Circus Cake Delights the Teen Crowd

     This September weekend proved perfect for a lake house party for teens and their families.  After almost a week of (Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Tropical Depression) Lee’s never-ending rain, the group was blessed with a warm, humid-free day on Lake Gaston.  The beauty of the lake and the home of our hosts was topped only by the joyful noise of the kids enjoying a well-deserved break after the first week of school and 4:30 a.m. swim practices.

     For teenagers, an all-day party is a grazing fest, and when this group wasn’t on the water enjoying an array of lake toys, they were in and out of the house foraging for sustenance.  All of the guests contributed to the never-ending smorgasbord which our hosts generously replenished throughout the day and into the evening.   Nothing needed to be too fancy for the teens’ generally simple appetites, and food offerings that could remain out for much of the day made the most sense.

     My main contribution to the food table was the easy and colorful Circus Cake.  My friend K had forwarded the recipe to her friends this summer after it was a hit in one of her kids’ cooking classes.  I knew that I had made the right choice when one of the boys told his mother that she had to get the recipe for this sweet treat.

     Much like Rice Krispie Treats, this cake mixes a marshmallow base with popcorn.  Then you really can add any other sweet and salty/savory snacks that you like to create a balanced slice.  I started with

  • 3 ½ oz bag microwave popcorn (or 1 cup unpopped popcorn)
  • 16 oz bag plain M&M candies
  • 16 oz bag peanut M&M candies
  • 10 oz bag pretzels broken into bite-size pieces (or 16 oz jar dry roasted peanuts)
  • 4 tablespoon butter plus extra for greasing Bundt pan
  • 10 oz bag jumbo marshmallows 

     Pop popcorn, cool and remove all unpopped kernels.  Combine cooled popcorn, candy and pretzels/nuts in a large bowl.

     Melt butter on low heat.  Add marshmallows and continue to stir until smooth.  Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn mixture and mix well with well greased spoon.  Press mixture firmly into a greased Bundt pan.  Let stand for several hours or overnight.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Loosen cake from edge of pan with a knife before removing.  Use a serrated or electric knife to slice for best results.  Serves 10-12+.

     You can really get creative with this recipe.  Circus Cake would be perfect for a tailgate using M&Ms in your team’s colors and peanuts in place of the peanut M&Ms.  It would also be great with candy corn at Halloween and red and green M&Ms at Christmas.  Go a little healthier and add craisins, almonds, raisins, pistachios.  The possibilities are as endless as your imagination. 

     Anyway you make this fun and festive treat, Circus Cake will delight kids young and old.

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4 Comments on “Circus Cake Delights the Teen Crowd”

  1. Laura Richardson says:

    What a cute idea! I can’t wait to try it!

  2. Kathy says:

    This is the best treat I had all summer. My son teaches the school age program in the summers at church. Every week they have a cooking day and they made this one week. Oh my goodness!! I can imagine it could be quite addicting if you had the whole thing in front of you. I loved my piece!! (They put theirs in a big sheet pan to cool)


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