How to Make Tie Dye Cake Mix and Cupcakes

I’m sure you’ve seen them all over the place.  Those super cool tie dye cakes and cupcakes.  You know the ones where you cut into the cake and it is all swirly and colorful inside?  Well, Ash has been wondering how to make tie dye cake mix for some time now, so we thought we would give it a whirl with some pretty red, white and blue tie dye cupcakes.  The colors are so vivid and fun, red white and blue always looks awesome together and swirled in a cupcake…well you be the judge! Affiliate links are included in this post. 

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Supplies Needed to Make Tie Dye Cake Mix

This tie dye cake mix is so wonderful in part because it can be as easy or as time consuming as YOU would like.  I wanted to make these from a box mix, but Ash was insistent that she make the cake mix from scratch, so since she was happy to do it, I let her…but now you know who the lazy baker is in the family. 😉 Regardless of what you decide to make as far as a base cake mix is concerned, here is what you will need to make the tie dye cake mix.

Tie dye cake mix

-Favorite white cake mix, mixed and ready

-Cake pans or cupcake liners (we did cupcakes here)

-Two or three PASTE/GEL food colorings of your choice. These are the ones we like to use. You can use more colors than three if you like.

Bamboo Skewers (we used toothpicks for our cupcakes)

-Disposable pastry bags (one for each color of cake mix you’ll make) . We keep this box on hand for all of our projects.

-Cupcake liners if you are making cupcakes

-Favorite white buttercream recipe

-Sprinkles (if you’d like….and we always like. 😉

Step by Step Instructions for How to Make Tie Dye Cake Mix

  1. Mix your white cake mix as directed on cake mix instructions. 
  2. Separate your cake mix evenly into three different bowls (or enough bowls to have one for each color dye you are using)

Tie dye cake mix 33. Using the food coloring paste, dye each of the bowls of cake mix one of your chosen colors.  Use the amount of food coloring you need to get the shade of the color you desire. Mix through.

4. For cupcakes, line a cupcake tin with paper liners.  Place spoonfuls of different colors of cake mix into each cupcake liner layering them one on top of another.  Fill your cupcake liner about 3/4 of the way full. 

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5. If you are making a cake, scoop each color of cake mix into a disposable pastry bag and snip the end of the bag.  Tie the end of each of the pastry bags with plastic wrap or rubber bands to keep the batter in. Pipe the batter into your cake pans, one color at a time, layering one over the next. It is much easier to use pastry bags for this process than spoons.  I used spoons for the cupcakes, but if I were doing anything bigger I would for sure use the pastry bags.

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6. To create the tie dye look, carefully drag a bamboo skewer through the pan from the center out to the edges to create a pattern. Don’t over-mix the colors. Just a few strokes through the cake will create the desired effect.

We tried a few different techniques, just to see how differently they would turn out.  We layered some of the cups with colored batter, scooped in spoonfuls next to each other in other cups, and then tried the swirl technique in others.  When you look at the picture of the three frosted cupcakes (down just after this image of them in the pan) you can kind of see the difference.  The one in front is layered, the one on in the back left is scoops next to each other, and the one on the back right is using the swirling technique.  We like that one the best, so those are the directions I have included, but just be aware of the three different techniques…you can try them all! 🙂

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7. Bake your cake to the specific instructions for whatever mix you are using…no special instructions needed. 

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Once your cake or cupcakes have cooled, frost them with your favorite buttercream frosting, add sprinkles and then watch your guests faces light up when you cut into your beautiful cake!

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Aren’t those fun?  This color combo kind of reminds me of an icee.

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happy baking!




Creative Director at Pink Peppermint Design
Tammy Mitchell is the founder and creative director of lifestyle blog Along with being a homeschooling mom of two kiddos, she is also an in-demand prop and event stylist, photographer, interior and graphic designer. On Pink Peppermint Design, she shares creative DIY projects, easy entertaining and gift ideas, inspiring interiors and events. She lives in Southern California, with her husband and two children.

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