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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Popcorn cupcakes

Popcorn cupcakes

So yes, I'm starting to get a reputation.

Bring a dish? I always end up bringing cupcakes. They're so easy to make, they come in easy individual packaging, and I love the way you can tailor them with different decorations or flavours for every occasion.

After variations that included black sesame, Coca Cola and chocolate bacon, I decided to continue my current salty obsession with popcorn cupcakes, inspired both by Adriano Zumbo's salted butter popcorn macarons and a popcorn-swirled ice cream eaten recently at Gelatissimo.

These are a simple vanilla cupcake topped with a slightly salty buttercream icing, a swipe of butter and a couple of popcorn pieces pressed into the top. A good sprinkle of salt flakes to finish is essential.

Popcorn cupcakes

125g salted butter softened
125g sugar
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
2 Tbsp milk

Popcorn icing
125g + 2Tbsp salted butter, softened
250g pure icing sugar
salt flakes (I used Murray River salt flakes)
buttered popcorn (I used microwave popcorn)

Preheat oven to 170C or 150C if using fan-forced.

Combine the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla essence and eggs in a food processor and blitz until well combined. If you do not have a food processor, cream the butter and sugar first and then add the flour, baking powder, vanilla essence and eggs and beat until well combined.

Add one tablespoon of milk and blitz/beat. Add the second tablespoon if the mixture still looks a little thick.

Distribute the batter evenly across twelve patty pans in a muffin tin. I usually dollop out a generous tablespoon in each.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

When the cupcakes are cool, spread with a thin layer of salted icing. Use a knife to dab on extra butter on top, then press in popped corn kernels. Sprinkle with extra salt flakes, to taste.

Salted icing
Using an electric mixer, cream 125g unsalted butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the icing sugar, beating until well combined. Continue adding the icing sugar until you reach a spreadable edible consistency. If the mixture is a little thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk. Season with salt flakes to personal preference.

Where were these cupcakes heading? To a weekend lunch hosted by the lovely Ellie from Almost Bourdain. Fourteen female food bloggers descended on her home, a group that included Belle, Betty, Jen, Karen, Leona, Linda, Minh & Teresa, Lisa, Steph, Suze, Trish and Trissa.

Ellie cooked up a Malaysian feast, and almost everyone ending up bringing a plate - mostly dessert! It was an afternoon of endless food - my favourite kind of gathering!

Barley water drink

Michael Jackson - a black-and-white drink of soy milk with grass jelly cubes

Chicken kapitan and coconut rice

Ikan bilis fried peanuts and silver fish

Pineapple with fish sauce and chilli

Beef rendang

Minh's clever transport carrier for her pasta salad

Minh's risoni and bean salad with fetta cheese

Betty's fig sourdough bread from Bourke St Bakery

Trissa's panfried chorizo and roasted peppers

Trissa's chicken wings

My cupcakes in my nifty new Snapware cupcake carrier
(thanks KitchenwareDirect!)

Linda helps transform Karen's profiteroles into a croquembouche

Ellie's brownies with Reese's peanut butter cups

Linda's rectangular lemon tart (Thomas Keller recipe)
Lisa's round pastry tart

Leona's mini cupcakes from Ghermez

Trish's pandan jelly

Betty's tarts from Bourke Street Bakery

Jen's baklava bought from Bankstown

My popcorn cupcakes

Trissa's hazelnut mousse tart

Ben & Jerry's ice cream tastetesting (scored for free by Ellie)

Belle's chewy salted caramels

Belle's muffins

Teresa's chocolate-dipped strawberries

Suze's chocolate bowls with brownies, berries and cream
(made using a balloon dipped in chocolate)

Karen's croquembouche,
a joint effort with help from Linda

Dessert smorgasboard

Thanks Ellie for being such a generous host, and everyone for their fabulous company.

