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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fantasy Vanilla Almond Rainbow Cupcakes ♥

A true story & recipe by: Amanda Cupcake

One Starry Starry Night while everyone else was dreaming, I swirled fantasies on top of cupcakes.
Little fantasies that tasted like vanilla almond rainbows.   At the first warm & colorful bite of my rainbow cupcake creation, I "remembered" that I had "forgotten" a wild food fantasy from the days before anyone ever called me Amanda Cupcake.  

Back in my angsty teen days, I was a painter.  Art was my favorite class, painting was my outlet.  Even back then though, my instincts yearned for something beyond paint.  I wished that I had the tools to create *edible* art that had never been seen before.  Paint that I could eat.  I started envisioning a new colorful creation. Ice cream themed after famous paintings. Like Van Gogh's Starry Night--inside of an Ice Cream Carton.  I envisioned myself opening the carton to reveal a frozen replica of my favorite legendary ice cream. I thought that the neatest thing ever would be if I could dip my spoon into a soft dairy canvas, and as the ice cream melted, the "paints" would  blend together into brand new colors I never even knew existed.  Sort of like Superman Ice Cream..but more "fantasy" than comic strip.
My rainbow fantasy cupcakes that I dove into, buttercream first.. were a real life version of "paint that I could eat."   My teenage fantasy come true. Even though this wasn't ice cream, the colors in the frosting and inside of the cupcakes evolved with every single vanilla almond bite. Just like my vision.
And the best thing ever...I actually did create these cupcakes on a starry starry night.  The starry starry night can be recreated on the cupcake by lightly sprinkling Hologram Silver Disco Dust on top of fresh frosting!   

You too..can make Vanilla Almond Rainbow Fantasy Cupcakes:
Your Fantasy Vanilla Almond Rainbow Cake Mix Recipe:
  • White Cake Mix (no generic labels, brand names only)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk (in place of the water on the box)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3.9-4 oz Vanilla Pudding (the pudding gives it that "from scratch" texture).
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Pure Almond Extract
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • Disposable Piping Bags (for layering the rainbow colors on top of each other in the cupcake liners)
  • Light colored cupcake tin (a light colored tin works better than dark so that your bright colors don't brown when baking)
  • White Cupcake Liners (this recipe makes about 12-15 cupcakes)
  • Oven, Preheated to 325.
A friend is always good to bake with. ♥ I'm lucky to have two of the cutest little friends ever, Hanna and Rainy. I call them my "Mini Me's'"

My edible paint colors that I swear by for fantasy rainbow cupcakes and their frosting.  Americolor Gel Paste in Electric Pink, Electric Yellow, Sky Blue. (You can buy these here or at a local cake decorating supply store).

Step 1: Combine all ingredients in stand mixer and whip together well using flat beater attachment.
Step 2: Take out 3 separate bowls and pour about 1 1/2 Cups of batter in each bowl.
Step 3: 
♥For Sky Blue:  Mix two small drops of Americolor Gel Paste in one Vanilla Batter Bowl.
♥For Electric Pink:  Mix three to four small drops of Americolor Gel Paste in a separate Vanilla Batter Bowl. 
♥For Electric Yellow: Mix three to four small drops of Americolor Gel Paste in a separate Vanilla Batter Bowl. (I use more drops of color for the yellow and the pink so that the colors are really vibrant).
Step 4:  Stop and gaze at the beauty of your bright batter colors in each separate bowl.

Pour each color of batter into a separate disposable piping bag, and cut a small hole at the end of the piping bag.

♥Cover the bottom of your cupcake liner with electric yellow batter.
♥Repeat by piping electric pink on top of your electric yellow batter.
♥Repeat again by piping Sky blue on top of your electric pink batter.
♥Now you can add little swirly swirls of extra color, until your cupcake liner is filled 1/2 full.
♥Bake at 325 for appx 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

..and taste test. I did. The cupcake is...gone!
Look how pretty the cupcake liner looks alone! You don't even need to buy the fancy schmancy ones at the store.  This started out as a plain white cupcake liner.

The Pastel Rainbow Fantasy Frosting technique:
(it's truly magical).

I use a homemade buttercream for the best swirl texture.
1 Lb of  Unsalted  Softened Butter in my Buttercream Recipe ♥

I swear by Marshmallow Creme as the base for my frosting.
I use 13-14 oz in my frosting recipe.
See full recipe for buttercream frosting below.

♥Just a reminder of how pretty the frosting is♥

Just like my batter, I separated my frosting into 3 bowls.
Then I mixed each gel paste color into a separate bowl (about 3-4 drops per bowl--you can always add more color if you want the color to come out more vibrant). 
Electric Yellow, Electric Pink, Sky Blue.

Hint: If you want your frosting to look more "Unicorn-esque" like these cupcakes... (these colors remind me of Unicorns!), I use white in place of yellow. Or still use the yellow but add white too as a 4th color.

To pipe a multi-color rainbow swirl:  I stacked each color of frosting on top of one another inside of a disposable piping bag. ♥  Your piping bag will look so pretty from the outside, like this!

  This is the view from the inside of the piping bag, as I am stacking the sky blue, electric pink, electric yellow buttercream frosting colors on top of each other.  

 For a dreamy puffy fantasy swirl, I use a round Wilton 1A Piping Tip like in the picture.  Before you stack the frosting inside of the piping bag, cut a hole in the end of the piping bag big enough to fit the tip, and slide the piping tip down into the end of the piping bag.  

♥No cupcake will look the same.  When all three-four colors blend together inside the piping bag you'll start seeing greens, purples, turquoise colors swirl a fantasy rainbow onto your cupcake! 

