I have been in love with the idea of Thing 1/Thing 2 cupcakes since they popped up online a couple of years ago. They really are absolutely perfect for a Dr. Seuss-inspired party or shower.
We baked our very favorite red velvet cupcake recipe in “greaseproof” (ahem, allegedly greaseproof) red and white-striped cupcake liners (although you can’t really tell there’s any white there) and topped that with a quick buttercream frosting. I chose that frosting because it crusts (and would hopefully make the cotton candy last a little longer), unlike my favorite cream cheese frosting – I frosted the cupcakes the night before, attached the labels, and then topped with cotton candy after the guests had arrived.
For the labels, we created 1.25-inch circles using Inkscape (a free, open-source vector graphics that’s similar to Illustrator) and a free “Dr. Soos” font. I attached those to the cupcakes with a drop of hot glue. And I didn’t burn myself, not once!
I purchased 3 containers of cotton candy from Oh Nuts! but only used 2 of them for 24 cupcakes. The cotton candy will begin to melt on contact with moisture so don’t top the cupcakes too far ahead of time before serving (your mileage will vary based on factors, like frosting type and humidity).
Thing 1 and Thing 2 Cupcakes
The perfect treat for a Dr. Seuss-inspired birthday party or shower: red velvet Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes topped with blue cotton candy.
- For the cupcakes:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp red gel food coloring (I used Americolor Red Red)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- For the frosting:
- 2 sticks of butter, at room temp
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 5 Tbsp milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla bean pod, optional
- Blue cotton candy
- Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tin with baking liners or grease and flour the muffing cups.
- Cream butter and sugar on medium-high for two minutes. Mix in one egg at a time, beating after each addition.
- Turn mixer off and add food coloring and cocoa powder to bowl. Turn on low until just incorporated and then beat on medium for 4 minutes.
- Sift together the flours, salt, and baking soda and set aside. Stir buttermilk and vanilla together. Add dry ingredients to the bowl in three batches, alternately with the buttermilk in two batches, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat on medium until just combined. Add sour cream and vinegar and beat on low until combined.
- Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 25-35 minutes until the cupcakes test done with a toothpick. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then cool completely on a rack.
- To make the frosting, place all ingredients except the vanilla bean in your mixer bowl. Beat on low just until you have no more dry streaks of powdered sugar.
- If using a vanilla bean, split the pod in half, scrape with the edge of your knife, and add the scrapings to the mixer bowl.
- Turn to high and whip for 3-4 minutes, until light, fluffy, and smooth, stopping once to scrape down the sides.
- Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a decorating tip or simply scoop and spread frosting with a small knife or spatula.
- Let frosting crust - it should feel dry to the touch and not stick to your finger.
- Just before serving, pull off small pieces of cotton candy, fluffing the "hair" before lightly pressing into the frosting.
- Extra frosting can be stored in the fridge for quite a while and even longer in the freezer. Bring to room temp and whip for a couple of minutes before using.
Yields: 24 cupcakes
Estimated time: 1 hour 45 minutes