Rainbow Bright Cupcakes

Rainbow Cupcakes

March is here and this weekend I thought I would work on something cute and sweet for St. Patrick’s Day. Shamrocks, leprechauns, pots of gold, maybe? But then I was bored … none of those things really inspired me for some reason. I just wasn’t feeling green treats so much I guess. Instead I was feeling full of color. So I decided on rainbows … and cupcakes … minus the pots of gold at the end.

Mr. Sprinkles

I was also feeling like rainbow colored sprinkles … in my cupcakes.

I love these delicate jimmies by Mr. Sprinkles. (I love these even better, but the pastel colors aren’t available anymore. I’m still very upset about it. I could use them forever. For everything.)

Oh well, the rainbow sprinkles will work great for this bright little cupcake.

Rainbow Sprinkles

You’ll just need a couple. ; )

Cupcake Batter

Stir them in the batter and bake away.

Rainbow Sprinkles Cupcake

Taste the rainbow.

Cupcakes … Yum!

Rainbow Cupcakes

And so bright and cheery.

But for this project we need sugar cookies, too… so we can easily cut out rainbows to the right round size and shape.

Cookie Cutouts

Use two different size circle cutters for the cookies. I used a 2-1/4-inch round cutter and the bottom end of a 1M Wilton decorating tip to cut out the center.

But any round sharp-edged shapes you have on hand can work. Try using the cap to your sprinkles containers for instance. More on that below…

Cookie Cutouts

So to make the rainbows, I cut 2-1/4-inch circles, cut out the centers and then just cut off the bottoms so they could stand easily in frosting.

In the pic above, I tried two different center sizes. I liked the larger opening better.

After the cookies are baked and cooled, they can be covered with fondant.


Roll out white fondant and then cut out circles using the same size round cutters used for the cookies. Apply a thin layer of frosting to the top of the cookie and then place the fondant shapes right on top to secure.

Painting Rainbows

Cut off any excess so your fondant shape matches your rainbow cookie shape.

And then it’s time to color. The fun part. For me anyway. I’m much better with a pen than directing icing from a tip in a smooth line, so this is right up my alley. Plus it’s pretty quick and less messy.

I used these Americolor Gourmet Writing Pens that I often use on pops. They work really great on fondant, so I think you’ll have fun with them.


First, make marks for each color so you can get a sense of how thick the lines need to be so each color is equal.

Start with red on the outside and draw even lines with each color until you reach the center.

Pretty cute.

Rainbow Cupcakes

But even cuter in the clouds.

Frosting clouds

To make the frosting look puffy, use a decorating bag fitted with an Ateco 807 tip and pipe large random dots of frosting around the edge of the cupcake. Use a knife to smooth out the sides and push the frosting up slightly so it looks like the clouds are bursting out of the cupcake liner.

Sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top so the frosting looks fluffier … plus it will create a barrier so you can gently shape the clouds. Pat down any peaks with your fingertip and use a toothpick to help define the clouds.

Rainbow Cupcakes

Fluffy and puffy.

Cookie Cutouts

So these are some smaller circles I also made sugar cookies with. I used the bottom of a sprinkles cap because I didn’t have the right size cutter and for the center, I used the top of the Ateco 807 decorating tip.

I originally thought these would be the cupcake rainbow toppers, but they were just too small, so I did something else with them.

Rainbow Cookies

See… too little. They’d be great on mini cupcakes though.

After seeing how cute the puffy clouds on the cupcakes looked, I wanted to use them on the cookies, too.

So, I colored in about 2/3 of the rainbow.

Rainbow Cookies

And added frosting to the rest using the same technique for the cupcakes.

Too cute.

Rainbow Bright Cupcakes
Yield: Two Dozen Cupcakes

Rainbow Bright Cupcakes



  • 2-2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • extra powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tin with baking cups.
  2. Sift flour, sugar and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and then mix together on low.
  3. In another bowl, stir egg whites, milk and vanilla together.
  4. Add butter to the flour mixture and mix together. As it starts to combine, slowly pour the milk mixture in and mix until completely combined. Stir in rainbow sprinkles.
  5. Fill baking cups a little more than halfway. Bake for about 16 minutes or until done. Remove and cool. Makes about 24 cupcakes.
  6. For frosting, beat butter, shortening and vanilla together. Add sugar slowly and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides and add milk. Mix until smooth and creamy.


