Butter Pecan Cake Kettle Corn {Sundays with Joy}

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Last week I spent an entire day at a local water park, complete with water slides, wave pool, and general chaos.

If you remember how I feel about such things, you’ll understand  why I had hesitation in going.

Jordan had been dying to go all summer and this was a girl scout event; a reward for all those cookies I she sold last spring.

As a reward for all my her hard work, we got to spend a day at the least most fun place in the area.

I don’t like heights, putting my head under water, crowds, claustrophobic round tubes, and swimming pools in general, so you can understand my hesitation in going.

The last time I went to a water park I was 12. It was for the birthday party of a friend, and I had tubes in my ears (for the second time). I had to wear ear plugs and, because of the force of the water coming off the slides and the eventuality that I would lose an ear plug thus rendering my head an aching mess, I had to also wear a bathing cap.

Did I mention I was 12 years old? Gawky, just a smidgen overweight next to my waif girlfriends in bikinis and I had to wear a bathing cap the entire day.

Now the gawkiness is gone, the smidgen is more a ton, and the tubes are gone but the problems that caused them remain. But, really, I can deal with all the water, the heights, the incredible chaos that is an amusement park filled with water. (“Okay, Jordan is over there. [Blink] Where the f*&# did she go?”)

What I cannot deal with in a place like that?

Walking barefoot.

Seriously people. A few times in line for the one slide I was nice enough to brave I had to keep my gag reflex in check just thinking about my bare tootsies on the wet ground.

I am the girl in the gym bathroom that showers with flip flops. When washing my feet in the shower, I do yoga to wash one, then the other. (I’m reeealllly good at tree pose.) I will not let my feet (nor any other part of my bare body) touch any part of the floor.

How, dare I ask, is the water park any different than a gym bathroom floor?

{Hint: it’s only different because it’s worse.}

Turns out I am very skilled at walking up stairs on the tiniest portion of foot that gravity allows.

My calves reminded me of this the next morning.

And people seem to have no problem walking around barefoot all day. I wore flip flops and/or water shoes (yes, I brought both) as much as possible. But you’re not allowed to wear them on the slides.


Needless to say, there was a lot of foot scrubbing at my house that night.

And comfort eating.

This popcorn is perfect comfort food.

In her book, the Joy the Baker Cookbook, Joy wrote about how her kettle corn had gotten her through many a hard day.

Of course, I couldn’t just make kettle corn. Although it was good by itself, that’s not quite how I roll.

So I added Butter Pecan Cake Batter (the ultimate comfort food in my book) and toasted pecans. And white chocolate.

Total comfort food. Perfect for when you survive a day of barefoot trauma at the water park.

{Oh, and do you need a last minute teacher gift idea? Then this is it! Popcorn is great for giving…especially when you’re “popping by” to say hello. See? I even made cute tags.}


Did you make this recipe?

Butter Pecan Cake Kettle Corn


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 4 sections (8 ounces) white candy melts

  • 1/2 cup butter pecan cake mix

  • 1 cup toasted pecans (toast in a frying pan over low heat, stirring often, just until you smell them)


  1. Melt oil and butter together over medium heat in a large pot with a tight fitting lid. Add popcorn and sprinkle sugar evenly over kernels. Place the lid on the pot and turn heat to medium-high. When popcorn begins to pop, using potholders, shake pot every 20 seconds to reduce risk of burning the sugar. Once popping slows, remove from heat and remove lid carefully. Sprinkle with salt and add to a large bowl.

  2. Melt candy melts. Stir in cake mix. Pour over popcorn. Add toasted pecans and stir until all the candy is incorporated. Turn out onto a baking sheet covered with wax paper and chill until candy hardens. Store in a sealed container.

Recipe Adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook.

All images and text ©. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.
Read more about the Joy the Baker Cookbook here. I’m not affiliated with Joy, but I love her recipes. Do you have her book and want to cook your way through? Join us here.

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  1. First of all, I understand your water park trauma. Swimming in the huge swimming pool with hundreds of other sweaty people is what freaks me out! Aack!

    Secondly, this recipe sounds absolutely divine! But I need some clarification. Step #1 says to sprinkle sugar over the kernels…but there is no sugar in the ingredients. Help!

  2. I love making cake batter caramel corn – it’s so easy and delish and the possibilities are endless & now I want yours – butter pecan & white choc – swoon!

  3. Hahaha oh god, we are so alike, it’s both comforting AND scary. I literally want to vom every time I go to Sunsplash (which isn’t often for the same reasons you provided), mainly because of the feet. UGH! The feeling of the stagnant water hitting my feet and having been splashed all over someone else’s… NO. THANK YOU. Gross! I definitely vouch comfort eating after all that foot-thought-trauma. Dig in!

  4. Oh my goodness! You just reminded me that I really should be making back to school treats for the teachers! Our brand new school starts Wednesday! Aaaagh!! Oh, and I totally agree with you on the water parks. Thank goodness for flip flops!

  5. I never had Kettle Korn until we moved to Seattle–now it’s my favorite and this Butter Pecan Cake version looks unbelievable! XOXO

  6. I have never been to a water park :0 but I love the beach. Popcorn is one of my favorite things in the world. I can’t wait to try this recipe it looks delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Too funny – bare feet are gross, but the crazy crowds keep me away even more

  8. Gag. We are the same. I am a bit of a germaphobe and basically every public place makes me cringe.
    But this popcorn. Oh this popcorn, it looks so stinkin delish. I could eat the whole batch!

