Corn cakes with popcorn topping

popcorn-topped cupcakes with chocolate icing

You may have seen my ‘popcorn teaser’ here a while back; here’s the finished deal.


I had a corn cake in mind, and wanted to top it with sweet popcorn. But it turned out to be a bit trickier than just that.

The corn cake is simple and delicious; fluffy light and not too rich, with a hint of corn that you can smell as the cakes are baking. It’s a simple recipe to make.

The topping is where it gets a bit more difficult.

Well, sort of.

It’s actually not that hard to place popcorn on top of an iced cake. But if you start out with a full sized cake and put pieces of caramel popcorn on top and then get a large knife to cut it, what happens is the candy-coated pieces push into the soft cake and the slice becomes more of a mashed portion with some popcorn lodged inside. Not so good.

And you can try to place the pieces more sparsely, or strategically, to account for slicing but it’s not as visually appealing.

Before covering the top with loose pieces I also tried the popcorn disk, made of sweet caramel popcorn slightly warmed then pressed together in a cake pan the same size as the cake so it could be placed on top without loose bits tumbling off. This method is also the base for creating popcorn height – but as I said, you can’t cut through it and the cake together. So the mound of not-falling-over popcorn looks impressive but actually is useless as far as eating is concerned. And I’m interested in the eating.


The recap: Caramel corn or salty and sweet kettle corn is a good idea to eat with corn cake but it’s not easy to cut and serve together. It doesn’t matter if the popcorn is in a heap on top of the cake or placed in a single layer: cutting through the topping and cake does not work.

But I’m determined to figure something out. The corn cake and sweet popcorn combination is so good, especially with the thin layer of dark chocolate bringing them together.

What about cupcakes?

Personal sized portions. Topping looks interesting, and maybe even elegant. The batter is the same, so the taste is just as good. No need for cutting.

The only downside (is it really one, though?) is that you really should ice and top the cakes quite close to when you eat/serve them. But really, if you’re not baking a ton of these, it’s not a problem to ice and top them when just when you’re ready to eat them. I’d even say put a bowl of popcorn on the table and pass out the cupcakes as you ice them and everyone can top their own.

Just remember the icing will dry out if you do it in advance and then the popcorn can’t stick to it. And the popcorn won’t stay crisp and taste fresh if sits out too long, either.

But I think it’s worth it.

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