Popcorn Cake

When I was a kid, my friends knew that when they came to my birthday party, they'd be served a money cake. My friend Rachael had a similarly-distinctive cake at her birthday parties: her mom always served a popcorn cake. Mrs. Sato made her version of a popcorn cake in a bundt pan. It had colorful mini gumdrops throughout. She served it in thick wedges we ate with our hands, like a popcorn ball. It was delicious. 

I've been thinking about that popcorn cake recently. I've never been served a popcorn cake by anyone but Mrs. Sato, and Steve and Trevor had never had one. I'm not sure of her recipe, but it was basically rice krispie treats with popcorn instead of cereal, so I started from there and did some experimenting. I didn't have gumdrops on hand, but I had M&M's, so I made a chocolate version and added a drizzle of ganache and sprinkles to my popcorn cake. 

While the ganache looks pretty and tastes great, I honestly think the cake doesn't need it. Give it a try and tell me if you think the chocolate adds anything, or if the plain cake is the way to go. 

Popcorn Cake

12 c. popcorn
1-2 c. candy (M&M's, gumdrops, etc)
16 oz. marshmallows 
3/4 c. butter, divided

You will need approximately 12 cups of popcorn to make a cake. If you use microwave popcorn, this is 2 bags. Carefully pick out any unpopped kernels. Pour the popcorn into a springform tube pan. It should fill the pan completely. You may need to add more popcorn. 

Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl. Check again for any unpopped kernels (they like to hide). 

Generously grease the pan with 1/4 c. butter, making sure to cover every surface, including the tube. This will seem like a lot of butter. That is ok. Put any extra butter into a saucepan, along with the remaining 1/2 c. butter. Melt the butter and the marshmallows together over medium low heat, stirring frequently. Remove the marshmallow mix from the stove and pour it over the popcorn. Stir completely until all the popcorn is coated with marshmallows. Stir in the candy. 

Cover your hand with a piece of plastic wrap, then press the popcorn into the buttered tube pan. 

Let it sit for 10 minutes, then release the spring and invert the cake onto a cake stand. Let it cool completely.

This is the way Rachael's mom did (just imagine those M&M's are gumdrops). Feel free to serve it like this, or add the ganache, sprinkles, and candles.  

This cake brought me right back to Rachael's June birthday parties in the 1970's. Good times. 


  1. That looks yummy and I might have to try it! And chocolate makes everything better!


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