neon rainbow cupcakes

$4.18 recipe / $0.35 each

I’ve seen so many pictures of rainbow cupcakes on the web that I just had to give it a shot. Turns out, the bright colors actually *do* make them more fun to eat. Who would have guessed? Anyway, I decided to make the version described by Omnomicon because it takes nothing more than a box of cake mix and some diet soda. That’s my kind of easy!

Neon Rainbow Cupcakes

Neon Rainbow Cupcakes

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Total Recipe cost: $4.18
Servings Per Recipe: 12
Cost per serving: $0.35
Prep time: 15 min. Cook time: 25 min. Total: 40 min.

1 box white cake mix $1.16
12 oz. diet lemon lime soda $0.27 (from a 2L bottle)
1 can cream cheese frosting $1.64
12 ea. cupcake liners $0.28
1 set gel-type food coloring $0.83 (used about 1/4 of each)
TOTAL $4.18

STEP 1: Preheat your oven according to the directions on the cake mix box. In a large bowl, mix the contents of the box of cake mix and 12 oz. of soda.

STEP 2: Divide the cake mix as equally as possible into 6 small bowls (you can measure and divide if you want to be perfect but I just eyeballed it). Using the gel food coloring, make each bowl one color from the rainbow.

STEP 3: Starting with red, evenly divide the cake mix among the 12 lined cupcake wells. To make 12 cupcakes, I found you will need between 1/2 to 3/4 of a tablespoon of each color in each cupcake liner. It doesn’t look like much when you put the first color in but remember, you have SIX colors to do. Following the rainbow sequence, put each color one on top of the other. As you fill the wells, the new colors will push the other colors aside and make a fantastic rainbow!

STEP 4: Bake the cupcakes according to the directions on the box. When they are finished baking let them cool completely before frosting. Then EAT! YUM.

NOTE: I actually made a cake using this method about a week ago. When making a cake, use two boxes of cake mix and double the rest of the ingredients. I used two cake pans then layered the cakes when frosting. It is definitely much easier to do as a cake but the cupcakes are just so much fun. Also, the colors swirl just a tad more when you do a cake… either way, it’s just down right cool!


  1. nightphyre – Yep, I’m sure regular soda would work just the same :) It’s so funny to see these old recipes and how vastly different they are from the way I cook today! It’s amazing how much can change in three years hahah.

  2. Hmm – they look cool, but I am EXTREMELY allergic to the Nutra-Sweet (aspartame)sweetener used in Diet Soda. (One drop = 3 day migraine intensity headache) (It IS a known carcinogen and when heated – well, look it up – you won’t heat it up in a recipe again!)

    So can they be made with regular soda?

  3. Anonymous says:

    My gut is telling me it would be even cheaper if you made the cake from scratch (not sure about the icing because cream cheese is expensive)… and if you make it from scratch you will be guaranteed to not have cellulose (wood pulp) in your cupcakes :)

  4. well the amazing thing about using the diet soda… it somehow replaces all of the egg and oil that the box mix usually calls for. the texture of the finished product is amazing – you’d never be able to tell!

    of course, if you don’t want to do the diet way, you can just follow the directions on the box. the rainbow stuff will still work just fine.

  5. Brian says:

    what about eggs?

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