Color Cupcakes

Recipes Bakes

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Kids love color.  And there are so many beautiful children’s books that explore and celebrate the wild, whirling world of color.  These colorful cupcakes are really fun (and messy!) to make.  What’s more, the process of making them offers all kinds of learning opportunities. It’s like a science and art project you get to eat at the end!

My book inspiration was Sky Color, in which a young painter runs into the dilemma of being asked to paint the sky in a school mural but finding there is no blue paint in the supplies! She spends a day looking closer at the sky and realizes that it is so much more than blue. From sunsets to storm clouds, she realizes she doesn’t need a stitch of blue to paint a vibrant sky.

To make color cupcakes, you need a basic white cake mix (if you’ve read any of my other baking posts, you’re probably noticing that store-bought is my M.O.) and white frosting. These will be your “canvas.”  Then, get some food coloring and ziplock baggies (a.k.a. piping bags!).




For the cake, split your batter into various cups (however many you need for the number of colors you want to make).  My trusty assistant and I did 6 different color cups, so we could make the 3 primary and 3 secondary colors.



Side note–can someone explain to me why food coloring boxes always include a green? None of the other secondary colors are included.  And you could easily make green from the blue and yellow.  This question shall haunt me the rest of my days.

Anyway, use the coloring to mix and blend to your heart’s content!  Let your little one do some mixing–it’s ok if it gets messy!  And it’s ok if they end up with some grays, browns and blacks. It’s a great way to learn what happens when you mix colors.  The more they get to do it for themselves, the more they will retain what they learn.

Then pour the colors into your cupcake liners. I like to do concentric circles, kind of like a bull’s-eye.  This results in a cool zebra-effect when you bite in later.  But you don’t have to do it that way.  Let your child’s (and your own!) inner scientist come out and experiment with different batter-pouring methods.  Contrast and compare the results you get!

Once you bake and cool your cupcakes, divide and dye your frosting into whatever colors you want.  If you want to draw designs, use a ziplock with the corner snipped off as a piping bag. You can also simply spoon and spread the frosting onto your cupcakes–it’s up to you! You could even go crazy and add rainbow sprinkles on top of this crazy mess!

When you’re all done and it’s time to enjoy your cupcakes, use the opportunity to cozy up and read a few color books.  Then pigment out…yuk yuk 😉


Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds

Mis colores, mi mundo (My Colors, My World) by Maya Christina Gonzalez

Color Dance by Ann Jonas (in-depth review here)

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