Pop!

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This cake is certainly cheerier than the last to be posted here, though it was made prior to that one.

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This cake was for my best friend (haaay I have friends y’all), Alexa.
She is an incredibly picky eater, but she loves popcorn.

Annnnnd it was her birthday (October 24th), so I made cake+popcorn.

(Note: the last 3 posts have been cake on this here blog.  Gettin’ real wild.)

Although this post is late (I had Halloweenie matters to attend to, after all), we still had a wonderful time celebrating her birfday.

Happy, happy (belated) birthday, Alexa love, I hope you enjoyed your cake!!

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The cake itself emulates salted, buttery caramel corn.

The base is a simple yellow butter cake, with a soft, tight crumb and pronounced yellow color from egg yolks.

Their companion egg whites are whipped into a flurry with lots of butter and salted caramel to make a salted caramel Italian meringue buttercream.  Um, salivating.  It is deeeelicious.

Extra salted caramel is gratuitously drizzled over the edge, dripping lazily to pool at the bottom.

The cake is topped with a veritable mountain of salted butter caramel corn, which is crunchy and light and sweet and salty and amaaaazing.

(The recipe I’ve included makes, like, 2 times more popcorn than you really need, because, well.  Trust me.)
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A boring tech-y update: you can now subscribe by email at the very bottom of the page, where the search bar and tag cloud also reside.
Don’t worry- you won’t get any spam– it’s just an easier way for people to visit the blog for fresh posts, rather than checking back and finding stale crumbs they’ve already read.

Also, many of you have been pinning photos (I love you for it!  Seriously!!), and I wanted to let you know that there are two ways to do it: you can click on the pin button on the photos themselves, or click on the pin button at the bottom of each post.

Pin away!

xo

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Buttered Caramel Popcorn Cake

for the yellow butter cake:
makes 2 6-inch layers
to make a 2 layer 9-inch cake, double this recipe
adapted from Joy of Baking
ingredients:
150 grams (1 1/2 cups) flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
85 grams (6 tablespoons) butter
132 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 scant 1/4 cup) sugar
3 egg yolks
120 grams (1/2 cup) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour 2 6×2-inch pans.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Beat the butter and sugar together for 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the egg yolks; beat for 2 more minutes.
Add in the milk and vanilla and stir gently to combine.
Dump in the dry ingredients all at once and stir gently until the batter comes together.
Pour and scrape the batter into your pans.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.
Allow to cool, then frost.

For the salted caramel Italian meringue buttercream:
makes about 3 cups
adapted from FoodSwoon
ingredients:
3 egg whites
60 grams (1/4 cup) water
225 grams (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
splash corn syrup (approximately 1 teaspoon)
small pinch salt
350 grams (3 sticks) butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 of a batch of salted caramel, cooled, the rest reserved for drizzling, recipe below

directions:
Place water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a medium, deep-sided pot.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment; start to beat them on a medium-low speed.
Begin to heat the syrup; when it reaches 240 degrees F, the egg whites should be at soft peaks.
Slowly stream the syrup into the egg whites with the mixer going.
Beat the meringue until cooled to body temperature, then beat in the butter 2 tablespoons at a time.
Continue to whip until buttercream is silky, then beat in half of the caramel.

for the salted caramel:
adapted from FoodSwoon
ingredients:
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
30 grams (2 tablespoons) water
1 tablespoon corn syrup
90 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

directions:
Heat the sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt together, whisking at the beginning until they dissolve.
Stop stirring and allow to caramelize into an amber color, then remove from heat and quickly whisk in butter and cream, being careful of the splattering.
Whisk until completely smooth, then allow to cool before using.

For the salted caramel corn:
adapted from the Kitchn
ingredients:
popped popcorn from about 1 1/2 bags of popcorn
130 grams (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) butter
160 grams (3/4 cup) brown sugar
big pinch kosher salt, plus a little for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

directions:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpats.
Place popcorn in a a big bowl, being sure to not include any unpopped kernels.
In a deep sided pot, heat the butter, brown sugar, and salt until they begin to caramelize.
Whisk well to combine, then add in the baking soda and quickly pour over the popcorn.
Toss and mix well to coat, then scrape out onto the baking sheets.
Lightly sprinkle with a touch of salt, then bake for about 30 minutes, or until the caramel is completely dry and crunchy. (Be careful not to burn the caramel; your oven shouldn’t be too hot.)

to assemble:
Stack your cake on a cake stand and frost it with the buttercream; run a warm offset spatula or butter knife over the exterior to smooth it.
Drizzle the remaining caramel on the edges of the cake, then top the cake with a mountain of caramel corn!

