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   Colorful swirled cupcakes Posted by Chica 
September 18, 2008 
Chica
 

With as many ways as there are to decorate cupcakes, they can be really boring if you just slap some plain icing on them. I like to make them fun and interesting, and one of my favorite ways to do that is with colorful, swirled icing.

Rather than mix food coloring into the icing, I use it to paint the decorator bag, creating a result so crazy and cool that you won’t believe you got it from such a simple technique. Let me show you how!

Gather the supplies

colorful swirled cupcakesThe first things you’ll need, of course, are cupcakes and icing! This technique works best with white decorator’s icing (see my recipe at the end of this post). You can use any white frosting you want (the whiter the better). As for equipment, you’ll need some disposable icing bags, a star-shaped icing tip (I like size 18), and optionally a coupler. You’ll also need a small, clean paint brush and some paste or gel food coloring in various colors. (It must be paste or gel. Liquid won’t work.) Finally, grab a tall drinking glass, which will help to hold the bag for you.

Select the colors

The best part about this technique is that you can choose any colors you want and can customize it to the occasion. You can use orange and black for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, or pink and blue for a baby shower. A rainbow of colors makes for a fun child’s party treat (like Jo’s Candyland party) and can even look tie-dyed. Using team colors will make a great addition to any sporting event, from a child’s soccer game to a tailgating party.

You’ll be painting from 4 to 6 stripes of color for your icing, but you can repeat colors, so you really only need at least 2 different colors (up to 6 max).

Paint the bags

colorful swirled cupcakesOkay, now for the actual technique! Attach the star tip and coupler to the disposable bag and flip the end of the bag out to form a cuff, so that you can reach the inside easier. Here’s where the glass comes in handy, as it serves as a holder for the bag. Put the tip of the bag in the bottom of the glass and let it stand upright.

Now use the paint brush to paint stripes of color on the inside of the bag, starting at the tip and going up about 3-4 inches. Each stripe of food coloring should be fairly thick and about 1/2″ wide.

If you are using 2 or 3 colors, paint two stripes of each color, alternating them. If you are using 4, 5, or 6 colors, paint one stripe of each color. Be sure to leave some space between each stripe.

The photo on the left shows me painting orange and black alternating stripes, and the result is on the right.

colorful swirled cupcakescolorful swirled cupcakes

Here’s another example with a rainbow of 6 colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple).

colorful swirled cupcakes

Fill the bags

Now scoop a bunch of white icing into the bag with a spoon. The stripes of color will be very easy to see now.

colorful swirled cupcakescolorful swirled cupcakes

Twist the top of the bag to close it and squeeze icing out of the tip until it no longer flows white, but starts to show the colors you used. Pretty cool, huh?

colorful swirled cupcakes

Decorate the cupcakes

Now for the fun part! Squeeze the icing out onto the cupcake in any design or pattern you want. Here are some example patterns I like:

colorful swirled cupcakescolorful swirled cupcakes

colorful swirled cupcakescolorful swirled cupcakes

colorful swirled cupcakescolorful swirled cupcakes

The results

Here are my finished cupcakes. You can see that the color starts out bolder and fades as you do more cupcakes. Eventually you’ll run out of icing in the bag, but unfortunately you can’t just keep adding more, because your color will get all used up. You’ll need to start with a clean bag each time you need more icing (which is why I like the disposable ones) and paint fresh stripes on it. You should be able to get about a dozen cupcakes out of one bag of icing.

colorful swirled cupcakes

colorful swirled cupcakes

For extra fun, why not combine this technique with our Cupcake Collars? These download-and-print templates will make your cupcakes really pop! We’ve got dozens of designs to choose from. To see how we used them, check out our posts for Fourth of July, Fall, and Halloween cupcakes.

Fourth of July Cupcake CollarsMaple Leaf Cupcake CollarsPumpkin Cupcake Collars

Chica’s decorator’s icing recipe:

  • One 2lb bag of confectioner’s sugar
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • approx 3/4 cup water

Add sugar, shortening, and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer (I absolutely can not live without my KitchenAid – especially for icing!). Add about 1/2 cup of water and begin mixing on slow speed. Add additional water as needed until the icing is the texture you like. Be careful not to add too much at once! (If you do, just add more sugar). Finding the right texture takes a little practice; too thin and your decorations won’t be firm, but too thick and you won’t be able to squeeze it out of the bag.

Cupcake Collars

157 comments so far:

  1. Pauline said: (September 18th, 2008 at 9:39 pm)

    Do you think it would work if I just used a Ziploc bag and snipped off the end?

  2. Chica said: (September 19th, 2008 at 7:42 am)

    Hmm, that’s an interesting suggestion, Pauline. In theory a Ziploc would work, but in practice I think it would give you a lot of trouble. The Ziploc isn’t going to be as stiff as the decorator bag, so I think you might have a hard time keeping the sides from touching each other as you paint the stripes. Also, because it’s square, it’s much wider and you might have a hard time getting your stripes of color on there.

