I’ve been making tie-dye cupcakes for years. The first batch of tie-dye cupcakes I ever made were for my friend Michael’s birthday. He was a Deadhead, so I made him Grateful Dead cupcakes in red, white, and blue tie-dye.
Tie-dye was one of our original cupcakes. Before we came up with anything else for Baked by Melissa, we knew the tie-dye cupcakes would represent everything we stand for—fun and colorful sweets that put a smile on your face!
You don’t have to be a professional baker to make a tie-dye cake, and the most important thing to remember is: have a good time! That’s why I’ve put together our signature tie-dye cake recipe for you to make your own.
When it comes to colors, I recommend adding no more than five. You risk overmixing, which might turn the whole cake a murky brown. That’s no fun.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter your cake pans or line them with parchment. (I recommend buttering the parchment paper, too. It makes lift-off way easier.)
Make your vanilla cake batter. With your hand-mixer or electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip the butter on high speed for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add your sugar. Beat on high speed for two minutes.
Add the vanilla extract. Mix at medium-low speed and add eggs one at a time. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl every so often.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, sea salt, and baking powder.
Use the lowest speed setting to combine 1/2 of the flour mixture. (Any faster and you’ll get flour all over yourself.) When that’s incorporated, add 1/2 of the milk and the rest of your wet & dry ingredients. Mix until you have a smooth batter.
Before you begin, make sure your ingredients are at room temperature.
Now that you have your cake batter, divide evenly among five bowls. There should be a bowl for each of the colors you’ll use. Add one drop of food coloring at a time and mix until you have the bright pops of color you want.
Scoop your colors into five disposable pastry bags and snip off the top of the bag with a pair of scissors. Secure the end of your pastry bag with a rubber band to avoid getting batter all over your hands.
Pipe the colors in equal layers one over the other into your cake pans.
Make the tie-dye effect! Take a skewer and carefully drag through the batter. Start at the center of the bowl and move outward to create a pattern. Once you like how it looks, stop mixing! You can over-mix if you’re not careful.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake springs back after you gently press a finger against it. Set the cake aside to cool completely.
Make your icing in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip the butter for one minute on high speed, then add the vanilla.
Mix your confectioners’ sugar and salt in a separate bowl, then add the sugar into the mixer one cup at a time on low speed. Whip for three minutes until you have a light, fluffy, delicious icing.
Level your cooled-off cakes with a serrated knife, then decorate your favorite way! You can do a rustic crumb coat of white icing, make colorful glazes, or use one of the food colorings to make a colorful icing. When you cut into the cake, you’ll show off your tie-dye!
This recipe was originally published on the Baked By Melissa blog.