I love St. Patrick’s Day. I’m obviously not Irish – nor is anybody in my family. Nada. Nobody. But I still love it because St. Patrick’s Day is the time when all of my rainbow creations come to life. There’s something about colorful treats that make me happy. Maybe it’s the vivid, cartoon-like colors, or maybe it’s just that rainbows remind me of sunshine in the middle of a long New England winter. These Rainbow Cake Pops are my latest rainbow treat. I love this particular version of Rainbow Cake pops because they’re rainbow on the outside and the inside!
When my three-year old bit into one of these Rainbow Cake Pops and saw the rainbow cake on the inside, her eyes popped out of her head. Then she asked me how I got a rainbow into the cake 🙂
The rainbow on the outside of the cake pop was incredibly easy. I just dipped the entire cake pop into some light blue candy coating, and the rainbow is made with mini-M&M’s. Too bad they don’t make a purple mini-M&M’s, but even without the purple, it still looks close enough to a rainbow. The clouds at either end of the rainbow are just piped vanilla frosting.
The rainbow on the inside isn’t much more complicated, but it definitely requires more steps. It starts out with batter for a dozen vanilla cupcakes. I used the recipe below, but you could also use a boxed mix. Then I divided the raw batter equally between 6 bowls.
I used AmeriColor gel food color to tint each bowl with one color of the rainbow. You can find gel food color at your local craft store, or you could use regular food color from the grocery store. In the end, you should have 2 cupcakes for each color of the rainbow.
Once the cupcakes are baked and cooled, using 6 separate bowls, I crumbled the cupcakes, separating them by color. (The red ones were crumbled in a bowl, the orange ones in another, etc.) In each of the cupcake-crumb bowls, I added about 2 tbs of vanilla frosting to turn the crumbs into a clay-like texture.
Finally, to assemble the rainbow cake balls, I took a pinch of each color and rolled it into one cohesive cake ball. To ensure that the colors stay separate, you cannot smoosh and re-roll the ball. It’s sort of a one-shot deal. The good news is that it’s really tough to mess up, and every single one looks pretty fantastic.
Then it’s off to dipping the Rainbow Cake Pops. I didn’t want to put the cake pops on sticks, so I just used a toothpick to dip them into the candy melts. When the coating is still wet, apply the mini-M&M’s. And ta-da: Rainbow Cake Pops with a rainbow on the outside and the inside.
- For the Vanilla Cupcakes:
- 1¾ cup cake flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup, unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- ⅓ cup full-fat sour cream
- ¼ cup neutral flavored vegetable oil (I used canola)
- 1 tbs vanilla bean paste or good quality vanilla extract (I like Nielsen and Massey brand)
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- For the Frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp whole milk
- For Decorating the Cake Pops:
- AmeriColor brand food color gel in the following colors:
- Tulip Red
- Lemon Yellow
- Leaf Green
- Royal Blue
- Violet with a touch of Electric Purple
- Light Blue candy coating (about 1½ cups)
- 1 tbs plus 1 tsp vegetable shortening (I like using the non-hydrogenated kind but any type will work)
- For the Cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a standard cupcake tin with paper liners and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the the eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the sugar and mix until well combined.
- On low speed, add the butter. Mix on medium-low speed for about 2 minutes. The end result should be a fine crumb mixture.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Beat on medium speed until just combined.
- Add the milk and mix until just combined. The mixture will be quite thin.
- Divide the batter equally between 6 small bowls. Dye each of the bowls of batter one color of the rainbow using food color.
- Fill each cup of the cupcake tin about ⅔ full.
- Bake for about 14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out without wet batter stuck to it. Do NOT over-bake. The cupcakes should not be browned at all.
- Once baked, allow them to cool on a cooling rack until completely cool.
- While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and milk. Beat until fluffy.
- To assemble the Cake Pops: Crumble the complety cooled cupcakes into fine crumbs, separating them into different bowls based on their color. There should be one bowl of red cupcake crumbs, one bowl of orange cupcake crumbs, etc.
- Place about 2 tsp of frosting in EACH bowl of cupcake crumbs. Mix until a clay-like texture is formed.
- Once all the cupcake crumbs are turned into clay, it's time to assemble the actual cake pops.
- Take a pinch of each color cupcake crumbs, and roll into a ball that's the size about the size of a golf ball.
- Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Allow them to chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
- While the cake pops chill, separate the mini-M&M's into red, orange, yellow, green and blue.
- Melt the light blue candy coating with the shortening.
- Once the cake pops are chilled, I only take out 1 or 2 cake pops out of the refrigerator at a time. Working with 1 cake pop at a time, using a toothpick, dip the cake pop into the candy coating. Allow the excess candy to drip off of the cake pop. Place the cake pop on the sheet pan. If there's a hole left where the toothpick was inserted in the cake pop, cover it with a dollop of candy coating.
- While the candy coating is still wet, place the M&M's in rainbow order in a semi-circle to look like a rainbow. Allow the cake pop to sit on the sheet pan while repeating the same process with the rest of the cake balls.
- Place the dipped cake balls into the fridge to set for about 20 minutes.
- Once set, place the balance of the vanilla frosting in a zip top bag. Cut a hole in the corner of the bag. Then pipe clouds on either side of the M&M rainbow.
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