Mardi Gras Cupcakes

Mardi Gras cupcakes to celebrate Fat Tuesday! These cupcakes are swirled with the Mardi Gras colors of purple representing justice, gold representing power, and green representing faith. This post is wrapping up my week’s worth of traditional New Orleans style food. Can you believe that I have never been to New Orleans? I have heard so many great stories because my mom grew up in Lake Charles Louisiana, about 3 hours away from New Orleans. She still has a chalk drawing of herself that she got during Mardi Gras that hangs in the second bedroom of their house. When I was about 10 years old our family drove down to visit family in Alabama, while we were there my parents decided to drive to Lake Charles and look at my mom’s house she lived in and her old high school. My dad said that we were going to drive to New Orleans and stay a night or two. I was so excited that we were going to New Orleans! I remember having my face plastered to the car window for the entire ride. I was so excited! That excitement didn’t last too long, as soon as we arrived in New Orleans, we left!  It was during a Saints game so traffic was at a stand still. I remember us missing our turn into our hotel and my dad being so irritated that he refused to stay! He tried to make up for it by taking us to Gulfport Mississippi to spend a few days at the beach. I still remember that trip and how much I wanted to visit New Orleans. Maybe someday!

If you are like me and unable to make it down for Mardi Gras, whip up a batch of these rainbow cupcakes and celebrate anyway! :) These cupcakes are made from my favorite recipe for a classic white layer cake, only with a burst of coloring added.

They always bake up super moist and tender. I layered the batter into the muffin tins by squeezing the different colored batter using ziploc bags with the ends snipped off. This made the process so much quicker and less messy. So what are you waiting for? Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Mardi Gras Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes


For the Cupcakes:

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
purple, green, and yellow food coloring
purple, green, and yellow sanding sugars
For the Buttercream Frosting:
20 tablespoons (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2½ cups Confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

In a 2-cup glass measure, combine milk, egg whites, and extracts and mix with fork until blended.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.

Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed for 1½ minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium speed and beat 20 seconds longer.

Pour a scant cup of the cake mix into three separate mixing bowls. Mix in food colorings and place the colored batter into three individual Ziploc bags.

Squeeze cake batter into each cupcake well, alternating colors. (I did purple first, followed by green...)

Then yellow on top.

Bake 15 to 17 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer muffin pan to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cool completely prior to frosting.

Place frosting into a large decorators decorating bag fitted with the 1M decorating tipand approximately 1/4″ above cupcake top at a 90° angle to cupcake surface,  pipe a spiral of icing, beginning at the outer edge and working inward. Sprinkle with sanding sugars.

Source: cupcakes adapted from Bean Town Baker, frosting Crumbly Cookie


mardi gras cupcakes

46 Responses to “Mardi Gras Cupcakes”

  1. #
    Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow — March 8, 2011 @ 8:08 am

    Beautiful and festive cupcakes! Like mini King Cakes! I love them

  2. #
    Jeannie — March 8, 2011 @ 8:33 am

    Ohh so lovely! I like it a lot! I must try making these:D

  3. #
    Amy — March 8, 2011 @ 8:36 am

    They remind me of tie dye! Soooo cool…And I’m sure tasty as well :) Loving this Mardi Gras theme you got goin on.

  4. #
    simplynutritiouskate — March 8, 2011 @ 9:03 am

    these cupcakes are absolutely gorgeous, so vibrant!

  5. #
    Cara — March 8, 2011 @ 11:13 am

    Those look like so much fun! I love how vibrant the colors are!

  6. #
    Honey @ Honey, What's Cooking? — March 8, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

    gorgeous gorgeous pictures christina. I love how you showed us the different colors of the cupcakes in the ziploc bags. :-) happy mardi gras!!!!

  7. #
    Erin @ Making Memories — March 8, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

    These look fantastic!!!

  8. #
    leighbakes — March 8, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

    Those are so fun-looking! Very festive indeed. :)

  9. #
    Michelle — March 8, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

    The colors of your cupcakes are beautiful!

  10. #
    Susi — March 8, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

    These cupcakes look like so much fun to make. The colors are vibrant and spot on for Mardi Gras. These would be a hit at any party!

  11. #
    Debra — March 8, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

    You had to have used paste food coloring to get such vibrant colors. Those little Durkee bottles would never make these rich colors.

  12. #
    This Italian Family — March 8, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

    So pretty!

