Rainbow Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Buttercream

Easy Rainbow Swirl Frosting

Rainbow swirl cupcakes are the perfect way to easily add color to cupcakes without having to mix a million colors of frosting!

I have been wanting to try this swirl technique for awhile, but was a little bit intimidated.  I thought that it would be much harder than it actually was. 

It was actually quite fun.  Each cupcake turned out looking a little different because more or less food coloring would come off in the frosting and more frosting was pushed through the bag.  The initial cupcakes had bolder, more defined stripes while the frosting toward the end of the bag had more subtle rainbow stripes.

How To Make Rainbow Swirl Cupcakes:

  • Prepare a 12 inch piping bag with desired tip.  I used a #12 round tip.
  • Paint stripes of gel food coloring on inside for bag.  I wanted big stripes so I used a wide paintbrush (1/2 inch).
  • Fill piping bag with white buttercream.
  • Pipe swirls on cupcakes.

If you do not have piping bags and tips, this look could probably be achieved with very similar results using a gallon sized freezer bag with the end snipped off.


Tips For Success:

  • Use gel food coloring-it will stick to the piping bag better and will make bolder, truer colors.
  • Paint your colors all the way to the end of the bag-otherwise your first few cupcakes will be missing a color.
  • Leave some space between color stripes-having some white between colors really makes it pop!

Whipped Cream Buttercream

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 cups


  • Mixer


  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 2 pound bag powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream possibly more or less depending on desired consistency


  • If using a stand mixer, fit with paddle attachment.
  • Beat butter on high speed until smooth and creamy.
  • Add in vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • Turn mixer to slow speed. Slowly add in powdered sugar and beat until all incorporated.
  • Add in whipping cream 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved. To pipe, I like a fairly stiff consistency, meaning that my spatula, when stuck in the icing, stands up and does not list.

If you like this technique, check out this post on Unicorn Cupcakes where I used a two color swirl under cupcake toppers!

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Happy Baking!

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Happy Baking!