♥Where you might need patience:  For the brightest colors possible, switch piping bags every time your piping bag runs out of frosting. This prevents colors from turning muddy or brown.

The final product.  My signature rainbow fantasy cupcakes.
Maybe this summer..fantasy rainbow ice cream cupcakes?! ♥♥♥

Marshmallow Creme Buttercream Frosting Recipe:
13-14 oz Marshmallow Fluff or Cream
1 lb butter
1 T Vanilla Extract
Dash Salt (to lessen the sweetness a tad)
8 Cups Powdered Sugar (depending on how thick you want your frosting to be-use less for creamier frosting and more for thicker swirls)

  • Use a spatula to scrape the fluff and the butter out into your stand mixer.
  • Mix well until fluffy and well blended.
  • Gradually add a pinch of salt and vanilla extract.
  • Now add your powdered sugar, slowly until the frosting reaches desired consistency.
  • (The more powdered sugar you add—the more stiff the frosting will be for decorating).


  1. Hello Amanda, Your cupcakes are wonderful. So much love . . . I know that my granddaughters would love helping me make them this summer. I am hoping to have them for two weeks this summer while my daughter is on a medical mission in Honduras. I was just out looking for ways to make my summer backyard parties memorable, when I found your blog. I am your newest follower. Please accept my invitation to visit and hopefully to follow me back. I'm a retired "Jill of all Trades", I love art, music, baking, gardening, sailing, DIY decorating, junking . . . I'm just enjoying life and trying to pack as much fun into my last years, as I slowly slide down the far side of over the hill, LOL.
    Have a marvelous day, Your new blogging grandma, Connie :)

    1. Thank you so much Connie! You are adorable and wonderful. I am going to check out your page too. :) I'm about to post another blog here today. Let me know if you ever try any of my recipes!

  2. Hello, I am looking into making these next week and just wanted to ask; do I put the pudding mix into the dry ingredients, or make the pudding and then add it in?

    1. Hi love! Use the pudding straight from the box..dry.

  3. Can I use regular food coloring?

    1. Yes you can! The Americolor Gel Pastes just make it extra vibrant

  4. OMG! Love the colors! So beautiful!

    How much frosting do you end up with? I mean how many cupcakes can you frost with it?

    1. Thank you Annie! I guess it depends on how high your swirls are :) Usually I can frost about 18 cupcakes with that frosting recipe.

  5. so pretty!! where did you get that super glittery glitter?! edible, I assume?

  6. WOW!! Amazing cupcakes!!

  7. Would it make a big difference if you used salted butter and not add any extra salt?

  8. These cupcakes are awesome! I'm going to attempt to make them and hope they turn out as beautiful as yours :) Do you use instant or cook and serve pudding? Or does it matter?

  9. MUST try these, hate that the uk doesn't have ingredients like this in high availability but will find something I'm sure!

  10. Hi,
    Love your site and your gorgeous creations!!! I just did a trial batch for my grand daughters birthday and I have 2 issues:
    1 - the cake batter was yellowish therefore when I added the blue coloring it turned greenish. I had to use alot of blue to get it "blue"
    2 - the cupcakes sunk
    Any ideas/solutions?

    1. Hi there! Thank you for the compliment! You can replace the vanilla pudding with white chocolate pudding to make it more white, the vanilla pudding is more yellow. As far as cupcakes falling there could be many reasons, it's hard to tell unless I am there with you. Cake mixes can be a bit unpredictable-so it could be just the cake mix. Or your oven could be different than mine, make sure you bake them long enough and test them with a toothpick before they are taken out of the oven. No batter should show up on the toothpick when you test them. Also when you mix them try putting the eggs, oil, and liquid in first, creaming this together and slowly add the dry mix to these ingredients to make sure everything is evenly blended. Make sure you bake the batter right away and don't let it sit out for too long before baking since the baking soda in the mix (which is what helps the cupcakes rose) is only really active right after you mix ingredients together. Hopefully one of these things work for you. :). When I teach cupcake classes we always use this one and it works every time. But then again I'm there in person so we go through each thing together step by step.

    2. Thank you for your response! The only thing I did different was that I combined the dry ingredients then added the wet. Then I seperated the batter into 3 bowls and added the coloring and mixed and mixed to get the vibrant color and blend it completely. Maybe I overmixed??? The grandkids were happy to be taste testers!

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  12. Made these and arranged them in a castle formation with upside down ice cream cones for towers. I used regular coloring instead of paste and plastic bag instead of piping. What an absolute delicious mess! Turned out so cute for my daughter's princess birthday. Posting this review in procrastination of scrubbing frosting off my backsplash.

  13. Hello,

    these are so beautiful that I went ahead and ordered the disco dust right away. However, when they arrived it says that its not meant for eating! Did you put them on all the cupcakes, or just for the picture? I'm so disappointed! Please let me know, thank you :)

  14. Is the almond extract necessary or is it just for flavor?

  15. Do these need to be store in the refrigerator?

  16. I've seen several comments questioning about the disco dust. Is it edible ? If so is there another way to get the glitter effect in an edible way? Thanku. Beautiful cupcakes

  17. Really would like to know how you get the glitter effect. Please let me know as it looks like a few us want to know.

  18. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe, Amanda. HUGE HIT at my daughter's 9th bday party. I lazed out of the cake itself (used pink velvet mix, delicious), but made the frosting as directed and it was gorgeous! Also, subbed Wilton edible silver stars for fairy dust, which looked very pretty. Photo at
    Thanks again -- 25 very happy 3rd graders appreciate the recipe.