This crazy confetti popcorn cake looks like a bunch of bags of circus treats exploded all at once, were covered in marshmallow, and then got stuffed into a Bundt pan. It’s the perfect vehicle for candies, sprinkles, and crushed goodies of all sorts, whether you’re throwing a party or just need to use up the last of a couple different jars of sprinkles. Try topping it with a pouf of cotton candy. A kid’s favorite.–Jackie Alpers
LC Best In Show Note
“It seemed like a good idea at the time…” Thus began one recipe tester’s review of this confetti popcorn cake recipe, which is essentially a devious collision of Rice Krispies treat and popcorn ball. She’d volunteered to make the cake with her friend’s 8-year-old son, who wanted to compete in his Cub Scout “Cake-Off.” She went on to explain that he thought it was a lot of fun to make because he got his hands all gooey and goopy with the marshmallow and popcorn mixture and that it was stunning to behold. In fact, it went on to win “most colorful.” As for the taste, well, it’s every pretween’s dream sugar bomb. We don’t think she was expecting anything so sophisticated as the macarons at Ladurée, but she was seeking something a touch less sweet. In other words, this cake is all about kids—of all ages—in terms of the making and the partaking, especially since there’s no baking. It’s especially handy if you happen to have a hodgepodge of almost-empty bags of munchies hanging around. Consider it a lesson in culinary creativity. (If you’re considering this for Mother’s Day, we’re thinking pastel M&Ms or jelly beans would be quite a lovely touch. And perhaps even some crushed kettle-cooked potato chips in place of the pretzels. Oh, who are we kidding? Add those in addition to the pretzels.)
Special Equipment: 10-inch Bundt pan
Confetti Popcorn Cake
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Makes 1 cake
- About 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 standard-size jar) rainbow sprinkles or jimmies
- 8 cups popped popcorn (from 1/3 cup popcorn kernels)
- 1 1/2 cups thin pretzels, broken into small pieces
- 1 cup shelled, roasted peanuts (optional)
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
- 1 (16-ounce) bag mini marshmallows (about 8 cups)
- 2 cups M&Ms (a 10.6-ounce bag), plus more for decorating
- Additional candies, for decorating (optional)
- 1. To make the confetti popcorn cake, coat a 10-inch Bundt pan with butter. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sprinkles or jimmies into the pan so that when the cake is unmolded, these extra embellishments will be on top.
- 2. Pour the popcorn into a large heatproof bowl, removing and discarding any unpopped kernels. Add the pretzel pieces, peanuts (if using), and remaining 1/4 cup sprinkles or jimmies.
- 3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the marshmallows and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth, melted, and fully incorporated. (Alternatively, you can melt the butter and marshmallows in a large heatproof bowl in the microwave.)
- 4. Quickly but gently pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn mixture and use a wooden spoon or your hands to coat everything completely. You’ve got to use haste here, as the marshmallow mixture becomes quite hard quite fast.
- 5. Add the M&Ms and stir to combine. (By way of explanation, M&Ms may not melt in your hand, but they will begin to melt in the pan if they’re exposed to the marshmallow goo when it’s just taken off the heat. Best to wait until the last moment to add them.) Using your fingertips or the back of a buttered spoon, press the marshmallow-coated popcorn mixture into the prepared pan. Loosely cover and let rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
- 6. Run a butter knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the popcorn cake. Invert the pan on a serving platter and pull the pan from the cake. Decorate the cake with additional M&Ms and other candies, if desired, in case the cake just ain’t sweet enough yet for you. Use a sharp knife to cut the cake into thin slices. (As with Rice Krispies treats, this may be somewhat difficult to cut. Consider yourself warned.)