Kirbie's Cravings

Rainbow Cupcakes

These rainbow cupcakes have a light and tender crumb. They are also very colorful, layered with colors of a rainbow. They are great for a party or other special occasion.

photo of a rainbow cupcake sliced in half with two whole ones behind it

Ever since I saw rainbow bread at King Hawaiian Bakery in Torrance I have been thinking of nothing else. I loved the colorful bread so I couldn’t wait to try my hand at making a rainbow treat at home. Instead of bread, I wanted something sweeter so I decided to make rainbow cupcakes.

I love how these rainbow cupcakes turned out. The cake is moist and light – I used my favorite whipped cream cake recipe and used food coloring to create the colorful layers. These cupcakes are a little time consuming, but for a special occasion, they are worth the effort.

photo of rainbow cupcakes on a plate

Ingredients for Rainbow Cupcakes

  • Cake flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Heavy cream
  • Large eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Sugar
  • Food coloring

Cake flour is what gives these cupcakes a light and tender crumb. I have not tested this recipe with all-purpose flour and I don’t recommend using it because the cupcakes may not bake up as tender and light.

You can use whatever colors you like for the food coloring. For the cupcakes in the photos, I used purple, red, yellow, orange, and green. The yellow and orange blended together so I recommend switching the orange color for blue instead, which is what I have included in the recipe.

close-up photo of a rainbow cupcake

How to Make Rainbow Cupcakes

The cake batter is easy to make and most of the work is in creating the different colored layers for each cupcake.

Cake Batter

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a stand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
  • In another bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla until combined.
  • On medium-high speed, slowly pour the egg mixture into the whipped cream. Slowly add the sugar. You should only need to mix for about 30 seconds to fully incorporate the sugar.
  • Add the flour to the whipped cream mixture and mix until combined and the batter is smooth.

How to Layer the Cupcakes

  • Divide the cake batter into five different bowls.
  • Add a few drops of each food coloring to each bowl and stir.
  • Line the cupcake pan with liners. Place a thin layer of each colored batter in the muffin cups, layering different batter each on top of the other.
  • Bake the cupcake for 15 to 17 minutes at 365°F. Cool the cupcakes fully before decorating.

Rainbow cupcakes

Decorations for Rainbow Cupcakes

I kept the decoration very simple for my cupcakes and just piped some whipped cream frosting onto each. Here are some more ideas for decorating rainbow cupcakes:

  • Top them with vanilla buttercream frosting or chocolate buttercream frosting.
  • Make it really easy and use store-bought frosting to decorate your cupcakes.
  • Once you’ve frosted your cupcakes decorate them with colored sprinkles.
  • Or, if you’re like my family and hate frosting, just serve the cupcakes plain!

Making Cupcakes Ahead of Time

  • You make and bake these rainbow cupcakes up to a day in advance. I recommend cooling them completely and storing them in an airtight container. The next day, frost and decorate them before serving.
  • You can also freeze the cupcakes. Once cooled, store them in a freezer-safe and airtight container. They will keep in the freezer for up to three months. To thaw, just leave the cupcakes at room temperature then you can frost and decorate them.

close-up photo of a rainbow cupcake sliced in half

Rainbow Cupcakes

Servings: 14 cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
These cupcakes take some time to make but the rainbow layers you get in the end are worth the effort! The cupcakes are moist and light and I topped mine with a simple whipped cream frosting.


  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • food coloring purple, red, yellow, green, and blue


  • Preheat the oven to 365°F. Line two muffin pans with 14 liners.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a stand mixer whip the cream at high speed until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla until just combined.
  • On medium-high speed, gradually beat the egg mixture into the whipped cream. Gradually beat in the sugar. It should take about 30 seconds to incorporate it. Then add the flour mixture into the cream and mix on medium speed until batter becomes smooth.
  • Separate batter into five different bowls. Add a few drops of food coloring to each one to form the colors you want for your cupcakes.
  • For each cupcake mold, add a thin layer of each color of cake batter. Bake for about 15-17 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Once cupcakes have cooled, you can pipe with frosting. I used a simple whipped cream frosting.


Whipped cream cake recipe adapted from Seasalt with Food who adapted it from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!


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