    So I guess a Ziploc might work in a pinch, but I think you would be frustrated and would get much better results with an icing bag.

    Whichever type of bag you use, I really recommend using a star tip in the bag (rather than just cutting a hole in the end) so that you get nice decorative edges on the icing, rather than just round blobs. :)

  3. dot said: (September 19th, 2008 at 10:24 am)

    Those are great! i love the simplicity of the idea. I’m going to link to this for my halloween series if you don’t mind :)
    dot

  4. Chica said: (September 19th, 2008 at 11:22 am)

    Dot, we would love for you to link to us. Your site, Dabbled, looks really fun and I can’t wait to read more!

  5. Rachel said: (September 22nd, 2008 at 4:32 pm)

    This looks like so much fun! I might have to try this in orange and black.

  6. Ann at mommysecrets said: (September 25th, 2008 at 9:11 am)

    Those are super cute and creative!

  7. Chica said: (September 25th, 2008 at 3:03 pm)

    Thanks, Rachel and Ann!

  8. frodo said: (October 1st, 2008 at 6:47 pm)

    yes it would work if you use a ziplock and cut the end off. i saw alton brown do it last nite
    on feasting on waves…just go slow, or it will pop off frodo

  9. amber d. said: (January 21st, 2009 at 8:41 am)

    These are crazy cool!

  10. Angie @ Many Little Blessings said: (January 21st, 2009 at 10:31 am)

    These are super fun! Great demonstration!

  11. Hanaan Bahamam said: (January 28th, 2009 at 12:29 am)

    way 2 marvellous !!!

  12. Jedda said: (March 2nd, 2009 at 7:37 pm)

    Oooh, I am a cupcake lover and can’t wait to give these a whirl! Thanks!

  13. Nicole said: (April 7th, 2009 at 9:33 pm)

    These are gorgeous! You mentioned that liquid food coloring doesn’t work, how about the gel food coloring by Betty Crocker?

  14. Chica said: (April 8th, 2009 at 7:17 am)

    Nicole, I haven’t worked with the Betty Crocker gel food colors before, but as long as the gel is thick enough to stick to the sides of the bag when you brush it on, it should work fine. Please let us know how it goes!

  15. Tonya said: (April 13th, 2009 at 12:11 pm)

    These will work perfect for my son’s upcoming Webkinz party! Thanks!

  16. Julie said: (May 25th, 2009 at 3:40 pm)

    I made them with a ziploc bag and it worked great! I put the ziploc bag inside a large cup. I didn’t have any paint brushes handy (since I just moved and they are packed away) so I just used a straw to spread in the Wilton food coloring gel. They look great! I cant’ wait to try it with a star tip next time!! You can see some of my pictures here, here, and here

  17. Chica said: (May 26th, 2009 at 7:23 am)

    Great job, Julie. Thanks for sharing your photos!

  18. kathy cano-murillo said: (June 25th, 2009 at 11:15 am)

    AWESOME!! tomorrow on my blog, i have my second attempt withthe batter, it cameout much better!! these are gorgeous, thanks for sharing!!!!

  19. Chica said: (June 25th, 2009 at 11:40 am)

    Thanks, Kathy. Can’t wait to see ‘em!

  20. Vandana said: (June 26th, 2009 at 10:42 am)

    Youre really creative….its beautiful…!

  21. Sandy said: (July 1st, 2009 at 10:48 am)

    I just love these cupcakes. I will be in Florida and will have to make do with whatever I can pull together. Hope they come out! Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas! Sandy

  22. Chica said: (July 1st, 2009 at 10:56 am)

    Thanks, Sandy! We’d love to see your results. Feel free to post a photo in our Flickr pool!

    P.S. If you’re making them for this weekend, you might like to check out my post about Fourth of July cupcakes, which use this technique as well as our new Cupcake Collars.

  23. Katrina said: (July 4th, 2009 at 4:41 am)

    Just made them for the 4th…. they are awesome and so easy to do.
    I made the cakes in the Foil Star molds and then using red and blue used the little stars technique.
    They are easy and neat because everyone turned out slightly different.

  24. Jo said: (July 4th, 2009 at 1:25 pm)

    Katrina, we are glad the technique was so easy for you. If you happened to take pictures of them before they were gobbled up. please send us one or add them to our Flickr group

  25. ROSE said: (July 8th, 2009 at 5:26 pm)

    Wooooooooooooooow
    very nice thank you

  26. Kimmie said: (July 22nd, 2009 at 7:18 pm)

    Thank you sooo much for that tip! Im making cupcakes for my daughters 1st bday and its carnival themed. I went to partycity today and bought the food coloring gel, brushes, bags and tips….i spent $14. (Totally forget about the Ziploc baggy) Its so WORTH it to just buy the materials. I did a test run and it really works!! I just wanted to let people know, I’m totally not a baker. I’m using store bought confetti cake mix but this added touch makes it looks so professional. If I can do it ANYONE can. Thanks again!

  27. Chica said: (July 23rd, 2009 at 7:08 am)

    Thanks, Rose!

