Rainbow cupcakes recipe

  • Serves Makes 12
  • 15 mins to prepare and 20 mins to cook, plus cooling
  • 629 calories / serving
  • Freezable
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Cupcakes don't come more colourful than this! Sure to go down a treat at parties, these gorgeous rainbow cupcakes feature six layers of colourful sponge topped with a rich buttercream icing and showers of sprinkles. 

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180ºC, fan 160ºC. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. Using a hand-held mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs and then fold in the flour, vanilla extract and milk.
  3. Divide the cake batter evenly between 6 bowls. Add enough food colour gel to each bowl to give a strong shade.
  4. Spoon the mixture between the paper cases, one colour at a time. It’s best to drizzle around the edge and then encourage it to fill in the centre. Don't mix too much or the colours will run.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until light and spongy to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.
  6. Meanwhile, make the icing by beating together the butter and icing sugar until light and creamy. Whisk in the vanilla extract and cream cheese. Put into a piping bag and swirl some icing on top of each cake. Scatter over the sprinkles.

Freezing and defrosting guidelines

Bake according to the recipe but stop before adding decoration or icing. Allow to cool completely. Wrap well in clingfilm and tin foil (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 3 months.

Loosen the tin foil and clingfilm but leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature for several hours before serving. If you wish to serve the baked goods warm, place them on a baking sheet for 10 minutes in a moderate oven.

Add icing or decoration after the baked goods have fully defrosted and are at room temperature.

See more Adventurous baking recipes 

As part of a healthy balanced diet, we recommend this recipe for a special occasion or treat.


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  • Ingredients

  • 250g (8oz) butter, softened
  • 250g (8oz) caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 250g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • gel food colour, in a variety of colours
  • coloured sprinkles, to decorate
  • For the cream cheese icing

  • 200g (7oz) butter, softened
  • 400g (13oz) icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g (5oz) light cream cheese
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  • Energy 2633kj 629kcal 31%
  • Fat 35.2g 50%
  • Saturates 20.2g 101%
  • Sugars 58.8g 65%
  • Salt 0.3g 5%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 77.1g Protein 5.6g Fibre 0.7g


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