Oh how I love these little gluten free rainbow cupcakes! They are so happy to look at and they taste absolutely delicious. Soft rainbow-coloured sponge crowned with a generous swirl of vanilla buttercream and a dash of rainbow sprinkles.

I also added crushed Smarties mini eggs to mine, as the shells have such lovely vibrant colours (and chocolate makes everything better, right?!). These are gluten free in the UK but please note that original Smarties contain wheat and are not suitable for us gluten free lot.

I decided to try making some of these as my daughter loves rainbows and her birthday is coming up soon. Rainbow cupcakes always seemed to me like they would look good, but not necessarily taste great…how wrong was I. They were so delicious, based on my Perfect Gluten Free Cupcakes recipe, and Alba was delighted with them.

The layering added 10 minutes onto my usual cupcake making process, but I’m guessing you’ll be making these for a special occasion and it’s definitely worth the extra effort.

What Food Dye did you Use for These Gluten Free Rainbow Cupcakes?

I used this set from Amazon, which I was given for Christmas. I hadn’t used this brand of dyes before but they are gluten free and coloured the sponge really well. The final rainbow effect was really vibrant.

Other varieties that are gluten free and that I have used in baking previous include Dr Oetker and Wilton. The latter is a bit pricey, but lots of bakers swear by it.

I Don’t Have Self-Raising Flour!

I know those of you in the US struggle to get hold of gluten free self-raising flour, but don’t worry there is an easy fix. Simply use plain gluten free flour plus an extra tsp baking powder mixed through in place of the self-raising.

Gluten Free Rainbow Cupcakes Recipe

It’s recipe time! If you enjoy these rainbow cupcakes, I would be really grateful if you could review the recipe on the card below.

You’ll find a full method below, plus lots of photos to help guide you through the recipe. However, feel free to email me any questions or comments you might have. You can contact me at laura@mygfguide.com or message me on Instagram/Facebook @myglutenfreeguide.

Laura xxx

Gluten Free Rainbow Cupcakes
Yield: Makes 12 Cupcakes

Gluten Free Rainbow Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes


For the cupcakes

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 200g gluten free self-raising flour (I use FREEE by Doves Farm, M&S or Lidl)
  • 0.25 tsp xanthan gum
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla essence
  • 5 food colourings (I used red, yellow, green, blue and purple)

For the buttercream and decoration

  • 180g unsalted butter
  • 390g icing sugar
  • 2.5 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/vanilla essence
  • Rainbow sprinkles (check gluten free)
  • Smarties mini eggs (gluten free, but note Smarties are NOT gluten free) or other rainbow coloured candy


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan).
  2. If you have a food processor or stand mixer, combine all the cake ingredients in the mixer bowl and beat until you have a smooth cake mix. Not to worry if you don't have a blender - this gluten free cupcake recipe can be made just as well using human power! In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until smooth. Then add the eggs one at a time, combined well after each, along with the vanilla. Finally, sift in the flour, baking powder and xanthan gum and mix for a few minutes until everything is perfectly smooth.
  3. Divide the mixture between 5 bowls (approx 130-140g of cupcake mixture in each). Then add a few drops of food colouring to each bowl then stir through, to create one red, one yellow, one green, one blue and one purple bowlfuls. You can use fewer colours or different colours if you wish.
  4. Line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases. Divide each bowlful of gluten free cupcake mixture between the cases, using about 2/3 of a tsp of each colour in each case. I use purple on the base, then spread it slightly with a tsp, then added small dollops of blue, green, yellow then red on top.
  5. Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes, until your cake tester comes out clean from the centre of your test cupcake. Transfer the gluten free cupcakes from the tray and onto a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool completely.
  6. Once cooled, you can added the buttercream. To make the vanilla buttercream, simply beat the butter in a bowl or stand mixer until pale and smooth. Then add the sifted icing sugar and the vanilla. Mix well until smooth and fluffy. Add the milk and beat again, as this with ease the buttercream consistency and make it easier to pipe/spread. Then use a piping bag or a small palette knife to ice your cupcakes generously.
  7. Finally, top each cupcake with some rainbow sprinkles and rainbow sweets/chocolates (such as the Smarties mini eggs - gluten free in the UK). Then enjoy these yummy rainbow treats!

For more gluten free baked goodies, why not try some of my other recipes while you are here:

Happy baking! Laura xxx