The Best Cotton Candy Cupcakes

Calling all cotton candy lovers! The fluffy stuff is now in a moist & tender cupcake! These Cotton Candy Cupcakes taste just like the real deal and are a cinch to make.

Since I was a young little girl, I have always been obsessed with cotton candy and bubblegum flavored anything.

As a tween and teen, I’d beg my grandma to allow me and my best friend, Katrina, to walk up to the local yogurt shop with $5 so we could each get a sky-high snowcone with bubblegum and cotton candy syrup drenching every last ice crystal. We would slurp up the extra syrup until our teeth and tongues were blue and walk home giggling at our gross teeth.

And anytime I went to the California State Fair, I’d always have to get a gigantic bag of cotton candy. Who doesn’t love the stuff? It’s pure sugar! Perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth and a penchant for hand-spun desserts.

A couple months ago, I was visiting Utah for a work-related thing and my friend took me to this shop called Orson Gygi. It’s basically a food and baking warehouse with everything. You can buy cake stands, party supplies, and 20lb bags of chocolate chips under one roof. It was basically my version of heaven, and I had only 20 minutes to shop before we were due at a dinner.

I raced down the chocolate and candy-making aisle first and instantly spied some Cotton Candy Flavoring. This stuff isn’t like your average vanilla extract – it is four times more potent than a traditional extract and is used for really powerfully flavored candies and things. But since extracts can get drowned out in a big batch of cupcake batter, I knew it’d be perfect for these Cotton Candy Cupcakes!

You guys – these cupcakes are serious business. They are INSANELY SWEET, so don’t come back and tell me how sweet they were, ya hear? It’s a cupcake recipe inspired by a dessert that literally has no other ingredient other than pure sugar. What did you expect?

The cupcake itself is so moist and fluffy with a tender crumb and a beautiful swirl of baby blue and baby pink batters. Topped off with a cotton candy buttercream, sanding sugar, and a little cotton candy stick, it’s perfect for baby showers, summer sleepovers, or even a carnival-themed soiree!

The Best Cotton Candy Cupcakes
The Best Cotton Candy Cupcakes

The Best Cotton Candy Cupcakes

Author: Hayley Parker, The Domestic Rebel
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 18
Cotton Candy Cupcakes: fun, unique cupcakes flavored just like cotton candy!


  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 4 egg whites
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp cotton candy flavoring
  • Pink and blue food coloring
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 – 1 & ½ tsp cotton candy flavoring
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream or milk
  • 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Blue and pink sanding sugar
  • Blue and pink cotton candy
  • Popsicle sticks


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with 18 paper liners; set aside. Meanwhile, prepare your cake batter: combine the cake mix, egg whites, oil, water, and cotton candy flavoring with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Divide the batter evenly among two bowls and tint each bowl with your desired shade of blue and pink (I only did one drop of coloring per bowl for a more pastel look).
  2. Evenly distribute the colors among each muffin cup, filling about ¾ full. Don’t swirl the batters, just layer them. Swirling the batters together may muddy the colors.
  3. Bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely.
  4. For the frosting, cream the butter, cotton candy flavoring and vanilla extract together in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar, about one cup at a time, alternating with little streams of the heavy cream until the frosting is light and fluffy. Divide the frosting evenly among two bowls and tint each bowl with blue and pink until your desired shade has been achieved. (Again, I did one drop of each color).
  5. Using a pastry bag fixed with your desired tip, spoon some of the blue frosting down one side of the pastry bag. Spoon some of the pink frosting down the other side of the bag. It’s okay if the frosting colors mix toward the tip portion of the bag; it’ll just turn purple 🙂
  6. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and top with a sprinkling of blue and pink sanding sugar. To make the cotton candy sticks, rip off a small piece of cotton candy and attach it to the wet end of a popsicle stick (just stick the popsicle stick tip in a little water). Serve immediately with the cotton candy sticks, but keep in mind- cotton candy, once exposed to air, hardens quickly. It’s best to make the cotton candy sticks immediately before serving.


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