5 from 2 votes
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Easy Candy Corn Cupcakes for Halloween Treats

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Candy Corn Cupcakes – Moist vanilla cake topped with silky smooth buttercream layers in white, orange, and yellow for a traditional candy corn look! This recipe is perfect for Halloween desserts. Fall-themed parties and Thanksgiving!

Candy corn flavored cupcakes with a jar of candy corn in the background.

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Who doesn’t love candy corn? It’s an iconic fall staple, and it has a cute, fun shape. While you can buy bags of candy corn at your local grocery store, why not change it up this year and make candy corn cupcakes? These cupcakes are easy enough for kids to make with some supervision (or a lot of supervision), and they’re perfect for Fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

Looking for more ideas for your Halloween party? You could try these Easy Red Velvet Halloween Spider Cookies for a simple but fun-looking cookie. Or go for a Halloween tradition with these Large Halloween Marshmallow Pops with Candy Melts and Sprinkles, and use colored candy melts for a spooky color theme!

What Does Candy Corn Taste Like?

Sugar… they taste like pure sugar melted down to this weird crumbly texture that is also slightly waxy; at the same time, it’s chewy. It really is a weird candy. I did see that some describe it as being a buttery flavor with a hint of marshmallows and a mix of vanilla… If you can get all of those notes out of a single piece of candy corn, you better insure your palate, as that is a true talent! 

The truth is you either love them or hate them. While this recipe doesn’t have any candy corn actually in it, the use of the vanilla cake and sweet buttercream topping is meant to remind you of the flavor of a nostalgic fall treat.

Why You’ll Love This Candy Corn Cupcakes Recipe

You’ll adore this candy corn cupcake recipe for many reasons.

  • The cupcakes are moist, soft, and well-balanced without being too sweet or bland.
  • It’s easy and comes together quickly with store-bought ingredients you probably have in your pantry.
  • They’re perfect for fall-themed parties! You can adapt these cupcakes for Halloween by adding on eyes, or you can use them for Thanksgiving by removing the eyes.

Ingredients For Your Candy Corn Decorated Cupcakes

Ingredients of candy corn flavored cupcakes in an individual glass bowls.

Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients 

  • All-purpose flour – A staple in any baker’s pantry, all-purpose flour provides the structure for your cupcakes, ensuring they rise properly and hold their shape.
  • Baking powder – This leavening agent helps your cupcakes achieve that desirable light and fluffy texture.
  • Kosher salt – A pinch of salt enhances the flavors of your other ingredients and balances the sweetness of the cupcakes.
  • Unsalted butter – Butter lends richness, moisture, and a delicate flavor to your cupcakes. Using unsalted butter allows you to control the amount of salt in your recipe.
  • Sugar – Sugar is essential for sweetness and also aids in browning and the creaming process to make your cupcakes tender.
  • Large egg – Eggs contribute to the structure of your cupcakes, offering binding properties that keep your ingredients together and ensure a soft, moist texture.
  • Pure vanilla extract – Vanilla extract adds a depth of flavor that complements the cupcakes’ sweet profile.
  • Skim milk – Skim milk lightens your batter, contributing to the moistness of your cupcakes without adding too much fat.
  • Yellow and orange food coloring – These provide the iconic candy corn colors in your cupcakes, making them visually delightful and perfect for fall celebrations.

Candy Corn Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter (softened) – Softened unsalted butter is the base of your frosting, providing a smooth, creamy texture. Always opt for a high-quality butter for best taste.
  • Powdered sugar – This finely ground sugar will give your frosting its sweet taste and smooth texture. Always sift your powdered sugar to avoid lumps in your frosting.
  • Pure vanilla extract – This adds a hint of depth to your frosting. As before, pure extract delivers the best flavor.
  • Heavy cream – This gives your frosting its creamy, spreadable consistency. It’s important to use heavy cream as it whips better and holds its shape in the frosting.
  • Yellow and orange food coloring – These provide the frosting with the classic candy corn colors, adding visual appeal to your cupcakes.
  • Candy eyes for garnish – These fun, edible decorations add a playful element to your cupcakes, especially for Halloween. 
  • Pastry bags and tips – Essential for applying your frosting, the right tools can make the difference between a mess and a masterpiece. Consider a set with different tip sizes and shapes for creative decorating.

The complete list of ingredients, quantities, and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.

