Delicious homemade vanilla cupcakes topped with a homemade buttercream frosting made to look like clouds. The final touch is Rainbow Berry Candy and sugar pearls to make these Rainbow Cupcakes festive and fun. Kids friendly desserts that they can make and decorate!
This is an easy cupcake recipe you can make from scratch and is just one of our favorite rainbow activities! Give these a try and then make our cute rainbow sun craft for a fun and easy project.
The rainbow cupcakes are sure to bring sunshine to any day! They’re great for a birthday party, St. Patrick’s day, or any time you want to make some fun cupcakes. They are so adorable and a great cupcake decorating project for kids of all ages.
You Will Love These Easy Cupcakes
- The vanilla cupcake are made from scratch and have the best vanilla flavor! I use vanilla bean paste for the best flavor.
- The decorations are all about rainbows with Airhead rainbow candy and white sugar pearls for clouds. They sit on some sky blue buttercream frosting!
- These are perfect for any day that could use a burst of rainbow colors! You can bake the cupcakes ahead and then let the kids have fun adding the decorations. They’re almost too cute to eat!
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Large eggs – Room temperature eggs will mix into the batter easier
- Whole milk
- Vanilla bean paste – look for this in the baking aisle! It adds the best flavor and is easier than dealing with vanilla pods.
- Vegetable oil
- Powdered sugar – Sift this for best results
- Unsalted butter – Softened, not melted. If you use salted butter cut back or eliminate the salt.
- Heavy whipping cream
- Blue food coloring – this is used to tint the frosting, but you can leave it out and the frosting will look like a white cloud instead. The color I use is “sky blue”.
- Airhead Xtremes Rainbow Berry Candy
- White sugar pearls
- Large mixing bowls
- Cupcake liners
- Cupcake pan
- Large ice cream scoop
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- Piping bag with a star piping tip
How to Make the Vanilla Cupcakes
Dry Ingredients: Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
Wet Ingredients: Add the milk, oil, and eggs stirring between each ingredient addition. Mix in the vanilla bean paste.
Bake: Divide the cupcake batter among the liners in the cupcake pan. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes and then let them cool completely.
How to Decorate the Cupcakes
Frosting: Place the softened butter in a large bowl. Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl and then beat to combine. Add one tablespoon of heavy cream at a time to the frosting and then mix until it’s thickened. Add the food coloring, if using, and mix until combined.
Rainbow Candy: Cut two slits in the tops of the cupcakes and place each end of the rainbow candy in the slits. This will keep them from falling.
Pipe: Place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe the frosting under the rainbow on each cooled cupcake and then around the edges.
Sugar Pearls: Place the white pearls at the edges of the rainbows to create clouds.
Shortcuts to Make This Recipe Even Easier
Sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day, so here are some shortcuts to make these rainbow cupcakes even easier!
Cupcakes: Feel free to use white cake mix to make the cupcakes! Most cake mixes will make 24 to 30 cupcakes so you will need to have more frosting and candy, too.
Frosting: You can buy a can of blue or white frosting for decorating.
I don’t have vanilla paste. How much vanilla extract should I use?
You can use the same amount of vanilla extract if you don’t have the vanilla paste. Your cupcakes won’t have the flecks of vanilla and the flavor won’t be as strong.
Where can you find rainbow candy?
Airheads candy makes rainbow candy or you can look for other brands. Sometimes they’re called candy belts or sour strips. Look for them at the grocery store in the candy aisle or search for them online.
Can you make rainbow cupcakes ahead?
You can make and bake the cupcakes ahead. Once cooled, keep them in an airtight container for up to a day before decorating them. Or, you can freeze the plain cupcakes for up to a month and decorate them later.
This rainbow cupcake recipe is always a fun project to make. I make the cupcakes and then my kids have all kinds of fun frosting and decorating them. Give them a try and I know they’ll be a hit at your house, too!
More Fun Dessert Recipes
- Spring Sugar Cookies are colorful treats that are super easy to make and decorate.
- Lucky Charms Ice Cream is an easy no-churn ice cream recipe made with marshmallow cereal!
- Learn how to make colorful Jell-O Jigglers for a fun treat to share with the kids!
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs beaten
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
- 2-4 Tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp blue food coloring optional
- 9 Airhead Xtremes Rainbow Berry Candy
- 72 Sugar pearls in white 8 per cupcake
- Begin by adding the flour to a bowl with the baking powder, salt, and sugar. Stir well to combine with a spoon or whisk.
- Stirring in between each ingredient, add the milk, oil, and eggs to the flour mixture.
- Add in the vanilla bean paste. Stir for 1-2 minutes to fully incorporate the paste throughout the batter.
- Preheat the oven to 350F and place cupcake liners in a muffin pan. Using a large ice cream scoop filled ¾ of the way full, scoop the batter up and pour into the cupcake liner. Repeat with other cupcakes.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350F. Allow to cool completely.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the buttercream frosting. Add two sticks of softened butter into a large bowl. Sift four cups of powdered sugar on top of the butter. Using a hand mixer, start on a low speed to combine the butter and powdered sugar. A low speed ensures powdered sugar does not fly out of the bowl.
- Increase the mixer to a medium speed and add the heavy whipping cream 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix for 4-5 minutes until thickened. Then, add the food coloring and mix enough to combine, 1-2 minutes at a low speed.
- Add the buttercream to a piping bag with a star tip (optional).
- When the cupcakes have cooled off, cut two slits in the bread on opposite sides. These slits will serve to help your rainbow stand up on the cupcake. Place each edge in the slit to create an arch/rainbow.
- Pipe the buttercream under the rainbow first and then around the edges of the cupcake.
- Add the sugar pearls to the edges of the rainbow for the ‘clouds’.
- The specks in the vanilla are normal with vanilla bean paste and will add a nice, distinguished vanilla flavoring to the cupcakes without being overpowering.
- The shade of blue food coloring I used is named ‘sky blue’
- When sifting large amounts of powdered sugar, it helps to press the powdered sugar through the sifter with your
fingers to speed up the process.