If you want a pretty easy, no-fuss way to be festive for Halloween, these cupcakes may be for you. Don’t worry if you hate candy corn; these cupcakes just kind of look like candy corn but taste like whatever flavor you bake. You can make these easily with a boxed cake mix or you can whip up your favorite homemade recipe. Kids love them either way.
I try to make most things from scratch, but for these cupcakes, I used a doctored cake mix–a cake mix with some extras added to make them taste better and increase the quantity. I have had a hard time finding a white cake recipe that is not dry or flavorless, so this doctored cake mix has been my go-to for many occasions. The recipe makes great cupcakes and cake. The cake comes out moist, and I love the flavor that a little almond extract adds. It is also sturdy enough for layered cakes. Even if you don’t make candy corn cupcakes, you may want to try the cake technique.
Candy Corn Cupcakes
For the cupcakes: (make your own recipe or use this doctored cake mix shortcut below)
- 1 box white or yellow cake mix (my cake decorating instructors highly favored Duncan Hines, so that is what I always use–classic white)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 egg whites (you can use 2 whole eggs instead for yellow cake or other flavors; using whites only keeps the cake pure white)
- 1 and 1/3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup sour cream (I recommend the full fat; no fat or light will work but is not as good)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use clear if you want to keep the cake pure white)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- yellow and orange food coloring to make the candy corn colors
For the frosting: (Use your favorite homemade or canned frosting or this Wilton buttercream below; I doubled this and had some left over. 1 and 1/2 batches would probably be perfect.)
- 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use clear if you want pure white frosting)
- 4 cups (approximately 1 pound) sifted powdered sugar
- approximately 2 tablespoons milk to desired consistency
- optional: a pinch of salt
- optional: candy corn or colored sprinkles for garnish
- Make the cupcakes: Whisk cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer until combined. Add egg whites, water, oil, sour cream, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix by hand or on low speed of a mixer to moisten dry ingredients and then beat for two minutes until fluffy. Be sure to scrape down with a spatula to avoid floury spots.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and fill two standard cupcake pans with white liners. (I usually get 32-33 standard cupcakes from this recipe.)
- Pour 1/3 to 1/2 of batter into a separate bowl to color. Add yellow food coloring to the smaller bowl of batter and mix until desired color is reached. Spoon yellow batter into bottoms of cupcake liners, about 1/4 to 1/3 full. Add orange food coloring to the other bowl of batter, mix, and then spoon over the yellow batter in the cupcake liners, until about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Set aside to cool and repeat with any remaining batter.
- Make the frosting: In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat shortening and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add sifted sugar, one cup at a time. Beat well on medium speed and scrape down the bowl several times. When all the sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add optional pinch of salt. Gradually add milk; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. If frosting is too thick for piping or spreading, add more milk, water, or corn syrup. **If using a hand mixer, add milk before powdered sugar to reduce strain on mixer.**
- To decorate the cupcakes: Fit a piping bag with a large tip (I use a 2D) and add a swirl of white frosting to the top of each cupcake. Garnish with a piece of candy corn or sprinkles, if desired.
Yield: 32-33 cupcakes
Source: This cupcake idea has been posted by many people in many places, but I originally saw it at Our Best Bites and The Girl Who Ate Everything. The doctored cake mix recipe comes from Our Best Bites. The frosting recipe is from Wilton.