Monday, November 22, 2010

Candy Corn Cupcakes~Recipe Review

A couple of months ago, I saw a recipe for Candy Corn Twist Cupcakes in LHJ. I thought they looked pretty cool...but perhaps a little above my skill level!

Later, I was looking online for the recipe, and found these Candy Corn Cupcakes at Our Best Bites. On the same post, there is also a great video tutorial on frosting cupcakes! Bonus!!!

This was my first attempt at piping the frosting on, and I think they look fabulous! But we'll talk more about the frosting in a minute...

First, let's talk about the cake. I used the doctored up cake-mix recipe that is posted on the blog. I used vanilla instead of almond flavoring, because that was all I had.

I also couldn't find the right food coloring colors. Who knew every single store in UT County would be out of yellow and orange?  You'd think it was Halloween, or something! I ended up getting colors that were close...Buttercup Yellow and Copper. 

This is the batter after I have divided it and added the food coloring.  At this point I am getting a little worried. The batter is pretty thick. Mine actually was kind of a yucky, pasty consistency. And I had quite a bit more batter than the recipe said I would end up with...
And Buttercup Yellow and Copper turned out looking a lot like Fry Sauce and Mustard! I figured if the cupcakes didn't turn out as Candy Corns, maybe I could do some sort of Condiment Cupcake. :) I'm sure that would be a big hit!

Okay, so I have more batter than I was expecting, and it has an odd consistency and a slightly unappetizing color.  No matter, I just forged on ahead!  The next issue I ran in to was when I put the batter in the cupcake liners and then tapped (pounded?) the cupcake pan on the counter to spread the batter. The batter just sat there in a glob. I had to wet the tip of my finger and spread it out to the sides.  The good news is, they did bake up rather nicely. I easily got 24 cupcakes and still had enough batter to make maybe 3-4 more cupcakes. What I was short on, was patience, so the rest of the batter went down the sink. Next time, I think I'll use just a tiny bit more batter for each cupcake.

The cupcakes looked pretty~ and despite the coloring flaw, they did look like candy corns.  But I did not like the cake itself.  The cupcakes were very dry and lacked flavor. Pretty much like eating a dry sponge. Now, I will try this recipe again~ because it does get rave reviews.  I'm not sure what went wrong, so hopefully it was just a one time thing. 

But now...let's talk about the frosting, shall we? 
First, let's get the failure out of the way!
I used the Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling that was recommended in the recipe. I read through the recipe very carefully, and paid close attention to all the pictures. I also read the comments so I could get a good feel for the recipe, as I have never made a cooked frosting before. (But there are recipes similar to this one pretty much everywhere right now, so I wanted to give it a try).

One hint I read was to make sure you cook the frosting long enough.  Some people were having less than desirable results by not cooking the flour and milk to the proper stage/consistency.
I am happy to report I did not have this problem.

Just the opposite, in fact! I cooked mine a little too long. Just know that when the flour/milk mixture starts to thicken, it gets real thick, real fast! So I am including some helpful photos of what the frosting should NOT look like at this stage!  Consistency of mashed potatoes=bad.  Okay?  Okay.

See, I can't even get it to go through my mesh strainer! Fail!!! Dump it down the sink, run to the computer, look up Tasty Kitchen where you know you've seen a similar recipe...and attempt that one instead!
I used the "That's the Best Frosting I've Ever Had" recipe, which is similar to the first one, but without the whole pesky straining it through a strainer step.  I also read Ree's Tutorial; "That's Still the Best Frosting I've Ever Had"! Just to make sure I had all my bases covered.

A couple tips: Don't overcook (already covered that one!)
The recipe states that the sugar and butter should be beaten/whipped whatever until it is no longer grainy. Well...I beat mine for about 12 minutes and it still had a slightly grainy texture. But once I added the flour/milk mixture and beat it all together, it was just fine. Actually, more than fine...absolutely heavenly.
And then...there's the whole cooling the milk/flour. I used the cooling method from the first recipe, because it seemed easier. DO NOT put this in the fridge to cool!!! Because if you do, you will have a nice, thick skin that will form on the top...which you will notice at exactly the same time that you stir it up a bit. It will be all lumpy and yucky. Then you will want to cry a little, because you don't want to have to start over AGAIN!!!
Do cool it in the ice water in the sink.  (Don't worry, those pesky little lumps beat right out when I combined all the ingredients). Just remember...whip the heck out of it and all will be right with the world. This really is a fabulous frosting!  I like frosting, the rest of my family merely tolerate it. Can you believe no one ate any of the cupcakes?  They wouldn't even try the frosting!!! Don't worry, I'll keep making it~ they're bound to try it eventually! Meantime...all the more frosting for me!!!!

The Verdict:
Rainbow Method: Very easy to do, with a high "wow" factor. Win/Win!
Cake: Bleh. Dry and flavorless. I will try it again though.
Frosting: To. Die For! I might have licked the spoon, and the whisk...and the bowl.  Who am I kidding? I ate 2 spoonfuls of frosting when no one was looking!


  1. You inspire me!!
    I often see recipes in books, etc. and dismiss them as being too time consumming, too many ingredients that I don't have on hand,etc.
    I will have to stick with it and give some of them a try!!
    I have tried the cooked frosting recipe that you made. I think I got it off of Connie's blog. It was tasty and I saved the recipe.
    You are a great mom to go to so much effort and make special treats for you family!!

    I hope you all have a great week and a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!
    p.s. I hope Emily is doing better.

  2. I made that frosting on Saturday because it was my dad's birthday and he likes chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. The frosting was easy and better than most vanilla fronsting on chocolate. However, the rest of us like chocolate frosing on chocolate cake. We just endure the vanilla once a year to humor my dad. I actually think that frosting would be better on a white cake.

    Next time try to get some almond extract. I am sure that would help the flavorless factor you experienced with the cupcakes.

    Those are great looking cupcakes!!!

  3. Looks like they came out great after all of that!! I have seen these and never tried them but I love all things candy corn so I do not know why. You did a fantastic job!
    Maybe you can make a Christmas versions?

  4. Ohhhh, so cute! Sorry the cake was dry.

    Looks like a dang lot of work to me.

  5. O.k. I would try it with a different cake recipe but, the frosting sounds like it made everything worth it.

    They are also very cute!

  6. oh, we've made Ree's flour frosting before and it IS the best!! Sorry to hear the cake didn't turn out tasting all that great, but at least they LOOK cute! :)

  7. Oh my word!! I am DROOLING!
    Homemade frosting is my FAVORITE!
    Those cupcakes look professional lady! Good job!

    I guess I'm going to have to try Rees frosting soon! :)

  8. You stopped with 2 spoonfulls? Heck, I would've eaten 10 or 12?!?!

  9. Valerie,
    They're beautiful! You have got some skills in frosting these cupcakes! I have made that frosting 3 times now and I LOVE it!
    You have some self control if you only had 2 spoonfuls of frosting.

  10. Those look so dang good...and VERY pretty.
    I'll have to try out that frosting.

    thanks so much for you kind words regarding the loss of my son. I appreciated that very much!

  11. They are so pretty! I can't believe no one tried them!!! Sorry they were dry.

    You WON!!!! the CSN Stores gift certificate on my blog! I'll email you the info. Congrats.

  12. Valerie-
    Told you that I would send over simple instructions for whipping cream. Just use an electric mixer and be sure not to over beat.


    * 1 cup heavy cream
    * 1/4 cup sugar
    * 1 teaspoon vanilla

    Whip cream until almost stiff. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until cream holds peaks.

    Hope that this helps!