Several weeks ago, one of my college friends posted a bunch of photos of these awesome rainbow cupcakes she had devised, for her OMNOMICON feast delight. I made some for a department picnic that same week, and they were a hit, indeed, with the little kids and the grown grad students and even some profs, too.
That time, I neglected to document my project, so I decided to make these numnums for another picnic tomorrow. The party is taking place before some of my friends go see Dave Matthews live, and I thought that the psychedelic cupcakes sort of embodied the aura of his rabid fans. Call them Rainbow Cupcakes…call the Psychedelic Cupcakes…call them Unbirthday Cupcakes…whatever. These are fit for an off-kilter Mad Hatter Tea Party, though!
This time, I remembered my camera.
So here’s how to make these delectables that will wow your crowd:
First, you’ll need to prep your space. I don’t have much room, but I got everything together. You will need:
- Cupcake tins
- Cupcake liners
- A mixing bowl
- Lots of smaller bowls
- WHITE cake mix and the ingredients to make it (eggs, oil, water, etc.)
- Food coloring
Mix up your cake batter, following the instructions on the box. It is important to use a WHITE cake batter, so you have a clean canvas for your colors. Want to jazz up your mix? I added a few teaspoons of almond extract to the mix, because I am a TOTAL sucker for almond-flavored petit fours. The finished product translated really well.
Next, take those smaller bowls, and divide up the cake mix among them as equally as you can. Each bowl will become a different color for your Unbirthday Cupcakes, so have a separate bowl for each color you plan to include. The first time I made these, I copied my friend and did seven different colors. I found that seven was just too much batter for each tin, and they baked sort of funny, so this time I did five, and it worked quite well.
Once you’ve divided up your cake batter and have decided which colors you want to include, add some food coloring. The stuff in the little squeezy thingers from the grocery store work just fine! The colors I used for this batch were blue, green, red, orange (red+yellow), and purple (red+blue). My first batch included blue, green, red, yellow, orange, purple, and pink. Get creative. Make whatever colors you want! But keep in mind that the higher contrast in colors you use, the more WOW you get. 🙂
Then stir! Stir as well as you can, integrating all of the food coloring. After you stir it up, you might find you need to add more of certain colors, especially if you do a color like purple or orange that demands a mixture of food colorings. The brighter, the better!
For your next step, you’ll gingerly spoon each color into each of your tins. To avoid overfilling your tins, don’t use heaping spoonfuls! For my five-colored cakes, I did probably a scant tablespoon of each color. For the most impact, I also like to put contrasting colors next to each other. My first layer was orange next to blue. Over that, green next to purple. And red on top.
You should bake your cuppy cakes according to the box of your cake mix. Mine were perfect, baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
You should also completely cool your Unbirthday Cupcakes on a metal rack before proceeding.
To finish your Unbirthday Cupcakes, and to continue that fun wow factor, frost them up! For my first batch, I used a basic white frosting mixed with red food coloring and vanilla and almond extracts, which ended up being tasty and colorful. This round, I got lazy and used strawberry frosting, which tastes yummy and is pre-colored. Then sprinkle something fun on top. Batch one had a maraschino cherry. This time, I used two types of sprinkles: nonperils and whatever the bigger dots are called. Fun, nonetheless.
Then you’ve got to try these suckers. Take off the cupcake wrapper for a colorful treat–all the colors from the cake batter leave a fun, tye-dyed sort of pattern on the tin!
Then you should take a big bite.
Then you should take another one.
And if you have the strength, I strongly encourage sharing these with your friends!