Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Caramel-Popcorn-Topped Brownie Cake

brownie cake with caramel drizzles - closeup

[recipe here]
[popcorn instructions here]

A. and I aren't the biggest fans of nuts in desserts, so when it came time to make the Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake for TWD, chosen by Tammy, I decided to sub out the peanuts for popcorn. Hey, it all works together in Cracker Jack, right? In truth, I don't think you could really ruin this dessert as long as you keep in the caramel, because that was just plain delicious.

piece of cake with bite on fork

I didn't have an 8" springform pan around, and reading through the recipe, it seemed that the only purpose of the springform was to keep in the caramel topping. So, I opted to use a regular cake pan to bake with. I think I maybe overbaked this a little bit -- I always forget to turn down the temperature for my dark colored pans!

fully baked brownie cake

I thought it would be fun to try popping the corn on the stove, rather than just getting a bag of microwave stuff like I usually would. According to the package, you just take a heavy-bottomed pot, put in enough oil (I used canola oil) to cover the bottom, and put a few kernels in to be tester kernels.

corn kernels testing the heat

Once those kernels pop, put in the rest of the kernels, moving the pot around to mix up the corn the whole time. It only takes a minute or so for them all to pop. (Consider using a screen on top of the pot to control oil splashing and runaway kernels.)

popcorn starting to pop

After they are all popped, season as you want — I just salted them, since I know that goes well with caramel.

popcorn fully popped

Then, it was caramel time!! Once the sugar syrup reached the caramel stage (the right pic below — 320°-350° F), it was time to add the cream and butter.


cooking the sugar syrupsugar in caramel stage

Everything in the pot foamed like there was no tomorrow, but it eventually calmed down with some stirring and became liquidy caramel.

last stage of caramel

I drizzled the warm caramel over the popcorn — first just a little bit to make a light coating, and then I added some more to the mix before topping the cake.

caramel covered popcorn

My makeshift non-springform-pan solution was to wrap the sides of the cake with aluminum foil, which worked well enough.

cake with aluminum foil on side

I ate one piece of this that night, and it was delicious! According to A., when he took it into work, a lot of the caramel had kind of slid off the side into a giant pool of caramel. Not necessarily a bad thing. ;)

piece of cake -- front view

In all, I was pretty pleased with this recipe, and with the popcorn! Thanks to Tammy of Wee Treats by Tammy for this yummy pic. Go check out her blog for the recipe, and also take a peek at the rest of the TWD blogroll! Don't forget — just a few more weeks to join up!

piece of cake -- side view

44 comments:

CB said...

ohmygosh. Popcorn?? I LOVE THAT! Scrumptious photos as always! Great job!
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

Engineer Baker said...

Wow, that looks fantastic! And stovetop popcorn sounds like a perfect sub for the peanuts. Too neat.

VeggieGirl said...

WOWZA, food porn :0)

Isa said...

What a gread idea using popcorn instead of the salted peanuts! And the pictures are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Cafe Johnsonia said...

Your pictures are great! And what a BRILLIANT idea! LOVE IT. Great job!

Marthe said...

Is that popcorn on top of your cake?? What a great idea!! So creative!!!

The Food Librarian said...

Brilliant! What a great idea. I love love caramel corn and what better place to put it than on a brownie?!?! But how do you take photos when making popcorn. You are skilled girl!

Alex said...

I love your photographs. I got into photography because my boyfriend has a catering business and he was taking mediocre photographs of his AMAZINGLY beautiful food for the website. So I decided to make it look better. Anyway, I would love to know how you get that all white background. I assume it has to do with over exposing the background...any tips on how to do that?

Thanks!

SiHaN said...

i just want the caramel popcorn! that looks sooo darn good!

kim said...

thanks everyone!! glad you are enjoying the pics :)
@Alex, the white background is actually just a big piece of white posterboard. just tape the top to a wall or something and let it curve down onto the table, that way you don't get any horizon line in the background. hth! :)

Sarah said...

Oh my goodness...I am not even a fan of popcorn, but that looks delightful! Great job!

rainbowbrown said...

Goodness gracious. Okay. That's awesome. I don't like popcorn. But that's awesome. That's freaking awesome.

Amy said...

Popcorn?! GENIUS!!! This looks fan-DAMN-tastic!!!


-Amy
www.singforyoursupperblog.com

Cathy said...

No, no NO!!! You did NOT do popcorn. Yes, you did. You are beyond brilliant! You are my new baking hero. Next time, I might just skip the cake altogether and just make the caramel popcorn. While I swore up and down that I would never make caramel again, I just might brave it for your popcorn. Your pictures are fantastic.

maggie said...

Gorgeous photographs...and amazing looking dessert. I've never made caramel—too afraid, but this just looks great.

Ashley said...

Wow, what a beautiful and original cake. I can't wait to try it!

Rachel said...

Oh my goodness that popcorn looks fantastic!!

mimi said...

oh my gosh, totally LOVE that popcorn on top!! absolutely fantastic idea! popcorn makes everything taste better!

Y said...

That first picture is just pure food porn :D Love the idea of caramel popcorn as a topping!

Carol Peterman said...

Popcorn topping turns this brownie cake into a party! Love it.

Prudy said...

I'm kicking myself for not doing this myself! It looks fantastic. Everything always looks better at Scrumptious Photography.

Linda said...

What a fun and creative substitution for nuts. I am addicted to caramel corn, and this variation sends this dessert over the moon for me!!!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

What amazing photos! The dessert just pops out at you! Delish!

Tammy said...

what a cool idea!!!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

that is freakin' genius! i love it and it looks incredible!

Brilynn said...

I absolutely love that you chose to top this with popcorn, what a perfect substitution!

Amanda said...

You are so clever! What a wonderful idea :)

Di said...

Now if I'd made popcorn, my daughter might have eaten the topping. =) Neat idea, and great pictures!

Natashya said...

What a great idea to use popcorn!
The photos are wonderful. I think many of us found the cake a bit dry/overdone. But the caramel more than made up for it.
Great job!

Jodie said...

Great photos and creative sub! Everyone's post that I've read said their cake turned out dry (as did mine) so it probably wasn't your pan...

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wonderful! I love your choice of topping and your beautiful pictures! That cake is incredibly tempting!

Cheers,

Rosa

Teanna said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE the popcorn idea!! I was thinking of doing it but I got scared! Glad to see you were brave enough to try it... and now I can see that it is a hit!!! Gorgeous photos as well!

Jules Someone said...

Totally creative and gorgeous! I never would have thought to use popcorn, and now I can't stop thinking about it.

bakingforthecure said...

These pictures are sooo beautiful! just gorgeous!

Gretchen Noelle said...

What a fun change! Popcorn instead of nuts - great substitute!

confectiona said...

We love caramel corn around here -- that looks like a marvelous substitution!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Very creative to use popcorn instead of nuts! Beautiful photos!

BAKE-EN said...

I love the popcorn idea, you're so creative!

LyB said...

Fabulous pics! I love the idea of popcorn. I think I might just make the caramel again just to make some caramel popcorn. :)

Libby said...

that. looks. amazing. gahhhh...

Pamela said...

Oh.My.God!! I never saw this post. This cake looks absolutely stunning with the popcorn on top. What a fabulous idea. Ugh...now I want some!

Jaime said...

you are a GENIUS. absolute genius. i would have loved this even more if i had added POPCORN!!!! i am so doing that next time :) thanks!

Anne said...

Wow- I think the popcorn is the best idea I've seen yet! Now I want to make the cake again...

beautiful photos as usual Kim- I love it!

pigpigscorner said...

This is gorgeous!! Wonderful flavours and texture!

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