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Cupcakes - Bacon chocolate
Cupcakes - Banana
Cupcakes -
Black sesame in ice cream cones
Cupcakes - Chocolate
Cupcakes - Coca Cola
Cupcakes - Ginger with chai icing
Cupcakes - Mini
Cupcakes - Red velvet
Cupcakes - Vanilla by Nigella Lawson
28 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/10/2009 02:34:00 am


  • At 12/10/2009 8:27 am, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    that's an interesting cupcake combination, savoury vs sweet. hope it worked. the toffee netting on the croquembouche looks amazing too :-)

  • At 12/10/2009 8:35 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    these popcorn cupcakes were so awesome! buttery and salty and oh man so good

  • At 12/10/2009 8:40 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Hehe you are definitely getting a reputation! I had to try these even though I was completely stuffed full of food :) So cute and fun!

  • At 12/10/2009 9:14 am, Blogger missklicious said…

    Wow, what an amazing spread of desserts! Love the chocolate bowls.

  • At 12/10/2009 9:23 am, Anonymous Simon said…

    Oh wow, toofer post. I was just expecting a recipe for those wonderful looking cupcakes and then I find the girls gone wild (sort of) post.

    Would have loved to have tried your popcorn cupcakes. Can't wait to see what next cupcake flavour you have in store.

  • At 12/10/2009 10:23 am, Blogger OohLookBel said…

    Your cupcakes with the salty icing were an absolute winner! The salty/sweet combo really does go together.
    And nice photos of all that lovely food.

  • At 12/10/2009 10:24 am, Anonymous Rose said…

    Everything looks amazing - well done!

  • At 12/10/2009 10:30 am, Blogger Forager said…

    Everything looks brilliant but I would definitely try the popcorn cupcakes! I have a weakness for popcorn anything!

  • At 12/10/2009 12:17 pm, Anonymous ladyironchef said…

    popcorn cupcakes? oh my, you are spoiling us with these! :D

  • At 12/10/2009 12:44 pm, Anonymous Trisha said…

    ahhh like suze's, great round up of photos and the croquembouche centrepiece! i'm inspired to try making one myself (hahaha ohdear trish you're on to some instant fail.....) :) nice seeing you again helen!!!

  • At 12/10/2009 1:04 pm, Anonymous YW@brunchlunchmunch said…

    wow.. great party! everything looks so yummmm :)

  • At 12/10/2009 2:04 pm, Blogger Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    OMG these cupcakes were the best thing ever. I'm not ashamed to admit that I took quite a few home on that day. I don't think I could like any other cupcakes without thinking abt your salty ones.

    Def making these and choc-bacon tonight :P

  • At 12/10/2009 2:44 pm, Blogger A cupcake or two said…

    Popcorn Cupcakes. Cupcakes are the (BDE)Best Dessert Ever ehehe. I'm still so gutted about not being able to make it. Salty and sweet go so well. Thanks for posting the recipe Helena. I will definately make them.

  • At 12/10/2009 2:45 pm, Anonymous Leona said…

    Helen i took two of your cupcakes and I had one for lunch the next day OMGG so gooodddd. I loveee your cupcakesss and the saltyiness of the icing. So far i've had 2 of your sweet/savoury cupcakes both of them are really good <3 <3 <3

  • At 12/10/2009 4:27 pm, Blogger Kate said…

    What an amazing feast! I wish my friends were foodie's like your group. The sweets look amazing. Im going to make your cupcakes for my brother. Oh, which of the Ben & Jerry's was your favourite?

  • At 12/10/2009 5:02 pm, Anonymous Miss Dissent said…

    Oooh is Belle a food blogger too? I'm thirsting for the recipe for her Salted Caramels!

  • At 12/10/2009 6:21 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I scored 4 of your popcorn cupcakes in my fridge. One a day. Today had the last one. lol!! Thanks for coming to lunch and it's great meeting you again.

  • At 12/10/2009 6:46 pm, Blogger Sara @ Belly Rumbles said…

    Yummo Helen!! It all looked absolutely devine. What a spread. Bringing cupcakes to Christmas Party? If so I will be lining up to try one.

  • At 12/11/2009 12:36 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    the feast you had..! it's a foodie's paradise!!

  • At 12/11/2009 2:25 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Simon Food Favourites - I've developed a real thing for sweet and salty lately. I find it cuts out the richness. The toffee on the croquembouche was a work of art - kudos to Karen and Linda!

    Hi Chocoaltesuze - Ha, I can totally hear you saying that out loud. Glad you enjoyed them!

    Hi Stephcookie - I was surprised that noone made cupcakes but ha, maybe everyone knew I would be!

