Cupcake nuggets are cupcake pieces breaded with cupcakes and then deep fried. Cupcake nuggets look enough like fast food chicken nuggets to fool all but the nugget connoisseur, but taste like doughnuts with crispy, sweet exteriors.
Like doughnuts, cupcake nuggets are best served warm; like chicken nuggets, they should be eaten with dips. I chose a faux BBQ sauce (raspberry jam) for my vanilla cupcake nuggets. You could also use faux ranch (vanilla icing) or faux mustard (lemon curd).
The question now is not whether to try cupcake nuggets, but which cupcake flavor will you choose.
How to Make Cupcake Nuggets
Yield: 24 cupcake nuggets
- 7 cooked cupcakes (You can use any flavor, but for the most authentic look, I recommend vanilla.)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- enough vegetable oil for your fryer
- dipping sauce of your choice (I used raspberry jam.)
- Use three of the cooked cupcakes to make cupcake croutons seasoned with brown sugar and cinnamon. The cupcake croutons will serve as “bread crumbs” for the nuggets. See my post on cupcake croutons for step-by-step instructions.
- Food process the cupcake croutons until you have a powder. It’s OK if there are a few clumps. Nuggets are a dessert that should not look polished.
|Cupcake croutons about to get food processed|
- Whisk together 1/2 cup of cupcake crouton crumbs with the flour and baking powder.
|Cupcake crouton crumbs|
|Whisking the cupcake nugget “breading”|
- Cut each of the remaining four cupcakes into three pieces, slicing horizontally through the cupcakes.
|A cupcake cut into three pieces.|
- Cut each cupcake piece into two by cutting the letter “S” into the circle (like a yin-yang). The end result will give you imperfect crescent moon shaped pieces. Again, don’t try to make them perfect – it’s better if they aren’t.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk.
- Fill a deep fryer with vegetable oil according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I always recommend using a deep fryer for frying, but you could also do it in a pot. I use a mini deep fryer and fry in small batches.
- Heat the oil to 375 F.
- While the oil is heating, prepare your cupcake pieces for frying. Those of you who have made fried chicken may be familiar with this method. Pick one hand to be your wet hand and one hand to be your dry hand. With your wet hand, pick up a cupcake piece and dunk it in the egg/buttermilk mixture. Make sure it’s completely covered and then lift it out and shake off any excess liquid.
|Dunking with the wet hand|
- Still using the wet hand, drop the cupcake piece into the bowl filled with the “breading.” Use the dry hand to pick up breading and cover the wet cupcake piece with it. Make sure the entire cupcake piece is covered. Place the “breaded” cupcake piece onto a plate and repeat the dipping and “breading” with all pieces.
|“Breading” with the dry hand|
- Fry the cupcake nuggets in batches for around 30 seconds on each side. Since you are dealing with already cooked cupcakes, you just want the “breading” to get nice and brown.
- Remove from the oil and serve warm with dipping sauce.
More Deep Fried Cupcakes
If you like cupcake nuggets, you’ll probably also like my classic-style deep fried cupcakes (chocolate cupcakes frosted with chocolate ganache, covered in funnel cake batter, and fried). Or, maybe you just want to make homemade Krispy Kreme doughnuts instead – I won’t blame you.
Shout Out to My Food Stylist
Regular readers know that I am lucky enough to have a professional photographer as my husband. He takes all of the photos on my blog. For this shoot, I was lucky enough to have my friend Brooke from Sucre Shop as my food stylist. She is incredibly talented in all things crafty, not just custom designed wooden utensils, and she dreamed up and created the fast food look for this shoot.
Here she is taking a break from the shoot to read my copy of Nutrition Action – repentance to her body for eating cupcake nuggets.