March 18, 2010

End of the Rainbow = Pot of Gold

As a kid, I never really believed in the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. But, for some reason I was convinced that all those fantastical St. Patrick's Day tales were true: that tricky little leprechauns made mischief right under our noses, rare four leaf clovers brought good luck, and there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

After I first heard about the pot of gold in kindergarten, every time after a rainstorm, if there was a rainbow, I would crane my neck every which way, searching for this elusive rainbow end and the pot of gold. Of course, no matter how I twisted my head, I could never find the end of the rainbow. Eventually, in science class I learned about the principles of refraction and how a rainbow is created by the interaction of light and raindrops.

Despite the fact that I now know otherwise, every St. Patrick's Day I'm still reminded of these tales, and throughout the month of March, I often find myself scanning for four leaf clovers growing along the sidewalk. This year, I made Pot of Gold cupcakes: chocolate cupcakes (pot) filled with lemon frosting (gold) and topped with "play dough" cookies (rainbow).

Pot of Gold Cupcakes
'Pot' Chocolate Cupcake
adapted from recipezaar

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp vinegar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place sugar, salt, vegetable oil, water, vanilla, and vinegar in one bowl. In another bowl, combine your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet until thoroughly mixed.

Spray muffin tins with nonstick spray and then fill each cup 2/3 the way full with batter. Place in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.

Makes 16.

'Gold' Lemon Frosting 
1/2 stick butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon extract
yellow food coloring

Cream the butter with the powdered sugar. Add the lemon juice and lemon extract. Mix. Then mix in the yellow food coloring. If frosting is too soft, add more sugar. If too stiff, add more lemon juice.

'Rainbow' Play Dough Cookies
adapted from allrecipes / inspired by the cookie shop

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3 oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
red, blue, green, and yellow food coloring

Mix butter with cream cheese and sugar till fluffy. Add egg and mix. Add vanilla and mix. In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Now mix the dry ingredients with the wet till a dough forms. Split the dough into four equal pieces.

Take one piece, color with a few drops of red food coloring and knead the color into the dough. Add more coloring if the color is not intense enough. Now repeat with the other dough pieces and colors. Wrap colored dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. For rainbows, roll out small portions of each color into long ropes and stick them together to make the rainbow. Make sure one half of the rainbow is longer (as pictured above) so you have something that can be stuck into the cupcakes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake the tray of cookies for 8 minutes and let cool on a cooling rack.

Note: Makes lots of cookies. There will be a lot of cookie dough left over just to play with :D.

Take your cooled chocolate cupcakes and flip them upside down. If they don't stand straight, slice a bit off of the cupcake top (actual top of the cupcake), to create a flat surface so they can balance, then reflip them so the bottom faces up once again. In the center of the bottom, with a knife, cut out a circle of cake and scoop it out with a spoon to create a shallow ditch. Fill that hole with frosting.

With a chopstick, poke into the frosting, four holes in a straight line, to make a place for the cookie (which makes it easier to stick the cookie into the frosting and prevents your cupcake from splitting apart). Now stick in the cookie into the holey line in the frosting. Add more frosting if necessary to make it look like a pile of gold. Enjoy!


  1. cupcakes! i was never a big fan of cupcakes when i was younger, but now i can't resist them! these look delicious!

  2. These are absolutely adorable. I still want to believe there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! :)

  3. These cupcakes are so cute! The cookies really do look like Play-Doh!

  4. Those are just beautiful. How fun!

  5. Steph: Interesting. I wonder if it's because of you've learned to appreciate them more now because of age or it's because there's now so many more flavors available than just vanilla and chocolate (due in part to the huge cupcake craze that wasn't there when we were children).

    Jennifer: Thanks! It is a nice thought. I sometimes do catch myself looking for the end of the rainbow just out of habit though :).

    Memoria: Thank you. The dough for the cookies looks even more like play dough. It's quite fun to work with!

    Virginie: Thanks :). They were fun to make as well.

  6. Absolutely adorable. Wish I had seen them earlier in the week. My daughter's kindergarten class would have loved them. : )

  7. no purple T-T but i'm sure still mucho tasty. hehe

  8. those cupcakes are adorable!
    This is such a cute site. good work!

  9. Chocolate Shavings: Thank you :).

    oneordinaryday: Hehe, now I wish that I posted this earlier! There's always next year!

    Mel: Haha, of course you would notice that. If there were too many colors, the rainbows would be too fat!

    Sophie: Thanks!

  10. These are great! I made them for a client as a gift, and the colors are really vibrant and beautiful. I made them as a side to the rainbow cake from whisk kid! Thanks so much for the awesome recipe!

  11. Dinner, then Dessert: You're welcome. I'm glad they turned out well!

  12. Hi,

    Just asking if I could link this tutorial on my blog:


  13. Laurel: Whoops, so sorry for such a late reply, but sure, go ahead :)!

  14. LOL No lie: I'm scrolling down the page, "Aww!"-ing and "Ooh!"-ing. I notice the Harry Potter ones then the sweetie turtle above them and I actually holler out loud to my computer screen, "Everything is so G**D*** cute! What the hell is wrong with you!?!" LOL I don't know why *that* came out! Of course it's an absurd question, you're obviously amazing. Wonderful things!

    lol omg.


  15. Spacegeek Nat: Okay I literally LOL-ed at your comment. I'm wondering if I should feel insulted or praised by it, haha :P.

  16. wow you are really good! i especially like the glee one even though i dont watch the show your awesome!