    Hi missklicious - The chocolate bowls were so elegant. Suze did well!

    Hi Simon - lol. Sorry you missed out on the popcorn cupcakes and hmm you'll just have to wait and see!

    Hi Belle - I think your salted caramels were even tastier. Funny how salt and sweet have won us all over lately.

    Hi Rose - It was a treat of an afternoon. So much good food!

    Hi Forager - Ha, I've been obsessed with popcorn everything too. Salt and butter - how can you go wrong?

    Hi ladyironchef - They were actually incredibly easy to do. Perhaps something you can whip up on your return home :)

    Hi Trisha - The croquembouche was a lovely centrepiece, especially with the floor show of the prep! Was great catching up with you too!

    Hi YW - Always a good party when there's good food involved :)

    Hi Karen - I'm glad the popcorn cupcakes found an appreciative home :) Salty cupcakes are so easy, and ooh, would love to how yours turn out!

    Hi A Cupcake or Two - lol at BDE. A shame you couldn't make it but yes, try the recipe. It's super easy and tasty too :)

    Hi Leona - A cupcake for lunch? I like it!

    Hi Kate - There's nothing like a slow conversion to get your friends more into food! My favourite of the day was probably the Chocolate Fudge Brownie, but Chubby Hubby remains my all-time fave. Hope your brother enjoys the cupcakes!

    Hi Miss Dissent - Yes Belle is a food blogger and you can get her recipe for chewy salted caramels here. Enjoy!

    Hi Ellie - I'm so glad you salvaged some desserts for yourself. Glad you enjoyed the cupcakes and I admire your rationing abilities :) Thank you so much for having us - your kindness and hospitality is always so warm and much appreciated!

    Hi Sara - lol. You'll have to wait and see :)

    Hi thenapkinscribbler - Yes, I do think paradise looks something like this :) Much fun!

  • At 12/11/2009 6:45 am, Anonymous Trissa said…

    Hi Helen! You are definitely the undisputed cupcake queen! I loved the fact that it was sweet and savoury at the same time. Are you going to try sweet and sour next? hehe... great to finally meet you!

  • At 12/11/2009 7:49 am, Blogger Gala said…

    What a great idea making popcorn cupcakes...mm yum!
    All of the food looks absolutely amazing!

  • At 12/11/2009 3:17 pm, Blogger spicyicecream said…

    These cupcakes were great, I loved the salty/sweet. My parents loved the one I brought home as well !

  • At 12/11/2009 11:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hee hee Helen's cupcake series. Really should start a bet on what the next flavour is ;)

    Great looking spread, once again so very jealous XP

  • At 12/14/2009 12:40 am, Anonymous J2Kfm said…

    More sweets than savouries. :)
    typical ladies gathering?
    Though the Malaysian spread looks mighty good. I'm from Malaysia by the way.

  • At 12/16/2009 2:49 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Trissa - So glad you enjoyed the cupcakes. Not sure about the title cupcake queen though - lol! Sweet and sour would be interesting :) Lovely to meet you too - such a pleasure to find out the person behind your blog!

    Hi Gala - I was surprised that I couldn't find any recipes for popcorn cupcakes online, and yes, the spread we had truly spoilt us!

    Hi Lisa - Glad to hear your parents enjoyed them. The salty sweet combo is so addictive!

    Hi FFichiban - Haha, you're making my flavour choice loaded with pressure now!

    Hi J2Kfm - Yes it's funny how many of us tend to lean towards sweets. The Malaysian food was great - and high praise indeed coming from you then :)

  • At 2/06/2010 7:10 pm, Anonymous Jen (jenius.com.au) said…

    I LOVE this cupcake recipe! The tingle of salt in them makes it so special! By the way, the baklava you've pictured was actually brought by me from Baladna Bakery at Auburn. The tray behind it with the kataifi baklava is from Minh from Bankstown. Yes, we didn't coordinate at all but what a fun afternoon being on a sugar high :-P

  • At 3/04/2010 1:28 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Jen - Ahh thanks for the clarification. Apologies! I didn't realise that both of you brought along baklava. Great minds! Glad you enjoyed the popcorn cupcakes - I think I'm quite addicted to salt on my sweets now :)


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