These kettle corn popcorn cupcakes are a treat for both sweet and salty dessert lovers. We started with a moist, vanilla base, topped it with rich vanilla buttercream frosting then piled on mounds of crunchy popcorn and finished it with a generous pinch of our Dell Cove® Kettle Corn Seasoning.
You can stop there if you want and the result will be amazing. But we decided that our regular amazing needed to be elevated even further. You can totally skip this step if you don't want to bother. But if you're a little extra, like we are, you'll make popcorn milk to be used in both the cupcake batter and the buttercream frosting.
What? Popcorn milk? Yup, that's what we said. You've heard of cereal milk, where you steep cereal in milk until you get that taste of post-breakfast cereal leftover sweet milk we all loved as kids. This is a similar idea only we intensified the flavor by heating everything up. It's a simple process where we brought a couple of cups of whole milk to a simmer, added our favorite popcorn, turned off the heat and let it cool. Then we stashed it in the fridge for a day or two. Strain out the popcorn and you've got popcorn milk. It makes the whole cupcake recipe a little extra which is how we like it. And for added cuteness, we baked ours in little irresistible popcorn cups.
As wonderful as all this homemade goodness is, though, sometimes you need a shortcut. So if you're baking up dozens of cupcakes for a kids party and love the popcorn topping, go ahead and use your favorite vanilla cupcake mix and pre-made frosting. We promise we won't tell.
Add the two cups of milk to sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Add the cup of popcorn, stir and remove from the heat. Allow to cool completely, cover and refrigerate for at least one day. Strain out the popcorn.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees and line one or two muffin tins with a dozen cupcake liners.
Add the room temperature butter and granulated sugar to a bowl and cream together using either a hand mixer or a stand mixer. It will take a few minutes for the mixture to lighten in color.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Beat in the vanilla extract and the milk.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet batter but be careful not to overmix.
Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full and bake for 16 - 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting them.
Cream together the room temperature butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, milk and salt until smooth. Note that, if the mixture seems to firm, add more milk, one tablespoon at a time. If the mixture feels too loose, add more powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time.
Frost the cupcakes by adding the vanilla buttercream frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large tip. You can also just dollop with a couple of tablespoons of frosting and smooth with the back of a spoon or butter knife.
Top each frosted cupcake with a mound of popcorn and sprinkle with Dell Cove® Kettle Corn Seasoning.
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