milk chocolate layer cake with caramel popcorn

  • 500g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 400g milk chocolate, chopped 
  • 2⅔ cups (660ml) milk 
  • 4 cups (880g) caster (superfine) sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 3½ cups (525g) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted 
  • ½ cup (50g) cocoa, sifted 

caramel popcorn

  • 4 cups (100g) store-bought plain popcorn 
  • 20g unsalted butter, chopped 
  • ¼ cup (90g) honey 
  • ½ cup (110g) caster (superfine) sugar 
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda, sifted 

vanilla buttercream 

  • 500g unsalted butter, chopped and softened 
  • 4 cups (640g) icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Place the butter, chocolate, milk, sugar and vanilla in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until melted and smooth. Pour into in a large bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until cool. Add the eggs and whisk to combine. 
  2. Add the flour, baking powder and cocoa and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into 2 lightly greased 22cm round cake tins lined with non-stick baking paper. Cook for 1 hour 25 minutes–1 hour 30 minutes or until the cake is cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
  3. To make the caramel popcorn, place the popcorn in a large heatproof bowl and set aside. 
  4. Place the butter, honey and sugar in a large saucepan over low heat and cook for 6–8 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Cook for 1–2 minutes or until light golden brown. Working quickly, remove from heat, add the bicarbonate of soda and stir to combine. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and quickly stir to coat. Spoon the popcorn onto a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and set aside to cool. 
  5. To make the buttercream, place the butter, icing sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8–10 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl, or until pale and creamy. 
  6. To assemble the cake, trim the top of the cakes and discard. Halve each cake horizontally to make 4 even layers. Place the bottom layer on a cake stand or serving plate and, using a palette knife, spread with 1 cup of the buttercream. Repeat layering cake and buttercream, spreading the remaining buttercream over the sides and top of the cake. Top with the caramel popcorn to serve. Serves 12–16.
Reader ratings (0)
donna hay team

Hi Nicole, yes, you can use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, but you will find the cake will not be as sweet. This cake can also be made the day before, however it is best to make and assemble the popcorn and buttercream on the day. Happy baking!

Nicole Hodgins

Can I replace the milk chocolate with dark chocolate and is it ok to make it the day before.

donna hay team

Hi Virginia, we haven’t tested this so we can’t guarantee it will turn out the same. Let us know how you go! The DH Team.

donna hay team

Hi Virginia, we haven’t tested this so we can’t guarantee it will turn out the same. Let us know how you go! The DH Team.

Virginia Bisoglio

Hi I would like to make this for my sons birthday but I think I need it to be bigger. If I double the recipie will it still work out okay. Thank you

donna hay team

Hi Briony. Yes! This cake is perfect to bake a few days ahead. It’s best to keep it refrigerated and you can ice it on the morning of the celebration. We hope your son has a great birthday – The DH Team.

donna hay team

Hi Linsey, electric hand beaters will definitely do the job, enjoy! The DH team x

Briony Skeen

Hi there, can you make this cake the day before serving? It’s my sons 1 st bday and we need the oven to cook pulled pork on the day. Just wondering if the cake would be ok over night? Best to refrigerate? Hope you can reply. Kind regards Briony

Linsey Werner

Hello, I’m planning on making this cake this week. Just wondering about the use of the word “whisk”. Was an electric mixer used? I only have electric hand beaters, will these do the job? Thank you.

donna hay team

Hi Belinda, it is possible, but make sure to line your cake tin with a 2 cm over hang incase the cake rises over the rim. Also check the cooking time, as it might vary. Happy cooking!

Belinda Merrie

I would LOVE to make this cake! Would it be possible to make it with two 20 cm cake tins instead of 22cm? How would I do this? If not, I have one 22cm cake tin, is it possible to bake the cakes one at a time? Thank you!

donna hay team

Hi Kassie, we use good quality butter for our icing as it is whiter than some other brands. In addition, by beating the mixture at high speed you will create icing with a lighter texture that’s also whiter. The dh team

Kassie Hocking

Your icing looks really white! How do you achieve that? Is this the best buttercream recipe for a white icing?

Rheena Krishnan

This was dauting initially but it came together beautifully and everyone kept taking pictures of it! Really yumms and the popcorn obviously finished first!





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