What a strange candy. Nothing divides Halloween lovers quite like the candy corn: you either love it or hate it. I personally love everything about it! The colors, the shape, the flavor–I can’t get enough of those little guys.
I started craving a candy corn fix earlier this month and thought what would be better than a candy corn cake? Nothing, but it turns out the internet does not share my same fervor for the candy. All the candy corn cakes I could find were either colored orange and yellow or decorated with the candies, but didn’t actually taste like them. What a shame. Good thing I had bags full of candy corn and nothing better to do this week!
Candy corn is a very simple candy; all of its flavor comes from sugar, vanilla and corn syrup. It was pretty easy to figure out why most people hadn’t tried to flavor their cakes like candy corn–you’d have to add corn syrup, which is usually just a step too far after all the buttermilk, eggs, sugar and butter. Still, that’s where the traditional candy corn flavor comes from!
The next best way to get the flavor of a candy corn without adding straight corn syrup is to make a simple syrup. Simple syrup is essentially sugar water that you steep something in so that you can extract the flavor. The candy corn simple syrup I made for this cake really lends to that traditional flavor that I was looking for in the cake.
To get even more of the candy flavor, I also added roughly chopped candy corn bits to the filling of the cake, a buttercream made with the simple syrup. Yum! It really amped up the flavor profile, and the denseness of the candy added and interesting texture to the cake. It was a nice contrast to the soft, packed crumb of the cake.
This recipe makes a small cake, about a 6-inch by 2-inch cake. I think that’s the perfect size considering how sugary sweet this treat is. It’s definitely great for parties, since you can’t eat this whole thing by yourself. Okay, guys. Grab your candy corn, and let’s get started!
For the Cake
1 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon candy corn simple syrup
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two 6 x 2-inch cake pans.
In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg whites and milk until just barely combined. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the simple syrup.
Slowly, add the milk mixture and flour mixture in an alternating fashion, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl often.
Divide the batter between the cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly.
For the Syrup
1/2 cup water
1 cup candy corn
1 teaspoon sugar
In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a low boil. Reduce to medium heat and add candy corn. Stir frequently to encourage the candy to dissolve. Once fully dissolved, about 8 minutes later, add the teaspoon of sugar, and continue to stir until completely incorporated.
Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature.
When assembling the cake, brush simple syrup over cooled cake layers and allow to soak into the crumb.
Here’s a link to a simple American buttercream that I use often and would recommend for this cake, as well. The only difference is that for the filling, I added 2 tablespoons of the simple syrup. It turns the buttercream a nice orange color and has just a hint of candy. It’s amazing.
There’s the super simple, amazingly addictive, candy corn cake perfect for your Halloween festivities.