Happy Spring everyone!
Spring is my favorite time of year because all the flowers start to bloom and there’s just so much life in the air. There’s just something so beautiful about being able to be surrounded by colorful flowers and cherry blossom trees left right and center.
And for that reason, flowers became the inspiration for this springtime cupcake recipe.
To be honest, lil’ bun and I were quite stumped as to how we were going to create a fun and delicious recipe that was perfect for spring. At first we were going to go with making cookies with flower shaped cookie cutters or simply use a star tip to pipe flowers with frosting but those felt almost redundant so we crossed those ideas out right away.
We were about to throw in the tea towel when I received an opportunity to design something creative using popcorn!
This was when lil’ bun suggested the brilliant idea of making chocolate cupcakes topped with popcorn flowers.
What makes this recipe all the more wonderful is the fact that it is absolutely classroom friendly, if you don’t mind the mess that is. By this I mean, that this could be used as a lesson to teach kids how to plant.
The chocolate cupcakes act as the “dirt” in the “flower pot” that can be created by cutting up strips of paper to create a paper cupcake liner to put around each cupcake when they’re ready to be eaten. The recipe then involves a caramel filling which will act as the “seeds.” Part of the chocolate cupcake “dirt” is removed from the top of the cupcake before the filling is added in and then excess chocolate cake can be placed on top of the filling afterwards to cover the “seeds” similarly to how you would cover the seeds with dirt upon planting them. Next, the green “grass” frosting is spread on top before adding on the colourful popcorn “flowers.” Resulting in a fun and interactive activity for kids!
Perhaps this wasn’t the original intention for the recipe but being the teacher that I am, finding new ways to teach the curriculum has become habitual.
Regardless of whether this recipe is used in the classroom, with kids at home or just for you, this moist decadent chocolate cupcake topped with fluffy whipped frosting and crunchy popcorn is the perfect way to welcome spring.
Chocolate cupcakes (makes 12)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs (or sub 1 large mashed banana)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (or sub vegetable oil)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cups butter (room temperature)
- 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups caramel corn crushed
- 5 cups popcorn
- 3 cups white chocolate chips/melting wafers
- food colouring
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Sift the cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs (or banana), sugar, brown sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla together until combined. Stir in the buttermilk.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients 1/4 at a time stirring lightly in between. Be careful not to overmix. The batter should be quite liquid-y.
- Spoon the batter into a lined cupcake tin. Make sure that you are only filling each tin 2/3 full or they will over-flow in the oven.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350F or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
- Allow cupcakes to cool before decorating
Make popcorn topping
- While the the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the popcorn topping. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave by heating it in 30 seconds increments, stirring in between each one to prevent burning.
- When the chocolate has melted, divide it into three separate small bowls. Add a drop of food colouring into each and stir to create a pastel colour. (We used purple, red and yellow)
- Spread the popcorn out on a lined baking sheet and drizzle the coloured white chocolate on top of the popcorn. Place into fridge to allow white chocolate to cool.
Whip up the frosting
Whisk the flour, vanilla extract and milk together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Continue stirring the mixture until it thickens. It should look like a roux.
Remove the mixture from heat and allow for it to come down to room temperature. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and salt together in a separate bowl until light and fluffy.
Add the cooled roux into the creamed mixture. Beat on medium-high for 5 minutes or until the frosting starts to look like whipped cream
Divide the frosting into two bowls. By placing 1/3 of it in one bowl and 2/3 of it in another.
Add the crushed caramel corn into the 1/3 bowl of frosting and fold it in. Add green food colouring into the bowl with 2/3 of the frosting to create the grass.
- Using a knife, cut a hole into the center of each cupcake and spoon the caramel corn filling into it. This will act as the “seeds” or “roots” of the flowers.
- Fill in the hole with some of the once removed chocolate cake as though you are placing the “dirt” back on top of the “seeds” after “planting” them.
- Spread or pipe some of the green frosting on top of each of the cupcakes. Top with the popcorn “flowers”
Enjoy cupcakes and store extras in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature or a week if put in the fridgeJoin the party at FiestaFriday