67 comments

  1. Those pictures are so tempting! Love your photography -Gorgeous looking cake!

    1. Thanks so much Medha!

  2. oh wow, this cake is amazing!

  3. Wow this cake looks absolutely divine. You can’t go wrong with salted caramel anything!

    1. Funny, I had that same thought as I munched away on the caramel corn!. 😉 A few grains of salt can be truly miraculous!

  4. This cake is just beautiful. I made one a few months ago too

    1. Very cool– great minds. Thanks so much for stopping by, Rochelle!!

  5. Can’t wait to try this cake. I think I will try a peanut bitter filling in the center

    1. Peanut butter filling would be delicious with all that caramel! Let me know how it goes! 🙂

  6. Will you please make this for my birthday? This cake looks beyond amazing! Caramel Italian buttercream may be the best thing in earth!

    1. Every time I make caramel IMBC, I want to faceplant into the bowl! It is so divine 🙂

  7. […] dough is easy: cream, mix, press, crimp, bake. My friend who thought she didn’t like coconut loved these!  Yay!  Yet another victory for coconut […]

  8. Hello! I’m excited to make this cake! Just a question though—for the popcorn, you said one and a half bags of popped popcorn. Did you use microwave? Or did you buy bagged kernels and cook over the stove? If microwave, do you have a recommendation on which kind? Butter, salted, lightly salted, kettle? Just curious. Thanks and glad I found your blog!

    1. I’m so glad you’re going to try it, Ryn! I used butter flavored microwave popcorn, about 1 1/2 bags popped. It was all I had on hand because my unsalted/unflavored popcorn got burned. The caramel covers up most flavors, but I would still recommend going with a lightly salted, no butter and then seasoning to taste. Let me know how it goes!

  9. […] Definitely making this cake for my […]

  10. How much is half the caramel recipe? I already have some salted caramel made, that I want to use.

    1. Veronica, you can whip in up to 6 ounces of caramel. I think I used close to 4 ounces, a generous half cup. Good luck– let me know how it goes!

      1. Thanks….. I’m making this as cupcakes for an oscar party. I have cupcake wrappers that look like popcorn tubs. Hope it turns out cute.

        1. Sounds fab! Love that idea!

  11. […] But the last one I fell for was the Salted caramel popcorn cake! Credit where it’s due – Pinterest led me here to La Peche fraiche. […]

  12. […] worth it. I made this caramel sauce. I made up the frosting recipe myself. Everything else is from this […]

  13. hi, i was making this cake and wondered what to do with the remaining caramel. do you drizzle it over the popcorn or what? thanks

    1. Hi! I didn’t have much caramel left-over– I just saved mine to pour over ice cream later, but you could always drip extra over the cake if you desired. Let me know how it goes!

  14. This looks so awesome!

    1. Thank you, Nicole!

  15. This cake looks delish! I’m actually thinking about making it for husband’s birthday, which is quite a few months off but he’s a picky dessert eater. I’m not cool enough yet to have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. If I used just a good ‘ole hand mixer to whip the eggs during for the buttercream, at what point are they done to mix into the soft peaks? Just when they’re forming soft peaks? Since it doesn’t have a whip attachment do you know if it will take longer when using a hand mixer… that way my syrup doesn’t reach the temperature before my eggs are ready? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Holly! The timing can be worked out just fine with a hand mixer—make sure you’re on high speed to really get the eggs whipping. Once they reach soft peaks, you’re set to start pouring the syrup. It will probably take an equivalent amount of time if you’re really getting after it, but since you’re using a hand mixer, I’d focus on getting the whites to soft peaks first while keeping the syrup heating on medium heat instead of high, since the peaks will stay like that for a few minutes while your syrup finishes boiling. That way, once your syrup reaches temp, all you have to do is whip the eggs a tiny bit to refresh the peaks and then proceed with adding the syrup! Let me know if you have any more questions, and definitely tell me how it goes!