    Kimmie, we really appreciate you sharing your comments. This technique really is so easy that anybody can do it, and the results are so outstanding! And as you’ve shown, the supplies aren’t expensive, either, especially since most of them are reusable!

  28. molly said: (August 17th, 2009 at 6:24 pm)

    Hi…I was wondering if you’ve ever made these with cream cheese frosting? Do you think they would turn out okay. I’m making cupcakes with homemade cream cheese frosting and wanted to give it a try. They are terrific.

  29. Chica said: (August 18th, 2009 at 7:14 am)

    Hi Molly. You can use any frosting you like, but keep two things in mind: First, the frosting should be pretty stiff so that you don’t lose the shape of your design (just add extra powdered sugar if you need to). Second, the colors will look best on white-white icing, but cream cheese (or butter) will make it a little more off-white, so be aware that your colors won’t have quite the same bright and true look to them.

    We’d love to see your cupcakes when you’re done. We’d also love to taste them, but I guess we can’t quite do that over the Internet yet :)

  30. Rachel said: (September 14th, 2009 at 10:53 am)

    We are going to have a blast making these! They look like a ton of fun!

  31. Rachel said: (September 14th, 2009 at 10:56 am)

    Chica, I just remembered a tip to make your icing extra-stiff (without it becoming powdery). I learned this from my sister who’s a chef. She adds a teaspoon of egg white to her icing. This gives it a quick crust and makes icing easier to work with. The tiny bit of egg does not effect the flavor.

  32. Chica said: (September 14th, 2009 at 11:22 am)

    Have fun with the cupcakes Rachel, and we’d love to see how they come out! You can post photos in our Flickr group if you’d like to share :)

    As for the egg white tip, I know that royal icing, which dries rock-hard and is used for intricate work, has an egg white base. So it sounds like your sister’s tip takes regular icing one step towards that. The only suggestion I’d make is to use meringue powder instead of raw egg white, to avoid potential health risks associated with raw eggs. Thanks for sharing!

  33. rosario said: (September 18th, 2009 at 12:48 pm)

    Hello, soy de Lima Perù y me gusta hacer torta a mis hijos y me has dado una buena idea…gracias por todos tus proyectos que presentas y de seguro lo voy a poner enpractica

  34. Jo said: (September 18th, 2009 at 1:16 pm)

    Rosario, mi espanol no es bien. Pero, gracias por su comentario y por visitar nuestro sitio. Por favor, visita otra vez y esperamos que sus magdalenas resulten bien.

  35. Kim said: (November 5th, 2009 at 2:53 pm)

    I have used ziploc in a pinch too, however, be warned. Even brand name ziploc bags have flaws. I’ve had several bags rip right down the seam of the bag making a mess and being a real hassle. HTH!

    New to this site and loving it!

  36. Paulette said: (November 11th, 2009 at 12:38 pm)

    This swirled frosting will look great with tie-dyed cake batter. Off to the kitchen. Thanks for the inspiration!

  37. Chica said: (November 11th, 2009 at 12:56 pm)

    You’re right, Paulette, it would look awesome! I did a little bit of that for my Fourth of July cupcakes this year, but I’d love to try it with a full rainbow. Please let us know how yours come out :)

  38. Rachel W said: (November 25th, 2009 at 4:45 am)

    Wow! This looks so exciting, i haven’t seen anything like this in the UK before… I really want to try this out… I am looking at disposable icing bags and i’m wondering what size i should use? On Ebay i can see 12″ and 21″… Any ideas… And Gel or Paste, which is best…
    Love the site, keep it up!!!

    Rach

  39. Chica said: (November 25th, 2009 at 8:06 am)

    Hi Rachel W. We’re so glad we could inspire you to try something new! 12″ disposable bags are plenty big. The 21″ ones are for professionals and are too large to easily handle. As for the coloring, from what I’ve seen, gel and paste are the same thing. As long as you don’t get liquid, you’ll be fine.

    Good luck and we’d love to see what you come up with!

  40. Rachel W said: (November 25th, 2009 at 9:01 am)

    Thanks for the speedy reply! Ebay here i come!! Woooo :D

  41. Rachel W said: (November 27th, 2009 at 12:09 pm)

    Oh dear… me again!
    WOuld you have a basic cupcake recipe… most of the ones i can find are only for use in a bun tin, which is too shallow… I’d like to use my muffin tin to make them nice and tall… If it could come in grams i would love you forever!
    Hope you can help!
    Thanks
    Rachel

  42. Chica said: (November 27th, 2009 at 12:14 pm)

    Hello again Rachel W! I’ll be honest with you — I always use a box mix for cupcakes. It’s so much easier! I’m not sure how available box mixes are in the UK, though. I did a quick Google search and found this vanilla cupcake recipe that has metric measurements. I’ve never tried it before, but it looks pretty good :)

  43. Rachel W said: (November 28th, 2009 at 4:28 am)

    Hi Chica…
    This is perfect! Thanks!
    Have you got a facebook group at all?
    Rachel x

