Freshly squeezed recipes, news and views!

Rocky Horror Show Rainbow Cupcakes

Rocky Horror Show Rainbow Cupcakes

I don’t know if you have ever seen ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’, but I do know that if you haven’t, you really need to – when I was younger, it was one of my favourite films (which may explain a thing or two, come to think of it).

I loved the craziness of it all, the bizarre characters and the glittering costumes. And most of all, I loved (and still adore) the music. Richard O’Brien really is a lyrical genius! My favourite part (save the scene at the dinner table, where Brad, Janet et al realise that they’ve been eating Eddie for dinner) was always where Frank N. Furter brings Rocky to life in the lab. I used to LOVE the way the fluid in the tank containing Rocky turned all the colours of the rainbow as the crazy, high-heeled and fully made-up doctor added various chemicals, creating the ‘secret of life itself’. Looking at it now, it’s hardly the most exciting of special effects, but it’s still quite something to watch.

But what does all of this have to do with cupcakes? Well, not a lot. Not if you’re talking about regular cupcakes. But that is not what these are. No sir, these are RAINBOW CUPCAKES!

I made these for Katy (she of azuki bean stew fame). She has a December birthday, which I always equate to being a bit rubbish. My step-brother has one too, and I have seen what happens time and again: birthday presents wrapped in Christmas paper (inexcusable!), joint Christmas/Birthday presents (lame!) and even joint parties. Hardly the way to make the birthday boy/girl feel special.

Anyway, I wanted to take some cakes to her party, and figured that rainbows were pretty far from what most people think of as Christmassy. Plus, like me, Katy’s a child of the eighties, so there’s always the Rainbow Brite connection for those who wish to make it. They were simple to do – just regular cake mixture, split six ways and dyed accordingly – and a fun way to spend an hour on a cold, dark afternoon.

Incidentally, I know that it’s now January. I just forgot about the fact that I’d made these until now. Probably something to do with holiday hustle and bustle (and my sieve-like memory).

Whatever. I should say two things:

* I stole the idea, shamelessly, from Aleta Meadowlark. But since I worship at the Alter of at least twice weekly, I know she won’t mind. Plus, her rainbow cake is a layer cake – I have never seen cupcakes made like this before. Which brings me to point number two:
* Apart from Lucy and Rich’s wedding cakes, nothing I have baked has ever caused so many people to tell me I am amazing. I’m not pointing this out to big myself up – I’m just letting you know that you’ll rock whatever party you’re going to if you take along a dozen of these little twinklies. This is a fact.

I made them lemon flavour. This is not just because lemon is officially the best flavour cake can ever be, but also because the icing is cream cheese and I think the tastes marry quite nicely. You can make them whatever flavour you like though. People are more likely to notice the colours than the flavour anyway. Unless you think of a flavour to match each colour and add it to the coloured mixtures accordingly. I did want to do that, but it seemed like too much work. I concede though, that a six-flavour cupcake really would be a party in the mouth.

Serves 18

The cupcakes

  • 175g butter
  • 175g granulated sugar
  • 175g plain flour, sifted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • food colouring in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple

The icing

  • 100g cream cheese
  • 30g butter
  • 400g icing sugar, sifted
  • hundreds and thousands to decorate

Make the cake mixture following whatever method you normally use. I recommend, as always, the all-in-one; place the eggs, sugar, butter and flour (all at room temperature) in a large bowl, along with the baking powder and bicarb., and mix using an electric hand whisk until combined. Add the lemon juice and zest, and mix again.

Divide this mixture equally into 6 bowls and tint each a different colour of the rainbow.

Line a 12-bun muffin tin with paper wrappers, and add a teaspoon of each colour to each liner in reverse rainbow order. That’s purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. (Clarity is important in recipes, after all.)

Bake for about 20 minutes at 180°C, until a tooth pick inserted into the centre of one of the cakes comes out clean.

Cool on a rack. DO NOT COOL IN THE TIN unless you want soggy cupcakes.

Make the icing: mix the softened butter with the cream cheese, then add the sugar. You might not need it all – stop at the consistency you like. I like it thick and shiny, so add it all.

Use the icing to frost the cakes – a palate knife makes pretty swirls. Finish with hundreds and thousands, and remember: less is more. You want the cupcakes to look sweet and innocent, so that the rainbow is a surprise

About Mr. P

Peter Hallsworth has written 2 posts on this blog.

Keeping it delicious since 1982. I'm a twenty-something (Ha!) Englishman, living in beautiful South Wales. You can find out more on my blog!

Related Posts


  1. Thanks for this very creative recipe!

  2. I love making rainbow cakes, yours looks fab.

  3. This looks kinda gross mann.
    Wayyy too mixed up. Looks like Froot Loops mashed together. (:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>