  16. My daughter made this cake and it was stupendous and beautiful….but the popcorn…I love the popcorn! I want to make the popcorn…how long did you cook caramel?

    1. Hi Michelle! So glad to hear that you liked the cake! The popcorn is awfully addictive, isn’t it? Cook the caramel until it is a light amber—this should take about 7 minutes on medium heat (7 minutes after the sugar has dissolved).

  17. […] and cake. Honestly, I didn’t even know such a combination existed until I came across a Buttered Caramel Popcorn Cake last year. Since then, I’ve noticed more recipes, including popcorn cookies […]

  18. […] yet (tomorrow is the big day!), so I haven’t been able to bake or cook while here. Alexa (of popcorn cake fame) is not happy about the lack of cake being produced in the apartment; she asks once a […]

  19. Hiya!
    I used the buttercream and topping recipe but on a vanilla cake instead for my brothers wedding bake off and got runner up (I was beaten by a 3 tier lego cake which to be fair I would’ve picked too) thanks for posting this amazing recipe 😀

    1. Sheri—I’m so glad you liked it! Runner up seems pretty great to me! xoxo

  20. Hi,
    Any suggestions for alternatives for corn syrup? I’m not sure if I can get it where I live?

    1. Melanie—you can sub in glucose (invert sugar) or half as much honey or maple syrup! xx

  21. […] last year?  Of course you do, I link back to that post ALL the time.  Lauren Conrad pinned it, for […]

  22. […] for reference, here’s Alexa’s cake from last year, and the one from this […]

  23. cake looks delish. I love that cake stand as well!! Its beautiful. Do you know where its from?

    1. Thanks Melanie! The cake stand is from Amazon. Think I searched “6-inch white porcelain cake stand” or something like that! xx

  24. Hi

    I want to make this cake for my birthday this weekend but I will have about 20 people, would you have any recommendations for doubling the recipe i.e into 2 wider layers?

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Rhianon! This cake could easily be doubled and baked in 2 9-inch round pans; triple it and you could bake it in 3-9-inch pans or 2 10-inch pans! Happy birthday! Let me know how the cake goes! xx

    2. P.S. Would recommend tripling the frosting if doubling the cake! xoxo

  25. […] Want to take your baking to the next level? This one is for the Mums who have a sickly sweet tooth for salted caramel. Top it with caramel popcorn and you’ve just taken your cake to a whole new level, it will look irresistible – and taste it too! Find out more from La Pêche Fraîche. […]

  26. Hi
    I am making this cake information a friends birthday. I need to make it in advance due tontime issues. Can I refrigerate the cake fully iced or should the cake be iced closer to serving?
    Cheers,
    Jess

    1. Jess—the cake can be fully iced and refrigerated for up to a day! Just don’t put the popcorn on (if you were planning on adding that) until right before serving, or it will get soggy. You can make the popcorn ahead of time, as long as it’s sealed in an air-tight container! Let me know how it goes xx

  27. This cake looks super delicious! I’m thinking of making it for my next family get together. A question about the recipe: for the buttercream, do you use salted or unsalted butter? Since salted caramel is a big star in this recipe I was wondering if I could get by using salted butter.

    1. Melanie, if you use salted butter, just be sure to only add salt to taste (leave out the regular measurements and just go by taste), since the amount of salt between brands varies. I use unsalted so I know exactly how much salt is going in. Let me know how it goes! xx

  28. This cake looks great.
    I’m wanting to know how much the caramel runs off the cake?
    I will be making it a few hours before the party and don’t want all the caramel on the plate

    1. Lara, caramel running off the cake is the worst (and has many a time happened to me)! This caramel is meant to be quite thick to avoid that problem. If you’re really worried, though, I would advise taking the caramel to a very dark stage and leaving out a tablespoon of the cream. Additionally, make the caramel a day or two ahead and keep covered at room temp to ensure that the caramel is not the slightest bit warm when you’re trying to pour it (also ideally chill the cake before pouring). Hope this helps! Let me know how it goes xx

  29. Hi Rachel, this is amazing cake!!! I want to try it soon!!!! Just wondering, are the popcorn still crunchy when you ate it?? And how to keep them still crunchy??