Substitutions And Variations

In case you don’t have certain ingredients on hand, or you’re looking to try something new, here are some suggestions for substitutions and variations:

Cupcake Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour: You can substitute equal parts of gluten-free all-purpose flour if you’re avoiding gluten.
  • Sugar: To cut back on refined sugar, try using coconut sugar or a blend of Stevia, keeping in mind that this may alter the texture slightly.
  • Skim milk: Almond milk or oat milk would work as dairy-free alternatives.
  • Unsalted butter: Coconut oil or apple sauce can be used as a healthier alternative.

Frosting Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter: If dairy-free, swap the butter in the frosting for a vegan butter substitute.
  • Powdered sugar: For a less refined option, you can try making your own powdered sugar from coconut sugar. 
  • Heavy cream: A full-fat coconut milk or cream can be used as a non-dairy alternative.
  • Food Coloring: For natural food coloring, use beet powder for the red, matcha for green, and turmeric for the yellow frosting

Recipe Variations

  • Chocolate candy corn cupcakes: Add two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to the batter to give it a rich chocolate flavor.
  • Spiced candy corn cupcakes: Add a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the batter for a warm, fall flavor.

How To Make Candy Corn Cupcakes

Cupcakes 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and add cupcake liners to 12-cup muffin tins, set aside.
  • Add flour, baking powder, and salt to a large mixing bowl, and mix well. (Photo 1)
  • In a separate large bowl, using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream butter, and sugar until it becomes light and fluffy. (Photo 2)
Collage of mixing the butter mixture and flour in an electric mixer.
  • Beat egg into the mixture until well combined, then beat in egg white and add the vanilla. Mix well. (Photo 3) 
  • Alternating, add the flour and milk as you continue to blend ingredients. (Photo 4)
  • Divide batter evenly into cupcake liners, each cup should be ¾ full of cake batter. 
  • Bake until the tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack for cooling. 

Frosting 

  • Beat butter in a large bowl using a hand or stand mixer until slightly whipped. (Photo 1)
  • Add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time and mix on low until blended. Increase speed to high and continue beating. Repeat with the remaining powdered sugar. (Photo 2)
  • Beat in 2 tbsp of heavy cream and the vanilla extract until combined. You can add in heavy cream if needed for desired consistency. Add salt and mix to combine. (Photo 3)
Collage of mixing a frosting mixture into an electric mixer.
  • Evenly divide the frosting into 3 separate bowls; color one bowl with the yellow food coloring drops and the other with the orange drops. (Photo 4)
  • Fill each piping bag with a different color. Use a closed star tip for the yellow and orange and a round tip for the white frosting pastry bag. 
  • Pipe 3 layers with each pastry bag of frosting onto the cooled cupcakes, and finish by adding the candy eyes to each cupcake.

Expert Tips 

  • Measure accurately: Baking is a science, so it’s crucial to measure your ingredients precisely. A kitchen scale can help, especially with flour and sugar.
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature before you start. This ensures even mixing and better baking results.
  • Don’t Overmix: Overmixing the batter can lead to tough cupcakes. Mix just until the ingredients are combined.
  • Test for Doneness: To check if your cupcakes are done, insert a toothpick or cake tester into the center. If it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs clinging, they’re ready.
  • Cool Completely: Let your cupcakes cool completely before frosting. This will prevent the frosting from melting off.

Storing Tips

Store the cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature, where they’ll keep fresh for up to 2-3 days. Avoid refrigerating, as this can dry out the cupcakes. 

If you wish to make them ahead of time, the cupcakes can be frozen without the frosting for up to 3 months. Just thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature before frosting. 

The frosting can be prepared and stored separately in the refrigerator for up to a week. Simply let it come to room temperature and give it a good stir before using.

What To Serve With Candy Corn Cupcakes

These Candy Corn Cupcakes can be the centerpiece of your Halloween buffet. However, to round out your party menu, consider adding printable Halloween games and other spooky and delicious recipes:

  • Bloody Mary Soup Shots: These tiny treats pack a punch of flavor. Served chilled, they are tomato-based, spicy, and garnished with a celery stick.
  • Jack-o’-Lantern Stuffed Peppers: Fill hollowed out bell peppers with a savory mixture of rice, ground meat, and veggies. The carved faces add a festive touch.
  • Mummy Jalapeno Poppers: Wrap jalapenos in strips of crescent roll dough and bake until golden. Two dots of mustard create eerie mummy eyes.
  • Spider Web Dip: Layer cream cheese, salsa, shredded cheese, olives, and green onions in a dish. Pipe sour cream in a spiral on top, then drag a knife from the center out to create a web effect.
  • Pumpkin Mini Pizzas: Use a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter on flatbread or pizza dough. Top with tomato sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings before baking.
  • Meringue Bones: These meringue bones are always a hit with the kiddos – with only 5 ingredients they (literally) whip up quickly! Simply pipe out the meringue into bone shapes for a ghoulishly good Halloween treat.