  9. In Anchorage, we have an indoor waterpark. You ain’t seen gross and disgusting until you seen a humid, indoor waterpark with no air circulation/sunlight to dry out the germs.
    That popcorn is making my mouth water.

  10. I hate water parks for the sole reason that I have to walk around in a BATHING SUIT in front of hundreds of people ALL DAY!! But this popcorn? Would make it alllll better 🙂

  11. LOL I hate water parks too, but the kiddo loves it, but this year he was all about not going, I was good with that;p

  12. OH MY WORD! This is such a great version of Joy’s Kettle Corn. I LOVE anything butter/pecan.

  13. I’m pretty picky about walking barefoot in some places also! This popcorn looks amazing! Coming over from your Facebook page! Enjoy your Monday!

  14. Holy Smokes! First, I’m totally down with this version of kettle corn. This looks amazing and I love pecans! I am currently addicted to flavored popcorn. My current addiction seems to be anything made by Indiana Popcorn. Seriously, addicted. Rationed, but addicted. And, I can totally relate to your aversion to going barefoot. I’m very adept at changing at the gym and never letting my barefeet meet the floor. I’m that grossed out by the concept of swaping bateria. That’s what wipe ups are for, right? 🙂

  15. This looks yummy. I feel about the same way you do concerning water parks!

  16. Love this combo! Last week was our county fair and I couldn’t resist eating kettle corn, but this version looks so much better! 🙂

  17. This is my kind of popcorn!! What a creative twist, I love it.

    We went to a waterpark this summer and took our little boys, which meant I went down the slides holding them. SUPER awkward when you come flying out of the tube trying to hold on to your kid and not drown at the same time. Also when the dumb floaty thing gets stuck between your legs and you can’t swim to the side or get off the #$$%@ thing!! And the lifeguards stare at you like it’s a show. I’ve had my share of waterparks for the next few years thanks. 😉

  18. I empathize completely with your fear of water parks, and will add that when I must go, I never ever step on ground that is wet. Meaning that if there is a completely wet stretch of floor in front of me when I’m walking or waiting in line, I will either take a flying leap or hitch a piggyback ride on whichever friend happens to be closest. Loved your story and recipe (butter pecan is such a fabulous flavor)–thanks for sharing!

  19. You made the most amazing adaptations to this! And I seriously hear you on water parks…worst place ever. When I was teaching, so many of my students asked for bathroom passes, while barefoot. It was seriously ridiculous. Yuck!

  20. yummmmmmm! This looks so, so, so good! And totally needed after a day at the water park. Dude. I just don’t do bathing suits in front of that many people while moving…. it’s not pretty.

  21. Hahah, this is why I haven’t been to a water park in a long time..
    This looks fantastic! Here I am with my plain old butter popcorn, when you have the ultimate-in-comfort kind. I think mine needs a serious revision :p

  22. KEttle corn is my favorite kind of popcorn – love it more than caramel, butter, and even cheddar popcorn! And I adore.. love… and NEED some kind of texture in anything I eat, so adding the pecans, cake mix, and the white chocolate puts this kettle corn up there on my list, I have to try it! Dorothy, your Sundays with Joy posts are so fun to read!

  23. Yeah, I’m with you on the no barefeet at the pool (or anywhere other than my own home) thing. Gross! We joined a private pool this summer, and even though it’s nicely maintained, you still won’t find me walking around there without shoes. And I sort of cringe when my husband and so go into the men’s room. YIKES. But this popcorn? Oh, this popcorn looks absolutely fabulous!! I love kettle corn, and I love butter pecan, so it’s right up my alley!

  24. Wow, what a great teacher gift! Now I’m craving kettle corn. And you crack me up, I’d never thought about water parks in that way before, and now I really have no desire to ever visit one. It was sweet of you to take your daughter! 🙂

  25. uuuuggghhh I am with you on so many levels here. Public swimming pools – yuck! Barefoot in public – double yuck! (i wear shoes or socks all day at home too:-) Bathing suits – cringe!!! (there is too much of me to let it all hang out in a suit) Head under water – shiver!!! (I can’t stand my face or head in water at all…unless it is the privacy of my own shower) Flavored Popcorn – awesome!! I love that you put cake batter in the chocolate chips! This will help erase any memories of days spent in the most disgusting of all places:-)

  26. Popcorn (specifically kettle corn) is my go to comfort food!

    Thanks for sharing at Mealtime Monday! Can’t wait to see what you link up next week!


  27. Yummy! I pinning this to my Christmas board for an easy gift idea. Looks so good!

  28. Yum Yum Yum! I’m totally following your blog now…you have too many amazing recipes!

  29. Dorothy,
    This is amazing and I’m making it ASAP. I haven’t ever had butter pecan cake kettle corn but I will soon 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing at Creative Thursday this week. Have a wonderful weekend 🙂


  30. Ok I’m so with you on not wanting to put my head under water… mine stems more from wearing contacts and not wanting to mess up my hair, but still I just don’t see the appeal. Did I mention I hold my nose? Yeah. Anywho mmm did someone say toasted pecans? Thanks for sharing at Pin It Thursday!

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  36. I just tried making this recipe and boy I must have done something wrong. The popcorn itself turned out fine, but when I melted the white candy melts and added the butter pecan cake mix it turned out to be not a liquid at all but a lumpy solid. I turned up the heat, thinking it might melt it, but then it started to bake, like a cake. Now I’m left with popcorn that has big white chocolate cake-y balls in it. I checked other similar recipes and they all added butter pecan pudding mix, not cake mix, so perhaps I will try that next time.

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