Ann Reardon

Gravity Defying Popcorn Cake

gravity defying popcorn cake ann reardon

The countdown to Christmas is on, half of the advent lollies have been eaten and school holidays are upon us. Movies are something we do most holidays. Here is a fun gravity defying popcorn cake to turn any movie gathering in to a party. Seriously, when I served this up the guests thought it was a pot exploding with popcorn. They were delighted to eat the chocolate lid, devoured the caramel popcorn and were amazed that it was actually a cake.

The competition to win one of 6 Kitchen Aid Artisan mixers is now closed. The winners were: Amber Williamson, Yasshna Asriani, Anthea Ashleigh, Mia Plumridge, Minna Wong and Ailis Relihan.

To make this gravity defying popcorn cake you will need:

One and a half times my rich chocolate cake recipe baked in three 8″ round cake tins, baked, cooled and leveled.
600mL (20.29 fluid ounces) Cream
Cake Support
800g (28.22 ounces) chocolate
150g (5.29 ounces) Black fondant
4 lollipop sticks
edible silver luster dust

Salted Caramel

2 cups or 500mL (16.91 fluid ounces) cream
2 tsp vanilla
300mL (10.14 fluid ounces) or 1 1/4 cups water
430g (15.17 ounces) or 2 cups caster sugar (superfine sugar)
1 tsp sea salt
40g (1.41 ounces) or 2 tablespoons glucose syrup
Place the water, sugar and glucose syrup into a pan. Give it a little stir to make sure all the sugar is wet. Wash the sides of the pan down with a wet pastry brush.

Leave it unstirred to boil, after a few minutes until it starts to turn golden. Let is get an even golden colour – then remove it from the heat. Add in your vanilla and the cream. Return to the heat and keep stirring it until the caramel is melted into the cream. Stir in the salt and continue to heat until the desired thickness is achieved (see the video for how to test what thickness you caramel will be).

Caramel Popcorn (make two separate batches of this recipe)

70g (2.47 ounces) popcorn kernels
210g (7.41 ounces) or 1 cup sugar
100mL (3.38 fluid ounces) water
15g (0.53 ounces) or 1 Tablespoon butter

Pop the corn kernels (I used an air popper but you can do it in a pan if you prefer)
Heat the sugar and water until it goes golden then stir in the butter.
Immediately pour that over the popcorn and stir it around.

Cut some acetate to the height you want your pot to be and wrap it around a round cake tin. Mark where it joins so you know where to spread the chocolate to. Remove the acetate. Wrap another piece of acetate around the tin to cover it so you can slide the chocolate off.

Temper the chocolate, if you don’t know how to do that see my chocolate secrets post. This is important or your chocolate won’t set at room temperature.
Spray a little oil on the underside of a pan lid and then gently rub it with some paper towel so that you leave a thin layer of oil. Pour on approximately 200g (7.05 ounces) of tempered chocolate and spread it around the lid. As it starts to thicken spread it out form the middle back to the edges so they are not too thin. Then place it in the fridge to set.

Spread the remaining chocolate onto the acetate to make the sides of the pot, once it is starting to set wrap it around the covered cake tin. Place over a bowl to set (see video for demonstration). Repeat with a smaller piece of acetate just smaller than your pan lid

Once the lid is set run your nail around the edge and then flip it over to remove the chocolate from the lid. Using a fondant extruder make a snake of black fondant. Rub a little water around the edge of the chocolate lid and wrap the fondant around the lid, gently pressing it onto the chocolate.

To make the handle roll a thick snake of black, then use your fingers to roll it thinner and fold the ends down. Check that it is the right width for your lid and leave the fondant to dry out.

Make the handles for the side of the pot in the same manner but adding a little ‘foot’ on each side. Use you cake tin to make sure it is on the right angle. Add a lollipop stick to each side of the handle so you can add it to the cake.

Slowly and gently pull and turn to wiggle the chocolate rings off the cake tins. Add the smaller one to the underside of the lid. Check the larger one for holes and patch any problem areas before removing the outside acetate.

Whip the cream.

Assemble the cake inside the large chocolate ring layering up cake, salted caramel and cream.

Brush the fondant handles, lid and sides of the pot with silver luster dust.

Make a batch of caramel popcorn and tip your popcorn out onto some baking paper then using thick silicone gloves shape the popcorn into a cylinder by just gently pushing it together. Once cooled add to the cake.
Add the lid into place. Then make another batch of popcorn and add it artistically exploding out of the pot.

gravity defying cake tutorial
Copyright © 2017 Reardon Media Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. How To Cook That


I have been busy over the last year planning, writing and overseeing the photography and layout for my first ever cookbook! There are heaps of my favourite dessert recipes in there with a chapter on pastries, ice-cream, yummy cakes, artistic desserts and of course chocolate desserts. Each chapter has its own intro explaining the food science that you'll need to know for success every time. Booksellers where you can purchase your very own copy:

All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

197 Comments View Comments

  1. Finally i can make caramel sauce 😀

  2. Rating: 5

    Can I freeze the salted caramel? It’s not about preserving – I want to make it super firm to get through airport security safely. Will it be tasty afterwards though?

  3. Rating: 5

    I tried this recipe and it was so good and easy! and I’m 11 soo… thank you Ann for sharing this! <3
    oh, I also sprinkled salt on it to make it sweet and salty popcorn because I was trying to find a recipe for sweet and salty popcorn but didn't and then I remembered this so I made it and yah ok bye!

  4. Rating: 5

    I absolutely loved this recipe. In one of Ann’s debunking videos, she mentioned that the perfect popcorn recipe could be found here. It was so easy and delicious and only 3 ingredients (that I had at home)! No corn syrup, which I was genuinely going to buy after craving caramel popcorn for so long. Caramel popcorn is so hard to find this time of year, and even when I see it, it’s way too expensive. Thank you so much Ann!

  5. Rating: 5

    How do you make the popcorn look like it’s popping out? Do you cook the caramel longer on the second batch than the first batch to make it stiff like rock candy? I’m gonna have to travel with the cake and I want it to stay in place real good.

  6. Rating: 4.5

    Loved this one. Its where i learned how caramel is made. Am curious though was it milk or heavy cream? Whats the difference id love to see a vid on that

  7. Rating: 5

    hello. What is the device that holds the lid? where can I buy it?

    • Hi Yael, If you click on the link in the recipe for the CAKE SUPPORT it will take youto an online supplier.

  8. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann!

    This video is awesome! Very brilliant.
    Unfortunately the competition is closed. I would have loved to win a mixer for my bakery in Africa. I hope another competition is coming up soon!

    Keep being creative!

  9. do I have to use the superfine sugar or can I use just normal white sugar?

    • Hi Elise, If the recipe requests caster sugar or superfine sugar it will be best to use that ingredient.

  10. How do I enter on the form for the kitchen aid

    • THis competition has closed.

  11. Rating: 5

    I love your channel and family I wish I was apart of it love you Ann from Perth Australia

    • Thanks Alix, that is a lovely sentiment.

  12. Rating: 5

    Hey I love your creations that you make there wacky and and really awesome ❤

    • Thanks Kaitlyn.

  13. Hi, Ann I can’t find the cake supporter, can I substitute with other things? Any recommendations?

    • Hi Lee, You could use Cake pop sticks or a dowl rod will work. Online baking stores have heaps of options you could consider.

      • Online baking stores . can you named one of them?


        • Hi Yael, There are many around the world, you just need to look for one that delivers to your area. Try googling, baking supplies or cake decorating supplies and you should find a selection.

  14. Can I use compound chocolate for the pot and lid? Will it set at room temperature?

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