These cotton candy cupcakes with swirled cotton candy buttercream on top of a vanilla cupcake are super fun to make and adorable to look at. Top with some cotton candy for a treat that not even an adult can pass up.
When it comes to childhood treats that a bring a smile to your face, does cotton candy top the list?
Ok well I have to confess something.
I actually didn’t like cotton candy growing up. Yea I was the kid that went for the fried dough instead.
Or the candy apple.
But then when I found this cotton candy flavoring extract, my brain went to work. And I thought wouldn’t cotton candy cupcakes be like oh my god so cute you almost don’t want to eat them.
And I was right. These cotton candy cupcakes were almost too cute to take a bite of.
And lately I’ve been on a bit of a buttercream kick. In fact I made all 6 varieties of buttercream you could possibly make- the best buttercream icing recipe(traditional powdered sugar), Flour (or ermine icing), German buttercream, Italian, French, and Swiss Meringue.
Like I said. I made allllll the buttercreams.
If you were looking for butter at the grocery store last week. Sorry I bought it all.
Ok back to these cupcakes. Let’s dig in.
Baking Tools and Supplies Needed To Make These Cotton Candy Cupcakes:
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- Cupcake pans (I’ve been loving these non-stick ones lately)
- Greaseproof cupcake liners
- Kitchen-aid mixer (I stand by using one, to make the icing that much easier!)
- Dry measuring cups and measuring spoons
- My new favorite whisk (it’s a 2-in-1 whisk and bowl scraper!)
- Metal bowls (plastic tends to retain odors and can warp, metal is best)
- Gel Food coloring
- Cotton Candy Extract
- Paper Straws
- Cotton Candy
How To Make These Cotton Candy Cupcakes
For this recipe I used what is seriously the best buttercream frosting recipe ever. But I added in a bit of cotton candy flavoring. Like 2 teaspoons. You may want to add a bit less or more depending on your tastebuds. I wanted the cotton candy to stand out, since it was just in the buttercream. Ok well and some cotton candy on top as well.
So what makes this the best buttercream frosting recipe ever? It’s all about using quality ingredients, and mixing your buttercream for a long time so it’s all light and fluffy and eat it with a spoon.
And if you want to move beyond vanilla and flex your buttercream creativity then be sure to grab my “13 ways to flavor your buttercream” cheatsheet. It has 13 ideas on how to inspire your next batch of buttercream!
For the cupcakes, I used my perfect vanilla cupcake recipe. Seriously it’s perfect. I’ve made this cupcake even for weddings. And that couple is still married. I’m pretty sure it started with the cupcakes. Ok, probably not, but I like to think I had a hand in it.
Regardless, vanilla cupcake perfection.
Tips To Make These Cotton Candy Cupcakes
- Be Sure To Measure Your Flour The Correctly Way– by scooping with a spoon and levelling.
- Use properly softened unsalted butter for the cupcakes and the buttercream. Here are 3 easy ways to soften your butter quickly if you are like me you forgot to take it out ahead of time!
- Prepare your pans with your cupcake liners before you start busting out those mixing bowls. These are the cupcake liners I used.
- For these cupcakes, you could stick with one color buttercream or swirl your buttercream with multiple colors. Learn how to swirl your buttercream here. I even included a video to help you swirl!
- Use gel food coloring so as not to add more liquid to the buttercream. I used Wilton Color Right system, but Americolor gel food coloring is a great gel food coloring option as well!
- You can use toothpicks for the cotton candy on top of the cupcakes or these fun pastel paper straws which is what I used
If you are new to baking cupcakes, then these 15 tips for baking perfect cupcakes is the post for you to read. It will help you from start to finish with your cupcakes, so you rock cupcakes like a pro.
And if frosting cupcakes is new for you too, check out this post and video on how to frost them like a pro.
For More Fancy Cupcake Recipe Ideas Check Out These Recipes:
- Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes
- Lemon Mixed Berry Cupcakes
- Fluffernutter Cupcakes
- Lemon Meringue Pie Cupcakes
- Banana Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
- Rainbow Cupcakes
- Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
- Homemade Hostess Cupcakes
- Salted Caramel Apple Cupcakes
- S’mores Cupcakes
Don’t forget to grab my buttercream cheatsheet as well!
Until next time, happy baking!
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cotton candy flavoring
- food coloring
- optional: cotton candy
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.
- 2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
- 3.Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.
- 4.Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
- 5.Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full (you will likely have batter left over after filling 24 wells.I managed to make a full 3 dozen cupcakes) Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Replace paper liners and bake remaining batter if desired. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.
- 6. To make the cotton candy buttercream frosting: Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add in your powdered sugar 1/2 cup at at time with mixer on low. Cream until combined. With mixer off, add your heavy cream, vanilla extract, cotton candy flavoring and then mix on low until combined. Then mix on medium to medium high speed for 8 minutes until light and fluffy. If coloring frosting, add your gel food coloring now. I made a two-tone frosting. If you want two-tone frosting, seperate out half the buttercream and color one half baby blue, the other half light pink. Use right away on cooled cupcakes. If not using right away, then store in a closed container in the refrigerator. You will need to mix the frosting again when ready to use to bring it back to that light and fluffy texture!
Get My Buttercream Cheatsheet!
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