Hokey Pokey – Nigella Lawson | Cupcake Project

Hokey Pokey – Nigella Lawson

Hokey pokey, as far as I knew, was just a song. However, I have learned that hokey pokey is also a candy, with a recipe popularized by Nigella Lawson.

Hokey Pokey is also a key ingredient of Minko’s cupcake for Groom 2.5 (read Cupcake Love Connection to see what this is all about). If she wanted to put Groom 2.5 in the mood, it worked! When he heard the name “hokey pokey,” he got a giant grin on his face. “You put it in, you put it out.” That’s what it’s all about!

Did Groom 2.5 Like the Hokey Pokey?

Sadly, it turned out that Groom 2.5 did not like the hokey pokey. It had the consistency of brittle, which he does not like. But do not fear, love will conquer all. When the hokey pokey was put in the “Do the Hokey Pokey Cupcake,” the texture was completely different and he didn’t mind it at all.

Hokey Pokey by Nigella Lawson

Below you’ll find Nigella Lawson’s hokey pokey recipe as sent to me by Minko.

Hokey Pokey – Nigella Lawson

Hokey Pokey – Nigella Lawson


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tbs golden [dark corn] syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp bi carb [baking] soda


  1. Put the sugar and syrup into a saucepan and stir together to mix. You can't stir once the pan's on the heat.
  2. Place the pan on the heat and let the mixture first melt and then turn to goo and then a bubbling mass the color of maple syrup - this will take 3 minutes or so.
  3. Off the heat, whisk in the baking soda and watch the syrup turn into a whooshing cloud of aerated pale gold. Turn this immediately onto a piece of baking parchment or greased foil.
  4. Leave until set and then bash at it, so that it splinters into many glinting pieces.


Warning (see pics at bottom of this post):

What makes it work:

The recipe works better if you use 3 T of corn syrup rather than 4. You need to wait. Do not touch the mixture in the pot for even longer than the 3 minutes the recipe recommends. I waited about 6 minutes the second time. It will look like it is starting to burn. Don't spread the mixture after you pour it on the parchment - just pour it and leave it.



When I followed the recipe the first time, I ended up with this:

No bashing at it would make it shatter. It was a dentist’s nightmare – super sticky, stretchy candy.

I did a bit of research and came across Pennypincher’s Pantry. Pennypincher had made Nigella’s hokey pokey recipe and had about 50 comments from people, many of whom had made the recipe multiple times before getting it to work. I read all the comments and tried again (see the notes section of this recipe). It worked perfectly!

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3 Responses to Hokey Pokey – Nigella Lawson

  1. Kim November 13, 2008 at 8:57 am #

    My mom used to make this. I loved when it would bubble up. Good times.

  2. Anonymous November 13, 2008 at 9:02 am #

    Do you happen know if this Hokey Pokey is like the Australian candy ‘Violet Crumble’ only without chocolate on the outside? (or maybe Minko would know) I get that candy and World Market, and would love if it was this easy to make at home! Can’t wait to see the corresponding cupcakes. :-)

  3. VeggieGirl November 13, 2008 at 9:37 am #


  4. Naomi November 13, 2008 at 11:41 am #

    “You put it in, you put it out.” That’s what it’s all about!

    Umm, excuse me, Groom 2.5 (and Stef, for publishing this), this is becoming closer to an NC-17 blog day by day :P .

  5. Jennywenny November 13, 2008 at 12:13 pm #

    This is one of my favorite fun things to make, just so crazy when it starts swelling up! I only heard of it called ‘hokey pokey’ in new zealand, in the uk it is covered in wonderful cadburys chocolate and called a crunchie. nom nom!!

  6. Minko November 13, 2008 at 1:55 pm #

    Yup Hokey Pokey is the british name for honeycomb and is the same stuff that is in a violet crumble and crunchi chocolate bars

  7. Lisa-Marie November 13, 2008 at 4:40 pm #

    It called puff candy or honeycomb in Scotland,

  8. Caviar and Codfish November 13, 2008 at 5:27 pm #

    I’ve never heard of hokey pokey before but reading through the recipe, I’m sure I’d love it. And I just love mood food!

    You are so awesome with all your wedding wonderments!

  9. Anonymous November 14, 2008 at 5:48 am #

    In the U.S. it’s usually called fairy food, angel food candy, sponge candy, or honeycomb candy. It’s my favorite. :)

  10. Tracey November 14, 2008 at 7:54 am #

    Yum! I’m going to have to try it this weekend.

  11. Maggie November 14, 2008 at 8:57 am #

    I love honeycomb candy, which I think is the same thing. I gotta give this a try. Making homemade candy is so much fun.

  12. kateoverjoyed November 14, 2008 at 10:04 am #

    It’s also called seafoam. Awesome dipped in melted chocolate. Just make sure you cover all of the hokey pokey or it will start to break down.

  13. Rico November 15, 2008 at 4:20 pm #

    I saw when Nigela made it on TV it sure looked delicious …further more that lovely tin she had with the colourful vegetable paper made it look amazing…but I am afraid I probably would do the same eat it all before giving it to someone..hehe well done is not as easy as it looks

  14. Pille November 16, 2008 at 11:07 pm #

    I’ve made it once, using the same recipe by Nigella, and it turned out perfect :) I love it crumbled over cakes – looks like a gold dust :)

  15. Amanda January 25, 2009 at 8:31 am #

    I made this from the original recipe, and it failed miserably. (Still a Nigella fan, though!)
    I did a google search for suggestions and found your site–thanks so much, as upon trying to again, I am excited to have found a fantastic, easy, fast, and economical recipe! Thank you!!

  16. Anonymous April 30, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    I just made it and it was not a real success. We ate it, but it was a cross between sticky toffee and honeycomb. I notice on another site when I googled that Nigella specified a 15 ml tablespoon. Im pretty sure that is what we have in Australia, but I shall measure my spoons before attempting it again.

  17. Jenny January 13, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    *sigh* Mine tasted burnt. Should I have turned the heat down once it reached boiling?


  1. Do the Hokey Pokey Cupcakes – The Cupcake Love Connection Continues | Cupcake Project - May 16, 2013

    [...] get started, you will need to make or buy (if you can find it near you) some hokey pokey. See my hokey pokey recipe post for more on how to make it [...]

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