I know it sounds peculiar, but you just have to try this! This recipe really outshines the traditional popcorn balls. It is chewy and gooey, whereas a traditional popcorn ball is generally hard.
This is also one of the easiest desserts, and gift items for that matter, I have ever made. It has always been a big hit at the holiday dinners, functions, and parties, too! The best part – watching the happiness this cake brings to the faces of kids of all ages.
To make this extra special for your holiday gathering, try using the special holiday edition M&Ms.
If you want to make this as a gift, think about giving in the following ways:
Full size cake – Use a full size Bundt or tube pan.
Small cake – Use a small tube pan or an aspic pan.
Individual cake – Use a pan that has multiple forms for creating individual cakes.
Small to large size balls – Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap or wax paper and store in a zip top bag or large container.
Cut out shapes – This option may be a little more difficult, but the results are fun and very easy.
Medium Saucepot & Lid
Bundt, Tube, or Rectangle Cake Pan
9 c. Popped Corn – Traditional or microwave, your choice.
1 (16 oz.) package Mini Marshmallows
1 batch Homemade Caramel Sauce (see below) or 30 Caramel Candies
1/4 c. Butter
2 c. Peanut M&Ms
1-2 Tbsp. Butter - for hands
Non-stick Cooking Spray
Chocolate Syrup or Caramel Syrup <OR> Melted Chocolate (your choice) - (optional- “icing” for cake)
Dried Cranberries (optional)
Mixed Nuts (optional)
Spray the Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
Go through and sort the popped corn to remove all unpopped kernels, large husks, and any undesirable (burned) pieces. Place the popcorn in the large bowl.
In the medium saucepot, combine the marshmallows, homemade caramel sauce (or candies), and 1/4 c. butter. Heat slowly, stirring often, just until all ingredients are smooth and melted.
Carefully, pour the sauce mix over the popcorn and stir quickly to mix well. (Do not touch the ingredients – they are very hot and will stick to your skin and burn you badly.) Let cool slightly before the next step.
Add the M&Ms (and optional items if desired) and stir quickly just to distribute. You may hear the candies “popping” due to the heat of the syrup. This is normal. Allow the mixture to cool enough to handle safely.
Coat hands (and in between fingers) well with 1-2 Tbsp. butter. This will help prevent the mixture from sticking to you.
Firmly press popcorn mixture into Bundt pan; let cool completely.
NOTE: Try using miniature Bundt or tube pans. These make great additions to Easter baskets, gift baskets, and as stand-alone gifts. Just wrap the cake well in plastic wrap.
Flip the cake onto a cake plate and garnish with syrup, extra candies, etc., as desired.
To cut the cake, use a serrated knife and a sawing motion. Do not press/squish the cake. Cover cake with plastic wrap or cake plate topper to keep fresh.
Homemade Caramel Sauce
1-1/2 c. Sugar
1 (12 oz.) can Evaporated Milk
Combine and cook all ingredients, over low heat and stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches a thick, golden brown consistency.