  44. Chica said: (November 28th, 2009 at 8:41 am)

    Great, Rachel! We do have a Facebook Fan Page and would love for you to follow us :)

  45. Rachel W said: (December 1st, 2009 at 5:44 am)

    Well… i made them! Purple tie-dye swirly cupcakes…. The recipe you linked me was fantastic and your icing recipe was perfect, i would suggest that you only make half the quantity… i had no idea what 2lb of icing sugar looked like until i covered my kitchen, laptop and myself in it! Half was perfect for 10-12 cupcakes…
    The technique was foolproof and i will experiment with more colours and probably rot my teeth out eating the leftovers….
    Thanks!!
    P.s.. The tops i cut off the cupcakes to make them flat were lovely sandwiched together with some icing too..

  46. Chica said: (December 1st, 2009 at 8:20 am)

    I’m so pleased for you, Rachel! We’d love to see pictures of some of your experiments if you want to post them to our Flickr group!

  47. Melissa Cordstone said: (May 26th, 2010 at 10:36 pm)

    wow, those tie-dye cucpcakes are to die for!!! amazing, so inspiring!

  48. Jo said: (July 6th, 2010 at 8:52 pm)

    Check out reader Elisa’s 4th of July swirled cupcakes: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicaandjo/4769247567/in/photostream/

  49. Adrienne said: (September 17th, 2010 at 8:28 pm)

    This is such a stunning and easy idea! I’ll try it next time I bake cupcakes! Thanks for sharing your great photos!

  50. Chica said: (September 18th, 2010 at 8:43 am)

    Adrienne, you’re right that it’s easy, but the results sure do make it look hard, which is the best part about it :)

  51. Monica said: (October 12th, 2010 at 3:11 pm)

    Hi, recently found this tutorial from a fellow “flickrer”and gave it a try for my son’s birthday party!!! I got loads of compliments! :)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mobacana/5075494535/in/set-72157625150249802/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mobacana/5076091444/in/set-72157625150249802/
    Thanks for sharing!!!

  52. Natalie said: (October 21st, 2010 at 7:55 pm)

    what a quick and simple way to add some flare to cupcakes. i think my sister in law will really love this idea. i’ve only been on your site for a short while and it just keeps getting better.

  53. Jo said: (October 21st, 2010 at 9:45 pm)

    Welcome, Natalie! Glad you are enjoying your time on our site. Please let us know if you have any questions.

  54. Charlene said: (October 24th, 2010 at 12:42 am)

    I have to make a lot of cupcakes for a cub scout meeting.

    How would you handle reloading the bag? Or is it worth it to even reload it? Just start with a new bag???

  55. Jo said: (October 24th, 2010 at 8:32 am)

    Charlene, this is one instance where you cannot reload the bag. I would go ahead and prep a couple of bags at the same time and go from there.

  56. Haley said: (December 18th, 2010 at 9:50 am)

    WOW! I’m just looking on this site for the first time and I’m dying to try these! They look stunning! I think I might make them for Christmas with green and red coloring and Christmas tree sprinkles. I’m only 16, but my mom likes everyone to contribute something, even my twin sister and my 15 year old sister. These look simple but perfect and I’m so excited for them! Thank you so much for the wonderful idea!

  57. Jo said: (December 18th, 2010 at 11:42 am)

    Haley, thanks for finding us! We hope they come out great for you. Merry Christmas!

  58. willie said: (January 13th, 2011 at 1:21 pm)

    These should be called “WOW Cupcakes” because WOW is what came out of my mouth when I saw them

  59. virginia said: (February 26th, 2011 at 8:20 pm)

    Hi again. I’m doing a Hollywood dance party for a school and I was wondering what kind of ideas would you have for a cupcake collar template for that theme. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated or maybe a way to decorate for that kind of a party
    Thanks,
    V.

  60. Jonathan Grimwauld said: (February 27th, 2011 at 1:26 am)

    That is a beautiful effect.
    *files for personal use*

  61. Jo said: (March 17th, 2011 at 12:26 pm)

    Virginia, what a fun idea for a dance party. Here’s a link to a lot of great props you could use: Hollywood Themed Party Supplies

  62. Jen said: (March 22nd, 2011 at 4:41 pm)

    I just did a similar cupcake for my daughters preschool class but wish I would have had this frosting technique as I had just used white with sprinkles!! To make an entirely tye-dye cupcake I split the batter into several bowls and added coloring and layered it in the cupcake papers then baked! They turn out fabulous!!! This frosting would have made them even better!

