Time is flying! Gray turned four back in November and Rhyd turned one this January. EEP!
They both had something in common, and that was an epic sprinkly birthday cake!
I have seen Sprinkle cakes around, on Pinterest and the like (the awesome Winnettes also featured one here.) but I’ve always balked at the idea of making one because they’ve got to be a pretty intensive undertaking, right?
Wrong! Oh my gosh, they are sooooo easy! I am going to share a quick, simple and fun tutorial with you!
First things first!
The basic vanilla sponge cake mix I use is amazing, I highly recommend it:
12oz caster sugar
12oz self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
(Note: this much mix will make two 9in square/round cakes, or at least 24 cupcakes)
- Line and butter two 9in square or round tins, preheat oven to 180c.
- Beat butter and sugar together until well blended.
- Add in eggs and vanilla and mix with a spoon, not the electric mixer, otherwise, you risk ‘over mixing’. (The mix may look a little lumpy but that’s okay, it all smoothes out when the flour is added.)
- Sieve in flour and baking powder in two halves, stirring with a spoon until evenly incorporated.
- Pour mix evenly into two tins, spread to edges and tap tin on work surface to ensure it is even. (Note: The mix might seem a bit thicker than a usual cake mix, this is okay!)
- Bake for 20 minutes, check the middle of cake by stabbing with a knife/skewer, if it does not come out clean put back in the oven for a few minutes until it does. Leave to cool in the tin.
That’s the basic cake recipe I follow and oh my gosh does it come out moist, soft and perfect every damn time!
Well, let’s move on to the next step now you have your cakes!
Grays cake was sandwiched together with a layer of strawberry jam and covered with vanilla icing. For Rhyd I didn’t have any jam so the whole thing was filled and covered with my homemade vanilla buttercream.
Buttercream is so easy to make, you literally scoop a few tablespoons of butter into a bowl, sieve in a healthy serving of icing sugar and mix. Keep adding icing sugar until you get a really, really thick paste. You want to be working with a whole bowlful if you plan to cover a whole cake. Once it’s evenly mixed and thick, add a teaspoon (or two, if you like) of vanilla extract and a dash, just a dash, of milk.
The vanilla and milk will smooth it out and make it less thick and more of a lovely, creamy icing consistency that you’d expect. If you make it while the cake is cooking then set it aside while the cake cools, be sure not to put it in the fridge while you wait or it will get really thick! (If you do, you can always pop it in the microwave for just a few seconds to loosen it up again.)
Just remember, for a really professional looking cake you have to ‘crumb-coat’ it first!
To crumb coat, you need to do all the trimming you plan to do first. For example, I sliced the tops off of Grays round cake to even them out, and for Rhyd I sliced the cake into the shapes I needed to form the ‘1’. You also want to make sure you’ve placed your cake on your chosen cake board or plate for display.
Then take your icing and just thinly coat the whole thing, don’t forget to do the filling at the same time! Don’t worry if your icing sticks and gets a bit ‘crumby’, just make sure to keep it as thin and even as possible. You then want to pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour to let it all set.
Once set, you will find it much easier to add a top coat as there will be no sticking and no crumbs! You now have a nice smooth(ish!), even surface. Cover the whole thing generously with your icing, smoothing it as much as possible when you’re done.
Now here is the fun part!! I must admit, I got a little carried away. I had no idea how many sprinkles I’d need or how much these cakes required, so I decided to play it safe and bought a 1kg bag from Amazon!! (How epic is that?)
I ended up only using maybe a quarter of the bag on Grays cake. Whoops. So, I must admit that is mostly why Rhyd ended up also having a sprinkle cake! In total maybe o.5kg for two cakes?
What you need to do is place your cake board inside a large tray of some kind.
I used a massive roasting tray I had lying around. Believe me, this is very necessary. Pour your Sprinkles out into a bowl and thoroughly wash and dry your hands, you’re going to need to roll your sleeves up too!
This next bit is so much fun, you literally just grab a huge handful of sprinkles, gently place your hand on the bottom of the cake and slowly roll your hand upwards, pressing your handful of sprinkles against the side of the cake. The icing should be soft enough that the sprinkles stick to it easily with just a gentle push. You may want to do the same spot a few times if you’re worried about patches.
You will notice at this point the need for the tray. It should be rapidly filling with escaped sprinkles!
For the top of the cake, take a large handful and slowly pour into the centre. Then gently press down on the pile and smooth it outwards with your hand, adding another handful or two to make sure it all reaches the edge. Don’t be afraid to pile on way more than you need to be sure it’s all covered, trust me.
When the whole cake appears covered, lift the edge of you cake board or plate and gently brush your hand over the top of the cake and around the sides, allowing all the excess sprinkles to fall away and into the tray underneath. You might even want to give the board/tray a gentle tap a few times.
You should now have a beautiful sprinkle cake!
The only thing I will recommend with these cakes is some sort of ribbon or decoration around the base, as this is where you will tend to see the stray escapees once it’s all done. For Grays cake, I used rainbow fizzy belt sweets and for Rhyds I just halved some Glace Cherries.
Gray was having a lollipop themed party so I also added a bunch of lollies to the top! You really can add anything you want to perfect your finished product. (And the sprinkles left in your bowl and tray should be perfectly safe to put back into a tub to reuse later!)
Store your cake in the fridge for another hour or so to make sure the icing has nicely set and you will be far less likely to lose more Sprinkles when it comes time to light the candles.
There you have it! They are so easy and don’t they just look awesome? A fool-proof fall back for an easy yet show-stopping birthday cake!
If you like treats that look professional but are surprisingly easy to make, check out my chocolate bark recipe!
What do you think? Do you have a fall-back recipe or decorating trick you always keep handy? Do you like to make themed cakes or go store bought? I’d love to hear your thoughts!