Spiced Chocolate Popcorn Cake

Spiced Chocolate Popcorn Cake | spicyicecream

Today is a pretty special day. It’s Spicyicecream’s 8th birthday! I started this blog to combine my love of baking, photography and writing – and I’m happy to say that that is still true. Back in 2007, I was a graphic design student who was obsessed with cupcakes. Never in a million years did I think I’d still be at it after all this time, but I still love coming here – however sporadically – to share new recipes with you. Blogging has broadened my food horizons immensely (but I still don’t eat eggs…) and I’ve been lucky to meet so many fantastic people, some have become my closest friends.

Spiced Chocolate Popcorn | spicyicecream

Of course, it can’t be a celebration without cake, and I have a rather special one to share today. I’ve made chocolate-chilli ice cream sandwiches and doughnuts in the past, and I thought these flavours would be perfect in a cake. To decorate it, I made some very indulgent spiced chocolate popcorn that might just be my new favourite thing. Seriously, it’s the perfect dessert / late night Man Men watching snack. I used cinnamon and cayenne pepper to provide the spice in both the popcorn and the cake – but you could also use Chilli Chocolate if you prefer. I think this cake is delicious! I like that the heat doesn’t hit your palate straight away, but you get a little warmth from the spice few seconds later.

Spiced Chocolate Popcorn | spicyicecream

Julia Child had it right when she said “people who love to eat are the best people” and I find that is certainly true. This post would definitely not be complete without a huge thank you to all of my readers. It makes me so happy to hear that I’ve inspired someone to try a new ingredient, or that one of my recipes has been used to celebrate Christmas or a special birthday. These things touch my heart. Thank you for your visits, your comments and your ongoing support.

I have a few big plans for this blog in the near future – a redesign is on the cards, which will make it much easier to browse the recipe archives. I want to share more of the things that inspire me, tips and tricks for entertaining, blogging and more. I look forward to sharing that with you soon! xx

Spiced Chocolate Popcorn Cake | spicyicecream

Spiced Chocolate Popcorn Cake

Makes a small layer cake, Serves 6Cake
Adapted from David Lebovitz

  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 55g butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup strong black coffee
  • ¼ cup milk

Popcorn (this will make more than you need but it’s an excellent snack)
Adapted from The Kitchn

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 120g good-quality dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending how spicy you like it)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided

Cream cheese icing

  • 125g cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate sauce

  • 90ml thickened cream
  • 100g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 25g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the cake, preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Sift together the cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne, flour, salt, bicarb soda, and baking powder in a bowl. Using an electric mixer with a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and mix until fully incorporated and then the vanilla extract. Combine the coffee and milk in a small jug. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then add the coffee and milk. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients. Spoon into three small cake tins, filling about 2/3rds full. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in tin about 5 minutes, then place on a wire rack and cool completely before icing.

To make the popcorn, in a medium pot, heat the oil and 3 kernels of popcorn, covered, over medium heat until all 3 kernels pop. Pour in the remaining kernels, cover pot again and shake to distribute. As the popcorn pops, shake pan occasionally and immediately remove from heat once the popping slows to 2-3 seconds between pops. Pour popcorn into a large bowl, removing any unpopped or partially popped kernels you see. Line a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick paper and set aside. Place the chocolate, cinnamon and cayenne in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Heat in the microwave in 30-second increments until chocolate is very soft and becomes completely liquid when stirred gently. Immediately pour over the popcorn and stir to coat as thoroughly as possible. Spread evenly onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let sit at room temperature until chocolate has hardened, about 1 hour.

To make the cream cheese icing, combine ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth.

To make the chocolate sauce, place ingredients into a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a metal or wooden spoon until chocolate is almost melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to stir until chocolate melts. Serve warm or transfer to a clean airtight jar or container. Store in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. Serve room temperature or warm.

To assemble the cake, trim the top of the cake layers with a serrated knife so they are flat. Place one layer onto a plate or cake stand and top with a thin layer of cream cheese icing. Repeat with the remaining two layers. Thinly coat the top and sides with the icing, using an offset spatula to coat. For a smooth finish, dip the spatula into boiling water and wipe with a towel and then smooth the icing. Drizzle chocolate sauce over the top, allowing it to drip down the sides. Top off with the spiced popcorn on and around the cake.