Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Colors of the rainbow

After all the sweets I had around Christmas, I promised myself not to eat anything that resembled a dessert until February, at least. But I broke that promise after my daughter made a batch of tie-dye cupcakes before her school break was over.

A few years ago, I had seen a number of recipes and photos for rainbow or tie-dye cakes and thought they were so pretty with their brilliant red, blue, green, purple and yellow layers. But I never made them. It seemed like too much trouble.

Anna is much more adventurous. She called me from home one morning and asked if I cared if she cooked. I told her it was fine as long as she cleaned up the mess. (That’s my standard answer for many things in life.)

Later that morning, she showed up at the office with a container of very pretty cupcakes that she made from a lemon supreme cake mix she doctored with food coloring: red, green, orange and yellow.

The cupcakes were very pretty, and the colors were so brilliant that you could see the swirled designs through the thin cupcake paper. I bit into mine and held it out to admire the pretty patterns that are unique to each cupcake.

So how did she make them? She said it’s easy, but a little more time-consuming than a regular cupcake.

Using a cake mix, make the batter as directed on the package. Choose a light colored mix such as yellow or lemon. Take out the food coloring you want to use and get an equal number of small bowls. Divide the batter among the bowls. Add drops of dye and stir, repeating the process until the batter is the shade you want.

Then spoon the different colors into each cupcake holder (with a cupcake liner inside) and don’t stir the batter — just drop the colored batter in around the edges and middle of the cupcake liner. You could do this is a layer cake as well.

Bake the cupcakes as directed on the box.

Anna covered half of her cupcakes with vanilla frosting and left the other half without frosting. They were delicious both ways.

In addition to making rainbow cupcakes, wouldn’t it be fun to make themed cupcakes? You could use the colors from the two opposing teams for a Super Bowl party, for instance, or pink and red for Valentine’s and red, white and blue for a Fourth of July party.

Tie-Dye Cupcakes
  • Cake mix (Use a light color mix such as yellow or lemon; make batter according to box instructions)
  • Paper cupcake liners
  • Various food dyes
  • Frosting (if desired)
Choose the dye colors for your cupcakes and divide batter into the same number of small bowls.

Add drops of food dye into each bowl and stir to make the colors you want.

Spoon batter into muffin pan filled with cupcake liners. Spoon batter around the edges and in the middle and do not stir.

Bake according to box instructions.

Frost, if desired, when cool.

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