Cotton Candy Cakes Are Taking Over Etsy—Here’s How to Make One

Don’t let their looks fool you—it’s *so* easy

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cotton candy cakes trend: three rainbow cotton candy cakes side by side

Whether you’re at a state fair, fall festival or circus, the experience would be incomplete without a cone of freshly spun cotton candy. Light as air, pillowy soft and nostalgically sweet, the treat is proof that simplicity can be delicious. But one trend is taking the no-frills snack to the next level—and we’re not mad about it. Cotton candy cakes are poised to take over this holiday season, according to Etsy. Here’s everything you need to know about the viral dessert, including where to order one and tips for making your own at home.

Grocery Girl Fall Is Trending on TikTok

What Is a Cotton Candy Cake?

Cotton candy cakes are desserts made from layers of compressed cotton candy, stacked atop each other to resemble a cake. The layers are typically multicolored, resulting in a rainbow effect. Colors can also be strategically chosen to reflect a certain theme or seasonal event. Most purveyors will spin the cotton candy fresh, then place it in a container that doubles as a mold for the cake. A cotton candy cake can be used as decorative centerpiece or served as a dessert to be sliced and eaten. Mini cakes, full-sized cakes and even single-serve push pop-style layered treats are easy to order online as of late. (Speaking of, if you’re craving the cake in the above video, you can order a small or large cake online from Dylan’s Candy Bar.)

Searches for cotton candy cakes have more than doubled on Etsy in the last three months, compared to the same time last year. It’s part of the rise of “candycore,” as Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy’s resident trend expert, calls it. It’s a nostalgic, colorful trend that the site expects to dominate this holiday season. Think vibrant lollipops, whimsical candy canes, rainbow sprinkles and retro gumdrops in home goods and food alike, from iridescent ornaments to over-the-top desserts. We’re also betting that cotton candy’s allergy-friendly nature and popularity with picky kids aid in the cakes’ popularity as well.

How to Make a Cotton Candy Cake

It’s simple: Choose a vessel (like a disposable cake container/tray or a trifle bowl), fill it—one layer at a time—with colored cotton candy, press the layers down as you go to make the cake as compact and sliceable as possible and repeat until the vessel is full.

One caveat: Many online shops use freshly spun cotton candy, which (as many cotton candy purists likely know) is stickier, more pliable and TBH tastier than pre-spun cotton candy that you can find at the store. You could technically make homemade cotton candy on the stove if you’re feeling ambitious, but using the store-bought, pre-spun kind would be significantly easier. Either way, both options are cheaper than buying an assembled cotton candy cake. It all comes down to whether you’d prefer to save on time and effort and splurge on a premade cake or save your money and DIY.

In case you don’t feel like assembling your own cotton candy cake, there are plenty of pre-made confections to order on Etsy from the experts.

taryn pire
Taryn Pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...
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