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
Source & Vendor Information
Cupcakes: Inspired by Annie’s Eats
Cotton Candy: Oh Nuts!
“Greaseproof” liners: Amazon
Thing 2 Labels: DIY
Dr. Seuss-inspired font: Dafont
OMG I love it!!!!
Wow, these are amazing!!
Amazing. Plain and simple.
Sooo, these were what the frantic hunt for blue cotton candy was for. How creative! I’m totally thinking a Dr. Seuss party in May. Drewby loves any Seuss book!
So creative and cute!
These are so cute!!! Love them!
I can’t even handle how cute these are. Seriously. So cute!
these are so cute! i haven’t had cotton candy in ages, now I wish I had some!
Those may be the cutest cupcakes I have ever seen! Looks like it was a fabulous party. 🙂
I love these…Adorable!! Cream cheese frosting is my favorite as well, but I totally understand why you chose butter cream instead. I could eat a whole tub of cream cheese icing if it were right in front of me.
You are such a rockstar. I’m serious. I have no words for these. Other than that part of me really wishes my hair were the color of that cotton candy and the rest…wants to eat that whole tray. And wants you to plan my next birthday party. It’s in three weeks. Hint. 😛
Adorable! You worked so hard, and it really pays off-these are beautiful and tasty-looking too!
Fabulous job! I’ve been looking for a lower case Seuss font and hadn’t seen this one. Thanks for sharing. Your signs are great. I made some last year but I like yours better and I just downloaded Inkscape to try for other projects. Here are my simple cupcakes and printable signs. http://www.obseussed.com/2011/03/dr-seuss-cupcakes-thing-1-thing-2.html I just pinned this and added it to my blog Dr. Seuss link collection: http://www.obseussed.com/p/books.html I really love your red velvet recipe and the idea of the butter cream frosting that sets up more so the cotton candy doesn’t melt so quickly. Thanks for sharing all the details.
Where did you find the blue cotton candy? I’m going to make these for a kids birthday party. They are adorable!
Laura – I bought it from Oh Nuts! They were super reasonable and didn’t require me to buy a huge amount. I’d recommend getting 2 containers for 24 cupcakes. I bought 3 and never opened the 3rd one.
Hi. what is the difference between plain red foodcoloring and gel foodcoloring? can i use regualr red foodcoloring? how much would i need to use from that for this recipe? also can i use the cream cheese frpsting and decorate it the night before? i dont plan on using the cottoncandy
Gel food coloring is much more concentrated than the liquid. You’ll likely need ~1.5 – 2 Tbsp to get as deep a red color. Yes, cupcakes can be made ahead and frosted. Good luck!
I’m curious, is there a truly a grease proof cupcake liner that exists? I haven’t ever found one. Disappointing. I guess that’s why they came up with cupcake wrappers.
On a better note, I’m making these for my son’s class this Friday in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Thanks for the really great idea!
Love, love , love…making these for two classes on Friday to celebrate Seuss!!!
I did this for my first grade class for Dr. Seuss’s Birthday (March 2). The children loved it. I used the smaller cupcakes, and yes, the cotton candy may melt fast. Next year I will have the children top the cupcakes with the cotton candy as they are served to them. This is a great idea. Thank you!
I love your cupcakes!!! Great job! I am gonna try to attempt these for my boys’ bday party and was wondering if you had to order the cotton candy from oh nuts or if you have one of those stores in your area? I would have to order and just wondering about how it would do of it has to be shipped?!
I ordered the cotton candy from their site, got it within a week. It shipped well! I actually still have one of the containers sealed – the cotton candy still looks perfect!
Thank you! I just wanted to make sure you had ordered it too…I was afraid it would melt if I had shipped it….I didn’t realize how hard blue cotton candy is to find and the ones I have found don’t really pull apart pretty…so even the way those are packaged it still pulls out pretty and stays together?! Sorry for all the questions…just wanna make sure before I depend the money ordering!! Thank you so much! I really hope mine turn out as cute as yours!!
These are super cute! I found you through Pinterest, and I am so excited to make these for MY daughter’s 3rd birthday. I bought cotton candy at Dollar Tree and was hoping it would work, but then my husband and I went to a WNBA game last night, and they were selling blue cotton candy! I was so excited I didn’t care if people were staring at the crazy 30 year old woman who bought cotton candy for herself and didn’t eat it.
I am desperately trying to make these cupcakes, but I cannot for the life of me figure out Inkscape. If you happen to remember how you formed the circle and then got the font in the center please email me or write it here, I will check back! These are too freekin cute! Thanks!
I used the circle tool and then adjusted the fill (center=white) and stroke (black outline). Then added a text box that I centered in the circle myself, I think. If you only need the circles to say “Thing 2,” I think I still have that PDF saved somewhere. I could email it to you.
I am thinking of making these for my son’s birthday so I made a “practice” batch since I don’t bake. They turned out delicious! But they weren’t that moist. I’m wondering if I did something wrong or if you have any pointers on how to keep them moist. Can over baking dry them out? Sorry, I don’t know if that’s a stupid questions, but I seriously never bake!
Yep, overbaking them will make them dry. Try taking them out of the oven 3 minutes earlier next time, you should be fine.
These are the perfect cupcakes for my son birthday party…..I know everyone will love them.
that sounds like an awesome thing to do I wonder if my staff will like it
just wanted to thank you for the recipes, idea, and comments esp. from victoria@obseussed. i hope mine will be a great success for my son’s birthday. could not for the life of me figure out the ‘doctor soos’ fonts to design my own and the inkscape for the circular labels to download then create it in pdf form to print. ugh! until i scrolled down and found obseussed.com. thanks to all! i was told to add coffee to the velvet cake batter to keep it moist- about 1/4 c.