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Cotton Candy Cupcakes

These whimsical cupcakes are fun and packed with cotton candy flavor. Make for a birthday party, baby shower, wedding, graduation party, or summer potluck. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 27 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 27 minutes
Servings 34


  • 2 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shortening, packed (or 1/4 cup additional butter)
  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used half & half)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cotton candy flavoring


  • 18 tablespoons (that's 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cotton candy flavoring
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shortening, packed (or use butter for less stable piped frosting)
  • 1-3 dots red gel food coloring
  • 1-2 dots blue gel food coloring
  • candy sticks or paper straws
  • few bags blue and pink cotton candy


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a muffin tin pan with paper cups; set aside.
    2. In a bowl fit with paddle attachment, whisk together flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
    3. With the mixer on low, slowly beat in chunks of shortening and butter. Turn mixer to medium and beat until mixture has small crumbs.
    4. In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, vanilla extract, cotton candy flavoring, eggs, and milk.
    5. With the mixer on low, slowly pour mixture into dry ingredients. Turn mixer to medium and beat until incorporated; about 1 minute. Whip down sides of bowl with a spatula and stir to mix.
    6. Spoon 2 1/2 tablespoons cake batter into each cupcake. Carefully drop muffin tin pan against counter top to rid batter of air bubbles. Bake in oven for 27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool.
    To make the frosting
    1. Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a bowl fit with a mixer, beat butter, powdered confectioner's sugar, salt, and cotton candy flavoring. Once smooth, turn mixer up to medium and beat in chunks of cream cheese and shortening. Mix frosting until smooth. 
    Divide frosting equally between two bowls.  Add 1-3 drops red food coloring in one bowl and stir to combine.  In another bowl, add 1-2 drops blue food coloring then stir to combine. 
    2. Fill pastry bags with a cupcake tip and frost each cupcake. Frosting may need to be chilled in pastry bag to create same design as photos. Also, I used a Russian Ball Tip to frost each cupcake. See notes on where to buy, otherwise, any cupcake tip will do.
    To make cotton candy sticks, allow some cotton candy to sit out for 20 minutes.  Then, work a little around each stick.  With the warmth from your hands, it should be flexible, just like a tootsie roll.  Once sticky cotton candy sugar sticks, gently roll fresh cotton candy around. I placed mine on a foil covered baking sheet and stuck them in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Just before serving, top cupcakes with cotton candy sticks. 
    4. Cupcakes may need to be chilled until 30 minutes before serving.