Fall tye-dye cupcakes

by Carly

I really wanted to make something nut-free for the Little Man to eat for dessert at our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.  Since I knew the pie I was bringing had nuts, I decided to make some fall-themed cupcakes.  I didn't have time to fuss with fondant, creating fancy turkeys or pilgrim's hats (not that we really do the pilgrim thing here in Canada anyway).

Since Jake really likes rainbow coloured cakes and cupcakes, I used that as my jumping off point.  We made white cake batter, then divided the batter into three bowls.  One bowl of batter was tinted yellow, one orange and one terra-cotta (I'd run out of red but had terra-cotta lying around for some reason).  I used food paste as you need less of it to get a nice strong colour.

To make it easier to get the batter into the cupcake liners, I put it in plastic baggies and snip a tiny bit off one corner.  I started with the lightest colour, pouring some into each cup.  Then we added the orange and finally the terra-cotta.  Don't mix the colours as the batter will turn out muddy - just leave them "piled" on top of one another.

While the cupcakes were baking in their plain white cupcake liners, I nosed around our cupboards looking for some pretty fall-themed liners to put them in for added colour, but I came up empty handed.  So I tinted some extra white liners I had with yellow, orange and terra-cotta food paste mixed with water.  Using a spoon I poured the different colours over the liners while they sat upside down on a wire rack nestled in a rimmed cookie sheet to catch the run-off.

I didn't want to completely cover the liners, so I left a fair bit of white showing.  When I had tinted all the liners, I poured any excess dye off them, then put them right side up in a cupcake pan.  After taking out the baked cupcakes, I turned the oven off and put the liners into the warm oven to help them dry.  Keep a close eye on them - they only need a minute or two.  The bottoms were still damp, so I turned them upside down on the wire rack and popped them back into the still warm oven for another minute or two.

While the cupcakes cooled I made some buttercream frosting and divided that into three bowls.  I coloured each bowl using the same colours I'd used in the batter.  Each colour was then put into it's own individual piping bag and twisted closed at the top using a twist-tie.  I loosely attached the three bags together around the middle using a pipe cleaner, and put all three into another piping bag with my largest round tip attached.

I did a test swirl on a plate to make sure the three colours would come out nicely and fairly uniform, then piped the cooled cupcakes, starting at the outer edge and moving toward the middle.

Ta-da!  Tye-dyed cupcakes with tye-dyed frosting and tye-dyed decorative liners.

Carly has red hair and occasionally the temper to match.  She loves potatoes, rainy nights, photography, her husband, her 6 year old son, Jacob and her 10 month old son, Noah.  Probably in reverse order.   She also blogs.