Post 26 of 365 Real Foods Series: Naturally Dyed Cupcakes

I lost the first two weeks of February to illness and the last two weeks to a ridiculous foot injury, but now I consider myself off the bench and back in the game!

Prior to my last food post, Postponement of 365 Real Foods Series (, my friend Courtney posted a photo of gorgeously dyed cupcakes on her Facebook page. I nearly went insane when I saw how stunning they were. She kindly sent me the information so I could blog them. 🙂

She began experimenting with natural dyes to test out colors for her daughter’s birthday cake. Like us, she avoids artificially dyed foods, so her goal was to find a way to make a colorful cake using natural ingredients she has at home.  She used real foods to make beautifully colored cupcakes, and they came out amazing.



  • White and yellow cake mixes (for the purpose of experimenting and budgeting, Courtney used a basic Betty Crocker mix).
  • Organic eggs
  • Paprika
  • Organic basil
  • (7) small canned beets
  • Blueberry jam
  • Organic frozen raspberries


  • Prepare mixes per instructions on box with eggs.
  • Divide mix into three separate bowls.

Yellow Cupcakes: 

  • Yellow cake mixed used – no need for adding any additional color. Try a bit of cumin if you wish to add more color.

“The yellow cupcakes were simple yellow mix and tasty.”

Green Cupcakes:

  • Yellow cake mixed used.
  • Put fresh basil leaves and stems into blender.
  • Chop and add cake mix to blender.

“These cupcakes had a very fresh, bright, herb flavor and the color was bright green.”

Orange Cupcakes:

  • Yellow cake mix.
  • Add paprika to cake mix.
  • Blend well.

” …  a little goes a long way (the taste was slightly savory with the normal texture).”

Purple Cupcakes:

  • White cake mix.
  • Place canned beets into blender and blend until nearly smooth.
  • Add cake mix and blend until nicely combined.

“The beet cupcakes have a very mellow sweet taste and texture, barely noticeable earthy tone.”

Blue Cupcakes:

  • White cake mix.
  • Add blueberry jam to cake mix and blend until combined.
  • Do not over mix.

“The blueberry cupcakes have a dense texture, deep blueberry flavor, and almost a moist pound cake feel to them.”

Pink Cupcakes: 

  • White cake mix.
  • Place thawed, frozen raspberries into blender.
  • Blend until smooth and add cake mix.
  • Blend together until smooth.

“The texture is very moist and dense, almost like a fluffy cheesecake, flavor is very fruity.”

Overall, these cupcakes came out amazing. Courtney would tweak a few things here and there, but was happy with the outcome. If making for a party, she would use organic cake mix. “If I’m going to go all the way with this much effort….It’s going to be organically spectacular!”

“I do have some cream cheese frosting that mellows out the stronger flavored cupcakes, it compliments basil, beet, and paprika very nicely. Blueberry and raspberry are already so moist they don’t need the additional creaminess. The final judgement on these has been they are very flavorful, the color is intense, and the texture is off in the mixtures I put into the blender. I would not put the mixture into the blender again, even though it makes it so easy to mix and to pour into the cupcake pan.”

About Courtney: I’m a mother, girl friend (12 years running), sister, daughter, organic gardener for food and landscapes. Creating meals with organic food I have grown or bought is my goal. I am willing to use non-organic products to help my budget. I focus on buying organic dairy, meat, and veggies, locally during the season. I have many organic spices, sugar, and other baked goods. I buy them when they are on sale and I clearance shop at the natural food stores.

A big thank you to Courtney for sharing! These are wonderful, and I can’t wait to try them. <3

Give these cupcakes a try and let me know what you think. I would love to see your pictures as well!

Happy Baking,

The Joyful Homemaker

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