Buttercream icing is literally the best kind of icing on the party cake and the most brilliant way to take humble vanilla cupcakes to a magical new level. It might look tricky, but I promise, this rainbow buttercream icing recipe and tutorial make these magical swirls of sweet and pretty icing easy to master. Let’s get ready to party!

First, vanilla cupcakes and buttercream icing recipe…

I’m not going to lie, when it comes to party foods, the less work the better so I don’t think twice about buying a box of vanilla cake mix to make vanilla cupcakes. But if you want to bake them from scratch, by all means, go ahead. This vanilla cupcake recipe even includes a buttercream icing recipe (it’s just icing sugar, butter, milk and vanilla essence!), so be sure to bookmark it for future reference!

To colour your buttercream icing for the rainbow look, divide it into separate bowls for each colour. Add just a drop or two of a good quality food colouring (such as Colour Mill) and mix it in with a spatula. Too easy.

vanilla cupcakes
Vanilla cupcakes and buttercream – EASY AS. Source: Mum’s Pantry

Swirly buttercream icing goodness: it’s all in the technique

Juniper Bakery shows just how easy it is to make a deliciously colourful sweet buttercream swirl for topping a cupcake. You’re going to need cupcakes, coloured buttercream, Gladwrap, a handful of piping bags, and a large piping tip (Ateco 849). Check out the YouTube tutorial or jump below to read the step-by-step instructions.

How to easily pipe rainbow buttercream icing

This is what I find to be the easiest, less messiest way to pipe a rainbow effect buttercream swirl – and it’s expertly demonstrated by Juniper Cakery here.

1. Take your coloured buttercream and spoon each colour into a separate piping bag.

buttercream icing recipe
Source: YouTube / Juniper Cakery

2. Lay a length of Gladwrap on your bench and pipe rows of coloured buttercream (butted up next to each other) in the middle of it.

buttercream icing recipe
Source: YouTube / Juniper Cakery

3. Carefully bring the edge of the Gladwrap up and over the buttercream icing to roll it into a thick, sausage-like shape. Twist the ends to seal it and set it aside.

buttercream icing recipe
Source: YouTube / Juniper Cakery

4. Take the roll of rainbow icing and with a sharp pair of scissors, snip off where you’ve twisted one end.

buttercream icing recipe
Source: YouTube / Juniper Cakery

5. Prepare your piping bag by snipping the end and sliding the icing nozzle to fit. Place it in a tall glass to keep it steady! Place the whole plastic-wrapped rainbow sausage inside the piping bag (with the cut end at the bottom) and pull the sides of the piping bag up around it.

buttercream icing recipe
Source: YouTube / Juniper Cakery

6. Twist the end to seal as you normally would and hold the icing bag by the end and the nozzle – don’t squeeze it in the middle or you’ll mix your colours together!

buttercream icing recipe
Source: YouTube / Juniper Cakery

7. Gently squeeze the piping bag from the top so the icing makes its way into the nozzle. Swirl that beautiful rainbow icing onto your cupcakes!

buttercream icing recipe
Source: YouTube / Juniper Cakery

8. Voila! LOOK HOW AMAZING AND EASY THAT WAS! Leave it as is or decorate with sprinkles or whatever tickles your party hat fancy!

buttercream icing recipe
Source: YouTube / Juniper Cakery

Be sure to follow Juniper Cakery on Instagram for loads of inspiration and tutorials – they’re very generous with sharing tips and tricks with their followers!

Rainbows, unicorns, mermaids, oh my!

You see, once you master the technique of this buttercream icing recipe (and to be frank, there’s not a lot to it) you have the skills to take any colours you like and run with it. Rainbow swirls are just the beginning – you can take this ombre colouring and wheel it out for any theme party cakes including pastel unicorns, mermaids and more – even pink and blue for baby showers.

Happy baking! If you have a go at making your very own cupcakes using this rainbow buttercream recipe, be sure to tag us in your pics so we can see!

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Author

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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