Search This Blog

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Popcorn Cake – My family’s tradition {Flavor of the Month}

Never heard of it?

Well, I must say I’m not surprised.  My man had never heard of Popcorn Cake before being indoctrinated at his first holiday event with my family.  While he thought it a little weird at the time, he admitted to me this evening that it has grown on him and he really likes it now.

I very literally cannot think of a holiday season in my family where Popcorn Cake has not been involved to a great extent.  It is a mainstay in my family that has been passed down from my dad’s mom (Nana P) to my mom and now down to my sisters and I and our kids. 

100_6794 It is similar to a popcorn ball, but in cake form and better.  It’s not quite so hard and difficult to eat.  It’s a little expensive to make with all the candies, peanuts and popcorn, but SO worth it. 

And just look how cute and festive it can be by just using holiday specific M&M’s.


Its sticky, chocolaty, crunchy and gooey all at the same time goodness is something that will forever evoke memories of time with family.  Be it at my Nana P’s or my mom’s house.  It will always remind me of my Dad and his expectation that there is one in the house at all times.  It will remind me of Christmas and a myriad of other holidays that were not complete without this dear friend of a dish around.

So now I share with you the recipe.  More detailed step-by-step photos can be found on my recipe blog here.

Popcorn Cake

1 pound M&M’s candies *
1 pound dry roasted peanuts
1 gallon popped popcorn (approximately 2 microwave bags) **
1 pound marshmallows
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup margarine ***

* Holiday specific M&M’s make this a special treat for any holiday.
** Get as close to no butter popcorn as you can.
*** I rarely use margarine any more. However, my mom tried butter while living overseas where she couldn’t get margarine and it didn’t work so well.

Pop popcorn and allow to cool. You may want to shake out the popcorn in a bowl to get all the un-popped seeds out.

In a very large bowl, place M&M’s, peanuts and popcorn in that order with M&M’s on bottom, peanuts on top of the M&M’s and popcorn on top of that.

In saucepan over medium heat, begin melting margarine and add oil and stir. Add in marshmallows and begin stirring while allowing the marshmallows to melt. Stir constantly with a heat-proof spatula/spoonula. Allow to boil until approximately 230ºF. The mixture will be translucent when coating the thermometer or against the bottom of the pan when you tilt it to the side.

You can do all of the above in the microwave. Just be very careful about the marshmallows expanding and overflowing your bowl.  Not that I know from personal experience or anything.

100_6765 Reason # 1,253 I dislike using the microwave for cooking.  I’ll take a cook top and saucepan any day of the week thankyouverymuch.

Once the marshmallow mixture is finished cooking, pour it over the popcorn. With two wooden spoons, mix the hot marshmallow mixture into the popcorn and gradually incorporate the peanuts and M&M’s at the bottom of the bowl as the mixture cools a bit. Mix until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. (Or until at least mostly evenly distributed.)

Lightly spray angel food cake pan (or Bundt) and hands with cooking spray. Using hands, press the popcorn mixture down into the pan. This recipe will completely fill an angel food cake pan and fill a Bundt pan with a little left over. Allow the pressed cake to cool in the pan for a while (maybe 30 minutes to an hour) until the cake has set and firmed up.

Turn cake out on platter or cake taker that can be covered. You may have to lightly squeeze the pan to release it or you may use a hair-dryer on the outside of the pan to warm and release it. Continue to allow the cake to sit out and set up in open air at room temperature for another hour or so.



Use a sharp bread knife to slice the cake and eat it with your fingers. And eat some more… and some more… you get the idea.

Here’s to the next generation of Popcorn Cake lovers.

100_6802   100_6800


And join us over at Bake at 350 for more family tradition dishes for this month’s installment of Flavor of the Month.



SnoWhite said...

that is really cool! I've never had popcorn cake before :)

cookies and cups said...

Awesome! I love this ~ never heard of it, but it is SOO something my kiddos would love!
Cute site!

Charlene said...

My aunt makes something similar to this--I cana't remember what she puts in hers besides the popcorn, but yours looks good with the candy and nuts!

Teresa said...

Oh I know kids just adore this...and it looks yummy!
That would TOTALLY happen to me in the microwave!

bridget {bake at 350} said...

Popcorn CAKE!!! That is awesome! I'm sure EVERYONE loves it! Loving your microwave pic, too! :)

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

What a neat idea and a really sweet (heehee)tradition.

My kids would like this except that I would have to omit the peanuts. Do you think adding extra M&M's or maybe toffee bits would work instead?

Donna @ Way More Homemade said...


I think toffee bits would be good.

Thinking about substitution ideas and maybe some broken up pretzel pieces... would give it a nice crunch and a salty kick as well.

Anyone else have substitution ideas for the peanuts?

Tracy @ Sugarcrafter said...

I had never heard of this either, but it looks like so much fun!!

Screwed Up Texan said...

If you make the marshmallows homemade, then you wont have to cook it in your can immediately pour it onto the other goodies and mix well. If you try it that way, let me know how it turns out!

Dorothy said...

Oh my goodness...exploding marshmallows! The finished product looks amazing; very visually appealing. I bet kids go crazy for it! This will go on my list of things to make & eat when I get my braces off in 6 months!!!!

Mom said...

Your final version looks just like Nana P's!!! I'm quite impressed and Sarah and Nathan seemed to be enjoying it. I couldn't stop laughing at the microwave snapshot... I've done that too many year ago! MOM

Susieqtpie said...

This is so awesome! I love it and my girls want to do this! Thanks for the idea! Can you come link this to my Holiday Recipes Exchange? Or can I add it for you? Plz lmk!!

heartnsoulcooking said...

What a YUMMY!!! and AWESOME!!! idea.