Tie-Dye Cake (and Cupcakes!)

How to make festive, colorful tie-dye homemade vanilla cakes and cupcakes for any occasion. These are always, always a huge hit!

slice of red, white, and blue tie-dye cake topped with vanilla frosting and sprinkles on a white plate with a fork

 Tie-Dye Cakes, Rainbow Cakes, Swirly Color Cakes, whatever you want to call them… I love them all! And they are super easy to make, too.

Dazzle your guests with this beauty on any occasion.

red, white, and blue tie-dye cake topped with vanilla frosting and sprinkles on a white cake stand

Let me show you the cake and also walk you through the steps.

Make your Homemade Funfetti Cake batter (leave out the sprinkles in the batter).

Divide the batter into three different bowls. Drop food coloring of choice into each bowl. The white batter had no food coloring. Drop spoonfuls of batter into baking pan. It doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty!

red, white, and blue tie-dye cake batter in a cake pan before baking

Bake the cake. Frost the cake. Sprinkle the cake. Cut the cake. Look at the pretty colors!

Devour the cake. –> That’s the best part.

slice of red, white, and blue tie-dye cake topped with vanilla frosting and sprinkles on a white plate

Happy 4th of July, America!

*You may absolutely make this tie-dye cake a with box cake mix. However, why use a box when my homemade vanilla cake recipe is just as easy? I promise. You’ll be thankful!

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

More how-to recipes you’ll love:

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slice of red, white, and blue tie-dye cake topped with vanilla frosting and sprinkles on a white plate with a fork

How to Make a Tie-Dye Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: serves 10
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


How to make festive, colorful tie-dye homemade vanilla cakes and cupcakes for any occasion. These are always, always a huge hit!



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray 9×2 inch round cake pan (or 9-inch springform pan) with nonstick spray.
  2. Make the cake batter according to my directions (see link in the ingredient list). Divide the white batter into three separate bowls. Grab your food coloring and dye your batters any color you choose. I used 10 drops of red, 10 drops of blue, and left the third bowl plain. Place a separate spoon in each bowl. Scoop large spoonfuls of each batter and layer them into prepared baking pan. It does not have to be pretty. The colors will create a tie-dye effect. See photo above for how my cake looked prior to baking.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil (loosely to avoid the top from sticking to the foil). Bake for 13-17 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.
  4. Make the frosting according to my directions (see link for frosting in ingredient list). Frost cooled cake and decorate as desired. Cake stays fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 5 days.


  1. Layer Cake: You could: (1) Bake the cake as indicated and slice the cake horizontally to create two layers. Double the frosting if desired. (2) Double the cake recipe and bake in two separate 9-inch cake pans for 1 extra tall layer cake. Double the frosting recipe as well.

Keywords: tie-dye cake

I know what you’re thinking. Can I do this with cupcakes?

I got ya covered…

red, white, and blue tie-dye cupcakes topped with vanilla frosting and sprinkles

Make the batter for vanilla cupcakes. Divide the batter into three bowls. Use a few drops of food coloring to dye your batters. Layer the batter into the cupcake liners and bake. Frost with my vanilla frosting. That’s it!

red, white, and blue tie-dye cupcake batter in a cupcake pan before baking

Easy, right? Hope you enjoy. 

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3 images of red, white, and blue tie-dye cake and cupcakes


Comments are closed.

  1. Katie @The Semisweet Sisters says:

    Love these! Made the cupcakes for the 4th of July! They turned out cute but I think next time I make them I need to buy gel food coloring because my red turned out pinkish using regular food coloring drops.

  2. Hi Sally!

    Would I need to change the baking time if I am planning to double the recipe and make a layer cake? I’m using this for my twins’ Cat in the Hat themed 1st birthday!!

    1. No need to change the baking time – just bake two separate cakes. I find that doubling the recipe actually makes a little more than you need for 2 cake pans. Fill them halfway with batter and then use extra batter to make cupcakes.

      1. Perfect! Those can be the cupcakes for the twins to eat! Thanks a lot!

  3. Hey Sally! When I frosted my cupcakes, the frosting began to sag. I noticed in your pictures that you had the frosting piped high and not saggy at all. My cupcakes cooled all night in the fridge. I also made sure to add exactly as the ingredients said. Do you know what might be the problem? I also appreciate how much time you put in to  this website. You are doing a very good job! 🙂

    1. Annie, thank you! For the frosting, do you think you added enough confectioners’ sugar? That provides structure to the frosting. Maybe add a little more– and a pinch more salt to offset the sweetness.

