If Peter Pan could grow a vegetable it would be corn. Candy Corn. I contemplated for weeks about what type of Peter Pan inspired food I could make as I anticipated the upcoming performance of ‘Peter and the Star Catcher’ and despite wanting to create a recipe that incorporated Peter Pan Squash, it just didn’t seem fitting. I can’t imagine Peter or the Lost Boys wanting to voluntarily eat veggies. It had to be something that captured the hearts and palates of big kids everywhere. Nothing screams I am a big kid more than the seasonal candy corn. It almost sounds like a legitimate vegetable and not at all like the amazingly sweet convection we know it to be. I am certain that if Peter Pan were to cultivate and eat a vegetable he would probably have stalks of candy corn.
I tested out my theory and made this cake, and the photos alone spawned lots of interest from my contemporaries. And here, all these years, I thought I was the ONLY closet candy corn eater. Evidently that is not the case and I have a whole new world of food to share with friends.
Now back to ‘Peter and the Star Catcher‘.
In this swashbuckling, humorous prequel to Peter Pan, an imaginative story reveals the origins of “the boy who wouldn’t grow up.” The story takes a hilarious and truly creative and imaginative romp through the Neverland you never knew. It is a captivatingly clever action-packed adventure filled with pirates, orphans and secret agents of the Queen. It is an enchanting tale that appeals equally to adults and kids – much like this Dreamy Candy Corn Cake. And just because I love candy corn so very much, I am sharing this slide show on the history of this enchanting seasonal candy.
This light flavorful cake is a tribute to basic ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla. Cream cheese is the key to frosting that’s sweet but not cloying.
Dreamy Candy Corn Cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 TBS baking powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup whole milk
3 tsps vanilla extract
1 bag candy corn
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper; butter parchment as well.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until combined; approximately 1-2 minutes. Add eggs and beat well, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, beating until combined. Add milk and vanilla and beat until just combined.
Divide batter between pans and smooth tops for a more even form when cooking. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean; approximately 33-35 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks to cool completely. Prepare frosting recipe.
To decorate: Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate and spread 1 cup frosting on top. Place remaining cake layer on top. Spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, swirling to coat in a decorative fashion. (If frosting becomes too soft, refrigerate to firm up.) I marked off the cake to have an easier time evenly applying the colored frosting. Use your creative genius to decorate with candy corn. Cake can be covered with a cake dome at room temperature.
Note: If making the cake ahead of time, another option is to dome the cake and refrigerate overnight. Bring cake to room temperature before decorating with candy corn.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
Note: Add another 1/2 frosting recipe to also fill the layers. To create chocolate flavor, remove orange juice and vanilla and add in 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa.
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 TBS fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
orange food dye (cake decorating dye is preferred to the liquid-based food coloring)
yellow food dye
In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, orange juice and vanilla and beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy; approximately 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium. Add confectioner’s sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Once incorporated beat about 3 minutes. If not using immediately, cover surface of frosting with plastic wrap. Frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week. Before using, bring to room temperature, then beat on low speed until smooth.
To color frosting, keep 2/3 of the frosting its original color. with remaining 1/3 color a small portion orange and the remainder in yellow. Set aside three bowls of frosting.
Disclaimer: I received tickets to see ‘Peter and the Star Catcher’ however the views and opinions expressed here are my own. And I highly recommend you see it. I haven’t stopped thinking about it!