Thursday, April 2, 2009
When a CakeSpy reader recently wrote asking if we had a cotton candy cupcake recipe, the response was immediate: no, but did we ever want to have one.
Cotton candy is one of those foods that is loaded with nostalgia: the billowy clouds of spun sugar conjure visions of idyllic childhood summers, county fairs and carnivals. Now, we don't want to confuse the experience with the product, (after all, there are more realistic pitfalls to cotton candy, like its saccharine sweetness and the sticky, pastel-colored hands it leaves you with) there's no denying that cotton candy is just a happy sort of food.
So when a recipe wasn't immediately available, we decided to improvise; here's what we came up with--a buttery vanilla cupcake topped with cotton candy-infused pink buttercream frosting, topped with even more cotton candy. Not as if they need to be any sweeter, but the Bella Cupcake Couture wrappers and Carnie Cuppie toppers sure did make them cute.
The overall result? Tastes like childhood to us.
Cotton Candy Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes
Yellow Cupcakes (cake recipe only via foodnetwork.com):
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups sifted cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- cupcake liners
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixer with a whip attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to cream. Gradually add the vanilla and eggs and mix in well. Sift together the dry ingredients; then mix into the butter mixture alternating with the milk. Pour batter into cupcake paper-lined muffin tins filling them 3/4 full. Bake until puffed and firm in the center and light golden brown on top, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool. (Freeze at this point, if necessary.)
Cotton Candy Buttercream Frosting (adapted from this recipe)
Makes enough frosting for 24 cupcakes
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 6 to 8 cups Confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
- 1 handful cotton candy (we used this prepackaged kind), broken into small pieces, plus another handful for garnish
- Place the butter in a large mixing bowl.
- Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla.
- On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar.
- Add a few drops of red food coloring and mix thoroughly til it's a desired shade of pink.
- Stir in the small pieces of cotton candy, stirring until incorporated. It may melt a little bit into the frosting; this is ok.
- Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.
- Optional topping: tear off chunks of cotton candy and use as garnish; do this last step immediately before serving, because it will wilt if left out.