    1. Hi Indah, thank you so much! The popcorn is still crunchy because of the caramel coating. Just be sure to coat all of the popcorn when you make the caramel corn, and it should hold up for up to 1 day! xx

  30. My birthday is coming up soon, and I am going to make this for myself and eat as much of it as I want…it looks so good!!!!!! Thanks for the recipe and the BEAUTIFUL pictures.

    1. Thanks Virginia, and happy early birthday! xx

  31. […] caramel with caramel popcorn on top kind of cake. I was blown away when I came across it over on La Pêche Fraîche – so beautiful and well photographed. So don’t forget to check out the original recipe […]

  32. I had friends for dinner a few weeks ago and make this jaw dropping cake. Wanted to note that I did not have 6 inch pans, only 9 inch, but I needed to double the cake batter to achieve two layers. I only made one batch of caramel and frosting and got a really nice result. Sharing my experience here to help other home-cooks recreate your beautiful cake. Can’t wait to try some others from your blog!

    1. Candace, I’m absolutely over the moon to hear you liked the cake! I’ll make a note in the recipe that doubling the batter is best for a 9-inch cake. Thanks for the heads up—glad to have you as a reader xoxoxo

  33. Hi. I’m making this for my sons 21st. So far so good but the frosting is a bit runny. I’m not sure if this is fixable or I didn’t boil the syrup enough. Thanks.

    1. Hi Cathy!! You may want to try adding a few cubes of cool butter and continue whipping. More often, I see buttercreams curdling rather than being too runny, so you may want to keep beating. Here are two great resources to take a peek at for troubleshooting meringue buttercream: http://sweetapolita.com/2011/04/swiss-meringue-buttercream-demystified/ and http://whisk-kid.com/2010/08/how-to-make-italian-meringue-buttercream.html . Good luck! Hope it turns out okay. Let me know how it goes xoxox

      1. Hi Rachel! Cooling it the frosting down worked. Thank you for the links. I’ve frosted it and will add the popcorn and caramel sauce in the morning. I used 12 inch pans and multiplied your recipe 8 times!!

        1. Cathy, I’m so glad to hear that. Very impressed that you’re making such a large version! Hope it all turned out stupendously xoxo

  34. I will make the cake one day ahead but the pop corn on the same day, now my questions are:

    Should i put it in room tepmrture before serving? And for how long?

    I know it selly question but i didn’t understood: Did you fill the cake also Or only frost it from outside???

    1. Hi Mariam! Thanks so much for reaching out! Your plan to make the cake a day ahead and the popcorn the same day sounds like a good one. You can chill the cake overnight, but I’d give it 6 hours to come back to room temperature. If you’re serving it in the morning, you could even leave it in a cool room all night. I layered each cake round with around 1/2 cup of frosting, so that it’s frosted on the inside and out 🙂 Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  35. Hi there.

    Does the popcorn stay crisp? I am baking one similar for an order but I bought the store bought one as I don’t have time to make it, was a last minute order 🙂

    Will it stay crisp for 2 days?

    Thanks 🙂 such a pretty cake

    1. Roxanne, the popcorn will stay crisp in an airtight container in a dry-ish climate for 2 days! Just put it on the cake the day you serve it. Best of luck xx

  36. Hi there,

    I will be making this cake for Christmas day this year and just wanted to check if I can make all the elements the day before then just assemble before serving?

    Is it best to ice the cake after it’s been baked (once it’s cooled of course) or can I ice it before serving?

    I was concerned the icing may not have a great texture if refrigerated overnight.

    I need to travel with it on Christmas Day so icing before serving is ideal!

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Suzanne! You can absolutely make all the elements ahead of time; just make sure to wrap the cakes really well with plastic to prevent them from drying out, and store the popcorn in an airtight container so it doesn’t go soggy. You can definitely assemble before serving, and with everything prepped, it should be pretty quick! The other benefit of this is that you won’t have to worry about bringing it up to temperature after a night in the fridge (if you do chill it overnight, make sure you give it plenty of time at cool room temp to warm up a little). Hope this helped! Merry Christmas! xoxo

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