How to Make a Popcorn Bucket Birthday Cake

Written by trisha dawe
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How to Make a Popcorn Bucket Birthday Cake
Recreate a yellow or a more traditional red-and-white striped popcorn bucket. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Create a popcorn bucket cake to match the theme of a sleepover birthday party, a Hollywood-themed event or a movie night among friends. A circus-themed party or a summer company picnic are other events that warrant the use of a popcorn bucket cake. There are different colours and shapes of popcorn buckets, but the most common is white with red stripes. Use your creativity to personalise the cake according to your needs and preferences.

Skill level:
Challenging

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Things you need

  • 2 cake mixes
  • 4 9-inch round cake pans
  • Sharp knife
  • Cake board
  • Buttercream icing
  • Frosting spatula
  • 4 wooden skewers
  • Scissors
  • Confectioner's sugar
  • Rolling pin
  • White fondant
  • Red fondant
  • Paintbrush
  • Fondant glue (optional)
  • Yellow food colouring
  • Black food colouring
  • Piping bag
  • 1 bag of miniature marshmallows
  • Lighter

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Mix and bake two cake mixes into four 9-inch round cake pans according to package directions. Allow the cake rounds to cool completely before working with them.

  2. 2

    Level each round cake by slicing off the mounded top from side to side. Layer the cakes with buttercream icing using a frosting spatula onto a cake board.

  3. 3

    Press four wooden skewers through the top of all four layers of the cake and snip off any excess skewer from the top of the cake using sharp scissors. The skewers keep the cake layers from shifting or sliding.

  4. 4

    Sprinkle the work surface with confectioner's sugar and roll white fondant to 1/8 inch thick. Carefully transfer the fondant to the cake and position the centre of the fondant over the centre of the top of the cake layers.

  5. 5

    Smooth the white fondant across the top of the cake and down the sides. Remove any excess fondant from the bottom of the layers with a pizza cutter. Set the excess aside.

  6. 6

    Roll the red fondant over sprinkled confectioner's sugar and cut it into 1 1/2-inch wide strips. Brush water over the area of white fondant where the red strips are positioned, and use the water to stick the stripes vertically to the cake to resemble a popcorn bucket. Fondant glue may be used in lieu of water. Repeat, placing the stripes approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart around the entire cake.

  7. 7

    Adhere a 1/2-inch stripe of red fondant with water around the top of the popcorn bucket, and along the bottom to cover the cake seam and add decoration. Add a bit of yellow food colouring to any remaining white fondant and knead the colour into it. Roll it and cut an oval from the yellow fondant. Adhere the oval to the front face of the cake with water or fondant glue.

  8. 8

    Mix black food colouring with the remaining buttercream icing and spoon it into a piping bag. Pipe the word Popcorn onto the yellow fondant oval with the black icing.

  9. 9

    Cut miniature marshmallows in half and stick them together using their natural stickiness. Hold the centre of the marshmallow seam over the open flame of a lighter to create a brownness to the marshmallow to appear as a piece of popcorn. Place the marshmallow popcorn on the flat top of the cake. Repeat with the entire bag of marshmallows, or until there is a mound of marshmallow popcorn on top of the cake.

Tips and warnings

  • Real popcorn may be substituted for the marshmallows if desired.
  • Another option is to create a sheet cake in the shape of a popcorn bucket that is not three-dimensional. Use the same fondant techniques.

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