Note: Double the recipe if you will be frosting all 24 cupcakes like the pictures above, because I piled it on.

To decorate, you’ll also need:

  • 24 sugar cookies – You can use the recipe from this post. 1/2 of the dough will make about two dozen cookies and you can freeze the rest for another time. Note: You can also make and decorate the cookies ahead of time.
  • 2 1/4 inch cutter and Wilton 1M icing tip or similar size round cutters
  • Fondant
  • Americolor Gourmet Writing Pens
  • Ateco 807 or Wilton 1M Tip with decorator bag and coupler to pipe the frosting
  • Toothpicks

Rainbow Cupcakes

And just so you can get a little more of a St. Patrick’s Day feel with these… look how just changing the background makes a difference. Sprinkle a few Rolos candies or gold wrapped chocolate coins on the tabletop and you’ll be set for the seventeenth.

Enjoy! I hope you brighten someone’s day with these.

P.S. What’s your favorite St. Patrick’s Day sweet? Mine is probably these simple and addictive little truffles. As a matter of fact, I may need to go make some right now.

Update: I found these awesome gold wrapped chocolate coins at the Fresh Market this weekend. They’d look great with these cupcakes.

Chocolate Gold Coins

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

87 comments on “Rainbow Bright Cupcakes”

  1. These are so cute. You’re such a creative person. These cupcakes of yours surely know how to make a bright day!

  2. Andrea – Sorry about that. Yes beat butter, shortening and vanilla together. I’ll fix that above. Thanks!

  3.  i have a question about the Frosting.. there is 1/2 cup shortening listed in the ingredients, but no mention of it in the directions… should I use it or not?

  4. Awsome cupcakes

  5. These are so adorable, and sound delicious as well. I do have a question though about the Frosting.. there is 1/2 cup shortening listed in the ingredients, but no mention of it in the Directions?? Don’t wanna mess ’em up!

  6. Okay this is just so stinking cute!

  7. These Rainbow cupcakes look beyond good! Plus, I think they’re so fun! Gonna share this on my fb blog page. Happy baking!


  8. These are so cute! I love the cloud frosting the most it looks like actual clouds!

  9. so cute :)

  10. I’ve a real problem with buttercream!!! whenever I make it , it turns up to be granulated and too sweet!!! I don’t know where the problem is !! the type of powdered sugar I use? or the mixer? (I use a hand electric mixer)

  11. These are sooooo cute!

  12. I wish i could get such cute sprinkles in Poland :(

  13. Wonderful presentation and taught in a very great manner to make us understand step by step…
    Just a question, being vegetarians, we dont eat egg, what can we use instead to get similar results…

  14. I love the idea of the colored sprinkels inside the cupcake! So simple and cute :)
    Have just discovered your blog and following it now :D Really amazing ideas around here :) Thanks, take care!

  15. Such a cute idea for St Patty’s Day!

    Carrie of Bella Cupcake Couture

  16. This looks so yummy just like the ones in the new app I downloaded in my celphone, you can visit for some tips if you feel like it :)

  17. I love how you come up with such creative ideas — ADORABLE!

  18. Oh these are so cute, your rainbows look amazing!

  19. These are so cute! I love them!

  20. WAOW! that’s what my daughter said when I showed her your blog!
    We made some pirates cakepops for my son’s birthday this week. I put a link to your blog on mine… I’m sure you’ll see some more French likers soon.

  21. You really are so creative. The cupcakes are cute but the cloud cookies! Just sooo cute. They’re perfect : )

  22. These are too adorable!!! I wonder if there’s a way to make a template for the rainbow colors – I would never be able to have such a steady hand with the colored pens!

