Caramel popcorn cupcakes

29 June 2012
by Phuoc

Roll up! Roll up! The circus is in town.

My dearest friend, Isis, celebrated her birthday with her sister last weekend. With her obsession with pastel, the theme that she has set for the party was pastel vintage circus. Dressing up for a vintage circus was hard enough as it is, adding a pastel colour scheme on top of that made it somewhat more challenging! But hey, if that’s what the birthday girl wants, then that’s what the birthday girl gets.

Pastel bunting adorn the room with a circle of plush cushions for each guest as we sit around gossiping and pigging out on treats from the dessert table.

I get a call from Isis a couple of days before, asking if I could bake something for her. Why of course! There was no moment of hesitation what-so-ever.

Ideas start racing through my mind on what to bake. I could make rice bubble marshmallow (LCM) bars. Or a pastel rainbow cake. Or… But keeping with the circus theme I decided for something involving popcorn. Which soon left me thinking of caramel (because we all know that those two go hand-in-hand together). I stumbled upon a recipe by Xiaolu of 6 Bittersweets and knew I had to make it. Caramel popcorn cupcakes. Enough said!

And for those who follow me on Twitter, you may have seen this picture that I had posted. I went ahead to make the LCM bars, thinking it was going to be just a matter of melting down some marshmallow, adding rice bubbles to it and allowing it to set before cutting it up. Instead, it was an extremely messy effort. Perhaps I should have looked at this recipe beforehand. The key is to add butter as well! Who would’ve thought! Now moving along…

What was interesting about these cupcakes was that there was creamed sweet corn puree in the batter. I was extremely curious as to how this would taste in a cupcake; it turned out moist but made the cupcake a little dense and I couldn’t really pinpoint the corn taste though. Originally the recipe called for corn meal, which is suppose to add a crunchy texture to the cupcakes but I didn’t have any on hand so I increased the flour content instead. Also, I initially was going to make a swiss meringue buttercream but I’d stuffed that up as I had the heat up too high when I was whisking the egg whites with the sugar so I think they must have curdled. Whoops! So I resorted to make a simple buttercream with caramel, butter and icing sugar and liberally piling that onto the cupcake.


Adapted from 6 Bittersweets

Makes 12-15 cupcakes


2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (120g) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temperature

400g can of creamed corn, pureed

Caramel buttercream (recipe below)

Caramel popcorn, to garnish (recipe below)


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. Cream butter and brown sugar on medium high until fluffy. Add vanilla then eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated after each addition. Reduce speed to low.
  4. Add 1/2 flour mixture and 1/2 creamed corn puree and beat until just combined after each addition. Repeat for remaining ingredients.
  5. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick  comes out clean when inserted. Cool in pan for 1 minute, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. (Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers).
  7. Pipe/Spread caramel buttercream on top each cupcake.
  8. Top with pieces of caramel popcorn before serving.

Print this recipe

Caramel buttercream

Adapted from a recipe by A Table For Two

Makes 1/2 cup


1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup thickened cream

25g butter, cubed

1/4 icing sugar, sifted

200g unsalted butter, softened


  1. Dissolve water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Turn up the heat and let it boil for 5 minutes, without stirring, until sugar starts to colour.
  2. When it reaches a golden colour, carefully pour the cream into the sugar and keep stirring. (The sugar may seize and clump together but keep stirring to dissolve it again).
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in the 25g of butter into the caramel, a bit at a time.
  4. Set aside to cool.
  5. Cream the remaining butter with icing sugar until fluffy.
  6. Add the cooled caramel and beat until well combined.

Caramel popcorn

Recipe from Taste

Makes 7 cups


2 tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 cup corn kernels

60g butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 tbsp honey


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add corn kernels and cover with a tight-fitting lid. When corn starts popping, shake saucepan gently. Remove from heat when corn stops popping. Transfer to a large bowl, discarding any unpopped corn.
  2. Combine butter, sugar and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir for 5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Bring mixture to the boil, without stirring, for 5 minutes or until light golden. Remove from heat.
  3. Line baking tray with baking paper.
  4. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir until popcorn is coated. Spread popcorn over baking tray and set aside to cool.
  5. Break into pieces.


