Saturday in the Park: Tie-Dye Cupcakes with Psychedelic Buttercream Frosting

This is our neighbor, Arthur, who we found snowblowing our driveway AND our sidewalk yesterday afternoon...such an awesome guy! Needless to say, cupcakes were delivered to him and his wife this morning! Thanks, Arthur!

With snow on the ground, I was definitely thinking about warmer weather...the song "Saturday in the Park" by Chicago came to mind. Heard of that one? No, huh. Well, here's a link to the to the video...anyway, that's what inspired me to make these cupcakes, which from from the Cake Mix Doctor's Cupcake book!

So, do what Layla would do....Put on sunglasses, sit back, relax, enjoy the scenes and forget about winter!

Layla was impressed with the vanilla fact, she adored it! Layla also told me to give a shout out to Stacie Joy from Cupcakes Take the Cake. Layla hearts her!

Have a great week....CQ and THE LAYLA!

Here's the recipe:
Tie-Dye Cupcakes with Psychedelic Buttercream

Makes 22 to 24 cupcakes (2 ½ inches each)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 17 to 20 minutes
Assembly time: 10 minutes
24 paper liners for cupcake pans (2 ½-inch size)


1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup miniature M&M’s (see “the Cupcake Doctor says” below)


4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
Bright blue, green, and pink food coloring (see “the Cupcake Doctor says” below)
½ cup miniature M&M’s (optional)

The Cupcake Doctor says...It’s important to use miniature M&M’s because the regular M&M’s will sink instead of creating a streaked, tie-dye effect on top. Try to distribute the colors well, using some of each (the blue M&M’s create the most noticeable streak). It is less expensive to buy the minis in the 12-ounce bag rather than several of the small bags. As for food coloring, I love the Wilton teal, sky blue, leaf green, and pink in this recipe.

Instead of dying the frosting bright colors and topping with the M&M’s, you can use a plain buttercream frosting and fold the M&M’s into it, then let it rest in a warm place for an hour. Stir. The M&M colors will streak through the frosting.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pans aside.

Prepare the cupcake batter: Place the cake mix, pudding mix, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. Spoon or scoop a heaping 1/4 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it two thirds full. (You will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any.) Place 16 miniature M&M’s on top of each cupcake. Make sure to get a good mix of colors. Place the pans in the oven.

Bake the cupcakes until they are golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 17 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners, lift the cupcakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips. Place them on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before frosting.

Meanwhile, prepare the Psychedelic Buttercream:

Place the butter in a medium-size mixing bowl and blend with an electric mixer on low speed until creamy. Add the sugar and 3 tablespoons of the milk. Blend on low until the ingredients just come together, adding up to another tablespoon of milk if needed to make the frosting spreadable. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat in air to make the frosting fluffy, 30 seconds longer. Divide the frosting into two or three bowls for tinting. If you are using liquid colors, you’ll need about 2 drops of color per bowl; if using paste, about 1/8 teaspoon. Stir the colors into the frosting to blend.

Place small dollops of each colored frosting on each cupcake and swirl them together with the edge of a short metal spatula to resemble a tie-dye pattern, taking care to cover the tops completely. Or, decorate the top with miniature M&M’s, if desired. The cupcakes are ready to serve.

Store these cupcakes, in a cake saver or under a glass dome, at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or freeze them, wrapped in aluminum foil or in a cake saver, for up to 6 months. Thaw the cupcakes overnight in the refrigerator before serving.


  1. How cool! These look great :)

  2. I am totally in awe of your talent... What amazing cupcakes... and miniatures!! Great job!

  3. wow, great job! you cust made me hungry.

    thanks for sharing.

  4. satisfied my craving for a warm day far far away from winter!

  5. Thank you, Layla!! I'm blushing now. Puppy-kisses to you...

  6. Really cute cupcakes!

  7. Woww very nice :)

  8. OMG. Your cupcakes are ADORABLE! I am so envious of your skills! Love your dog too. Super cute. Maybe I'll have to take my dog Portobello's pic with my upcoming Easter cupcakes. Fun, thanks for the inspiration.

  9. Anonymous9:14 PM

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. I can't seem to understand the buttercream mix, "Instead of dying the frosting bright colors and topping with the M&M’s, you can use a plain buttercream frosting and fold the M&M’s into it, then let it rest in a warm place for an hour. Stir. The M&M colors will streak through the frosting." please explain :)