  13. #
    chefpriyanka — March 8, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

    so pretty and festive! I don’t even celebrate Mardi Gras, but now i want to!! :)

  14. #
    muppy — March 8, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

    Great photos! i love them, so funny, my daughter would love it if i made her these.

  15. #
    katshealthcorner — March 8, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

    Those are SO cool! I love the breat colors!!!! I have never made anything like this before!!! It sounds AWESOME! 😀


  16. #
    torviewtoronto — March 8, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

    beautiful colourful cupcakes nicely done

  17. #
    happywhennothungry — March 8, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

    Your Mardi Gras cupcakes look delicious! I love the colors. What a creative recipe!

  18. #
    Mary — March 8, 2011 @ 9:45 pm

    Such vibrant colors! I’m sure these are as delicious as they are beautiful. I hope you have a great evening. Blessings…Mary

  19. #
    Barbara Bakes — March 8, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

    Such a fun idea. Great tip using Ziplocs to layer the batter.

  20. #
    Of Plates & Palates — March 8, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

    !!! These are so awesome!

  21. #
    Jenny (VintageSugarcube) — March 9, 2011 @ 2:23 am

    Those cupcakes not only look gorgeous, but also mucho delicious!! I want one now!! :)

  22. #
    lisamichele — March 9, 2011 @ 3:22 am

    These are absolutely gorgeous!! I always wanted to try making a rainbow version :)

  23. #
    Junia @ Mis Pensamientos — March 9, 2011 @ 6:19 am

    wow, i love the colors in these cupcakes!!

  24. #
    tinkerbelle86 — March 9, 2011 @ 10:38 am

    oh wow, they look cool, like an explosion in willy wonkas chocolate factory!

  25. #
    freshandfoodie — March 9, 2011 @ 11:32 am

    This is so cool! I love the idea — would be awesome in cake form, too. Yummy and fun.

  26. #
    Monica — March 9, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

    So fun and festive! I love that the layers even show through the paper liner. Beautiful!

  27. #
    Lyndsey @ Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Drops — March 10, 2011 @ 12:21 am

    Wow! These are amazing! So much fun : )

  28. #
    Sweet Artichoke — March 10, 2011 @ 5:17 am

    Your cupcakes are beautiful ! I love these funky colours! Very festive!

  29. #
    Lynn — March 11, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

    Gorgeous! I love how bright the colours are.

  30. #
    thelissuh — March 18, 2011 @ 10:47 am

    I’ve been wondering how I could make layered cupcakes! You are fabulous! I have to ask, did you use any sort of food coloring in particular? (Wilton or just store brand liquids?)

  31. #
    Alyson! — September 11, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

    I grew up in Lake Charles, so I’ve seen a lot of Mardi Gras in my life. Unfortunately, there’s nothing like Mardi Gras in New Orleans and I get nostalgic every year! These cupcakes are gorgeous and I think I’m going to make them next Mardi Gras season :)

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  33. #
    Lady C — January 27, 2012 @ 12:51 am

    Would this receipe work for a cake? Like a regular cake?

    • Christina replied: — February 15th, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

      Yes, you can make this as a cake. You can bake it in two 9 inch pans or one 9 x 13 inch pan. If you give it a try I would love to hear how it turns out for you! :)

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  36. #
    Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies — February 21, 2012 @ 9:20 am

    I love this idea! It’s so festive! It seems like a fun way to customize any party. Maybe green and gold for St. Patricks?

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  40. #
    Debbie — July 22, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

    OMG! I love these…I love everything Mardi Gras! And I will making these next year for Mardi Gras! I hope one day you make it New Orleans….nothing like it anywhere else! I can’t get enough of that city and so glad I live one hour away in Mississippi!

  41. #
    Marianne — January 31, 2014 @ 2:47 pm

    I just found your blog and I love it.

    I live in Chicago and in 2010 my husband and I drove to Louisiana – the drive is not that bad!!!!!! New Orleans is wonderful. My husband and I had so much fun when we were there.

    • Christina replied: — February 2nd, 2014 @ 8:18 pm

      Thanks so much Marianne! We just might have to make the drive, I would love to go to New Orleans someday. :)

  42. #
    Donna — February 26, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

    I love these! We are having a Mardi Gras party in Brooklyn and I will definitely be making these!

    • Christina replied: — February 27th, 2014 @ 1:49 pm

      I hope you enjoy them Donna! :)

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