Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rainbow Cupcakes or Tie Dye Cupcakes, You Decide

The Rainbow Cake has been such a big hit on the blog, Facebook, and the office that I've decided to make a shortcut version for y'all that don't have hours to build a 6 layer cake. This one I made in cupcake form, but you can translate it into a single layer or double layer cake if you choose. I made these for a company meeting we have to go to today, and was able to whip them out (with baking time) in a little over an hour. The ingredients are almost the same as the Rainbow Cake:

• 1 – Box of cake mix in vanilla, white, or French vanilla flavors. (The cake base has to be white so if you see another boxed variety that would normally produce a white cake on completion, by all means go for it and tell me how it works out for you.)

• Whatever ingredients your cake mix says it needs to be made (usually eggs, oil, and water.)

• Muffin cups

• Gel food coloring in blue, red, yellow minimum. Splurge for more colors as your budget allows. Gel works better than the cheap kind that you dye Easter eggs with. You will use less dye, and the colors will be more vibrant.

• 1-2 tubs of icing. I chose white butter cream, but you can pick any flavor.

• 1 - Muffin pan (I had two muffin tins from a previous debacle, so I was able to cook all my cupcakes at once.)

• 6 bowls and spoons to mixing the colors in. Cereal bowls work just fine.

First things first, you need to make your cake batter according to the box's instructions. When it is nicely mixed, separate it equally into your six bowls. You can measure if you have OCD, or you can eyeball it like I did.

Once your batter is separated, add each color dye to its appropriate bowl. If you forgot/don't know how to make certain colors, read the Rainbow Cake post linked above.

Batter up!

Add your muffin cups to the tins and preheat your oven.

Now, we are going to add the colors. If you want red on the bottom, you will add the colors in this order: Red -> Orange -> Yellow -> Green -> Blue -> Purple.  If you want purple on the bottom, reverse that order. I put purple on the bottom because I added too much blue to mix and my purple came out ugly. Oh well.

Add a little of the first batter into the bottom of each cup. Just a spoonful or so. You only want the muffin cups 2/3rds of the way full once ALL the colors are added. Plus you may run out of particular batter color if you are overzealous like me. Only 21 of my 24 cupcakes got purple bottoms because I was too generous at the beginning. Start spooning in a small and add more after all 24 have a little of that first color.

If you want neater layers. Tap/shake the pan a couple of times between layers to help the batter settle flatter. You will also have to be more gentle when spooning in the layers so that the force of your plop doesn't send the newest color careening towards the bottom of the pan. If you want a more rainbow tie die effect, just plop and go, maybe just poke a toothpick in a few times. Don't over do it or they will all turn out 1 color. Now, if you are wanting those Polly Perfect rainbow layers, you might as well make the Rainbow cake. In the baking process, the cupcake layers will mix a little in odd ways and there is really no stopping it. Let your OCD rest for a day and let nature do its thing.

Continue to build up your layers in order. Remember, start with a little of the color in each cup and go back an add more if you have left overs at the end of each color round.

Purple, blue, green.

All 6 colors. Got a little short on orange as you can see.
Once you have all the colors in the cups, give the pan a firm tap or two to settle the batter in the pan. DO NOT under any circumstances try to swirl the colors with a knife or toothpick. This will blend the colors and you will end up with a bluish brown cupcake mess. If you wanted that, you should have just baked chocolate cupcakes. You can now bake the cupcakes as the box directs.

Weird blue dots on the left. Pretty nonetheless.
Wait until the cupcakes are completely cool before you ice them. Then they are ready to enjoy!

Little Cuties!
Tie dye on one hand, rainbow on the other. Delicious just the same.

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