Candy corn are one of the most iconic Halloween candies out there. Some people love them, and some people hate them, but everyone seems to know exactly what the orange, yellow and white triangular candies are. I happen to be a fan of the slightly honey-flavored fondant candies, and put them out in candy jars both as a snack and for their colorful look.
These Candy Corn Cupcakes are candy corn in cupcake format. They’re orange and yellow miniature cupcakes (because candy corn are so small!) with a point of white icing on the top to give them that signature candy corn shape. They taste like regular vanilla cupcakes instead of candy corn, so everyone can enjoy them even if they don’t like the candies that inspired them, but definitely capture the colors of the season.
I made these by dividing up vanilla cupcake batter and dying one portion yellow and one portion orange. I piped the orange batter into mini cupcakes pans and topped it with the yellow batter, then baked them. Once the cupcakes baked, I cooled them and unwrapped them before frosting, and flipped them upside down so that the wide, yellow portion of the cake would be the base of my candy corn – just as it is in the real candies – and the cupcakes would have a more recognizable candy corn shape. Make sure to store these cupcakes in an airtight container once you’ve unwrapped and frosted them. Since the sides of the cake are unprotected, they will dry out a bit on the edges if they sit out for too long. As long as you store them in an airtight container, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Make sure to use enough food coloring that you get bold, bright colors in your cake. Gel food colorings will give you the darkest colors, while you will need to use more regular (liquid) food coloring for the best color. Be generous with the colors and you’ll get great results.
These cupcakes can also be made as full size cupcakes, layered and decorated the exact same way as the mini cupcakes. They look great as full size cupcakes, but the mini cakes will always look a bit more like actual candy corn because they’re so much closer in size to the real thing. Still, if you do opt for the larger cupcakes, just put the batter into full size cupcake liners and add 3-4 extra minutes or so of baking time.
Candy Corn Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
yellow and orange food coloring
vanilla buttercream frosting, for topping (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 36 mini muffin tin cavities with mini paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually incorporate one third of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk. Add another third of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining buttermilk and the last of the flour. Mix just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Divide the batter, transferring a little less than half of the batter into a medium bowl. Add orange food coloring to this bowl and mix (use enough to make a dark orange – amounts will vary based on the type of food coloring used) it in. Add yellow food coloring to remaining batter and mix well.
Divide orange batter evenly into prepared muffin cups (it is easiest to use a piping bag or ziploc bag with the corner cut off). Pipe yellow batter on top of the orange, filling each cavity about 3/4 full.
Bake for 11-14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Turn cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When cupcakes are cooled, remove them from their wrappers and turn them over, so the yellow portion is on the bottom. Pipe a small point of vanilla buttercream (using a piping bag or ziploc bag with the corner cut off) on top of each mini cupcake to finish the look.
Store in an airtight container.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 tbsp milk
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Cream butter with an electric mixer until soft. Add vanilla and milk, then gradually blend in sugar until frosting reaches a fluffy, spreadable consistency.
*Note: You may end up with a few cupcakes that are all yellow or all orange if you didn’t divide your batter evenly. Not to worry – they will still taste good! Also, if using full size muffin cups, you should make 12-15 cupcakes.