  63. Karen said: (April 2nd, 2011 at 11:21 am)

    Just tried these for my son’s first birthday party. I was doubtful at first, but look AWESOME! It’s so EASY, looks cool, and makes me look better than I am. ;)

  64. Rena said: (April 8th, 2011 at 7:29 am)

    I made these for my daughter’s Kindergarten class they love love loved them…I defiantly got cool mom points with these bright creations…thanks so much

  65. shabana said: (April 20th, 2011 at 11:19 am)

    wow!! this is super cool!!! i am definitely going to try this soon!! :)

  66. Rosa said: (April 23rd, 2011 at 2:09 pm)

    Hola
    Es una magica idea lo del cubo con fotos
    Muy lindo!!
    Rosa

  67. Jenn said: (April 28th, 2011 at 9:32 pm)

    I just stumbled upon you guys from your brilliant diy notepad padding compound tutorial…thanks! This cupcake decorating tip is another one to try for the class bakesale…so many possibilities!! Can’t wait to try it out! Thanks :)

  68. Chica said: (April 29th, 2011 at 7:09 am)

    Oh what a great idea, Jenn. I think cupcakes frosted like this would fly off the bakesale table!

  69. Bijoux said: (June 29th, 2011 at 1:29 am)

    This is so epic!!! i will be trying it for this up coming 4th of july! hopefully my cupcakes will look this amazing!

  70. Alina said: (July 7th, 2011 at 12:34 pm)

    This.is.AWESOME-NESS. Thank you for sharing ^^

  71. Chelsea said: (July 15th, 2011 at 12:53 pm)

    These are so cute! I’m afraid mine won’t come out as nicely, but I’m going to give it a shot!
    http://www.sothisisarmylife.blogspot.com

  72. Chica said: (July 15th, 2011 at 1:01 pm)

    Good luck, Chelsea. Let us know how it goes!

  73. Ashley said: (July 16th, 2011 at 8:32 pm)

    You managed to get some beautiful colors with just a little coloring. I’ll have to try this on some of my sugar cookies! I’ll probably make a mess :)

  74. Hailey said: (July 17th, 2011 at 12:48 am)

    I’m so glad I found this! My little girl is turning 1 in September, and I just started browsing for ideas today. I will certainly be using this method. I’ve been thinking of ways to make her cupcakes fun without using a giant mountain of icing, and this is the perfect idea. Thank you so much for sharing; I can’t wait to start practicing!

  75. Chica said: (July 17th, 2011 at 11:07 am)

    Hailey, we’re so glad you found us, too! We’d love to see how your daughter’s cupcakes turn out :)

  76. Ross said: (July 21st, 2011 at 3:45 am)

    Just made similar cupcakes for a friends birthday, the color is brilliant and each one comes out stunning and unique. The technique is a bit more time consuming, but worth it!

    Separate your white frosting (from a can works just as well as homemade) into 4-6 small dishes. Add food coloring (liquid or gel) making each dish a different vibrant color. Hold open your pastry bag (if you have a tall wide-mouthed cup like a large fast food cup, putting the bag inside the cup makes this much easier) and carefully place each frosting, one at a time on the edge-most side of the pastry bag, creating a ring of different color frostings, each one side-by-side. Squeeze the frostings straight down the bag, using a star tip is best. Squeeze out a little first, until the colors start coming out in a bright swirled pattern. Check it out here.

  77. julie said: (July 24th, 2011 at 2:08 pm)

    this is truley amazing do you think i could use it to make a star tip pattern on a cake??

  78. Chica said: (July 25th, 2011 at 7:10 am)

    Sure, Julie. You could cover a whole care with rainbow stars… if you’ve got muscles enough :)

  79. Karen @ Trilogy Edibles said: (July 25th, 2011 at 2:30 pm)

    These are awesome and I shared on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/trilogyedibles) I can see me trying these soon!

  80. Leilani said: (August 19th, 2011 at 5:45 pm)

    Oh my heck, I can’t believe how awesome cupcakes turn out with such a simple technique. You are brilliant. (Just FYI). Thank you for the idea!!

  81. Chica said: (August 20th, 2011 at 3:34 pm)

    Isn’t it amazing, Leilani? Even when you do it yourself, you can hardly believe how neat they come out :)

  82. Lynn said: (September 7th, 2011 at 3:00 pm)

    Hi Chica your cupcakes are beautiful. what tip did you use to get the smaller swirls.The cupcake colors are navy and white or black and white in your picture. Thank you.

  83. Chica said: (September 7th, 2011 at 6:34 pm)

    Thanks, Lynn! All of the cupcakes pictured here were made with a size 18 icing tip.

  84. Marisol said: (September 12th, 2011 at 5:45 pm)

    Tried this out this past weekend!! FANTASTIC!! Love love loved it!!
    Thank you so much!!

  85. Chica said: (September 12th, 2011 at 6:21 pm)

    Marisol, I’m so glad you enjoyed this technique! Do you have any pictures to share? We’d love to see how your cupcakes came out.

  86. Chica said: (September 14th, 2011 at 6:09 pm)

    Marisol shared her photo with me and said I could post it in our Flickr group for everyone else to see. Check it out here!

  87. Ashley said: (September 25th, 2011 at 11:52 pm)

    This is an awesome technique I am making a zebra and hot pink cake this weekend and will be using this idea to make hot pink and white and black spikey tear drops all over the top of the cake I’ve been wondering how todo this! Thank you so much! Pray this turns out :)

  88. Chica said: (September 26th, 2011 at 7:10 am)

    Ashley, that sounds pretty neat! We’d love to see a photo of the finished cake!

