Rainbow Swirl Icing




Introduction: Rainbow Swirl Icing

About: I like making little treats and pretty much doing anything crafty. I want to learn new techniques and share how I do what I do.

Top off cupcakes with this fun colorful icing technique.

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Step 1: Icing

This recipe is for cream cheese butter cream icing. It's very yummy but doesn't stand up to the summer heat (90 plus degrees F) very well. Be warned! Keep refrigerated until using or serving.

One batch makes plenty for these cupcakes. If you foresee needing two batches, I would recommend making the batches separately because it's challenging for even a Kitchen Aide mixer to make two batches at once.


1 cup butter

1/2 cup all vegetable shortening

8 oz. of cream cheese

3 lbs powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract and

2-3 Tablespoons of milk (I added a little more for extra creaminess).


Cream the butter and shortening in a mixing bowl and mix on low speed until smooth (about 2 min).

Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix again until smooth.

Gradually add the powered sugar until all combined.

It's going to be thick at this point. Add a bit of milk to help it be more pliable and smoother.

Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Step 2: Cakes

You can get 24 cupcakes per one box of cake mix. I needed two boxes to complete 36 cupcakes.

For each box you will need 4 egg whites, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and 1 1/4 cup of water.

Mix your dry box mix plus other ingredients for 2 minutes with hand mixer.

Line your cupcake pan with colorful liners and spritz some non-stick butter spray into the liners.

Pour batter into liners 2/3 of the way full.

Bake in the over on 350 F for 22 minutes.

Let cool before adding icing.

Step 3: Add Color

Gather 3 bowls, 3 spoons,

Food coloring: bright pink, yellow and blue

Wilton color swirl coupler, 1M sized tip

3 clear icing bags


Separate icing equally into three bowls, mix in color, one to each bowl,

Stir well.

The proper consistency will depend on how easy the icing is to squeeze out of the bags. If it is too warm, it will be runny and not hold a good swirl; too cold and it's too hard to squeeze out. I like to let the icing sit for about 30 min to get closer to room temperature (if it has been in the fridge if made a ahead).

Step 4: Some Assembly Required

The key tool needed here is a coupler. Wilton makes a little kit that uses interlocking flange segments that tighten together with a screw on plastic ring. You can buy the entire kit for about $8 or $9 which will include 2 tips. I'm using Wilton 1M tip here.

Place your white flange pieces in the bottom of 3 separate bags. Slide them down tight but not too tight where they'll rip through the plastic. Cut the point of the bag off just behind the interlocking tabs. Scoot the flanges down if needed. Now, it's easiest to connect them now (there is an order they should go-line up the tiny notch to the corresponding-size hole), screw down the ring and then fill the bags, unscrew the ring and then add your 1M tip and put the ring back on.

I added the icing first, which made putting the interlocking pieces on a challenge. By habit I fill my bags before cutting the tip so I did this part backwards but it still works.

Step 5: Apply

Once your bags are filled with colored icing, tie off the top with a rubber band. I tied mine all together, which makes it look like a deflated beachball. You can tie them separately and then together as a bunch but I don't think that part matters.

Apply icing in a swirl pattern. Start applying icing in the center of the cupcake. With continuous pressure, work out to the edge of the cupcake and apply in a circular motion. Continue building up on top of that ring while working towards the center to form a little cone-shape. Stop squeezing then lift off.

The tri-color effect will happen naturally and there is no need for fancy twisting. The spiral technique of applying icing will take a little practice but you'll get the hang of it fairly quickly.

In a perfect world, the colors will touch slightly as being squeezed out and you may end up with the edges blurring to make new colors. Blue and yellow will make green; pink and blue will make purple and pink and yellow will make orange.

Step 6: Enjoy

Top off your cupcakes with some colored nonpareils or sprinkles.

Keep chilled until ready to serve.

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    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    These are adorable and I see that we must live in the same part of the country because I see Hy-Vee products!! :P


    Reply 3 years ago

    Haha. Hyvee is my go to. I'm in Kansas City!