Caramel Popcorn Cake is made with caramel, marshmallows and a few other basic ingredients for a quick and easy no-bake dessert! This “cake” tastes like caramel popcorn but the caramel is a little bit softer and not quite as sticky so it is much easier to eat without making a huge mess!
Caramel Popcorn Cake is such a fun treat to make and only takes a few minutes to make. This recipe has been a favorite in our family for several years and is always a hit at parties! I love that you can just swap out the color of M&Ms to make this yummy treat work for any holiday. Red, pink and white M&Ms for Valentines Day, red and green M&Ms for Christmas and fall colored M&Ms for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Of course you can use regular M&Ms and eat this delicious dessert for no special reason at all!
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What ingredients are in Caramel Popcorn Cake?
What kind of popcorn do you use to make Caramel Popcorn Cake?
You can use microwave popcorn, air-popped popcorn, or you can use stove popped popcorn (my favorite!). I haven’t used microwave popcorn in quite a while. At first it was because of the fact that I kept reading things about how it was so bad for you, but then once I started making my own popcorn on the stove, I realized how much better fresh popcorn tastes! If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s so easy and it’s so much yummier too.
How do you make popcorn on the stove?
I used to just use a large stockpot to make popcorn on the stove (which works great!), but I recently got this popcorn maker and it makes the whole process even easier. The popcorn cooks perfectly every time. To make popcorn on the stove:
- Put 1-2 Tbsp of coconut oil in the stovetop popcorn maker or in your stockpot. If you are using a stockpot, make sure you have a lid! (You can use vegetable or canola oil, but I prefer to use coconut oil when I can. Coconut oil is wonderful for making popcorn!)
- Turn the heat on medium high and add about 6-7 “test” kernels to the pot. Put the lid on and wait for the kernels to start popping.
- As soon as the test kernels start popping, you can add the rest of the popcorn kernels. 1/8 cup of popcorn kernels will yield about 4 cups of popped popcorn, so you will want about 1/4 cup of kernels to make 8 cups of popped popcorn. I usually do a little bit extra though, it doesn’t have to be exact!
- Replace the lid and either continuously stir the handle on the stovetop popcorn maker or periodically shake your stockpot to prevent the kernels from settling in one spot and burning. As soon as the popping starts to slow down significantly, remove the pan from heat. That’s it!
How do you make Caramel Popcorn Cake?
-The first thing to do is pop the popcorn using one of the methods above. Set the popcorn aside while you make the caramel.
-Melt the butter, oil, caramels and marshmallows in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 45 seconds until fully melted and smooth.
-Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn, stirring the popcorn until well coated.
-Wait 1-2 minutes for the caramel to cool a little bit before adding the M&Ms so that they don’t melt too much. Just barely stir the M&Ms in until they are evenly distributed. If you stir them too much, they will begin to be smashed and the cake won’t look quite so pretty!
-Scoop the mixture into a non-stick bundt pan and let it sit until cool and firm (this only takes about 15-20 minutes). Turn the bundt pan over and the cake should slide right out. Slice and enjoy!
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup oil the recipe calls for vegetable oil but I usually use coconut oil – I think you could probably replace this with butter also
- 20 caramels unwrapped*
- 2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
- 10 cups popped popcorn I popped about 1/3 cup of kernels in my air popper and it was the perfect amount
- 1 cup M&Ms
- Melt the butter, oil, caramels and marshmallows in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 45 seconds until fully melted and smooth.
- Place 10 cups popped popcorn in a large bowl and pour caramel mixture over the top, stirring the popcorn until well coated. I usually wait a minute or two for the caramel to cool a little bit before adding the M&Ms so that they don’t melt too much.
- You don’t want to stir a ton after adding the M&Ms or they will start to melt all over the popcorn.
- Scoop the mixture into a greased bundt pan and let it sit until cool and firm (this only takes about 15-20 minutes).
- Slice and enjoy!
*If you choose to use Caramel Bits instead of the wrapped caramels, use 1 cup in place of the 20 caramels.
What is the best way to make popcorn?
You can make popcorn in any one of the following ways:
- Air-popped: This is easiest if you have an air popper like this one. If you don’t have an air popper, you can use a paper lunch bag. All you have to do it place about 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in a brown paper lunch bag and fold the top over 1-2 times. Place upright in the microwave and microwave for about 1.5-2.5 minutes – until the gap between pops is one second long.
- Stove popped: Popcorn can easily be made on the stove and this is the method I prefer because I like the consistency/texture of the popcorn the best. Directions can be found earlier in this post!
- Microwave: You can definitely use microwave popcorn in this popcorn cake recipe if you prefer. The recipe works a little better if you use a more natural popcorn that does not have a lot of salt or butter on it. The plainer the better!
Is Caramel Popcorn Cake gluten free?
Yes, Caramel Popcorn Cake is gluten free which makes this a great snack for those who can’t eat gluten. Most popcorn recipes are perfect for those with gluten sensitivities because there is no gluten in popcorn! There are only a few basic ingredients in the caramel sauce so it is very easy to identify other potential allergies as well – all gluten free as well!
How do you store Caramel Popcorn Cake?
Caramel Popcorn Cake can be stored for 2-3 days at room temperature. Any longer and the caramel still tastes great, but the popcorn will start to taste a bit stale. Just make sure to wrap any leftovers tightly with plastic wrap to help the popcorn stay fresh as long as possible.