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Thursday
Apr022009

Sweet Nostalgia: Cotton Candy Cupcakes

Carnie Cotton Candy Cupcakes
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
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!Cotton Candy Frosting
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
  1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla.
  3. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. Add a few drops of red food coloring and mix thoroughly til it's a desired shade of pink.
  6. Stir in the small pieces of cotton candy, stirring until incorporated. It may melt a little bit into the frosting; this is ok.
  7. Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled. 
  8. 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.

 

Reader Comments (47)

I love the idea and the nostalgia associated with it. It reminds me of my sister and I on warm summer nights at the fair. ... and the presentation is beautiful, I love the wrappers (:

Great idea - and combing two of my favorite things! I love your site!

April 5 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Henrie

oh my cupcake goodness, this is so awesome....you guys are genius. i'm so going to try the recipe.

Sugar overload! :) These sound like the perfect thing for a birthday party.

April 6 | Unregistered Commenterchou

I want! I want! I want!

Did I mention I want?

April 6 | Unregistered Commenterfeathermar

Oh how I adore these. Saw them on FB and new I had to comment; cotton candy does bring back plenty of fun memories. I love the springy, happy colors :).

April 6 | Unregistered CommenterSophie

OMG - This is the most amazing thing I've read all day... :)

April 7 | Unregistered CommenterTera Randall

Just looking at the cotton candy being stirred into the frosting makes my teeth hurt! But in a good way. Cotton candy is an incredible scent.

April 9 | Unregistered Commenteranna

oooh.ittts sooo dreamy!:)

April 10 | Unregistered Commenterchocolatecup

Oh, yum! Yum, yum, yum! Takes me right back to being a kid at the amusement park...

April 10 | Unregistered CommenterElle

Let me say that these are as yummy as they look---I can't believe how great cotton candy mixed into the frosting takes! These will be a big hit with the kids on Easter Sunday! Thanks for posting this.

I thought the recipe said "Add the sugar and continue to DREAM" - ha ha.

Thanks, lovely recipe.

April 12 | Unregistered CommenterLorraine

Aww, I love this idea!

Wow, this is cool.. thank you!! I just asked my daughter if she would like a filling inside her birthday cake (care bears theme) and she said "cotton candy".... I didn't really think I would find a recipe for it.. lol :)

May 7 | Unregistered CommenterRiver

I heard something about Yellow Cupcakes could substitute viagra without prescription because, its ingredient are aphrodisiacs, but I don't think this is true, doesn't it?

August 18 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

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Wow!I am so happy to read your post! Please let me know where I can get a copy of that book because I am a marketer also. I am so excited to read it! My business is Mass Flow Controllerand I do have plenty of employees which challenge my management abilities. Looking forward on hearing from you...

Thanks

August 25 | Unregistered Commentertagiwc

What about baking a hunk of cotton candy into the center of each cupcake? Would it melt? Maybe if the cotton candy were compressed a bit before the batter was poured over/around it? Just a thought.

September 10 | Unregistered CommenterLori Molitor

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September 27 | Unregistered Commenterzhy
I LOVE cotton candy, and it's my bestfriend's favorite sugary thing.
October 8 | Unregistered CommenterRazib Ahmed
i just made these for sister's birthday. i messed up the first batch (they spread too much) so i have al these cake scraps. Cakepops, you suggest? No way! Candy trifle for her candy picnic. White cake, vanilla pudding, cotton candy, marshmallows, peeps, meringues...CS, tonight I may be almost a sweet as you are! ;)
May 5 | Unregistered CommenterBethany
Hi there, I love all of your unique and delicious recipes. I've already baked the Guinness Cupcakes w/ Chocolate Covered Potato Chips and next up is this Cotton Candy cupcake recipe. I've nominated your blog for the Versatile Blogger Award http://theoptimisticbaker.com/2012/04/18/versatile-blogger-award/ :-)
April 22 | Unregistered CommenterBecky
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