Caramel Apple Popcorn Cake
By ACD Editors
A delicious brown-butter cake, layered with vanilla buttercream, caramel-apple filling, and smothered with a decadent caramel drizzle and freshly popped caramel popcorn.
Brown Butter Cake
· 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
· 2 tsp baking powder
· ½ tsp salt
· 1¼ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
· 1 cup white sugar
· 2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
· 3 large eggs (room temperature)
· 1½ tsp vanilla extract
· 1 1/3 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
To make the brown butter:
1. Place the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat until melted.
2. Continue to cook, while stirring, until the butter begins to brown and has a nutty aroma (about 5 minutes).
3. Transfer the butter (including the browned bits at the bottom) to a bowl and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes, or until slightly firm.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 6-inch cake rounds and line with parchment.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
3. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the browned butter and sugar on medium-high until pale and fluffy (approximately 4 minutes). Reduce the speed and add the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and combine.
4. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of the buttermilk). Fully incorporating after each addition.
5. Divide the mixture evenly between the pans and tap to release air bubbles.
6. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
· 3 cups of popped popcorn
· 1/4 cup unsalted butter
· 1/4 cup Beehive Golden Syrup
· 1/2 cup brown sugar
· 1/2 tsp salt
· 1/2 tsp baking soda
· 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· Extra sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Lay popcorn on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in an even layer.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
4. Stir in the corn syrup and sugar with a wooden spoon.
5. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil for 4 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and vanilla,
7. Quickly but carefully, pour the caramel over the popcorn mixture, taking care to stir and evenly coat the popcorn.
8. Spread out into an even layer and bake for about 45 to 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
9. Remove the popcorn from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle.
10. Pile on top of the cake before serving, Use salted caramel sauce to help stick together, if necessary.
Caramel Apple Filling
· 7 peeled and diced granny smith apples
· 2 tbsp lemon juice
· 1 cup packed brown sugar
· 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
· 1 tsp ground nutmeg
· 3 tbsp cornstarch
· ⅓ cup water
1. Dice apples and toss with lemon juice in a large clean bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch, whisk to combine. Set aside.
3. Transfer apples to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, add water, and heat over medium-high heat for 6–8 minutes. Some of the apples will break down into a thick liquid-like sauce but you will still have some apple chunks.
4. Add the dry ingredients, whisk to combine, and incorporate well.
5. Heat and stir constantly until the mixture thickens; it should reduce to a thick apple-pie-like filling, about 3 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before using.
7. Store in refrigerator.
· 8 large egg whites · 1½ cups granulated sugar
· 2 cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
· 2 tsp vanilla
1. Place the egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined.
2. Place the bowl over a double boiler on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot and no longer grainy to the touch (approximately 5 minutes). If you’re concerned about eating raw eggs, you can heat the mixture to 160 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
3. Remove the bowl from heat and place back onto your stand mixer, whisk on medium-high speed until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approximately 5–10 minutes)).
4. Switch to the paddle attachment. Slowly add the room temperature, cubed butter a few pieces at a time and mix until smooth.
5. Add vanilla and beat for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy.
Salted Caramel Sauce
· 1/2 cup sugar
· 2 tbsp light corn syrup
· 1 tbsp water
· 1/3 cup heavy cream
· 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
· 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1. Place the sugar, syrup, and water into a small saucepan over high heat.
2. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil and cook without stirring until the mixture turns a deep amber color.
3. Remove the mixture from heat and then slowly (and carefully) whisk in the cream (the mixture will bubble up a bit, so use caution).
4. Whisk in the butter until melted.
5. Transfer the caramel to a heat-safe container and stir in the salt. 6. Let cool to room temperature until slightly thickened.
1. Remove the domes on the vanilla cake and trim the edges.
2. Place one layer of sponge onto a 6-inch cake round, cover with a layer of buttercream, and then pipe a thick damn of buttercream around the edge. Fill the damn with caramel-apple filling.
3. Place a second layer of cake on top and repeat the above process.
4. Place a final layer of cake on top and crumb-coat the cake with vanilla buttercream.
5. Place the cake in the refrigerator to firm up before frosting with another thin layer of buttercream.
6. Place the caramel drizzle into a squeeze bottle or a piping bag and cover the top of the cake, allowing the caramel to drip down the sides.
7. Pile on the caramel popcorn, using extra caramel to secure where necessary.
8. Drizzle remaining caramel over the popcorn.