Take the Cake: Bite-sized Inspiration for the Savvy Baker

How to Bake Using Sprinkles

Sprinkles, jimmies, hundreds & thousands — whatever you call them, we love ‘em!

These tiny colorful sugar strands are small pieces of confectionery sugar dyed in a variety of fun colors. There are rainbow colored, pastel colored, different sized and shaped versions, and probably a lot more. Originally, sprinkles were meant to be “sprinkled” on desserts for decoration and texture, hence their name. Jimmies were coined with their name in the 1930s, as a cake topping. We’ve since come a long way.

Sprinkles: Rainbow, Pastel, White sugar pearls

Sprinkles: Rainbow, Pastel, White sugar pearls

The bright colored sugar known as ‘sprinkles’ has since been used to decorate anything from cupcakes to cookies, and doughnuts to ice cream and froyo (remember Carvel chocolate or rainbow flavors we grew up with?). The Dutch even put them on their bread as a snack!

Hagelslag, a Dutch snack includes sprinkles on buttered bread (photo credit: Serious Eats)

Hagelslag, a Dutch snack includes sprinkles on buttered bread (photo credit: Serious Eats)

Well, a lot has changed. In the late 80s, Pillsbury made everyone go crazy over ‘Funfetti’ boxed cake mix. There were sprinkles INSIDE the cake, not just outside or on top. This was revolutionary, and we think it’s just brilliant. After doing a lot of baking with these little nibbles of joy, we’re going to give you a few tips we’ve learned along the way.

Folding Sprinkles into cake batter - at the last second!

Folding Rainbow Sprinkles into batter – at the last second!

  1. Always fold your sprinkles in at the LAST possible second. Because these divine bits and pieces are made of sugar, they quickly dissolve and their color starts to bleed. When making any type of sprinkle batter, always drop your sprinkles in at the very end, mix a few times to make sure they’re evenly spread out, and get the batter into your baking pan ASAP.
  2. Create a batter that’s thick, so your sprinkles don’t sink to the bottom of your cake while baking. The batter needs to be thick enough that it can hold the sprinkles in mid-air (actually, just mid-batter), but not too thick that your cake will be more like a dense cookie. It’s a tough ratio to get right, but we know you can do it!
  3. Use sugar sprinkles made with food dye.While we would love to dye our own sprinkles, the good old-fashioned traditional version of these sugary pearls is best as the color stays true once baked.
  4. There is NO limit as to how many sprinkles you can put into your batter. You should, however, remember that they’re made of sugar. So if you have a heavy hand, cut some of the actual sugar out of the recipe and substitute for sprinkles. Also remember that these take up a good amount of volume in your cake.
  5. If you’ve got sprinkles on the outside, you should probably also have sprinkles on the inside. It’s just more festive. Plus, there’s nothing sprinkles can’t fix. They scream YAY, after all.
Rainbow sprinkles in cupcake batter

Rainbow sprinkles in cupcake batter


Just remember, there is no WRONG way to bake with sprinkles!

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