Preheat oven to 140°C and line 16cm** tin with parchment paper and brush with a little butter.
In saucepan, add butter, white chocolate, sugar, golden syrup, vanilla and hot water. Place on medium heat and stir regularly until sugar and chocolate has completely melted. Remove from heat and place into an electric mixing bowl. Let stand for 20 minutes until cool. Place in the fridge if you’re pressed for time.
Once cool, add eggs and beat continuously. Sieve in flours and baking powder a little at a time and stir until combined. Add half mixture into one of the baking pans the other half in the other tin. If you only have one, bake one at a time. Place in the oven for 50-60 minutes then turn up to 160°C for another 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Double check the centre is baked with a skewer. If it comes out clean, it’s cooked through.
Meanwhile to make the pop corn, add oil to a heavy based saucepan and place on medium heat. Place a corn kernel in the pan and when it pops, the oil is hot enough. Place the remaining kernels into the pan and place the lid on top. Hold down the lid once the corn starts popping and shake the pan to prevent any from sticking to the base. Once the corn stops popping, remove from heat and place into a large bowl. Remove any un-popped corn in the bin and any other small pieces in the pan. Do not wash the pan.
Line a tray with baking parchment. To make the caramel, add butter, sugar and honey in the same saucepan and stir on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Then let cook for a further 5-7 minutes without stirring, uncovered. The caramel should start to turn to a light brown colour. Be carful as the caramel can turn quickly so keep an eye on it. If in doubt, take it off the heat and swirl it around until it turns that beautiful golden brown colour.
Pour caramel over the popped corn and mix well with a spoon, beware – the caramel is extremely hot. Do not touch! Once mixed through, pour it onto the prepared tray and let cool for a good couple of minutes before picking at it! Don’t worry, it makes plenty to go around so there’ll be enough for the topper.
Once both cakes are out of the oven, let cool completely. Place them in the fridge if you’re pressed for time. To make the buttercream, add butter and icing sugar into an electric mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat together on medium until the butter and icing sugar are well mixed. Turn the speed down and add the milk and vanilla a little at a time. Once all incorporated, turn the mixer speed up to high and continue beating until the buttercream is light and fluffy (roughly 5 minutes).
Place a small amount of icing between the two cooled cakes, then add the rest to the outside of the cake. Place a good few handfuls of the caramel popcorn on top and serve.
*This makes a BIG cake, enough to feed 20-30 people. Halve the recipe if you’re cooking for a small group (but bigger cakes are always more impressive!).
**If you only have a larger tin, reduce cooking time accordingly. You should be able to smell the cake when it’s close to cooked.
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