  4. Hi Sally,

    Just wondering what brand of food coloring you use? I always have a hard time making red, my baked goods/icing always turn out a shade of pink! Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Hi Alicia! I always use McCormick. Simply keep adding until you are happy with the red color of the batter.

  5. Jennifer Dean says:

    Hey Sally,

    This looks beautiful!

    I was thinking of doing this tie-dye style, but arranging the top like a flag using blueberries and strawberries. Similar to this: (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/flag-cake-recipe.html)

    I was wondering if the vanilla cake/ vanilla butter cream cake and frosting combo would work well with the fresh fruit? 

    Or could I do the same tie-die effect with your Strawberry Shortcake Recipe with Whipped Cream Frosting? – I’m just trying to think of what would taste better (and be portable to my friends house)

    Let me know what combo you think would work best!  As I highly value your opinion and am a HUGE fan of your blog.  I’m on my way to making every recipe in your baking book, and will do the same when your Candy book comes out! 

    Thanks Sally!

    1. Hey Jennifer! You are so sweet, I’m glad you love my recipes and book! I love your idea for the fresh fruit on top. That is adorable. I might have to try it too!! Arranging fresh fruit on this vanilla frosting works. I’ve done it before with just strawberries. The whipped cream frosting doesn’t hold up well at room temperature after awhile, so this vanilla frosting is better suited for travel/a party.

  6. Sally, 

    Can I bake the tye dye cupcakes in a mini muffin pan or will the colors not work out in such a tiny space??

    1. Definitely!

  7. Hi!
    I’m making one of those gender reveal cakes and just made a practice one using this recipe. I found my pink turned out lovely but the blue ended up green because of the yellowish tinge to the cake. Do you have a recipe for a white cake at all? Like pure white? I can’t find a nice one online that is moist and tastes yummy like this. I LOVE and trust all of your recipes – they’ve all turned out amazing!! 

    1. This is the whitest cake recipe I have on my blog. You can leave out the sprinkles if you’d like!

  8. Oh .. And if I want to make 2 – 8″ rounds – how much batter do you think I would need and bake time? I don’t have two 9″ pans 🙁 and don’t want it too big 

  9. Hi Sally,
    When it comes to baking i prefer your blog.
    All of your recipes which i tried were the best.
    I baked tie dye cupcakes for my daughters bake sale in school they were a huge hit.Thank you for sharing your recipes with us.♡♡♡

  10. Hello Sally. I make a lot of your recipes but I have never commented. The recipes are wonderful and I love the detailed instruction. I made this cake for my daughter whom is turning 8 today. I actually made it with both my daughters last night as they wanted to have a piece for breakfast and in their lunches today. It is the best vanilla cake I have tasted. Our whole family enjoyed it and the birthday girl loved selecting the colors. She chose Barbie pink, light blue and yellow. She thought it looked like the 1980s and it did! Thank you for all the great recipes and info!

  11. Hi Sally – I LOVE your website – your recipes are my go-to, never fail choices! My dad is an ice cream fanatic, but his cardiologist recently told him to lose weight. For his birthday, I made your frozen lightened up peanut butter ice cream pie instead of a cake and he LOVED it! I know it’s not exactly health food, but what’s a birthday without a little something sweet? This worked out great as a slightly better choice, because every little bit helps!

    On to my questions! I think I am going to make this tie dye cake for 4th of July, but I was curious if you thought it could be made in a bundt pan? Also, when I made the ice cream pie, it leaked out of my springform just a little bit (not enough to hurt anything!). Have you ever had that problem? Do you think since the cake batter is thicker I wouldn’t have that same issue? Then again maybe I just bought a less than stellar pan!

    Thanks again for all your awesome content, keep on doing what you’re doing!  

    1. Hi Daryl! That ice cream cake will always be one of my favorites. Leakage can be caused by thin batter or a cheap-ish pan. And sometimes you just can’t avoid it. I’ve never had that problem with the ice cream cake. You can make this in a bundt pan, but the cake will be short. Maybe make two batters and see how much you need to fill 2/3 full. Then you can use any extra to make cupcakes.

  12. I have made tie dye cakes before with no problem.  My sister tried one for July 4th.  Her batters were the right colors but after she baked it, it came out red, green, and purple.  She used a name brand of food coloring.  What made the colors separate and change?

  13. How fun! These cupcakes would be great for a summer birthday party, too, not just for the Fourth!

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