Vanilla Cake Batter and White Chocolate Chip Caramel Corn

I eat popcorn almost every day and most days I eat it with just a little melted butter on it. Sometimes I’ll get fancier and top it with melted coconut oil. If I’m feeling like a kick, I’ll add a sprinkle of cayenne, cinnamon, or a pinch of ginger. Other days I like the cheezy flavor of nutritional yeast. There’s really no wrong way to eat popcorn and the variations and combinations are endless.

One variation is caramel corn, but this is not just any caramel corn.

It’s caramel corn that’s made with vanilla cake mix so it tastes like caramel corn that met a vanilla cake on the way to the party.


On the way to the party that’s going to take place in your mouth.

You’ll know what party I speak of after you try a handful of these highly addictive kernels.

On the way to that party, the caramel corn picked up it’s buddies, Sprinkles and White Chocolate Chips.

The expression, “Once you pop, you can’t stop” applies here.

I’ve had tens of thousands of kernels in my day, and these kernels take the cake batter. Pun intended.

 This caramel corn is not quite as crunchy as your average store-bought Crunch ‘n Munch or Cracker Jacks because the caramel coating is thicker and the white chocolate chips melt on the kernels making them very coated and candy-like.

What the caramel corn slightly lacks ever-so-slightly in the crunch department, it makes up for in flavor. Vanilla cake batter, butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and white chocolate chips are always good friends that I like to have at parties.


Vanilla Cake Batter and White Chocolate Chip Caramel Corn (With Vegan and Gluten Free Suggestions)

Makes approximately 8 cups of caramel corn

6 tablespoons popcorn kernels, unpopped (6 to 8 cups popcorn, popped)

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup white cake mix (or vanilla, yellow, funfetti, or similar)

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup Light Karo syrup (red label; or light-colored corn syrup)

pinch of salt, optional to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup white chocolate chips (or more)

1/2 cup peanuts (or more), optional

sprinkles, semisweet/milk/butterscotch/peanut butter chips, toffee bits, M&M’s candy, Reese Pieces candy, optional add-in’s to taste

Preheat oven to 250F and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a Silpat or parchment paper (do not make this if you don’t have a Silpat or parchment; aluminum foil that has been sprayed extremely well with cooking spray is the third option. You will have a hot mess on your hands and cleanup will be a nightmare). Pop the popcorn using whatever method you prefer. I put 3 tablespoons in a brown paper bag (no oil or anything else, just plain kernels in the bag) and place the in the microwave and cook on high for 90 seconds, or until popping sounds become less frequent than every 3 seconds. Pour the popped kernels in a large bowl and repeat with another 3 tablespoons of popcorn in the brown paper bag in the microwave. After approximately 6 to 8 cups of popcorn is in a large bowl melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan on the stovetop. After the butter has melted, add the cake mix, sugars, Karo syrup, salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Do not let the mixture boil. It’s okay if it bubbles, but avoid boiling it. After 3 to 4 minutes and mixture is smooth and has thickened, remove it from the heat, wait at least 30 seconds, and add the vanilla extract, using caution because the vanilla could cause the mixture to bubble up. Stir in the vanilla and then pour the mixture over the popcorn, tossing it to evenly coat the kernels. After tossing and coating the popcorn, spread the popcorn into a flat, even layer onto the baking sheet and bake for 18 to 24 minutes. The coating mixture may thin out and appear to “drip” on the bottom of the baking sheet and that’s okay. The popcorn will not get brown and if it begins to brown, remove it from the oven immediately. After removing the baking sheet from the oven, toss the kernels with a spoon or spatula and “put back” any caramel coating mixture back onto the popcorn that has dripped off while baking. Sprinkle chocolate chips, sprinkles, and any other add-in’s over the top and they will melt slightly. Allow the popcorn to rest and cool on the baking sheet and it will harden as it cools. After it has cooled and hardened, if desired, break large clusters apart by hand. Serve immediately; or store in an airtight container or gallon-sized plastic bag for up to a week on the countertop, using common sense and knowing it will lose crunchiness as time passes.

Note: If you want gooier and thicker-coated caramel corn, use 6 cups of popped popcorn; for less heavily-coated caramel corn, use 8 cups of popped popcorn. To keep vegan, use margarine, vegan cake mix, and vegan white chocolate (or omit) or use dark chocolate. To keep gluten free, use gluten-free cake mix. Read all labels in any ingredients used to ensure they are suitable for your dietary needs.


 It’s a snap to make. Make the caramel sauce on the stovetop.

Pour the sauce over popped popcorn. I do this in the micowave in a brown paper bag as noted in the recipe.

Bake for 20 minutes and you’re golden.

Your kernels will be golden, too.

If you could take something that is pretty plain on it’s own like popcorn, but ultimately make it taste like a caramel-flavored cake, this is how.

Super addictive.

If you ever want to butter someone up, make them a batch of this caramely, cake-flavored, buttery goodness and hand them a baggie of this. They’ll be putty in your hands while double-fisting the caramel corn in theirs.

This would also be a perfect to put on a party buffet table spread or to eat mindlessly while watching mindless tv.

If you have a weakness for caramels like I do, try one of these Caramel Recipes


Caramel Apple Bars (GF with Vegan adaptation)

Or these Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars. There are no words.

Do you like popcorn?  Caramel corn?

I have a few other popcorn recipes you may enjoy if you’re a popcorn fan.

Chocolate Coconut Oil Protein Popcorn (chocolate protein powder gives this popcorn a protein boost)

Chocolate Cheezy Popcorn

Coconut Oil & Maca Popcorn

Ginger Cinnamon Popcorn

What do you like to top your popcorn with?

Cinnamon and sugar, or cinnamon and stevia, with melted butter or coconut oil, and a few chocolate chips thrown in is a favorite combination of mine.

