New This Month

"Broken Glass" Cupcakes


The recipe for the "glass" is essentially one for caramel. The trick is to cook it for a shorter amount of time than usual so it stays clear.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 3 1/2 dozen

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 2011


For the Cupcakes

  • 4 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 7 large egg whites, room temperature

For the Caramel

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

For the Frosting

  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cherry preserves, strained, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cupcakes: Line cupcake tins with baking cups. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 3/4 teaspoon salt into a medium bowl. Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup.

  2. Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium, and gradually add granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream. Beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour.

  3. In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of the whites into the cupcake batter. Fold in remaining egg whites in 2 batches.

  4. Divide batter among baking cups, filling each halfway full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly touched, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely in tins set on wire racks.

  5. Meanwhile, make the caramel: Bring granulated sugar and water to a boil in a small high-sided saucepan, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-high, and cook until mixture just starts to turn pale gold around edges. Remove from heat, and immediately pour caramel onto a rimmed baking sheet. Working quickly, tilt pan to spread caramel to edges to make a very thin layer. Let cool to harden.

  6. Make the frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy and spreadable.

  7. Frost each cupcake using an offset spatula. Twist pan to release and break caramel in order for it to resemble broken glass. Place a shard or 2 of caramel "glass" in the center of each cupcake. Drizzle or pipe cherry preserves where caramel has entered the cupcake.

Cook's Notes

Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Caramel can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day; break just before using. Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Top with caramel shards and cherry preserves just before serving.

Reviews Add a comment

  • wade.sells
    26 OCT, 2016
    Disappointing. The cupcake was more like a souffle and the first batch all sank in the middle. The glass did not work. Waste of my money and time
  • carolenewstart
    29 OCT, 2015
    I haven't attempted to make these yet and to be honest not sure I am going to - how on earth are we supposed to know what "2 sticks" of butter is?!! what's wrong with using the conventional weighing measures of pounds and ounces or grammes, why cups. I'm going to find another recipe
  • lalaelizabeth
    8 OCT, 2014
    I followed another user's instructions for the caramel glass--you really need corn syrup and a candy thermometer for this. I tried this sugar and water recipe and it never hardened; maybe it works, but I would need additional instructions for how since I am not familiar with candy making. Really cute idea--I'll be using corn syrup and red food coloring for the "blood" instead of cherry preserves.
  • Steve Thompson
    11 NOV, 2013
    The glass will work, exactly as shown, if you take your time and use a candy thermometer. You do not need corn syrup. I used just water and sugar. Don't even stir in the sugar. The key is to turn the boiling water down immediately after water comes to a boil and let the water slowly evaporate, this takes time, take the sugar off the stove, immediately, when your thermometer says 300 degrees. If your sugar yellows, after cooling on silipat, run under hot water over the glass until it's clear.
  • Jenn O
    31 OCT, 2013
    I only looked at this recipe for guidance and for the sugar glass and was extremely irritated when it didn't work, & now find that it couldn't possibly work~ & more frustrated to find EVERY other posting on how to make it has corn syrup and much better instructions. This post is linked to a Halloween site, and without the "glass" they're normal, every day frosted cupcakes. Needless to say, this boring alternative is what I'll be taking to work, since I don't have corn syrup around.
  • Phydeaux71
    10 OCT, 2013
    My daughter made these. Our first attempt at the sugar glass was a disaster since it granulated upon cooling. So, we found a more reliable candy recipe from another site. 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 1/4 cup water. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, then slowly heat to 302--no more stirring. Pour into a nonstick foil lined cake pan and spread thin, cool. The corn syrup is the key. It's slightly yellowish but very clear and hard when cooled.
  • lbauer321
    10 OCT, 2013
    This is a great Halloween cupcake idea! But I used Martha Stewart's Red Velvet Cupcake recipe instead so that the cakes would look blood-soaked! Yum!
  • Since1982
    2 OCT, 2013
    The instructions for the glass could be more novice-friendly, providing a target temperature for the finished caramel as well as an instruction not to stir the sugar mixture as it heats (or crystals will develop), but the directions *are* accurate. The magazine/staff shouldn't be unfairly criticized for providing inaccurate or poor recipes; instead, they should be encouraged to remember not everyone has the same level of experience and make sure the instructions anticipate any/all questions.
  • sunnydaytheory
    24 APR, 2013
    For a clearer looking glass (no bubbles) I use a kitchen torch (kitchen flame thrower) or other high, quick heat expending tools and quickly brush over the bubble filled area. Made the glass absolutely perfect!
  • bober
    9 APR, 2013
    We like it and we also like to see the high scores for silver reflective tape used for safety vest and garment to sew on.