Decadent chocolate cake, creamy caramel, and crunchy popcorn all combined into one delicious cake! This Chocolate Popcorn Cake recipe covers all the flavors and textures you could dream of from a dessert! Instead of making a plain old chocolate cake, switch things up with this fun, exciting, and flavorful cake recipe that will give you all the textures and rich flavors you’ve been wanting from a delicious dessert cake.
When it comes to thinking of a dessert to make for a party or just a treat for you and your family, a classic chocolate cake may come to mind. While this is a tried-and-true cake option, it's not always the most exciting. This recipe makes an elevated chocolate cake that will allow you to experience it on a new level with the addition of crunchy caramel popcorn and caramel drizzle.
This is a new and fun way to indulge in chocolate cake without sticking to just your typical one-dimensional chocolate flavors. For some of us, chocolate alone may seem too rich, but that won’t be a problem with this recipe! By topping the cake with a warm caramel drizzle, you’ll get more sweetness, but you’ll find it actually breaks up the richness of the chocolate cake. Finally, the popcorn topping adds a texture that is the opposite of the moist cake itself. This crunchy topping gives you another fun way to enjoy your dessert, and it adds that little something all those classic chocolate cakes have been missing!
Why You’ll Love This Chocolate Caramel Popcorn Cake Recipe
- It is perfect for any occasion
- It is a simple and homemade cake option everyone will love
- Ingredients are easy to find and can be substituted for dietary needs
Equipment Needed To Make Caramel Popcorn Cake
- Measuring cups
- A 9-inch cake pan
- A large mixing bowl
- A Whisk
- A medium sized mixing bowl
- A handheld mixer
- A microwave safe bowl
- A saucepan
Ingredients For Your Chocolate Popcorn Cake
- all purpose flour
- pure cocoa powder
- granulated sugar
- baking soda
- baking powder
- vegetable oil
- large eggs
- vanilla extract
- hot water
- mild dark chocolate
- whole milk
- butter, unsalted
- brown sugar
- whole milk
- vanilla extract
- Caramel Popcorn
How To Make A Chocolate Popcorn Cake
Step 1: Making Your Chocolate Cake Batter From Scratch
- Preheat the oven to 350F | 177 C. Grease a 9 inch cake pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.
- In another bowl, whisk oil, egg and vanilla with a handheld mixer on medium-high speed. When combined, add buttermilk and mix again. Pour the mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients.
- Add hot water. Whisk on low speed until a cake batter is formed.
Step 2: Baking Your Chocolate Cake
- Pour batter into the cake pan.
- Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool down completely before removing it from the pan.
- Remove from the baking pan and place on a serving plate.
Step 3: Making Your Chocolate Ganache Frosting
- Frosting. Place chocolate in a bowl and melt in the microwave on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Check it from time to time to make sure it’s not burning. Remove from the microwave and add milk. Mix to combine. With a spatula, spread the frosting on the cake.
- Place popcorn in the middle of the cake on the frosting. Place in the refrigerator while making the caramel sauce.
Step 4: Making Your Homemade Caramel Sauce Topping
- Caramel Sauce. When ready to decorate the cake, melt butter in a saucepan, then add sugar. Mix with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves. Now add milk and vanilla extract. Stir until combined well. Remove from heat. You will have to work fast with pouring the caramel on the cake. I removed the butter first. Then I poured the caramel all over the popcorn and the cake.
- Place cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
What to Serve/Pair with Your Cake with Popcorn
If you are looking for sides to serve with your Chocolate Popcorn Cake, then you have a few options that won’t overpower or take away from your main dessert dish. For instance, ice cream! Ice cream is a perfectly paired side dish with this decadent dessert and will brighten and contrast the flavors and textures of the dish.
Choosing a vanilla ice cream will give a cold side to go with your warm cake, and the bright and fresh vanilla flavor will cut through the rich chocolate and caramel sweetness. If you want something a little different, a nice tart raspberry ice cream will offset the chocolate flavors while pairing well with the caramel in your cake.
You may be making this cake for a birthday party or a holiday party, but you have just found out that in addition to dessert, you also need a main dish to serve! Well, luckily, there are main courses that go great with this dessert recipe. Many protein dishes such as chicken and even steak are a great pairing with chocolatey desserts such as this one.
The chicken is a lighter protein which will help contrast the richness of the chocolate cake and not leave your stomach full before enjoying it. On the other hand, a steak dish will add to the richness of the dessert in a different way, steak is a richer red meat course, and the savory flavors will contrast and deepen the flavor of the chocolate popcorn cake.
Whether you are interested in an after-dinner coffee or maybe a cocktail, drinks can truly bring out the flavors of whatever you are eating so it is important to pair flavors that compliment one another. If you are looking for a coffee option, you can enjoy an espresso beverage and taste how the bitterness brings out all of the sweet flavors in this cake recipe. You could also pair a glass of red wine with the chocolate cake. The acidity and the bitterness of the red wine will interact with the sweet, rich chocolate and make the wine taste sweeter while also making the cake seem less rich.
