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Birthday Cake Popcorn Recipe

Sweet Layer Cake Admin

Posted on November 04 2017


I have to admit that I have a strange addiction to popcorn. I'm one of those that never buy popcorn at the cinema but always end up finishing a whole bag or bowl in one sitting when I get my hands on one. Last week was my nephew's birthday and because he's very fussy with cakes, I decided to make him a cake with one of his favourite snacks - popcorn. I had two attempts trying to get my birthday cake popcorn recipe just right and I think this one was my favourite of the two that I tried. 

It might be the salty and sweet combo that did it for me or the fact that I ate almost half the bowl before I remembered that I had a cake waiting to be topped with popcorn. Let's just say that a lot of popcorn was consumed in the past month, all in the name of recipe testing. 

The secret to getting this recipe just right was the addition of vanilla. Not just any vanilla but clear vanilla extract. This one flavour gave it that bakery like birthday cake flavour that I remember from my childhood. It's also the key ingredient in the momofuku milk bar frosting that I used for the cake (minus the shortening because I'm not a fan of shortening in frosting). 

I decided to skip the sugar in the winning version because the white chocolate added the right amount of sweetness without being too overpowering. It was the right balance of salty and sweet for me. You may however want to include sugar if you need that extra sweetness.

Finally, I topped up the popcorn with Sweetapolita's birthday party sprinkle medley, available to buy from the shop here, macarons and some birthday cake truffle crumbs. The cake also had popcorn in between the layers but I guess that's a story for another blog post. Let me know if you try the recipe out and happy popping. 

Birthday Cake Popcorn


100g popcorn kennels

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoon good sea salt

1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract (I used Wilton)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

75g caster/fine sugar (optional)

Birthday party sprinkle medley (available in the shop)

300g white chocolate (I used callebaut chips) 


1. Heat the oil in a clean large pot over medium to high heat

2. Add a few (3-4) popcorn kennels to check if the oil is hot enough and as soon as they pop, add in the rest in an even layer and cover the pot. 

3. Remove the pot from the heat, slightly shake the pot for 10 seconds and return the pot back to the heat. This helps bring all the kennels to the same temperature and ensure that the kennels pop at the same time. 

4. Gently shake the pot every few seconds until all the popcorn pops. Be careful when shaking -: hot pot + hot oil + hot corn kennels + hands = dangerous combination!

5. Once the popping sound slows down, remove the pot from the heat, remove the lead and pour your popcorn in a large bowl to cool. 

6. In the same empty pot, add your butter and let it melt. Then add in your salt and sugar (optional). I let the butter get just a little brown to give it an intense nutty and buttery flavour. Make sure your sugar melts in the butter if you're using sugar!

7. Remove the butter mixture from the heat and add in your vanilla. Pour over your popcorn and toss gently for an even distribution. 

8. Add your sprinkles to the popcorn and toss gently until evenly distributed.

9. Melt your white chocolate chips in the microwave; heating at 20 second pulses and stirring at the intervals until it's completely melted. You can also melt over a bain-marie but I find the microwave to be quicker. You don't want hot chocolate or burnt chocolate - your chocolate should still be cool to touch but completely melted. 

10. Pour your melted chocolate over the popcorn and toss gently until the popcorn is completely coated in chocolate.

11. Add the cake truffle crumbs, macarons and more sprinkles to finish. 

Cake Truffle Crumbs


1. 2 cups of funfetti cake crumbs 
2. 1 tablespoon vanilla buttercream


1. Add buttercream to cake crumbs and mix until you have a breadcrumb like texture.

2. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes or until ready to use. 


I didn't use Milk Bar's cake crumb for this cake. I decided to use a cake pop like crumb which I preferred. I also tried a raw cookie dough crumb which didn't make the cut. 

Don't forget to tag @sweetlayercake on Instagram if you try out the recipe!


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