How to Make a Tie-Dye Cake (and Cupcakes!)

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

How to make festive, colorful tie-dye homemade vanilla cakes and cupcakes for any occasion!

 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.

How to make festive, colorful tie-dye homemade vanilla cakes and cupcakes for any occasion!

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!

How to make festive, colorful tie-dye homemade vanilla cakes and cupcakes for any occasion!

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.

How to make festive, colorful tie-dye homemade vanilla cakes and cupcakes for any occasion!

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!

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More how-to recipes you’ll love:

How to Make a Tie-Dye Cake

Serves 10.



  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9x2 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. Serves 10. Cake stays fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Recipe Notes:

Interested in making a 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.

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

I got ya covered…

How to make festive, colorful tie-dye homemade vanilla cakes and cupcakes for any occasion!

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!

How to make festive, colorful tie-dye homemade vanilla cakes and cupcakes for any occasion!


Easy, right? Hope you enjoy. 

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How to make festive, colorful tie-dye homemade vanilla cakes and cupcakes for any occasion!





  1. Love this festive cake Sally! It looks like so much fun to make and cut into:) My lil guy would be sooo delighted with all these fun colors!

  2. This is adorable, and I will definitely be trying it out. Since I’m in Canada though, I’ll omit the blue section, and see if I can find some maple leafs for decoration 🙂

  3. Just beautiful! I love colored cakes…so many options for holidays and even baby showers. Have you heard of people frosting cakes with vanilla or chocolate or whatever, but when cutting into the cake it is revealed to be either blue or pink, based on what the mom is having? So cute!

  4. It looks fun & the recipe sounds tasty, but I want to know where you found the cutwork (pierced) plates for the photos! My favorite !!!

  5. This is such a cute idea! I love all of the bright colors… If it weren’t so close to the 4th of July, I’d use purple (my favorite!), pink, and green. Or maybe yellow. Or maybe… Just divide the batter into 7 bowls and make a rainbow. I’m too indecisive Sally!!

      1. Thanks Sally! 🙂 My brother’s favorite color was “rainbow” while we were growing up. He decided that it wasn’t fair to the other colors to pick a single favorite, so he loved all colors equally! His birthday is coming up in August; maybe I should make him a rainbow tie-dye cake…

  6. Do you think this technique would work with your Cake Batter Blondies? I bought some Fourth of July Funfetti cake mix to make those for work, but I might see if I can try this out and make them even more festive. Also, what kind of food coloring do you use? I tried making a red cake for the Fourth last year and it came out super pink.

    1. I’m unsure – I’ve never tried it before. But I can’t see why not. I used store brand food coloring – liquid. I had to use a lot of drops to get it red.

  7. Such a cute cake and a great idea. My niece and nephew’s birthday is at the end of the month and I was wondering what to do for them. And thanks for the rainbow layer cake idea, that one might come out for my little fella’s 1st birthday.

  8. So Glad I discovered your website, your recipes are amazing! I am just getting into cupcake making at the moment and will definitely be giving most of your recipes a try!

  9. Hey Sally! I just wanted to thank you for another awesome dessert to make 🙂 I made the tie dye cupcakes for some close friends that were coming over to celebrate the 4th with me and they absolutely loved them! I can’t speak highly enough about these; nothing makes me happier than making other people happy with baked goods! hahaha 😛 Hope you had an awesome holiday! Happy 4th of July! 😀

  10. Hi Sally,
    I made this cake for my niece’s 4th of July birthday celebration. It was a HUGE hit. Seriously….the cake was light and moist and it was super cool when you cut into it.

    I also made your raspberry/chocolate skyhigh muffins and the strawberry cheesecake bars (except I made them with raspberry jam. Everything was awesome. Thank you for sharing your recipes. You are my go to website for baking ideas!

  11. P.S. I did have a question. Your vanilla buttercream was to die for….do you have a recipe for chocolate buttercream?

  12. Hi there! I just ran across your blog and I was curious if you can do this tie dye/marble technique on box cake mixes? Thank you!

  13. Not sure if my comment posted, so sorry for asking twice. I was wondering how you store your cupcakes? Whenever I make them the papers peel off the cupcakes overnight. I store them in a cupcake holder, air tight. I have purchased cheap papers, expensive papers and gislane lined papers and same thing… I want to make these, mini cupcakes for the 4th the night before. Any tips? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Tracy – I’ve never had the issue of my cupcake liners falling off of any of my cupcake recipes. That’s so strange. You could try silicone cupcake holders. I know they come in mini size. I found mine at a craft store.

  14. I love these!!! You finally broke my vanilla cupcake curse!!!!! 🙂 I was starting to think I’d never find a vanilla cupcake from scratch that compared to the boxes. These will be my go to vanilla cupcakes! Thank-you!!!

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