Last Updated on February 6, 2023
If you want to learn how to put sprinkles on the side of a cake, then this in-depth guide is for you! All of the techniques are easy and very effective.
We have all seen those beautifully decorated cakes that have colorful sprinkles on the sides. But, if you have ever tried getting them on, you'll know that it is much harder than it looks! That is why we have compiled a bunch of methods that will help you get those sprinkles on in no time!
Sprinkles For Cake - Why It is So Difficult?
Getting sprinkles on the side of a cake is not as easy as many people make it out to be. There are a ton of factors that actually affect whether or not they will stick! This includes everything from the type of sprinkle you use, the type of cake, and the texture of the frosting.
Who would've thought that this would be the most difficult step in the process? But, it doesn't have to be!
How to Put Sprinkles On The Side Of a Cake - Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Method
So, without further due, let's dive into why it isn't so easy to stick sprinkles to the side of a cake!
So, technically any type of sprinkle will work, especially with the techniques we are covering today. However, that doesn't mean that they will all be a walk in the park.
When you are placing tiny sprinkles on the side of your cake, it will take you quite some time to cover the same amount of area as it would if you are using larger sprinkles. Not to mention you will have to keep calm and go to your happy place!
Consistency of the frosting
This is where most techniques fail - no matter how well they work. If your frosting is too hard, your sprinkles will never stick! You will have to press them so hard that they virtually stick into the frosting, not on top of it. And, to be completely honest, that's usually what makes the cakes look sloppy and cheap.
By simply adding the sprinkles at the right time, you can avoid all of this. But, this also means that you will have to get everything ready in advance. For example, have your sprinkles ready (and enough of them). Also, make sure you have all the tools you will need on standby.
Furthermore, the type of frosting is also important. If you are using fondant, the technique will have to be entirely different as compared to buttercream frosting.
Type of cake you are using
This isn't something a lot of "how to put sprinkles on the side of a cake" posts think about. But, the type of cake you use will drastically affect the technique you are using.
If for example, you are using ice cream cake, this can be a help or a hinder. If frozen solid, you will be able to easily roll the entire cake over sprinkles! But, you will have to work extremely fast as the cake will quickly start softening.
For small cakes, this technique will also work, but only if the cake is firm. Soft types of cake, like a genoise or angel food cake, will not hold well when being rolled So, for those, you will have to place the sprinkles while the cake is standing upright.
This is the final factor that will to a certain degree affect the method you choose. If you want to cover the entire side of the cake, you can use a rolled method.
But, if you want to create a sort of fade effect (lots of sprinkles at the bottom and fewer at the top), you will have to combine a few techniques.
Putting Sprinkles On The Side Of a Cake
Here we will look at some of the best ways to cover a cake in sprinkles. Now, remember to take into consideration the factors we have mentioned above. Choose a technique that will work best for the type of cake you have, the frosting you are using, and the type of sprinkles you use.
Method 1: Patting on the sprinkles by hand
For this technique, all you have to do is add the final layer of your buttercream frosting to the cake. Then, do not allow the cake to stand or the frosting to become hard. Immediately start applying the sprinkles to the side of the cake.
Use your hands and take small amounts of sprinkles. Gently pat it against the side of the cake. Don't press too hard as you don't want the frosting to move, misshape, or indent. You can even use an offset pallet knife to help press the sprinkles onto the frosting.
Continue this technique until the right amount of cake is covered. If you want to create a faded effect, then only densely cover the bottom third of the cake. Then, use fewer sprinkles as you are moving to the top. Eventually, you can individually add the sprinkles using tweezers.
Method 2: Tweezers method
Speaking of tweezers, you can use one to place larger sprinkles evenly throughout the cake. This works exceptionally well if you don't want a dense sprinkle coating.
But, as you may have guessed, this is a time-consuming technique that requires a lot of patience. Especially if you have lots of sprinkles to place.
Method 3: Rolled cake
This technique is arguably the quickest and most effective. The downside, however, is that it only works for very firm cakes. Before applying the frosting, add a thick layer of sprinkles to a large flat baking sheet.
Then, add the final layer of buttercream frosting to the side of your cake. Do not cover the top. Gently pick up your cake, holding it on the bottom and top end Then, carefully roll it through the layers of sprinkles until the entire cake is covered.
Finally, cover the top of the cake with buttercream frosting and decorate it however you'd like.