Or check out these Kid Friendly Halloween Recipes for more ideas!

Recipe FAQs

Can I use chocolate cupcakes instead?

Yes, you definitely can! Chocolate candy corn cupcakes are a creative take on the traditional cupcake! Feel free to use whatever cake base you’d like.

Does this taste like candy corn?

If you think that candy corn tastes like sugar and cupcakes mostly taste like sugar, then yes, this recipe tastes like candy corn. If you think candy corn has a vanilla taste, with a hint of marshmallow and butter, then yes, this recipe tastes like candy corn. However, no candy corn is used in the baking process for this recipe.

What can I garnish the cupcakes with?

If you want to add candy corn on top of the frosting for decoration, you can! Fall-colored sprinkles would also look great on these cupcakes!

Halloween themed cupcakes with yellow and white frosting with candy eyes.

Need More Fall Recipes? Try These:

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Candy corn cupcakes with cady eyes sitting on a wooden table.
5 from 2 votes

Candy Corn Flavored Cupcakes


Author: Kim Schob
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Easy Candy Corn Cupcakes are perfect for all your fall themed get togethers from Halloween to Thanksgiving or just because!

Ingredients 

Cupcakes 

  • 1 ⅓ cup (166 ⅔ g) All-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp Baking powder
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 6 tbsp Unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) Sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg white at room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp Pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (118 2/7 ml) Skim milk
  • 2 drops yellow food coloring
  • 2 drops orange food coloring

Frosting 

  • 1 cup (227 g) Unsalted butter softened
  • 4 cup (480 g) Powdered sugar divided
  • 4 tbsp Pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp Heavy cream
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 drop yellow food coloring
  • 1 drop orange food coloring
  • Candy eyes for garnish
  • Pastry bags and tips

Instructions

Cupcakes 

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 °F (177 °C) degrees and add cupcake liners to pan, set aside.
  • Add flour, baking powder and salt to a large bowl, mix well.
    1 ⅓ cup All-purpose flour,1 ¼ tsp Baking powder,½ tsp Kosher salt
  • In a separate large bowl, using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream butter and sugar until it becomes light and fluffy.
    1 cup Sugar,6 tbsp Unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Beat egg into the mixture until well combined, then beat in egg white and add the vanilla. Mix well.
    1 large egg plus 1 egg white at room temperature,1 ½ tsp Pure vanilla extract
  • Alternating, add the flour and milk as you continue to blend ingredients.
    ½ cup Skim milk
  • Divide the batter evenly into cupcake liners, each cup should be ¾ full.
  • Bake until the tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack for cooling.

Frosting 

  • Beat butter in a large bowl using hand or stand mixer until slightly whipped.
    1 cup Unsalted butter softened
  • Add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time and mix on low until blended. Increase speed to high and continue beating. Repeat with the remaining powdered sugar.
    4 cup Powdered sugar
  • Beat in 2 tbsp of heavy cream and the vanilla extract until combined. You can add in heavy cream if needed for desired consistency. Add salt and mix to combine.
    4 tbsp Heavy cream,4 tbsp Pure vanilla extract
  • Evenly divide the frosting into 3 separate bowls, color one bowl with the yellow food coloring drops and the other with the orange drops.
    2 drops yellow food coloring,1 drop orange food coloring
  • Fill 3 pastry bags with each color. Use a closed star tip for the yellow and orange, use a round tip for the white pastry bag.
    Pastry bags and tips
  • Pipe 3 layers with each pastry bag of frosting onto the cooled cupcakes, finish by adding the candy eyes to each cupcake.
    Candy eyes for garnish

Notes

  • Measure accurately: Baking is a science, so it’s crucial to measure your ingredients precisely. A kitchen scale can help, especially with flour and sugar.
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature before you start. This ensures even mixing and better baking results.
  • Don’t Overmix: Overmixing the batter can lead to tough cupcakes. Mix just until the ingredients are combined.
  • Test for Doneness: To check if your cupcakes are done, insert a toothpick or cake tester into the center. If it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs clinging, they’re ready.
  • Cool Completely: Let your cupcakes cool completely before frosting. This will prevent the frosting from melting off.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 493kcal (25%) Carbohydrates: 69g (23%) Protein: 2g (4%) Fat: 23g (35%) Saturated Fat: 14g (88%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 63mg (21%) Sodium: 253mg (11%) Potassium: 53mg (2%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 57g (63%) Vitamin A: 742IU (15%) Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) Calcium: 50mg (5%) Iron: 1mg (6%)

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