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Buttermilk Cake with Candied Popcorn – Simbambili Lodge

11 Feb 2020 | By Author Thornybush | Recipes

Buttermilk Cake -Simbambili Lodge
You won’t have to look for reasons to celebrate during your South African safari with Thornybush, but if the occasion does arise on your return home, here’s a winning recipe for you. This party-popping culinary eye candy, courtesy of Simbambili Lodge, will impress your dinner party guests or jzeush up any family celebration.

The outcome of this recipe looks a lot more difficult to achieve than it is, so it’s perfect for those who don’t usually spend a lot of time in the kitchen too.

Basic Buttermilk Cake Mixture


  • ½ cup Unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Castor sugar
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 2 cups Cake flour
  • 3t Baking powder
  • 1t Sea salt
  • 1¼ cups Buttermilk
  • 2t Vanilla essence


  1. Heat oven to 120’C
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and eggs. Soften the butter in a saucepan or microwave first so that it creams nicely.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
  4. Sift together baking powder, flour and salt.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter, alternately with the buttermilk. Combining the ingredients gently after each addition.
  6. Add the vanilla essence and fold in.
  7. Turn into two greased 8-inch cake tins. For an extra tall cake, double the ingredients and use three 8-inch tins.
  8. Place in the pre-heated oven immediately. Bake until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.

Allow the cake to cool before icing.

Ash’s Faffing Frosting


  • 2 cups Plain cream cheese
  • 1 cup Caramel treat
  • Few Drops Vanilla Essence
  • 3T Freshly squeezed orange juice


It is important to prepare the frosting next. The caramel part of the recipe for the popcorn needs your full attention and timing is critical at this stage.

  1. Simply fold the caramel treat into the cream cheese and add a dash of vanilla essence.
  2. Add the orange just before icing the cake to avoid the cream cheese curdling.

Caramelized Popcorn Topping


  • ½ cup popcorn seeds
  • 1 cup brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Butter
  • ½t Bicarbonate of soda
  • Few Drops Vanilla essence


  1. Prepare the popcorn in a pot.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the brown sugar.
  3. Stir until the sugar melts and the mixture starts to turn a golden caramel colour.
  4. Bring to the boil and boil for 4 minutes without stirring.
  5. Add the bicarbonate of soda and turn the heat down. This will thin out the caramel and make it easier to coat the popcorn.
  6. Add the vanilla essence and stir thoroughly.
  7. Pour the caramel over the popped corn and leave it in a warm oven to avoid setting while you ice the cake.
  8. Next, frost the cakes and stack them on top of one another. Be sure to smooth the icing all over the outside to hide the layers.
  9. Arrange the popcorn on top and leave to harden.

At Thornybush, we love to serve this beautiful cake as part of our Afternoon Tea spread but it’s also a great dessert. Get in touch to savour the sweet side of Simbambili during your South African safari