  23. These are too adorable!!! I wonder if there’s a way to make a template for the rainbow colors – I would never be able to have such a steady hand with the colored pens!

  24. magically delicious :)

  25. Ooooh, love these! So so pretty. There’s gold at the end of that rainbow for sure.

  26. Bakerella, you are amazing!
    I don’t have a favorite St. Pat try’s day treat, but these definitely put a smile on my face.
    I love your genuine creativity.

  27. Love the “cloudy” frosting and the clever approach of coloring in the rainbow bands on the fondant!

  28. It’s been said, but not only are these incredibly cute, but you have MAD coloring skillz. :)

  29. Really cute. Thanks for the rainbow batter trick, I’m definitely going to do this!

    Hope you’re having a nice day.


  30. So cute! I love that the rainbows are cookies. And how you made the cloud frosting. You are so creative! :)

  31. So cute. Love your creative streak. Question: I have a recipe for frosting that calls for 4 cups of powdered sugar which I assumed was equivalent to 1 pound. Just to make sure I googled and guess what — all kinds of different answers. (The explanation on the box confused me even more. Sounds like it would be 1/4 cup less then 4 cups.) What do you use. Same problem with AP flour. I’m always concerned when I make a cake that the flour is measured correctly. The given weight is all over the map too. 4 oz. in one cup? 5 oz.? Help! p.s. I bought a scale when something I made tasted off and I thought maybe I’d measured wrong. In Europe recipes are in weight rather than volume and it sounds like a more accurate system. How do you measure flour? sugar? Thanks!

  32. These are absolutely adorable. I’ve been trying to think of ways to make rainbow cupcakes – finding rainbow colored strip candy and such, but making them out of cookies is so much better!

  33. I baked them and oh my god I felt like I was in heaven thanks bakerella!!:)

  34. Thanks!

    Just curious – why use salted butter instead of unsalted?

  35. These are so pretty and creative! Lovely!

  36. Thanks everyone!!!

    Decadent Diva – Giant YAY! So glad they enjoyed the toy.

    Linsey – I leave it out of the fridge.

    icakepops & Winnie – love how the p. sugar makes them look softer. Sometimes the frosting can be shiny.

    Marica – Thanks

    Jo and Sue – Sounds great!

    Thanks Bridge!

    Lantana – not crazy

    Brenda – I was a professional colorer.

    Seanna Lea – Bridget from Bakeat350 just made some of those.

    The vanilla bean – I don’t think so

    Rachel – it does sound yummy.

  37. Love these but have a few tips on the icing.. I use 3/4 cup unsalted butter and only a 1/4 cup of shortening. I also use 10% cream instead of milk ane use a sprinkle of fine sea salt. I also use 1/2 tsp of each vanilla and butter flavoring. It is so yummy. Some times I leave out the vanilla and it makes for a creamy flavour icing.

  38. Absolutely adorable!! Gotta pin this :)

  39. You are a creative genius!!! I think Little Buddy and I have to make these! xoxo

  40. I say this every time, but you have outdone yourself! Those are magnificent and I like the idea of scattering gold colored Rolos around them. I also wonder if seven minute frosting would work for the clouds since it has a marshmallowy type consistency. I don’t really have a favorite St. Patrick’s Day sweet, I usually make soda bread, but last year we made a cake with a rainbow baked inside. Check it out here:

  41. Looks amazing!

    Do you think I’d need to double the recipe to make 2 8″ layers of cake?

  42. I love rainbow jimmies!

  43. Oh, these are so adorable! For some reason, these reminded me of Rainbow Brite.

  44. I love that you call them jimmies. My husband hates that term. To him Jimmy is a person always. So, of course, I bought him Just Jimmies ice cream and he had to mod the container to say sprinkles.

    I love irish potatoes as a sweet. They are made from cinnamon, coconut and sweetened condensed milk and are pretty tasty. I get mine at the local chocolate shop right around this time of year.

