Funfetti Cupcakes with Rainbow Buttercream - Pride Month 2017

15 Jun 2017

What happens when you fuse baking with a month that is dedicated to all things LGBTQA+? Absolute fabulousness, that's what! I realise that we're pretty much halfway through June, a.k.a. Pride Month, but I really wanted to do my bit as an ally and put together a little something to show my support, particularly in this current climate (hi DUP, I hope you're reading!) Bearing all that in mind, I am extremely pleased and excited to share my funfetti cupcakes. The rainbow doesn't just end at the cake crumb though, as they're all topped off with a swirl of crazy, bright rainbow buttercream. If these don't scream Pride, I'm not sure what will!

Before I tell you all a bit about these cakes, let's have a chat about Pride Month. While it's a month that is all about celebrating your sexuality and a chance for the community as well as allies to come together and do so, it is also a serious time LGBTQA+ calendar. It was originally put in place as a memorial month for the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan - a pivotal point in history for the Gay Liberation Movement - but there are also many memorials for members of the community that have been lost due to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. It's not all sad though, as Pride Month is also a time where LGBTQA+ individuals are recognised for the impact they've made historically, nationally and internationally! Although I don't class myself as part of the community, I am always willing to support the people that are and believe that we all should be.

When I was thinking about what I could bake that would perfectly represent Pride Month, I just couldn't get rainbows out of my head. The movement's flag is a rainbow, so it just made sense to me to incorporate it into the bake somehow, but as you know, we don't do things by halves on The Northernist.
I knew I wanted to do funfetti. Whenever I see photos of funfetti cakes, I just fall in love with the smattering of colour pops throughout the crumb. I did have a go at a funfetti drip cake in January, but I used the wrong kind of sprinkles, so the pops of colour just didn't work out. This time was massively different though! I ordered a bag of rainbow jimmies (coloured sugar strands) from eBay and they worked absolutely perfectly. You want to avoid nonpareils (the small ball-shaped sprinkles), as they are known to bleed and just disappear when baked into cakes, so rainbow jimmies or sugar strands are the way forward. You may get a little bit of bleeding, but I promise, your cakes will still look amazing!

The idea for the icing was something came to me after seeing some gorgeous multi-coloured buttercream swirls on Instagram only recently. I did some investigating into how to achieve this look and I think that I pulled it off pretty well! I'll admit, it's very time-consuming, but the results are definitely worth it.

First of all, you make up your buttercream in any flavour that you like (I went for classic vanilla), then separate it into bowls for each colour that you need. I did six colours, so technically this isn't a proper rainbow, but we'll let that slide. Once you have all your colours, take a piece of cling film/saran wrap and lay it flat on your countertop. Pipe each of your colours along the middle of the wrap, making sure that they're nice and straight, and laying directly next to each other. Then roll the cling film up and form a rainbow sausage by twisting the open ends shut. Cut one end with a pair of scissors, fairly close to the coloured icing, then slot the rainbow sausage into a piping bag with your favourite nozzle attached. When you pipe, your icing should come out in gorgeous rainbow stripes!

If my instructions are a bit difficult to understand, this video has very clear visuals that will help you to understand better. For the colours, I recommend using gels. You only need a tiny bit to get great colour pay off, and you don't get that nasty chemical taste that you do with regular food colourings.

You will need:
180g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Half teaspoon salt
115g unsalted butter, melted
250g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
180g buttermilk (I weighed my carton in the veg section of the supermarket!)
100g rainbow jimmies
300g unsalted butter, softened
400g+ icing sugar
Semi-skimmed milk (optional)
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple food colouring gel

  1. Preheat your oven to 180c and line a cupcake tin with 12 cases.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, then set to one side.
  3. In a large bowl, pour your melted butter into the caster sugar, and beat for 30 seconds until the mixture becomes thick and yellow. Gradually add the eggs, beating after each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and buttermilk into the mixture, mixing between each addition. Be sure not to overmix, otherwise you'll end up with stodgy cakes. Pour in your sprinkles and lightly mix, so to reduce any bleeding.
  5. Fill your cases until they're two-thirds full, then pop the tin into the oven to bake for 18-20 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Once baked, remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Now it's time for the buttercream! In a large bowl, beat your softened butter to loosen it up a little more. Beat your icing sugar into the butter in 100g increments. You can decide how much you want to use and what you'd like your icing consistency to be. If you want to loosen it up a little, you can add a splash of milk.
  7. Separate your icing into six different bowls, then colour them to your liking. With gel colourings, you don't need to add a lot to get gorgeous vivid shades! Pop each one into it's own icing bag without a nozzle or a sandwich bag with the corner cut off, then set them to one side.
  8. Roll out a piece of cling film/saran wrap on your countertop, then pipe each of your colours on to it in straight lines. Make sure that you pipe them directly next to each other, so you get nice, clean lines. Fold your cling film over to form a rainbow icing sausage (I find a folding action works better than rolling the icing), then seal the horizontal edges together and twist the edges to trap the icing inside. Using a pair of scissors, cut one end of the cling film, close to the icing, then slot the rainbow sausage inside a piping bag with your favourite nozzle in.
  9. Once your cakes are fully cooled, pipe your icing on top and decorate in any way that you want!
While I think that the rainbow interior and exterior is enough on these cakes, you definitely don't have to stop there! You could throw on some confetti or more sugar strands to give it a fun and bright finish. I've got some edible glitter sitting in my baking cupboard that's just waiting to be used and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted to throw it all on top of these! But if you don't fancy going all out, these guys look great just like this. I know that the doing the icing seems like a bit of a chew on, but just look at how fab it looks! It's definitely something I'm going to try again - maybe a chocolate and vanilla swirl on marble cupcakes would look good.

Not only are these little guys ideal for an Pride events that may be happening this month or at any time of the year, they'd also be perfect for kid's parties (whether you're a little kid or a big kid) or as a bit of a showstopper at a bake sale. Everyone will love how fun and flamboyant they are!

Whould you like to comment?

  1. I love this post for multiple reasons: Firstly, you've mentioned the history behind Pride month. I wouldn't have known about the riots in Manhattan if it weren't for you. Secondly, your post is relevant tot he month- and I just love that. Lastly, this one goes without saying but the colours twirled together look delicious.

    You've combined your passion with Pride!

    I really enjoyed this post, Olivia!


    1. Oh wow, thank you so much Steph! I really enjoyed creating the cakes and writing the post in general - that's something that I hope came across! As always, your comment is massively appreciated x