Method 4: Wax paper
Applying sprinkles to the side of the cake with wax paper is another great technique you can use. To do so, cut strips of wax paper to the width and height you would like the sprinkles to go. It will be easier to do two strips if you want sprinkles to go the whole circumference of the cake.
Spray the wax paper with cooking spray then generously add your sprinkles to the prepared wax paper. It is best to do this on a baking sheet to avoid a mess. After adding the sprinkles, carefully transfer the wax paper to the cake and wrap it around your cake.
Lightly press the wax paper onto the cake so the sprinkles will stick and then carefully remove the wax paper. Use your hand to put any sprinkles that fell off back onto the cake.
How to Put Sprinkles On The Side Of a Fondant Cake
Unfortunately, none of our methods applies to fondant cakes. But, that doesn't mean that it is impossible. You just need a steamer.
Steam the fondant-covered cake until it starts getting glossy. You don't want the fondant to melt or start becoming runny. It should just be glossy.
Then, using the hand-patting technique, add the sprinkles where you desire. As the fondant cools again, it will harden.
Another method for how to stick sprinkles to fondant is to use piping gel or water. Simply use a food-grade paintbrush to apply a thin layer of piping gel or water to the area on your fondant cake you want sprinkles. Then carefully add your sprinkles to the cake and let dry before serving.
How to Put Sprinkles On a Cake: Ombre Sprinkle Cake
An ombre sprinkle cake makes for a wonderful cake to serve at any birthday party. It will be a show-stopping dessert that is sure to impress your guests. Fortunately, you can make a beautiful ombre sprinkle cake at home.
To make an ombre sprinkle cake, you will need:
- A cake frosted with white frosting
- Wax paper
- Cooking spray
- At least three shades of sprinkles in your choice of color
Step One: Cut & Oil
Cut strips of wax paper to the number of colors you are doing on your cake. Then, spray your wax strips with cooking spray and add your sprinkles. For example, you could do light blue, medium blue, and dark blue, with each shade getting its strip.
Step Two: Apply
Add your strips of sprinkles one at a time to your cake. Start with the darkest shade at the bottom, then the medium shade in the middle, and then the lightest shade at the top. Use your hands to carefully add any sprinkles that may have fallen off in the process.
How to Stop Sprinkles From Bleeding into Frosting
Due to their nature, it is common for sprinkles to bleed into the frosting. However, there are some helpful tips to prevent this from happening.
Be sure to store your cake in an airtight container in a cool, dry location. Both heat and humidity can cause sprinkles to bleed into the frosting. If you live in a particularly warm and/or humid environment, it may be a good idea to store your cake decorated with sprinkles in the fridge.
Be sure to also use high-quality sprinkles as they have a lesser chance of bleeding into your frosting. Try not to handle the sprinkles too much with your hands as the heat from your body can cause the colors to bleed.
As you can see, there is no shortage of techniques that you can use. And, if you follow our steps correctly for how to put sprinkles on the side of a cake, you will never struggle again! If you have any questions, feel free to let us know in the comments below. And, if you know of anyone who will find this guide useful, give it a share!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you put sprinkles on the side of ice cream cake?
Once your ice cream cake has been shaped, make sure to freeze it until it becomes rock solid. You cannot use a soft ice cream cake. Then, pick up the cake on the bottom and top using pieces of parchment paper. Finally, roll the ice cream cake quickly in a thick layer of sprinkles in a sheet pan.
How do you put sprinkles on the side of a fondant cake?
You will have to steam the fondant cake until it becomes glossy. Then, pat some sprinkles on the sides of the cake until they are places according to your design. The fondant will harden again when it cools.
How do you get sprinkles to stick without icing?
It depends entirely on what you want to add the sprinkles on to. Onto certain baked goods, you can simply brush the item with some milk or water and stick the sprinkles to them. If you are using fondant, simply steam them until they are glossy and add the sprinkles. And, you can even use a sugar syrup and coat the cake. The sprinkles will easily stick to moist cake.
Lindy Van Schalkwyk is a culinary specialist with a background in Advanced Cooking, Advanced Pâtisserie, Media Communications and Nutrition. She has gained invaluable experience in the culinary industry having worked in some of the top restaurants in Africa in 2016 and 2017. Her expertise in nutrition has enabled her to develop recipes for special dietary needs. In 2018, Lindy began working in the Food Media industry, focusing on recipe development, recipe writing, food writing and food styling.