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Find the gold at the end of the rainbow cupcake.

March 8, 2013

Something I always loved was the way layered, multi-colored cupcakes look. I thought I’d give them a shot a while back (I think when New York passed the gay marriage bill thingy) and never did. I know they’re all over the internet, and there are a gazillion bajillion ways to make them. And I know this blog post is really nothing new.

But it’s cute, right?

I think it’s cute. And what better occasion (other than gay marriage legalized, I mean) could there be than St. Patrick’s Day? You know that old legend, finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow:

Dating back to Old Europe, the legend of the pot of gold is claimed enthusiastically by the Irish. They’ll tell you that fairies put the gold there and then the leprechauns guard it. This folklore has become part of the symbolism of St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday that celebrates everything Irish including the hope and luck it takes to find that elusive pot of gold.

The famous Irish lore is based on a bit of eye trickery. In case you didn’t know, there really is no end to a rainbow. The way the physics work, rainbows are actually full circles, except the Earth itself gets in the way of us seeing the complete circle. As humans, our vision is limited to only as far as the horizon.

One of the biggest signs that a Leprechaun is near by is from the rainbow shining from the leprechauns’ pot of gold.

One good tip, a leprechaun is sure to be found near his pot of gold. One needs to be careful when approaching any leprechaun as they are extremely quick and will vanish at the sight of any humans close by, but you can manage to creep up behind him with a net in hope to get the pot of gold or three wishes. Be careful what you wish for though, as Leprechaun’s are smarter than us humans and are known to trick people.

To protect the leprechaun’s pot of gold the Irish fairies gave them magical powers to use if ever captured by a human or an animal. Such magic an Irish leprechaun would perform would be to grant three wishes or to vanish into thin air!

When the Vikings inhabited Ireland, they stored hordes of treasure all over the land. According to the legends, when they left, they forgot to take several stashes of gold with them.

The leprechauns found the gold and divided it among themselves. But they knew the riches of the Vikings had been collected through wicked deeds, and this deepened their mistrust of humans.

The leprechauns decided that humans could not have the gold because of what their greed would make them do. They stored the coins in pots and buried them deep underground where humans could not find them. However, according to the stories, a rainbow will end where a leprechaun has hidden his pot of gold.

Mystical Mythology from Around the World


And I can’t really think of a better representation of a rainbow than a rainbow cupcake. There are a few ways to top them, you know, to keep with the “pot of gold” theme. I chose a less obvious way- gold crystal sugar & edible gold pearl dust with some shamrock sprinkles (you can use edible glitter, too). Another way would be to get those little chocolate gold foil-covered coins (or even individually wrapped Rolo’s) and put one on top of each cupcake, or you can get even more literal and get actual little pots of gold (edible or not). Oh! You know what else would be cute? Lucky Charms. You could put some Lucky Charms cereal on top of them.

But no matter how you top ’em, you have to make the rainbow itself the same way:

1. One yellow cupcake or white cupcake recipe, divided into 6 bowls and then tinted. Each bowl ends up a different color- red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. If you want to get really crazy, you can follow ROY G. BIV to the tee, including not just blue but “indigo”, or you can throw in some pink. I kept it simple- as it is, the red and orange weren’t very different once baked. That was user error, aka my fault. Not enough yellow in the orange. BAD TRADITIONALLY-TRAINED ARTIST! I should know better.

I didn’t think you needed photos of all that. I figured you could handle it on your own.

Six bowls, equally divided vanilla cupcake batter in each, then each one colored a different color. Simple.

(Pssst- I used white liners so the color could be seen through them, but black liners would be awesome, kinda like a black pot of gold. Plus that way it’d be like a surprise when they’re unwrapped!)

2. After you’ve got your bowls all colored to the shades you want, then you start making your cupcakes. Line your muffin tins, then get six spoons ready. I say six spoons because you’re not going to want to use the same spoon in, say, both the blue and yellow batters, etc. Now you’re ready to make a rainbow.

3. Spoon the first color in to the liners. I’d say about a teaspoon of each color is fine, but do a “test cupcake” just to see how they rise, etc. I did one and it helped me figure out how much of each color and also showed me that the darker colors looked better on the bottom. Therefore, I did it in reverse ROY G. BIV; violet, blue, green, yellow, orange and lastly the red. Try and spoon it in evenly, so that the bottom is covered. Don’t use more batter than you need to, just smooth the batter out with the spoon. My rainbows aren’t perfectly lined up, but that’s okay. Who needs perfect!? Once every cupcake liner is filled, tap the tin on the counter just to even the batter out a bit. Pop ’em in the oven and that’s it.

Once they’re out, cool ’em, frost ’em, and decorate ’em. I used this tip & a plain vanilla confectioner’s sugar buttercream.

However you choose to do it, I guarantee you your audience will enjoy these. They just make anyone- even the most hard, cold or miserable among us– smile.

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  1. Too cute! I tried to bake rainbow cupcakes using jello, they came out cute, but tasted like a lifesaver on steriods! This is the best way to go.

  2. oh you are a mind reader.. i’ve always wondered the best method to creat rainbow in baby cakes! super excited to try this..
    thank you thank you

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