  89. lil said: (October 14th, 2011 at 5:33 pm)

    cool cupcakes!

  90. Kaiti said: (October 19th, 2011 at 11:35 pm)

    These cupcakes are fantastic. I just made my first batch yesterday, with plans for many more. Sadly, the soccer practice I made them for was cancelled due to weather today – but we sure enjoyed eating them ourselves! A couple things I noted:
    1) After you rinse out the brush between colors, make sure to dry it as much as possible. The paste food coloring kind of slides down the disposable bag as it is, and having any moisture in the brush doesn’t help.
    2) I thought I needed to have more of the food coloring paste near the bottom of the bag, and less at the top, but the opposite is true. The food coloring seems to slide down a little as it is, and I had a bunch of frosting with too much color in it at first. The second bag with more coloring paste near the top, and less at the bottom, worked much better.
    Thanks again for this wonderful idea! : )
    Also, I did take some pictures, but I’m not sure where to post them!

  91. Chica said: (October 20th, 2011 at 7:08 am)

    So glad you enjoyed this project, Kaiti! The tips you provided are very helpful, so thanks for sharing them with everyone. You can post your photos in our Flickr group. If you don’t have a Flickr account, you can email them to us at chicaandjo@chicaandjo.com and we can post them for you.

  92. Aiooda said: (November 8th, 2011 at 12:33 am)

    i will try that on my birthday ! ! !

    thx 4 ur help
    2 u thx & i hope u c me make these cupcakes i will make k?
    so i hope i am good b coz i will make them 1 day so i can do it a lot to use some for my restraunt when i will grow up
    so thank you for your help and everything of the world cupcake lovers!!! come 2 my house
    2 c my c cakes!!!!!!!
    thank you so much i dont know what to say thank you i love you
    xoxox
    Aida (aiooda)

  93. daisy deal said: (November 11th, 2011 at 6:17 pm)

    does the dye affect the flavor of the frosting at all?

  94. Chica said: (November 11th, 2011 at 6:54 pm)

    Daisy, all food coloring does have a taste to it, but as long as you don’t go overboard with how much you use, you shouldn’t notice at all.

  95. The Sweetest Memory said: (January 3rd, 2012 at 11:18 pm)

    amazing! I recently did an Art Birthday party for my daughter. I did a rainbow cake, but this would have been perfect. I will have to try this out!

  96. susie.edwards said: (January 9th, 2012 at 5:51 pm)

    Thank you. Now all of our stuff will be beautiful!

  97. teresa said: (January 25th, 2012 at 7:20 am)

    Hi.do you happen to have peacock collars? Love your idea. Thanks

  98. Chica said: (January 25th, 2012 at 8:27 pm)

    Sorry, Teresa, but we don’t have any peacock Cupcake Collar designs right now.

  99. Kaiti said: (February 13th, 2012 at 11:57 pm)

    When I joined Pinterest a couple weeks ago, I immediately thought of these since I loved doing them so much. In fact, I think they were my first pin! Well, today I see them on the popular section – twice!!! Yay! I hope lots of people swing by your site and find more of your awesome projects!! You ladies rock!

  100. Chica said: (February 14th, 2012 at 6:57 am)

    Aww, thanks for helping to share our projects with the Pinterest world, Kaiti. You rock, too!

  101. Flopo said: (February 17th, 2012 at 2:58 am)

    i am 13 and i love to bake. i have been looking for something cool to make for a shared lunch next week and cant wait to wow my class with these!

  102. Della said: (February 19th, 2012 at 10:16 pm)

    Hey there. Did you know your images were featured on ohcupcakes.net, and from there to http://www.rainbowzombiesatemyunicorn.de/wp/2012/02/06/rainbowcupcakefrosting/, and from there to http://www.epicponyz.com/2012/02/rainbow-cupcake-frosting.html and from there to icanhascheezburger.com?

    They all linked back, but I sent a note to ichc.com with the true origin… you might want to, as well!

  103. Chica said: (February 20th, 2012 at 6:58 am)

    Our rainbow cupcakes are loved by many, and thanks for letting us know about those links, Della! I couldn’t find the reference on icanhascheezeburger.com though. Do you remember where it was?

  104. Carrie said: (February 24th, 2012 at 1:40 pm)

    I was wondering how far inadvance you can make yor frosting? I would like to make the frosting today. But i do not need it till sunday. So i was just wondering if that would work. If not how good does store bought frosting work with this?

  105. Chica said: (February 24th, 2012 at 2:37 pm)

    Carrie, any frosting will lose some of its fresh flavor and be harder to work with if you make it too early, and today (Friday) seems too early to make frosting for Sunday. Even if you store it in airtight containers, I think it gets kind of difficult to mix up after it sits too long. You can use this color technique with store bought frosting but make sure you use a bright white frosting so that your colors remain true.

