Saturday, 19 January 2013

Recipe: salted caramel popcorn cupcakes

Popcorn cupcakes! As made by EJ
Did you know, in the US, today is National Popcorn Day? Me neither, but I've discovered a brilliant website, which lists every *ahem* significant day of the year. This prestigious day is celebrated by 'The Popcorn Board' and according to National Awareness Days: "National Popcorn Day aims to draw awareness to popcorn and the never-ending amount of fun you can have with it!". Say no more! I'm sold on this one.

I have been known by some to eat a lot of Tyrrells sweet and salty popcorn, I became an accidental advocate when Waitrose had a 241 deal running two weeks in a row and then I was hooked (and I won't lie I think it's the perfect snack and feel the inexplicable urge to pass this information on at every opportunity).

So, with the new found knowledge that in the United States popcorn is elevated to a status where it has it's own day of awareness, I got thinking about how to turn this wonderful snack into an even better one (involving cake, obviously). I chose to make a salted caramel sponge to complement the sweet and salty popcorn and stumbled across this amazing recipe which I used for the salted caramel sauce.

The cupcakes are topped with real popcorn (you know, to draw awareness to popcorn and how important it is and everything...). I'd recommend topping the cakes with the popcorn on the day you'll be serving them to make sure it doesn't absorb too much buttercream. If making your own popcorn, it's best to use a pan with a clear glass lid, so you can see the corn popping - this just makes it a bit easier. Also this involves hot oil so BE CAREFUL.

This recipe makes 6-8 large cupcakes
To make salted caramel popcorn cupcakes you will need:

For the cakes:

150ml yoghurt
100g caster sugar
150ml sunflower oil
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
200g self raising flour

1tsp baking powder
6-8 tsp salted caramel sauce

For the icing:

50g butter
100g icing sugar
2tsp salted caramel sauce
2tsp hot water

For the topping:
50g un-popped corn kernels
1/2 tsp caster sugar
A pinch of salt

To make the cakes:

Pre-heat the oven to 160C (fan oven)

Make one measure of the salted caramel sauce (I didn't return the sugar to the heat after adding the cream, I found that quickly stirring the mixture enabled the sauce to combine beautifully without the additional heat). Set aside.

Mix the yoghurt, caster sugar, sunflower oil and vanilla extract together in a bowl until combined. Gradually sift in the self raising flour and baking powder and stir until you have a smooth cake batter.

Prepare a cupcake tin with paper cases. Use a large piping bag to pipe the cake batter into the cupcake cases, filling until approximately 3/4 full. Dollop a teaspoon full of the salted caramel sauce into the centre of each cupcake. Using a cocktail stick, swirl the sauce into a spiral. Set the remaining sauce aside for the icing.

The uncooked cakes with a swirl of salted caramel sauce in the batter
Bake the cupcakes on the middle shelf of the oven (160C, fan), for 20- 25 minutes, or until cooked through.

Leave to stand for a couple of minutes and then transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool.

Ta-dah! The salted caramel cupcakes
To make the icing:
Mix the butter, icing sugar, salted caramel sauce and hot water together into a smooth buttercream icing.

Popping corn and topping the cakes:
To make the popcorn, put 1tbs oil in a pan and drop a couple of kernels into the oil. Place the lid on the pan and turn the heat on, when you hear the kernels pop, the oil is at the correct temperature. Add the rest of the kernals and quickly replace the lid. The corn will begin to rapidly pop, carefully lift the pot and shake it gently, holding the lid on carefully, before returning to the heat. When the popping slows turn off the heat, gently shake the pan again and leave standing for a couple of minutes until the popping completely stops. While the popcorn is still hot, sprinkle on the sugar and salt, return the lid to the pan and shake to combine.

Use a pallet knife to spread the buttercream icing on top of the cupcakes, so that each has an icing layer 2-3mm thick. Starting from the outer edges, stick pieces of popcorn onto the icing until the top of the cake is completely covered, then pile more on top. Get crafty and serve these treats in faux popcorn tubs, a fab snack for your next film night.
Popcorn cupcakes! As made by EJ


  1. Those look SO GOOD. Definitely going straight to the top of my To Bake list :)

  2. Let me know if you make them, I'd love to know what you think :)