Aren’t these cupcakes SO cute?!?! I just love them! I originally saw them on Pinterest and knew I had to make them for Halloween. What an easy way to make a cupcake festive and enticing! I’ve mentioned before that I am not one for fancy decorating or crafty food projects, such as making bug cupcakes out of candies, etc. But something as easy as dying cake batter to make a more festive appearance? I am totally down for that! I used the same technique for some Cream Cheese Brownies I made to celebrate Halloween- simply dye the cream cheese filling orange. BAM! Cute and festive. That’s what I am talking about.
The technique for making these cupcakes is super, super simple. Once you make the white cake batter, you do your very best to eye out 1/3 of the batter into one bowl and two-thirds of the batter into another (or you can be extra expert and use a scale). I didn’t use a scale and I ended up not having quite enough yellow… but anyways, you dye the 1/3 batter yellow and the 2/3 batter orange. Then carefully drop a small amount of the yellow at the bottom of each cupcake liner- maybe amount 1/4″ high? And you need to make sure the batter spreads to the sides of the cupcake, otherwise if you leave the batter mounded in the center and add the orange batter, then the orange will spread to the sides and the awesome candy corn pattern won’t come out. That’s pretty much all there is to it! Frost with some WHITE frosting to mimic the white end of candy corn, then pop a candy corn on top, and you’re left with some simple, fun, festive cupcakes! (To get a pure white frosting you will need to use a clear extract and/or make a buttercream using part/all shortening instead of butter.)
I used my absolute favorite vanilla cake recipe, which also happens to be a white cake recipe, and added a little almond extract for a twist on flavor. It worked beautifully and tasted amazing. I always have good luck with this recipe. I actually tested it between 7 other vanilla cupcake recipes, and it is now my “go-to”. If you want to use this recipe without the almond flavor, then just omit and use 2 tsp vanilla extract instead. As for the frosting, I decided upon a cream cheese frosting. Just for something different. But a regular buttercream or a swiss meringue buttercream would work equally as well too.
- For the Cupcakes:
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 1½ cups sugar
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1⅓ cups buttermilk, room temperature
- orange food coloring
- yellow food coloring
- For the Frosting:
- 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line two regular 12 cup muffin tins with paper cups. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and almond extracts.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to evenly combine. Add to the creamed mixture in three parts alternately with the buttermilk (beginning and ending with the flour), beating well after each addition.
- Divide the batter into two bowls- one with ⅔ and the other with ⅓. Color the ⅔ batter with orange food coloring and the ⅓ batter with yellow food coloring.
- Fill cups with about 1 tablespoon of yellow cake batter. Finish by filling ⅔ full with orange batter and bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the Frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar and extracts; beat until well blended. If mixture is too stiff add a slash of milk or cream to reach desired frosting consistency.