend starting with 2 tbsp in each holder until all of one colour is used up.
  3. Gently shake the baking tray or use a knife to smooth out batter. You do not have to do this. If you choose not to, colours will be slightly uneven but they will still be beautiful.

For rainbow cupcakes, follow these instructions when adding batter or place them in reverse order:

  • Start off with purple first.
  • Add blue
  • Add green
  • Add yellow
  • Add orange.
  • The final colour to be added should be red.

For cupcakes with a random colour scheme, add batter in any order that you wish.

Rainbow cupcakes fresh out of the oven.
Rainbow cupcakes fresh out of the oven. | Source

Step 3


Although Rainbow Cupcakes are beautiful on their own, you may wish to add some creative decorations to them to fully boost their 'wow' factor. The three different styles of decorating we are going to cover are Rainbow Sky, Shimmer, and Rainbow Swirl Icing.

Rainbow Sky Cupcakes
Rainbow Sky Cupcakes | Source

Rainbow Sky

  • Purchase sour mats candy. Check your local sweet shops.
  • You can use small marshmallows or vanilla frosting for clouds.
  1. Mix in one drop of blue food colouring to vanilla icing to dye it a light blue colour.
  2. Place marshmallows or drops of vanilla frosting on top of blue icing. Be careful to not shift it around too much or else it will smear.
  3. Place sour mats candy in between marshmallows or frosting as seen in the image to the right.

Glitter dust frosting on top of purple frosting with edible beads
Glitter dust frosting on top of purple frosting with edible beads | Source

Shimmer Cupcakes

  • Purchase edible glitter dust from a local supermarket.
  • Frosting can either be coloured with one colour or you can make multiple colours. It is completely up to you. Glitter dust can also be purchased in multiple colours.
  • Carefully sprinkle glitter on top of frosted cupcakes until you are happy with your results.
  • Decorate with edible beads or leave them as they are.

Rainbow Swirl Icing
Rainbow Swirl Icing | Source
Rainbow Swirl Icing dabbed on top of cupcakes
Rainbow Swirl Icing dabbed on top of cupcakes | Source

Rainbow Swirl Frosting

You will need a Piping Bag and a Piping Tip for this decoration. You may also need to cut a hole into the end of your piping bag first that is big enough to fit your tip.

  • Separate frosting into different bowls depending on how many colours you wish to create. Frosting does not have to be even. Colour frosting using food colouring.
  • Stack frosting into piping bag and squeeze onto top of cupcakes. You can either swirl the frosting or dab it as seen in the images on the right.
  • Add sprinkles or leave cupcakes as they are. Either way, they are extremely beautiful!


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    • Kasja 00 profile image

      Kasja 00 4 years ago from London

      Thank you. They do look tempting and delicious don't they :)?

      I've made these quite a few times and get excited over the results every time. Sometimes, I think I get more excited than the children!

    • Ceres Schwarz profile image

      Ceres Schwarz 4 years ago

      This recipe for rainbow cupcakes looks good. The images of all the cupcakes really make them look very tasty and delicious. Now I want to have some. These cupcakes are so colorful and they do look unique and different from the regular cupcakes that just come in one color.


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