National Popcorn Day

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Well its seems there is a day to celebrate everything so why not popcorn? National Popcorn Day is on 19th January this year so why not celebrate with cake ?

When Joe & Seph’s asked if I would make them a cake using their gourmet popcorn and caramel sauces, I of course said yes but where to start – so many yummy flavour combinations to choose from, sweet and savoury. The one that jumped out at me, thinking it would go well on a cake was the Toffee Apple Cinnamon flavour, and the sister caramel sauce sealed the deal!

I first made a toffee apple caramel cake for a wedding last year as the top tier. There are lots of recipes for apple cakes out there, but not many that will stand being layered up to make a covered cake, so I needed to play with the recipes a bit to make it all work and this is the result.

The beauty of this cake is that it doesn’t need fancy equipment either, all made in one bowl you can easily make it by hand, although I did cheat a little with my handheld electric beater. Its a wonderfully moist cake and really delicious.

Toffee Apple Popcorn Cake.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 450g light soft brown sugar
  • 105ml rapeseed oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 300ml buttermilk
  • 1.5tsp vanilla extract
  • 450g plain flour
  • 1.5tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 dessert apples (I used Braeburns)

Buttercream

  • 500g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1kg unrefined icing sugar (I use Billingtons)

Decoration

Method

Grease and line 3 x 8inch cake tins. Preheat the oven to 150C (fan).

In a large bowl beat together the sugar, oil, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract until smooth and well incorporated.

Sieve the flour, bicarb and cinnamon straight into the bowl and fold in until smooth.

Peel, core and chop the apples into small chunks about 1cm cubed (approx). Stir into the cake mixture.

Share the mixture between the three tins evenly, bake for 45mins or until golden brown on top and a cocktail stick comes out clean, check a couple places in case you hit a piece of apple.

Once bakes leave to sit for five mins before removing from the tins and cooling completely on a wire cooling rack.

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Whilst cooling make the buttercream.

Cube the butter and put the butter in a large bowl and beat well until it starts to lighten in colour.

Add the icing sugar and stir in gently to incorporate into the butter, add a tablespoon of hot boiled water to help incorporate the sugar.

Once the sugar clouds have subsided beat well to make it smooth. Add another tablespoon of hot boiled water to soften the mixture to make it easier to use.

To Decorate

Once the layers of cake are completely cool you can start to decorate the cake.

Firstly make some caramel with the sugar. Warm gently in pan until melted then increase the heat to form a golden brown caramel, being careful not to burn the mixture.

Take a small handful of the popcorn and bits in a food processor to make popcorn crumbs.

Fill a piping bag with buttercream, a 1cm nozzle inserted first.

Fill another piping bag with some toffee apple cinnamon caramel sauce and snip a small piece from the end of the bag.

Using a thin 8inch base cake card use some of the caramel to stick the balloon stick holder to the card. Pipe some buttercream around the edge of the card. Attach the balloon stick into the holder, pop the kebab stick inside to keep it all stable, then thread first layer of cake over the stick onto the card.

Pipe an even layer of buttercream on to the cake, smooth out with a spatula then pipe a swirl of the caramel sauce over, finally sprinkle on some popcorn crumbs.

Refrigerate for 10-15 mins to set. Repeat with the next layer then top with the final layer of cake.

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Make sure your cake is up right and level on top, then cover with the rest of the buttercream saving a little for some finishing off later. Try to get a nice smooth edge and top but as its covered in sauce later it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Refrigerate again for 15 mins.  Add some more sauce to your piping bag, warm the caramel sauce for 10 seconds on a defrost setting in the microwave. Drizzle the sauce round the top edge of the cake allowing it to dribble down the sides a little. Finish off by topping the cake with more sauce. I placed my cake on fondant covered cake drum and piped some little blobs round the edge to finish off around the base.

To create the pouring popcorn effect, rewarm the caramel you made earlier, you may need to keep rewarming the caramel to complete the entire stick but don’t leave it on the heat all the time or it may burn.  Work up from the base of the stick, dip the toffee apple cinnamon popcorn carefully into the caramel (I wore plastic gloves to protect my fingers) and attach to the balloon stick. Cover the entire stick. When you get to the top build up the popcorn at right angles so it appears to still be inside the bag when you pop it over the ‘flow’ of popcorn.

I needed to build up the popcorn around the base of my stick to give it some extra support. I also cut down the bag a little to fit the cake design. Finish off by covering more of the top of the cake with the rest of the popcorn, use a little buttercream to make the pieces stick to the edges of the cake.  For a final finishing touch I placed the jar onto top as though the sauce was drizzling out propping it up with a few pieces of popcorn.

Finally slice and serve this lusciously moist and super sticky cake, its a big one so make sure you invite plenty of friends!

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Thank you to Joe and Seph’s for sending me lots of yummy popcorn and caramel sauces to play with for this post.

Thank you also to Birgit Mons Photography for her time and amazing photography skills for the construction and final shots of the cake

A video clip of the cake construction can be found on my YouTube channel

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