  106. Kattiboo said: (February 25th, 2012 at 3:17 am)

    This is such a genius idea! My niece’s 1′s birthday is coming up and I wanted to have cup cakes but, I couldn’t find any designs or garnishing’s that were safe enough for the small children to eat (choking hazards w/ m&m or other small candies). This frosting is so appropriate for small children. This technique is such a life saver. You guys are phenomenal. Keep up the excellent culinary work. Beautiful cupcakes!

  107. Chica said: (February 25th, 2012 at 8:58 am)

    Thanks for the compliments, Kattiboo. We hadn’t thought about it before, but you’re right — this is a great way to make elaborate decorations that are safe for small kids!

  108. Carrie said: (February 25th, 2012 at 10:25 am)

    Thank you i decided to use your frosting recipe. I just had one more question. If i frost the cup cakes today (saturday) and i need then for tomorrow should i put them in the fridge or in a container to store?

  109. K8 said: (February 26th, 2012 at 12:26 am)

    Thank you for taking the time to share such a clever idea:-)

  110. Chica said: (February 26th, 2012 at 9:22 am)

    Carrie, because the frosting uses shortening and not butter, it doesn’t have to be refrigerated. I generally leave frosted cupcakes in airtight container on the counter for several days without worry.

  111. maisarah said: (March 2nd, 2012 at 9:53 am)

    i like the iceing for the cupcake it is colourful for the cupcake i going to try make one

  112. Geni said: (March 5th, 2012 at 2:03 pm)

    AMAZING! Thank you for the step-by-step. Very much appreciated.

  113. polite moyo said: (March 6th, 2012 at 6:11 am)

    that was great

  114. christina @ ovenadventures said: (March 14th, 2012 at 7:15 pm)

    this is AWESOME!

  115. Tracey said: (March 15th, 2012 at 10:43 am)

    I used this technique to make a rainbow treat for St Patrick’s Day, and absolutely loved the result. Thanks so much for the idea!!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/traceysculinaryadventures/6838415846/in/photostream/

  116. Chica said: (March 15th, 2012 at 9:00 pm)

    Great job, Tracey! Thanks so much for sharing your photo with us.

  117. Erika said: (March 20th, 2012 at 10:40 am)

    Found your technique through Culinary Concoctions By Peadody – can’t wait to try it. I’m going to practice on cupcakes for my co-workers. If I mess up, they won’t care what they look like!

  118. Jo said: (March 20th, 2012 at 11:01 am)

    Erika, we use our co-workers as testers all the time, they never seem to mind! It’s such an easy technique we know they will turn out great!

  119. Chris said: (March 24th, 2012 at 9:48 pm)

    Will the wilton gel colors work this way? I dont know where to buy paste food coloring and have a lot of the wilton gel colors! Please let me know asap I need these for tomorrow and I need to make 100 of them!

  120. Jo said: (March 24th, 2012 at 11:00 pm)

    Yes, they will work. I have used those exact ones!

  121. jen said: (March 30th, 2012 at 9:43 am)

    will the frosted cupcakes colors run if done a day or two in advance??

  122. Chica said: (March 30th, 2012 at 10:38 am)

    Jen, I’ve never had problems with the colors running.

  123. Janet Pac said: (March 30th, 2012 at 7:43 pm)

    Thanks a million for sharing this! I make rainbow cupcakes for my son’s class every year for his birthday and I’ve been looking for a way to make the icing rainbow too. I will be trying your technique next week.

  124. Chica said: (March 31st, 2012 at 7:53 pm)

    Awesome, Janet. Let us know how it goes!

  125. afraa said: (June 8th, 2012 at 7:54 am)

    this is a really clever idea,the cupcakes look amazing, although i am not sure where the food colouring paste is available where i am from…

  126. dinah said: (June 14th, 2012 at 4:06 am)

    its really nice i love the cupcake my problem is i couldnt find the size 18 icing tip pls suggest some….

  127. Chica said: (June 14th, 2012 at 6:47 am)

    Dinah, just use the largest star tip you can find.

  128. Mego said: (June 24th, 2012 at 7:54 pm)

    Michaels or joanns has almost every tip and the paste at an inexpensive price

  129. Xenia-mum said: (July 7th, 2012 at 12:29 pm)

    I just did this late last night/early morning. Turned out great using gel icing and a bamboo skewer as my paint brush. Kinda rolled the skewer from side to side to paint a big enough line. Overall a good method to remember. I hope they are a hit (I doubt my own handy work sometimes)

  130. SILVANA said: (July 7th, 2012 at 1:53 pm)

    Posso usare la panna montata al posto della glassa? come si incollano i colori in polvere alla parete del saccetto a poche? Grazie 1000 SILVANA:-D

  131. Chloe McNabb said: (July 12th, 2012 at 10:58 pm)

    I really like these I will try these out

  132. Lexi Beth said: (July 13th, 2012 at 5:21 pm)

    Oh my goodness! This is PERFECT! I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this for ages. I’ve been assigned as Resident Snack-Maker for the Quidditch Games… I’ll definitely be making Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin Swirled Cupcakes!

