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Everyone is sure to love these vanilla cupcakes decorated to look like candy corn. The moist & fluffy cupcakes are topped with a yellow-orange and white swirled buttercream frosting.
Easy Halloween Cupcakes
True confession, I actually can’t stand the taste of candy corn. But they do make for some great Halloween-themed cupcakes. These cupcakes are actually my famous vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. They’re decorated to look like candy corn with a swirled yellow, orange, and white cupcakes and frosting.
You’ll love how fluffy and moist these cupcakes are, and they’re so easy to make. It just takes a few minutes to assemble the batter (no waiting around for room temperature ingredients!).
If you are looking for a fun and festive Halloween dessert, this is it. The techniques used in this recipe are so simple, anyone can make them at home!
Ingredients You’ll Need
For the Cupcakes
- Granulated sugar
- Vegetable oil
- Pure vanilla extract
- Sour cream– these keep the cupcakes extra moist, so don’t skip this. Substitute with plain or Greek yogurt.
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Gel colors for dying cake batter
For The Frosting
- Unsalted butter– the butter for the frosting should be cold, straight out of the fridge
- Powdered sugar
- Pure vanilla extract
- Heavy whipping cream or milk
The Best Gel Colors to Use
When it comes to coloring cake batter or frosting, you’ll want to use concentrated gels instead of the food coloring you often see on the grocery store shelves. Gel colors are highly concentrated, so they produce bright and vibrant colors without thinning out the batter. You only need to use a little bit at a time.
How To Make Candy Corn Cupcakes
Prep: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line the pan with cupcake liners.
Combine wet ingredients: Mix together the sugar with the oil, eggs and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Then mix in the sour cream until combined.
Combine the dry ingredients: Once you combine the dry ingredients, alternate adding half the dry ingredients and half the milk, mixing just until the flour is incorporated. Then add all the remaining dry ingredients and milk and mix until thoroughly combined.
Color the batter: Divide the cake batter into 3 equal bowls, about 1 2/3 cups each. To one bowl, add 3 drops of orange gel color and stir until well combined. To another bowl, add 3 drops of yellow gel color and stir until well combined. Leave the third bowl undyed.
Fill the pan: Spoon the batter in the pan, 1 tablespoon of each color per cupcake: yellow on the bottom, orange in the middle and the undyed batter on top. Once finished, tap the pan on the counter a couple times to settle the batter.
Bake, cool, frost, decorate
Easy Vanilla Buttercream
I am well known for my vanilla buttercream. It’s light and whipped, it perfectly holds it shape and it’s great for decorating. The secret to making this amazing frosting is in the butter. My recipe starts with cold butter (straight out the fridge!). Instead of waiting for the butter to come to room temperature, the mixer will do all the work for you.
- Beat the butter until it’s super light and fluffy
- Add 2 cups of powdered sugar at a time and alternate adding the liquid ingredients, and with each addition, make sure it’s well incorporated. The more you mix it, the better it gets.
- One final mix: Once all the ingredients have been added, spend another minute or two beating the butter until it’s light and fluffy. If the frosting seems too stiff, you can slowly add more heavy cream or continuing beating until it reaches your desired consistency.
Dying The Frosting
Divide the frosting: Once the buttercream is done, divide it into three equal bowls, which is about 1 2/3 cups.
Add the gel colors: Into one bowl, add 3 drops of yellow, into another bowl, 3 drops of orange and then leave the third bowl undyed. Make sure you thoroughly mix each bowl of frosting.
Fill the piping bag: Layout a piece of plastic wrap, spread (or use a Ziploc bag to pipe) a thick row of each color of frosting side-by-side onto the clear wrap. Fold the plastic wrap up and tightly roll, twist one end and cut the tip-off. Drop the plastic wrap into a large piping bag fitted with an Ateco 846 (or any large tip). Frost the cupcake top with sprinkles and a piece of candy corn.
Tips For Preparing These Ahead of Time
If you need to make these in advance, they will keep at room temperature for 3 days. However, you can also make the cupcakes and frosting separately. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container on the counter.
For the buttercream, prepare it as normal, but instead of coloring it, store the whole batch in an airtight container at room temperature. Then when it’s time to decorate, re-whip the frosting for a couple of minutes until it’s light and fluffy. Proceed to dye the frosting and frost the cupcakes.
Storing Frosted Cupcakes
These can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 days. However, if you live in a hot or humid environment, then you should keep them stored in the refrigerator, however, I recommend serving at room temperature.
How to Freeze Cupcakes
It’s not my preference to freeze cupcakes, I think it changes the texture too much. However, if you need to freeze these cupcakes, I recommend just freezing the cupcakes themselves, unfrosted. Use either an airtight container or a cake box that has been tightly wrapped at least twice with plastic wrap. Freeze for one month.
Easy Halloween Cupcakes! Everyone is sure to love these vanilla cupcakes with swirled buttercream frosting decorated to look like candy corn.
For the cupcakes
- 2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon (14.8 ml) pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup(118 ml) sour cream
- 2 ½ cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons (11.2 g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
- 1 ¼ cups (296 ml) milk (I use nonfat)
- Gel colors for dying cake batter
For the frosting
- 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, cold.
- 7 cups (911 g) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons (30ml) heavy whipping cream (or milk)
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- Gel colors for dying frosting
For the cupcake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
- In a separate bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients. Alternate adding half of the dry ingredients and half of the milk and beat on low speed just until the flour starts to incorporate. Add the remaining ingredients and beat on low speed until all of the ingredients are well combined. Generously scrape down the bowl.
- Divide the cake batter into 3 equal bowls, about 1 2/3 cups each. To one bowl, add 3 drops of orange gel color and stir until well combined. To another bowl, add 3 drops of yellow gel color and stir until well combined. Leave the third bowl undyed.
- Spoon the batter in the pan, 1 tablespoon of each color per cupcake: yellow on the bottom, orange in the middle and the undyed batter on top. Once finished, tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to settle the batter.
- Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
For the frosting
- Cut butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Beat until the butter looks light in color.
- Alternate adding 2 cups of powdered sugar at a time with the liquid ingredients: vanilla extract & heavy cream. Ensure the powdered sugar is well combined, then and whip for 1-2 minutes before adding more powdered sugar. Repeat until all ingredients are added.
- Once all the powdered sugar has been added, increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 3-5 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting.
- Equally divide the frosting into 3 bowls. To one bowl, add 3 drops of orange gel color and stir until well combined. To another bowl, add 3 drops of yellow gel color and stir until well combined.
- Lay out a piece of plastic wrap, spread (or use a Ziploc bag to pipe) a thick row of each color of frosting side-by-side onto the clear wrap. Fold the plastic wrap up and tightly roll, twist one end, and cut the tip off. Drop the plastic wrap into a piping bag fitted with an Ateco 846 (or any large tip). Decorate cool cupcakes and top with sprinkles and candy corn.
- Category: Cupcakes
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Halloween Desserts, Easy Halloween Cupcakes