Pretty in Pink: Cotton Candy Cupcakes

It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention.

Well that was quite true for me this past weekend, and thankfully the invention was delicious.

I had decided to make some funfetti cake bites to bring to a party on Saturday night and I was really excited because I had bought some new red candy melts to use to coat the bites.  But damn, those melts are fickle. After rolling about four bites in the melted candy it suddenly seized up and got way to thick to use to coat anything.* AHHHH!  To make matters worse, it was only 2 hours before the party and I had no backup plan.

Ok, now a little bit of panic is setting in. I start pawing through my cupboard looking for some Crisco to mix into the melted candy to try and thin it out. Of course, I don’t have any- but I do find some coconut butter in the fridge. Ok, this is mostly vegetable based like Crisco, maybe it will work? NO.

It actually made the whole thing worse. After much grinding and gnashing of teeth I nervously thought “this is a great opportunity to pull something out of thin air, you know, really put my creativity to the test. They do it all the time on Chopped right?!”

Right then and there, the Cotton Candy Cupcake was born.


The secret is in the batter: almond extract!

Can't see it? That's ok 😉


Don’t those pillows of frosting look lovely? 🙂


I'm waiting, please eat me


Cotton Candy Cupcake

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup milk**
  • 2 tsp almond extract (this is what imparts the cotton candy flavor)
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 3 large tbl multi-color sprinkles, chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Set out butter and eggs for 30 minutes at room temperature. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In a mixing bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds on high speed. Gradually add in sugar and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Beat in eggs one at a time until incorporated and then add in almond extract and vanilla.

Add in the flour mixture, alternating with 1/4 cup milk, while mixing on low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and don’t overmix the batter as it will make the cake taste ‘tough’.  After adding all the flour and milk, gently fold in the chopped sprinkles. This reveals a fun color to the cupcake when you bite into it 🙂

Fill about 24 cupcake liners with batter and bake for 12-14 minutes. You must bake them until lightly golden brown on top! It gives the cupcake a slightly caramelized sugar flavor, which is reminiscent of cotton candy.

For the Frosting: I had some leftover fluffy white frosting from making the cake bites which I put into the mixer and whipped on high speed while adding in some dollops of the ruined melted candy for color and flavor. I added copious amounts of red food coloring too, then piped the finished frosting onto the center of the cupcakes, leaving some of the golden brown edge visible.


*Note: This was probably due to overheating the candy melts in the double boiler

**Note: I used Lactaid and I think that added a slightly sweeter taste to the cupcakes

Have you ever created something yummy after a failed attempt at another recipe? 

-Erin 🙂


One thought on “Pretty in Pink: Cotton Candy Cupcakes

  1. Pingback: Lemon-Basil Cupcakes with Sugared Basil Leaves « Erin's DC Kitchen

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