Have a great week and enjoy the Oscars if you’re watching them, and make this to munch on. I have too much work to do at my desk so no time for Oscar-watching, but I’ll have some caramel corn at my desk to help make my computer work more fun.

Thanks for the Personalized Pens Giveaway entries

108 comments on “Vanilla Cake Batter and White Chocolate Chip Caramel Corn”

  1. popcorn that tastes like cake. I WANT IT!

  2. Helllll, yes! What I wouldn’t give for a bag of this to take on my long flight to San Fran tomorrow! :)

  3. Pingback: White Chocolate

  4. I love popcorn, too…and CAKE BATTER POPCORN?!? Does it get any better?!? You are dangerous, girl!

  5. Wow Averie, this looks delicious! I love popcorn too, but don’t make it nearly enough. One of my favourite savory ways to flavour it is with smoked paprika. Yum!

  6. No words, girl. No words. Except maybe awesome.

  7. Are you kidding me??? You kill me with these ideas! LOVE IT!!! Glad to see those TJ’s Pearls put to use. I just keep holding on to mine, wondering what to use them for!

    • I’m excited to be joining you on the Treat Team :)

      And my TJ’s pearls I picked up about 3 months ago maybe? Long time ago and they sat unused in my pile ‘o sprinkles and then I saw them, saw the colors in this corn, and used them solely b/c I thought they’d look nice in the pics. They actually taste good, too :) Not as good as your brownies I bet!

  8. (That was really weird; I just went to leave this comment from my phone and it said I was logged in as Averie?! Needless to say, I “logged out”… Hopefully WordPress is just having a brain fart.) Anyway, I came here to tell you that I just saw Speculoos COOKIE BUTTER at TJ’s on Truxton @ Liberty Station! Immediately thought of you. :)

    • Ok that’s super weird…and scary! I wonder how that could even happen?! Thanks for LMK..Weird…

      Another reader told me they have cookie butter spread at the La Jolla TJs as of last week and I was going to truck up there but Liberty Station is closer…thanks for LMK! Have a great day!!

  9. You have outdone yourself! This sounds AMAZING! I love popcorn. My favorite is actually just plain. I love kettle corn too. And caramel popcorn? Can’t resist. Ok…maybe you can do no wrong with popcorn in my book. No oscar watching here either!

  10. mmmm love love popcorn, I just don’t make it often because I never keep it on hand. I made some caramel corn over the holidays for gifts and it was highly addicting and hugely popular with who I gave it to!

  11. This looks unreal! I eat yummy plain ole’ popcorn almost every day too! Air popped popcorn is a great way to get that yummy crunch in a snack when Im studying as well. My fave is topped with a little fresh cracked black pepper and sprinke of cayenne! This “special occasion” popcorn is SUCH a great idea–I might have to some some g-free cake mix & try it out!

  12. I just have to tell you – i came across your blog a couple of months ago and it is sooo impressive!! Between your incredible recipes and amazing pictures, I always look forward to your new posts. I have been telling my friends about your blog too and they all say the same thing!

  13. I eat popcorn EVERY DAY too!!! So happy to hear that I am not the only one : )

    My favorite toppings are olive oil, sea salt, and cheese powder or lemon garlic powder. With a side of RED WINE of course.

    Your caramel corn looks absolutely delightful. So fun and creative (as always)!

  14. Oh, yes! We love popcorn! Iprefer it with nothing, just plain, but my men would like to have it with caramel or chocolate!

  15. I haven’t had popcorn in a while, but I love the cinnamon, ginger, and sugar combo. Nooch is a classic also.

    Last time I visited my brother, his girlfriend had two bags of gourmet popcorn at their house – Cinnamon Bun and Peanut BUtter Chocolate. They were MAD addicting.

  16. Um…yum! I can almost smell it even. Wow. I like popcorn, but don’t make it often. I love to toss in white chocolate chips or peanut butter chips and maybe cranberries. Just different textures and flavors (salty/sweet)

  17. Oh wow! That stuff would be a hit at a party! My friends would love me if I had a bowl of that out at my next gathering :-)

    I like popcorn, but have only ever put butter and salt on it. The hubby looooooooves caramel corn though!

  18. Oh my gosh, I think I might have just died and gone to popcorn heaven… :-D

  19. I have always been a huge fan of popcorn and this looks divine! When making popcorn at home I generally gravitate towards savory- most times with nutritional yeast and a little bit of popcorn salt (love that flavor!), but I really have a thing for Harry and Davids Moose Munch popcorn and this reminds me of that.

  20. Oh yum! I usually sprinkle on nooch with a pinch of cinnamon and stevia but your recipe takes caramel corn to another level! Your creativity in the kitchen is amazing–it’s so fun to see what you think of next. My sourdough turned out very well. I would definitely use that potato flake starter again, but I just have to plan ahead.

    • my mind has been running wild with the possiblities… chocolate cake, butter cake, red velvet…oh, the possibilities… Glad you enjoy my creativity; it’s the best part of cooking is getting to do fun things!

      Glad to hear the starter/bread turned out!

  21.!!! i like sweet popcorn like caramel corn or kettle corn. i’ve topped regular butter popcorn with cinnamon and it’s REALLY good!

  22. Yummmmm!!! I love how clumpy it seems to get!! Delicious!

  23. This looks just fabulous, awesome job. Yes, I am a popcorn freak and enjoyed vanilla protein popcorn this weekend. :-)

  24. gosh that sounds so dangerous Averie!
    i would be very scared to make this unless I knew most of it was leaving. LOL
    Wouldn’t the red velvet cake mix be a wild ride?

  25. cannot wait to take this to my oscar party tonight. so delicious!

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