Iconic Halloween candy tries on a cupcake disguise

Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Candy corn cupcakes offer a different take on one of Halloween's most iconic candies. (Larry Crowe ~ Associated Press)

As one of Halloween's most iconic candies, candy corn seemed worthy of a makeover. After all, the candy mixed into cookie dough, sprinkled over ice cream, worked into brownies and blondies, even used to infuse vodka for an adult sort of sticky tricky treat.

But candy corn had yet to be reworked as a cupcake. Until now.

Truth be told, no actual candy corn is harmed in the making of this recipe. But there would be nothing stopping you from sprinkling a few over the white frosting.

To get these cupcakes to bake up with clear distinctions between the yellow and orange layers of the cake, the recipe uses a pound cake batter, rather than a traditional (and lighter) yellow cake batter. The result is a rich and hearty cupcake.

Candy Corn Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

4 whole eggs

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Yellow and orange gel food coloring

For the frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 325 F. Lightly coat the cups of a muffin tin with baking spray.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and sugar. Beat for 5 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and orange extracts.

In a liquid measuring cup with a pour spout, beat together the whole eggs, yolks and cream. With the mixer on medium-high, a bit at a time pour the eggs into the butter-sugar mixture. This should take about 5 minutes.

Using a spoon or silicone spatula, gently but thoroughly fold the flour mixture into the butter and egg mixture.

Divide the batter into 2 bowls, one having slightly more batter than the other. Add several drops of yellow food coloring to the bowl with slightly more batter, then gently mix in until evenly colored. Repeat using orange coloring for the second bowl of batter.

Divide the orange batter between the cups of the prepared muffin tin.

Transfer the yellow batter to a medium zip-close bag. Snip off one corner, then gently squeeze (pipe) the batter over the orange batter in each cup, creating 2 layers of colored cake. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, sugar and milk until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.

To finish the cupcakes, overturn them so the bottoms face up. If the tops are too rounded for them to sit flat once overturned, they can be trimmed with a serrated knife.

Transfer the frosting to a zip-close bag. Cut off one corner of the bag, then squeeze the frosting into a slightly pointed mound on top of each cupcake.

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