This month, we’re doing something special. Sister E, the sweets chef of our family, is guest blogging and bringing you her favourite cup cake recipes. Let me tell you, there’s some pretty impressive looking baked goods coming up so make sure you visit each Wednesday to see what she’s come up with next! This week we bring you popcorn cup cakes, an indulgent mix of popcorn, caramel and chocolate… Enjoy! – Sarah


This is finally happening, Sister-E has successfully infiltrated ‘Melbourne Food Files’ to bring you ‘Cupcake Month’! As you may have heard Sarah mention before, I am the ‘Sweets Queen’ of the family and have a particular affection for baking cupcakes. Glancing through my Instagram feed you’ll find the usual postings of a twenty-something Melbourne girl – photos of nights out with the girls, inspirational quotes (read: a pic stitch of the pink lemonade scene from Bridesmaids), the Melbourne landscape (one can never take too many photos of the Yarra on a sunny day) and then cupcakes, many many cupcakes. The majority of my creations come from my bible, the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, that I picked up when I went to New York City last year (arguably the cupcake Mecca of the world).

So now to the most important part – the cupcakes! Many of you may recognize this cupcake, having featured on the front of the first Taste magazine in September. I received a text message from Bffl-E suggesting (demanding?) that I attempt these. Whilst it looks quite technical, the recipe is relatively straightforward and simplifies many of the components (eg. Betty Crocker icing, melted Jersey Caramels and Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs). I didn’t use the recipe they provided for the cake component, I used my all time favourite chocolate buttermilk cupcake recipe from my bible, but you could simplify it even further by using a packet mix (sacrilege? I’ll discuss this in a later post)!

Things to note:

  • Dutch processed Cocoa and the Cadbury Bournville Cocoa will yield different results. I found the DP gave a heavier ‘muddier’ type of cake, where as the CB creates a delightfully airy and light cake. I much prefer using the CB and would suggest it for this recipe as the topping is a meal in itself already.
  • The jersey caramels took a lot longer to melt than suggested, you’ll get there eventually!
  • I think next time I would add some extra salt or peanuts to the topping to balance out the extreme sweetness from the caramels and bliss bombs
  • do not use a wooden spoon to mix the popcorn and caramel, there will be a casualty… I hope Mother-K wasn’t too find of that spoon (sorry!)
  • do not open the bliss bombs until you are ready to use them, not for any other reason than to stop yourself from eating half a packet before they’re put into the mixture…
  • a gym session is suggested after creating these, to burn off the major sugar high you may find yourself in…

This definitely produced the biggest ‘wow’ reaction from my friends, as I said before these are intense and a meal in itself (and not dainty nor sexy to eat), but the satisfaction after creating these beauties is well worth the sugar crash that will follow post-consumption!
Good luck!

2/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup Cadbury Bournville Cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

453g tub Betty Crocker Chocolate Frosting
175g package Lolly Gobble Bliss Bomb popcorn
55g (1/3 cup) salted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
500g pack jersey caramels
80ml (1/3 cup) thickened cream
Melted chocolate, to decorate

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line 10 muffin holes with cupcake papers. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the egg and mix in well. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well-blended.
  5. Carefully spoon the batter evenly into the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
  6. Spread a layer of frosting on top of each cupcake. Combine the popcorn and peanuts in a large heatproof bowl.
  7. Place caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes, stir until melted and smooth. Pour two-thirds of the caramel over the popcorn and stir to combine. Set aside for 3 minutes.
  8. While still warm, grab a handful of the popcorn mixture and shape it into sort of pyramid-shaped mounds (this will be very, very messy). Carefully place them on top of the frosted cupcakes. Leave to set for 5 minutes.
  9. Warm remaining caramel mixture until soft. Dizzle over the popcorn mounds, followed by the melted chocolate.

Makes 10