  1. Tina@foodboozeshoes

    Cute theme! Were there costumes too? Love popcorn in any form!

  2. Hannah

    What a gorgeous party! I’d find it very hard to resist stealing all of the popcorn garnishes.

  3. Nic@diningwithastud

    I love bunting! It makes everything fun haha 🙂 Your cupcakes look awesome!

  4. Anna@ The Littlest Anchovy

    Caramel and popcorn? Sign me up! The whole party looks beautiful – great styling!

  5. Jacq

    ooh I love the pastel bunting! I’ve always wanted to make caramel popcorn and I think it would be great on a cupcake!

  6. Tina @ bitemeshowme

    What an awesome themed birthday. Love how you’ve presented your caramel popcorn cupcakes. Perpeft match. That creamed corn in the batter is definitely something I’ve not heard of but sounds interesting 🙂

  7. Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul

    These look marvellous Phuoc! Wow…I am super impressed! I love the whole theme!

  8. Maria @Epicuriously

    I’m a corn whore so I love the sound of adding creamed corn to cupcakes, even if it sounds like it becomes more like corn-bread – yummo!
    But the caramel popcorn cupcakes looks so good. I love your cupcake wrappers. Adorable. =)

  9. Ramen Raff

    Wow, caramel buttercream & caramel popcorn???!! I love this whole post!!

  10. Phuoc

    Tina: Yeah there were costumes as well, I dressed up as a clown. Probably won’t be showing the photographic evidence though.. :p

    Hannah: I came prepared and made an extra batch of caramel popcorn on the side 🙂

    Nic: Thank you!

    Anna: Thanks! It helps to have someone that is artistic to create a beautiful set up for the party

    Jacq: I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make. I made it before but it was with a simple toffee so instead of individual pieces of caramel popcorn, I had a massive ball of caramel popcorn! lol

    Tina: Thanks 🙂

    Peter: Cheers!

    Maria: lol corn whore, well then you should try these out ;P

    Ramen Raff: A winning combo I’d say 🙂

  11. Sara (Belly Rumbles)

    Oh they look fantastic! Great birthday cup cakes.

  12. Food is our religion

    I love popcorn! Not a big fan of caramel most of the time but caramel popcorn works for me strangely enough! Can’t wait to try it out!

  13. Phuoc

    Sara: Thanks 🙂

    Food is our religion: It’s funny how our dislike for certain foods can do that. Definitely try making the caramel popcorn; it’s addictive!

  14. Angie

    Caramel and popcorn are definitely made for each other 🙂 I wonder if you could somehow infuse the taste of popcorn into cupcakes by infusing the milk for a butter are recipe instead of using creamed corn to bind it.

  15. Phuoc

    Angie: Xiaolu (the blogger I adapted the recipe from) said she tried to infuse popcorn into the buttercream but the flavour didn’t come out as much but it may still be worth a try.

  16. tastyfoodsnaps

    caramel popcorn is already so good on its own.. on cupcakes would be even better! mmm

  17. Phuoc

    Tastyfoodsnaps: Agreed 🙂

  18. Sarah@eateatplay

    How adorable are these!! Love caramel popcorn 🙂

  19. Phuoc

    Sarah: Caramel popcorn is a winning combo full stop 🙂

  20. Mary

    I would use a chocolate or vanilla cupcake base and keep the caramel popcorn or plain popcorn on top!!

  21. Phuoc

    Mary: Any cupcake base would be fine, the caramel popcorn is the hero 🙂

  22. Mademoiselle Mange

    Oh yum! I love caramel popcorn!! This is one of the things I miss from home… There’s always the choice between savoury and sweet popcorn in French movie theaters and I always go for the sweet popcorn. Caramel popcorn cupcakes sounds and look awesome, will definitely have to try this recipe 🙂

  23. Phuoc

    Mademoiselle Mange: Oh wow! Choices for popcorn in cinemas? Lucky. Hope you enjoy them 🙂

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