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Rainbow Magic Cupcakes

April 18, 2011


Sorry, I just had to throw in the word ‘magic’ into the title – it’s totally true! There’s a magical moment when you bite into these and reveal the interior…

Before we get to that, however, you might be wondering why I’m straying from the ‘generally wholesome food’ theme here on Crunch and Chew. It was a certain someone’s birthday a few weeks back and as a food-lover and now-blogger, I find it heaps of fun making your own birthday food and more importantly your own birthday cake! I chose to make cupcakes instead of a massive cake for ease of sharing and decorating – and really, who doesn’t find cupcakes cute?

These cupcakes do take a little time and effort to prepare, but the finished product is wonderful and absolutely worth it. Unfortunately I did resolve to using food coloring to color these cupcakes. I’m not sure how using natural food dyes (like ones you get from beetroot or spinach) would work, but if you do try it please let me know – I’d be interested to find out!

Finally, before I leave you with the recipe, you might have noticed that creamy-looking swirl of frosting on the cupcakes. Out of sheer luck, an attempt to improvise a creamy frosting out of cashews turned out amazingly. Vanilla Cashew Fudge Frosting. Every bit as good as it sounds! You’ll have to wait a day or two for the recipe though, just to keep you in suspense Winking smile

Prepare for some rainbow magic…

Tweaked from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, original recipe found here


  • 1 cup nondairy milk (I used soy)
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar (if I’d had apple cider on hand I would’ve used that)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp canola/vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar (I used brown, but would choose white or caster next time)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • Red, blue, yellow and green food coloring (make sure it’s vegan/non-animal derived, especially the red food coloring – no cochineal, thanks!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Lightly oil six holes of a cupcake tin, or line them with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the milk and vinegar. Allow to curdle.
  3. Add oil, sugar and vanilla and whisk.
  4. Sift in remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Try to eliminate as many lumps as possible from the mixture (some small lumps are okay).
  5. Divide batter between six bowls. In each bowl, add food coloring drop by drop (mixing after each drop) until the desired color is reached for that bowl. Here’s a sort-of guide as to how I colored the batter:

Red: red food coloring (3-4 drops)

Orange: red and yellow food coloring (more yellow than red, go slowly!)

Yellow: yellow food coloring (2-3 drops)

Green: green food coloring (3-4 drops)

Blue: blue food coloring (4-6 drops)

Purple: red and blue food coloring (more red than blue, go slowly. Too much blue here makes the batter look grey!)

6. Divide each bowl of colored batter between the six cupcake holes. I made the layers by dripping the batter off a spoon in a swirl beginning from the edge going into the middle of the cupcake holes, then gently smoothing out the batter with the teaspoon (hope this makes sense). My layers went in the order of the colors in the guide above, with purple at the bottom and red and the top.

7. Bake cupcakes for 18-22 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly touched and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cupcakes.

8. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool before frosting. Makes 6 magical rainbow cupcakes.

Vinegar and non-dairy milk paired with baking powder/soda is always a sure-fire way to make vegan cupcakes rise. Check out that curdle!


Add in the rest of your wet ingredients…


…and whisk. I used brown sugar and, what a surprise, the batter turned brown! It didn’t affect the colors much (if at all) in the end, though next time I’d use caster or white sugar.

Once the batter’s finished (dry ingredients sifted in and mixed), divide it into 6 small bowls. Try to make them as even as possible. I matched the color of the bowls with the color of the batter they’d contain, except for the two (purple and orange) batters  where I’d have to do some mixing Open-mouthed smile (These pictures make me happy just looking at them! Or maybe it’s withdrawal…)


Now for the fun part – coloring! Go drop by drop and remember that a little goes a long way.


Now for the not-so-fun part – layering. This takes time and concentration. (Yes, I ran out of yellow batter for one of the cupcakes)


Once the layering is done, pop the tin into your oven and breathe out in relief. Your work here is done!


While you have used quite a few bowls, cleaning up isn’t too hard, especially if you have a dishwasher. If you don’t, not to worry as the batter comes off easily.

They will look and smell glorious once done. My cupcakes had speckled tops, though it didn’t bother me knowing that I would be frosting them.


All dressed up with vanilla cashew fudge frosting and a sprinkle of nonpareils (hundreds and thousands to some. Sprinkles work too!). While the rainbow effect isn’t as obvious from the outside of the cupcakes…


…it’s a whole other story when you cut into them.


It’s a magical moment.

Pearl xo

14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2011 2:08 pm

    This is so cute for Easter! Love how colorful they are! 😀

  2. April 19, 2011 7:03 pm

    So pretty!

  3. Anna permalink
    April 20, 2011 3:44 pm

    Yum! These look lovely. Do you have the recipe for vanilla cashew fudge frosting, cause that looks super yum!

  4. April 20, 2011 5:24 pm

    Totally gonna make these! Ever since I bought a ton of food coloring a couple of weeks ago.
    They look so fun!

  5. applesnoats permalink
    April 21, 2011 6:48 pm

    These are the most beautiful things I have ever seen!!I can’t wait for a birthday to make this for!

  6. April 22, 2011 9:37 pm

    These are SO cute.

  7. Pauline permalink
    April 27, 2011 1:19 pm

    This recipe looks totally awesome! Just one question: What measurement unit did you mean by ” t/T ” ? (It was 1 T cornstarch and 1 t vanilla…) I’m german, so unfortunately I’m not familiar with all of the American/ English units… 🙂 Thank you!

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