Popular Substitutions & Additions
- Additions – Nuts. You can add chopped hazelnuts, peanuts, or walnuts to the cake batter for even more texture. This will add in even more textures and crunch and give a nice nutty flavor to the cake itself.
- Substitutions – Dairy-free milk. You or your serving crowd may have dietary restrictions that prevent them from having dairy. For this recipe, that is not a problem! Simply replace the milk in the recipe for dairy-free options such as almond or soy milk. These are great options because they have a similar sweetness and viscosity to dairy milk, so it will not change your batter’s consistency.
- Substitutions – Gluten-free flour. Someone you know who will enjoy this cake may have dietary restrictions against gluten, and that’s no problem. We have a solution! Instead of using general flour, a great substitute is this All Purpose Bob's Red Mill. This is a gluten-free flour that can be used in this recipe so everyone can enjoy this wonderful cake.
How To Store Chocolate Popcorn Cake
Best Way To Store chocolate caramel popcorn cake Leftovers
The best way to store leftovers for this recipe is to store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. This will keep the moistness in and preserve your leftovers.
How Long Will Chocolate Popcorn Cake Last In the Fridge?
The chocolate popcorn cake will last up to one week in the fridge.
Can I Freeze Caramel Popcorn Cake?
No, I would not advise freezing this cake, as it will ultimately alter the textures and consistency of the cake.
How To Reheat Chocolate Cake
There are two main ways to reheat a cake without losing any of its original moisture. The first is by microwaving it in two different intervals. For this you should lay down a damp paper towel under the cake you are reheating and lay one over the top of the cake, then microwave in two 30 second intervals until it is warm.
The second option is to use your oven. The best way to do this is to begin with a cold oven, meaning it was not on previously. You will place the cake on a baking sheet covered with foil and turn the heat to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake only for up to 15 minutes, checking and removing it when it is warm.
Chocolate Caramel Popcorn Cake FAQs
Could this recipe serve 10 people?
Yes, this recipe allows for 8 – 10 serving slices, so if you are serving a party of 10, everyone will happily receive a slice!
Does this recipe take a long time to prepare?
No, this recipe can be totally completed in 70 minutes! Most of which just includes the cooking time for the cake itself, with preparation only requiring 10 minutes.
Can I substitute out the eggs in this recipe if I am vegan?
Yes, you can absolutely substitute the eggs out of this recipe. You could use store-bought vegan egg substitutes, which you could measure out accordingly. These usually have match measurements that are easy to account for. You could also use unsweetened applesauce or pureed tofu, both of which equate to ¼ cup to one egg.
Can I make the caramel popcorn myself?
Yes, you can make the caramel popcorn yourself for this recipe. In fact, the caramel sauce you make for the drizzle on the cake can be made to also coat the popcorn you make and turn it into delicious caramel corn to add as your topping instead of buying some from the store. I also have a recipe here for homemade caramel corn.
Can I add chocolate chips to the cake batter?
Yes, you can add chocolate chips to the batter to make it extra chocolatey! You can even add dark chocolate shavings to give the cake an extra cut of bitterness for those of us who understand the love of all thing’s dark chocolate.
Other Dessert Cake Recipes You’ll Love
Don’t Forget To Come Back And Let Me Know How Your Chocolate Popcorn Cake Turned Out!
If you're looking for a fun chocolate cake recipe this caramel popcorn topped cake with chocolate ganache hits all the marks!
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup hot water
- 100 grams 70% mild dark chocolate
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 4 tablespoons butter unsalted
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons whole milk room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Caramel Popcorn
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9 inch cake pan.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.
In another bowl, whisk oil, egg and vanilla with a handheld mixer on medium-high speed. When combined, add buttermilk and mix again. Pour mixture in the large bowl with the dry ingredients.
Add hot water. Whisk on low speed until a cake batter is formed. Pour batter in the cake pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let it cool down completely before removing it from the pan.
Remove from the baking pan and place on a serving plate.
Frosting. Place chocolate in a bowl and melt in the microwave on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Check it from time to time to make sure it’s not burning. Remove from the microwave and add milk. Mix to combine. With a spatula, spread the frosting on the cake.
Place popcorn in the middle of the cake on frosting. Place in the refrigerator while making the caramel sauce.
Caramel Sauce. When ready to decorate the cake, melt butter in a saucepan then add sugar. Mix with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves. Now add milk and vanilla extract. Stir until combined well. Remove from heat. You will have to work fast with pouring the caramel on the cake. I removed the butter first then I poured the caramel all over the popcorn and the cake.
Place cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.