Birthday cake popcorn is full of colorful sprinkles, salty popcorn, sweet white chocolate and cake batter flavors- 4 ingredients and 30 minutes are all you need for the perfect shareable snack! Next time try my funfetti granola bars or Dunkaroo Dip.
This birthday cake popcorn recipe (or if you'd prefer, “cake batter popcorn”, “frosted popcorn”, “funfetti popcorn”, or “confetti popcorn”) is the perfect colorful treat to satisfy a sweet and salty craving! I usually end up making popcorn and shoving handfuls in my mouth along with a handful of chocolate chips.
I knew there had to be a more elegant way to be a complete couch potato, and I found it. Melt the sweet and pour it on the salty. Duh, Leslie.
This is easy to make, only needs four ingredients, can be ready in 30 minutes, and is easy to share. Well, logistically it's easy – willpower-wise… not so much.
I sort of turn into a dog who is protective of its favorite bone, growling at anyone that tries to put their hand near the bowl. It's addictive, so don't say I didn't warn you.
How to make homemade popcorn
You can use lightly salted packaged microwave popcorn if you want (just make sure it's not the kind loaded with “movie theater butter flavor” or whatever it's called), but I prefer homemade. Here are a few different methods to go about making your own popcorn:
1. Make popcorn on the stovetop
Heat a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. Add a few drops of water and if they sizzle, lower the heat to low.
Add popcorn kernels and immediately cover the pot with a lid. Shake the pot every few seconds – the kernels will start popping within a couple of minutes.
Continue gently shaking the pot every few seconds until there are 2 seconds in between pops. Remove from heat and pour popcorn into a large bowl.
2. Make popcorn in an air popper
If you own a hot air popper, then it's even easier! Just follow the instructions on your particular model.
3. Make popcorn in a Whirley-Pop
I feel like people who own Whirley-Pops are hardcore about their love for it, and rightfully so. Plus, they're adorably retro-looking.
Make popcorn in the microwave
I'm going to out myself here – I've been making popcorn in a plain, unlined paper bag for as long as I can remember, and I only recently found out that's apparently very much frowned upon and dangerous.
For what it's worth, I've never once had an issue with it and it's so quick and easy… but I don't want to encourage you to do a thing that is considered potentially dangerous!
How to melt white chocolate
You have a couple of options for properly melting white chocolate, but no matter which method you use it's important that you're careful not to overheat it or add additional moisture. Both of these cause white chocolate to seize, and there's no going back if that happens!
- Double boiler method: Break or chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in the top pan of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water. Allow the chocolate to melt, stirring frequently until smooth.
- Microwave method: Break or chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at 50% power for 1 minute, then stir. Continue to heat in 30-second increments, stirring between each, until melted and smooth.
How to make birthday cake popcorn
Step 1: Pop popcorn in your preferred method and salt to taste. Pour into a large bowl and set aside.
Step 2: Melt white chocolate in your preferred method, stirring frequently until smooth and being careful not to overheat.
Step 3: Add half of the cake mix to the white chocolate and stir to combine. Immediately pour the white chocolate mixture over the popcorn and use a spatula to combine. Add the rest of the cake mix and sprinkles and stir or toss again to combine until thoroughly coated.
Step 4: Spread onto a prepared baking sheet in a single layer and top with some extra sprinkles (just because). Let set for at least 15 minutes or until set and then break apart into small clusters.
Tips for making the best funfetti popcorn
- Make sure to filter out any unpopped kernels before coating in the chocolate, cake mix, and sprinkles.
- White chocolate melts work better than white chocolate bars. It's rare that I'd recommend you use candy melts over chocolate bars, but since you want the chocolate to set it's better to use melting wafers because it will harden. With that said, white chocolate bars will work – it just might not be fully set and be as “crunchy” in the end. But don't worry – it's still freaking delicious.
- You can use funfetti cake mix or white cake mix. Funfetti cake mix already has sprinkles in it, but I want you to add more sprinkles anyway – so either way, you'll be good.
- Add half the cake mix to the melted white chocolate, and half later. This gives you a more even coating on the popcorn and isn't as thick a mixture as it would be if you added all the cake mix to the melted white chocolate, which can lead to lots of clumping.
- Add more sprinkles as your last step. Because who couldn't use more colorful sprinkles in their life?
Heat treating the flour in the cake mix
If you’re concerned about the potential for bacteria in raw flour, you can quickly heat treat it by spreading it out onto a baking sheet and toasting it at 350°F for 5 minutes. Let it cool, then follow the rest of the instructions.
Just note that the sprinkles in the funfetti cake mix may discolor or become a bit melty and spread. But don’t despair – that’s just more reason to add even more sprinkles :)
Can you make funfetti popcorn with kettle corn?
You sure can – just note that because kettle corn is sweeter than typical popcorn, you're going to end up with a sweeter result.
Can you add food coloring to popcorn?
Okay, so, admittedly this wasn't something that had ever occurred to me until someone asked me if they could up to the color variety in their funfetti popcorn and add colored popcorn to the sprinkles.
After a little experimenting, I'm happy to report that you can! Just add a few drops of your food coloring of choice in with the kernels (and toss or stir to combine) before you pop them. If you want to do multiple colors, you'll need to color and prepare them separately to avoid blending of the colors.
Note: You can't add the food coloring to already popped popcorn. I tried. It's… bad.
Store any leftover funfetti popcorn in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Unfortunately it doesn't last that long – but honestly, it probably won't last long due to how delicious it is anyway ;)
- Make popcorn balls! This would be great for birthday parties or other special occasions so you have individual servings ready to go, rather than your party guests digging their hands into a big bowl. You may need to add a bit more melted white chocolate for it all to hold together.
- Drizzle with dark chocolate, too. While it's setting on the baking sheet, give it a drizzle of melted dark chocolate.
- Play with different sprinkles! You don't have to use rainbow jimmies, but you want to make sure you're not using anything that's too large and would have trouble sticking to the popcorn. How cute would some blue and pink nonpareils or quins be for a baby shower?!
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- Place wax or parchment paper on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Pop popcorn in your preferred method and salt to taste. Pour into large bowl and set aside.1/4 cup popcorn kernels
- Melt white chocolate in your preferred method, stirring frequently until smooth and being careful not to overheat.10 ounces white chocolate melts
- Add half of the cake mix to the white chocolate and stir to combine.3/4 cup funfetti or white cake mix
- Immediately pour white chocolate mixture over the popcorn and use a spatula to combine. Add the rest of the cake mix and sprinkles and stir or toss again to combine until thoroughly coated.1/2 cup sprinkles3/4 cup funfetti or white cake mix
- Spread onto prepared baking sheet in a single layer and top with some extra sprinkles (just because). Let set for at least 15 minutes or until set and then break apart into small clusters. Serve and enjoy!1/2 cup sprinkles
The provided nutrition information is generated by an automatic API and does not take variations across specific brands into account. This information is provided as a general guideline and should not be treated as official calculations. Learn more here.