  133. Liz said: (August 5th, 2012 at 9:33 am)

    Gonna try this icing, but a different method because i dont have gel or paste food coloring. I baked the cupcakes yesterday.

  134. Kristin said: (August 20th, 2012 at 12:33 am)

    Im going to attempt this in a couple days for my nephews birthday. We’re going to try and make it camo! So, green and brown, I suppose! :)

  135. Chica said: (August 20th, 2012 at 6:46 am)

    Kristin, that’s one color combination I’ve never tried. Good luck and we’d love to see how the cupcakes come out!

  136. Robin said: (August 26th, 2012 at 9:19 pm)

    Thank you for this great technique. I used it today for my daughters first birthday, and it came out perfect! I’m going to try this again at Christmas with red stripes and peppermint extract in the icing. Yum.

  137. Chica said: (August 27th, 2012 at 8:17 am)

    So glad you enjoyed this technique, Robin. Your peppermint cupcake idea sounds amazing!

  138. Mona said: (September 6th, 2012 at 12:38 pm)

    Did you ever find out if the gel colors work rather than the paste?

  139. Chica said: (September 6th, 2012 at 1:28 pm)

    Mona, the gel and paste are pretty much the same thing and either should work. The point is to make sure you don’t use the liquid coloring, because that won’t stick to the sides of the bag.

  140. lotti said: (September 20th, 2012 at 10:55 am)

    omg your cakes are a m z i n g!!!!!

  141. Moana said: (September 26th, 2012 at 5:33 pm)

    Loved your stripes. Awesome. I am so pleased you are on Facebook.

  142. Madelyn said: (October 19th, 2012 at 7:38 pm)

    I forgot to pack the tips would it still work without the tips?

  143. Chica said: (October 20th, 2012 at 8:32 am)

    Madelyn, the tip will make the ruffled, grooved texture on the frosting, so if you leave the tip off you’ll get a smooth stream of icing instead. The colors will work either way, though.

  144. Kay said: (November 23rd, 2012 at 8:43 pm)

    How are you supposed to eat the cupcake with a collar on it? Won’t it scrape all the icing off a wreck your nice cupcake?

  145. Chica said: (November 25th, 2012 at 12:34 pm)

    Kay, you can just pull the collar straight down and off the cupcake without messing up the frosting.

  146. Carisa Vangor said: (December 15th, 2012 at 4:40 pm)

    December 2012 WOW! that recipe for the marshmallow topping on the cupcakes is such a fun idea and yummy how cool and a neat idea for Christmas and think of the color transitions that can be done with it. Carisa,Justus,Connick and we are the Vangor family. Thanks.

  147. Miriam said: (January 5th, 2013 at 10:35 pm)

    Can you make the cupcakes two days in advance of the party? How to get 100 ready for an event?

  148. Chica said: (January 6th, 2013 at 11:37 am)

    Hi Miriam. Any baked dessert will taste best if it’s as fresh as possible, but sometimes it’s necessary to work ahead of time. How well yours survive will depend on the recipes you use for your cake and frosting. The coloring technique shown here should hold up fine ahead of time.

  149. marianne said: (January 21st, 2013 at 1:17 pm)

    Could you use gel food coloring instead of paste?

  150. Chica said: (January 21st, 2013 at 4:28 pm)

    Marianne, as long as the gel food coloring is thick enough to paint on without running down the sides of the bag, it will work fine.

  151. KimmyT. said: (March 25th, 2013 at 11:39 am)

    I REALLY love this idea and I tried making it the other day but I did have trouble with the coloring slidding down the bag somewhat before I could get all my colors painted on.(I used 5 colors). Also I could not find just paste food coloring but was able to find a paste/jel. It didnt seem to want to adhere to the disposable bag very well. Im wondering if a cloth bag would be better?

  152. Chica said: (March 25th, 2013 at 7:54 pm)

    Kimmy, it sounds like the coloring you used was too thin. I’m not sure if cloth would work better or not. You might have put on too thick of a layer of gel, hard to say. I’ve only ever used Wilton food coloring myself.

  153. Pernia said: (July 12th, 2013 at 10:34 pm)

    Gorgeous! I’m going to try this technique. My question is, Will you be able to taste the food gel since you’re not totally mixing it in the icing?

  154. Chica said: (July 14th, 2013 at 9:50 am)

    Pernia, I’ve never noticed the taste of the gel.

  155. Ghazal said: (October 24th, 2013 at 2:03 pm)

    Hi,if you don’t mind can you please tell the amount of the ingredients for the icing in terms of tablespoon? Please! :|

  156. Chica said: (October 27th, 2013 at 9:04 am)

    Hi Ghazal. For the shortening, 2/3 cup = about 10.5 tbsp. For the vanilla, 1 tsp = 1/3 of a tbsp. For the water, 3/4 cup = 12 tbsp. Hope that helps!

  157. caroline said: (January 4th, 2014 at 10:55 am)

    Great Idea! Love it!

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