This week we decided to try something new and make rainbow swirl sprinkle explosion cupcakes with rainbow swirl frosting! I’ve seen lots of tutorials on these types of cupcakes but never actually tried it myself. I love trying new techniques in baking, and while this one was a little bit tedious, it was pretty easy to pull off!
I’ll outline how we made these cupcakes, step by step. Just use your favorite vanilla cupcake recipe and this buttercream frosting recipe, and follow the steps below. Another thing that’s great about these cupcakes is that you can customize them to look however you want them to!
How to Make Rainbow Swirl Cupcakes and Frosting
What you need:
- Cupcake ingredients
- Buttercream frosting ingredients
- Cupcake pan
- Cupcake liners
- Sprinkles (whatever kind you like! I love the Wilton sprinkle mixes at Michael’s. We got the flamingo mix!)
- Food coloring (I used neon pink, purple, blue, and green)
- 16 in piping bags
- Plastic wrap
- Piping tip (I used a 1M Open Star piping tip)
Step 1: Make the cake batter
Whip up your favorite vanilla cake mix. You can even use box cake if you don’t want to make it from scratch! If you’re going to go that way, white cake is better than yellow cake because it will dye easier.
Step 2: Divide batter evenly and color
Divide your batter evenly into four bowls, then color with food coloring.
Step 3: Pour batter into piping bags
Pour your batter into four separate piping bags, tie with a rubber band at the top, then cut the tips off the end. You don’t need large openings at the ends.
*Tip: When filling piping bags, put the bag into a large plastic cup and fold the tops over the edges of the cup. This frees up both hands, rather than trying to hold the bag and fill them one handed.
Step 4: Pipe into cupcake liners
Prepare your cupcake pan with liners. Pipe the batter into the liners using a random swirling/zig-zag motion, alternating colors. Don’t pipe in too much of one color at a time. You want a swirly, tie-dye look, rather than a layered look. (If you prefer a layered look, you can use this same technique, but pipe in thick layers of each color rather than swirls.)
Step 5: Bake cupcakes, then cool
Bake your cupcakes as directed by your recipe, then let them cool completely. They’ll cool faster if you remove them from their pans and place them on a cooling rack.
* Step 5 1/2 – Remove your stick butter that you will use for your buttercream from the fridge and set it on the counter to begin softening
Step 6: Prepare frosting
Once cupcakes are completely cooled, prepare your buttercream frosting. This recipe always turns out perfect, so I recommend using it.
Step 7 (optional): Fill cupcakes with sprinkles
This step is optional, depending on if you want the sprinkle surprise inside your cupcakes! I filled some with sprinkles and some without. Take a large piping tip and press into the center of the cupcake, then remove. This removes the core and allows you to fill the cupcakes with sprinkles. (My girls thought this was super fun!)
Step 8: Divide and color your frosting
Divide your frosting evenly into four bowls, then dye with food coloring. I used neon colors – pink, purple, blue, and green. You can use whatever colors you want! I think red, white and blue would be super fun for the fourth! Or red, blue and yellow for a super hero party. You can literally customize these to whatever you want!
Step 9: Place in piping bags
Scoop your frosting into four separate piping bags. Try to get the frosting as far down into the bag as you can without touching the sides, because the more it gets on the sides, the more is wasted. Cut the tips off of the piping bags.
Step 10: Pipe onto plastic wrap
Pipe your four colors onto a piece of plastic wrap in long, parallel lines right up against each other (as shown below). Once all your colors are piped onto the plastic wrap, roll it up tightly, trying not to smoosh the different colors together. Twist both ends of the plastic wrap, then cut a hole in one end.
Step 11: Place plastic wrap in piping bag
Place the long tube of plastic wrap into a piping bag, prepared with whatever piping tip you choose (my go-to is the 1M open star tip, but you can use whatever you’d like). Make sure the open end is facing down.
Step 12: Pipe frosting onto cupcakes in a circular motion
Twist the top of the piping bag and carefully squeeze until the frosting reaches the tip. Squeeze from the top so that all colors are descending evenly and you’re not squeezing the frosting out the top. Pipe in a circular motion and enjoy watching all the pretty colors blend together!
Step 13: Garnish
Garnish your cupcakes with sprinkles, cupcake toppers, or whatever else you’d like to put on top of your cupcakes!
Step 14: Enjoy!
These were super fun to make and a great way to get the kids involved. I don’t know about yall, but I’m tired of doing the same thing day in and day out (go away, COVID!) These cupcakes do take more work than regular cupcakes, but the result is so fun! Enjoy!
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