Tie-Dye Cupcakes: A Psychedelic Dessert, Indeed

Tie-Dye Cupcakes
Photo: CanYouStayForDinner

I admire my friends who've made the leap into parenthood for many reasons. They manage to function as (somewhat) sane adults while totally sleep-deprived, they balance work with childcare, and perhaps most importantly, they are constantly coming up with creative ideas to satiate their child's curiosity... and sweet tooth

So when I received a note the other day from a reader whose son wants a tie-dye themed birthday party, it was the least I could do to provide some inspiration! And in this case, inspiration looks like tie-dye-swirled cupcakes. I recently made these beauties for a friend's baby shower and they were a hit. Even better, they're quick (and by "quick" I mean made with store-bought cake mix and frosting), fun and filled with psychedelic colors that will boggle the kids' minds. Here's how you make them:

Tie-Dye Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

Directions: Preheat your oven to 350°F for metal or glass pans, or 325°F for dark or coated pans. Divide 24 cupcake liners equally between the two cupcake pans. Set aside. Make the cupcake mix: Blend dry mix, water, oil and egg whites in large bowl at low speed until moistened (about 30 seconds). Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Divide cupcake batter equally between 5 small bowls. Add color: Gently dip the tip of a toothpick into the red gel food coloring and add it to one of the bowls of batter. Mix with a spoon until fully combined. If you'd like a deeper color, add a TINY bit more gel food coloring until the batter reaches your desired shade. Repeat the same instructions for the orange green, blue and purple batters.

Divide cake batter into five small bowls and get ready to add some color!

Here's the food coloring I prefer...

Mix food coloring in each bowl of batter until you reach a desired shade
Using a teaspoon, drop a dollop of each colored batter into the cupcake liners. Continue to layer the batter on top of each other (or around the sides for an uneven "layered" look) until all five colors have been added and each cupcake liner is 2/3 full. Insert a toothpick and gently swirl the batter in a clockwise direction to add a swirled design. Bake for 21-24 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool. 

Dollop teaspoons of colored batter into cupcake liners

Use a toothpick to make a swirl design

Bake for 21-24 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
Once cupcakes are cool, top with frosting (I like to use a piping bag with a star-shaped fitted tip) and sprinkle with colorful jimmies of your choice. Serve and enjoy!

Top with frosting and colorful jimmies of your choice!


  1. Me and my friend Isabelle made these and they are so cool! It is worth the time! Thanks!

  2. Just made these for my daughter's birthday party. I think they were the hit of the party.


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