Candy Corn Cupcakes

To be upfront about it – the candy corn icing is ONLY in the coloring – it doesn’t actually taste like candy corn!  I think, honestly, that would be too sticky-sweet.  But it is buttercream, so it’s certainly sweet enough, and you can garnish each one with a few actual candy corns if you want (you want, believe me), and get that real candy corn essence.

And, to be completely honest and upfront, these turned out to be the most “ugly desserts” of Ugly Desserts I’ve made in a looong time. So. Many. Issues. It was really hot in SF when I made them so the icing got a little runny and didn’t really hold its shape like I wanted it to and the orange turned, well, a color that’s not really orange.

BUT…they are fun to make and the best part – they’re really tasty to eat! Just don’t, you know, look at them too hard.

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ½ t baking powder
  • ¼ t salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Icing

  • 1 stick plus 1 T butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 c powdered sugar
  • 3 T milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • Orange and yellow food coloring
  • Actual candy corns for garnish
  • Halloween-themed sprinkles*

*  Optional, but fun

Directions

We’ll start with the cupcakes. 

In a large bowl add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk until well blended.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, put the sugar and butter and beat with your hand mixer until nice and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Next, add in the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk and beat again, until well combined.  Finally, get your flour mixture, pour half in and mix until well combined, then pour the other half in and do the same.

Spoon the batter into cupcake tins filled with cupcake liners, filling each cup about 2/3 of the way full.

Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry, with just some crumbs.  Transfer the tin to a wire rack to cool.  Once the rack is cool enough to tough (probably just a few minutes), take the cupcakes out of the tin and let them cool on the rack by themselves.

While they’re cooling you can make the icing, which is really just a simple buttercream colored a couple ways.  But note – don’t frost them until they’re completely cool, otherwise the icing will slide off the cupcakes, and it’s not a good look. Or, if you do it during one of the worst heatwaves in San Francisco and you don’t have air conditioning…you’ll get something like these turned out.

Beat butter until fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and beat again until fluffy.  Divide the buttercream into thirds.  Remember that all the layers of a candy corn aren’t the same size so these don’t need to be three equal portions. 

Leave the white buttercream in your original bowl – this is your smallest portion.  In one bowl, add orange food coloring (or a combination of red and yellow if you don’t have any orange) – this is your middle-sized portion.  In the other bowl add yellow food coloring, which should be your largest portion. 

Since yellow is on the bottom of a traditional candy corn, we’ll start there first.

Put the yellow buttercream into a piping bag and pipe onto the tops of the cooled cupcakes.  Next, put the orange buttercream into a piping bag and layer that over the yellow.  The orange should be a smaller circle than the yellow.   Finally, add the white buttercream into a piping bag and pipe a small bit of that over the orange.

Orange? Meh, not really…

Garnish with a couple or more actual candy corns and you’re good to go!  If you have Halloween-themed sprinkles, feel free to add them, too!

Make sure to refrigerate any of these that you don’t eat right away.  This recipe should make about 15 Halloween-inspired cupcakes.

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