  45. Those are too cute! My daughter was born on St. Patrick’s Day so I have even more reason to go all out :-D

  46. The rainbow cookie is such a cute idea.

  47. Wish we had so many baking stuff here in France ..

  48. Your rainbows are so perfect! I bet that you always stayed in the lines (of coloring books) when you were a kid :) Your cupcakes make me smile!

  49. I love these cupcakes. My 3 year old twins want to have a rainbow birthday party and these will be perfect! Thanks!

  50. These have got to be the cutesst cupcake and cookie around. We are coo coo for rainbows in our house!

  51. i LOVE these! Call me crazy, but my favorite St. Patty’s Day treat is those fluffy sugar cookies with super sweet frosting. Every one else I know thinks that they are too sweet, but I love them! I also love green-tinted bagels from my local bagel place. BUT….my new favorite treat might just be these cupcakes!

  52. These are sooooo cute :). My only thing is fondant never works for me – maybe I’ll try royal icing.

    For St. Patrick’s Day – it may be the time of year but I like anything chocolate mint! Like the Andes mints you get at restaurants or Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. We even did chocolate cake, cake pops and dipped them in dark chocoalte mint candy melts – to die for lol.

  53. These are just BEYOND cute!!! That rainbow cookie! And the clouds!!!

    Angie…I’d love to have your creative brain for just ONE day. ONE!

  54. So awesome!!

  55. These are just adorable!!! You always find an d new way to create something!!! love how you think!

  56. Gorgeousness, all around! Love your ideas! xo

  57. these are so adorable!! I definitely understand not being in the mood to bake what you had originally planned to. I love mixing sprinkles into my batter :)

  58. The cookies are adorable!
    My favorite St. Patrick’s Day sweet – Guinness Candied Bacon.
    Yeah, bacon is a sweet now. *cue angels singing*

  59. These are too cute!!!!

  60. These are just adorable Angie! I could dive right in.

  61. OMG so sweet and cheery-made me smile :D

  62. You are an amazingly creative person. I so enjoy reading your posts and you absolutely deserve all the kudos you receive and more! Go Cake Pops!! Oh, and you’re also very generous towards other bloggers and that’s wonderful to see – xx from Oz.

  63. So awesome! Those fluffy clouds grabbed my eye right off the bat, and love your rainbows!

  64. The fluffy clouds really caught my eye. Great tip on sprinkling with powdered sugar to help form a barrier when shaping!

  65. So cute and pretty! I’m going to make sprinkle cupcakes soon as I get me some!

  66. OMG! these are adorable!! I love them!! I just ordered some americolor food coloring today because i keep hearing how amazing it is!! cant wait!
    I had a question though.. when using milk in frosting.. do u need to refridgerate the frosting?? or is it fine to leave out?? I have never known what to do so i either leave the milk out of the recipe or refridgerate.. just to be safe.. what would u recommend??

  67. Wow they are so cute! I love them!!!

  68. These are lovely!

    Thank you!!!

  69. Love Love Love! These are gorgeous!

  70. OMG! LOVE THESE! Must give them a try! I love your creativity!

    {{BTW, my girls received the Bakerella Cake pops kit and ALL the accessories plus books… we created lots of pops and a gigantic mess! Thanks! BEST XMAS DAY EVER!}}

  71. Just when I think you’ve made every cute treat possible… you make a new one! I love these! I love rainbow, and cupcakes… and with a cookie bonus I’m really sold! <3

  72. I just love it… the web is all great. recipes are well written and detailed.

  73. Looks wonderful.

  74. Hey Cindy – I know. I so wish they would make their original colors again.

    Mannie Tam – Thanks – I might even like them best. They were a last minute decoration and came out pretty cute.

    Brit – thank you – I’m not sure about flawless but definitely fun.

  75. Those clouds look too good to eat. And the rainbows? Flawless!

  76. The mini rainbow cookies are so cute!!!

  77. I l ove the volume in the clouds. They are so cute.

  78. These are too adorable! And I love Mr Sprinkles :)

  79. These are so cute :)

  80. I’m on a sprinkle kick as of late too! >.< So much better than just green things for St. Patrick's Day! Adorable. :)

Leave a Comment »