Editor’s Note: We’re so excited to share a special treat with you today! The tutorial below is an excerpt from Erin Gardner’s new book, Erin Bakes Cake. Give it a try, and if you’re looking for more tutorials like these, you can get Erin’s book here.
This sophisticated and sparkly sprinkle cake is one of those cake designs where the sum is truly greater than its parts. Sanding sugar, sprinkles, nonpareils and coating chocolate are all common ingredients —but combine them in a thoughtful and innovative way, and you have a shimmering, couture masterpiece. The only premium ingredient here is your time.
I stuck with a clean black-and-white palette, but this design can be reimagined in endless ways. Go bold with brights, or soft and ethereal with pastels. It’s an ideal cake for a birthday party, baby shower, or bridal shower or anniversary — easy and inexpensive, yet sparkly and impressive.
Finished cake images via Erin Bakes Cake shot by Heath Robbins
Lux layers cake with a sprinkle appliqué
Adapted from Erin Bakes Cake by Erin Gardner
- 6″ round layer cake, finished in white buttercream encrusted with clear sanding sugar
- Small amount of additional buttercream for attaching flowers and leaves
- 4 cups each black and white coating chocolate or white and dark chocolate
- 1 cup clear sanding sugar
- 2 cups black nonpareils
- 2 cups black sparkling sugar (chunky sanding sugar)
- 1 cup gold sprinkles
- Parchment paper
- Piping bags or paper cones
- Black permanent marker
- Flower template (optional)
All process images via Erin Bakes.
Place a piece of parchment paper over the flower template and trace the flower with a black marker, or draw a flower freehand. Flip the paper over so that the candy doesn’t come into contact with the marker lines. Open the clear sanding sugar and keep it nearby.
Melt the white coating chocolate and pour it into a piping bag. Snip the tip off the bag and fill in the entire flower outline.
Quickly, while it’s still wet, dust the entire surface of the flower with clear sanding sugar. Set the flower aside to harden, about 10 minutes.
Draw three 3″-long leaves and at least two dozen 1″-long leaves on a piece of parchment paper. No need to get overly precise with this — just eyeball the sizes, making three leaves larger than the rest.
Flip the paper over. Open the black nonpareils and black sparkling sugar and keep them nearby.
Melt the black coating chocolate and pour it into a piping bag. Snip the tip off the bag and fill in one of the large leaf shapes.
Dust the entire surface of the leaf with black sparkling sugar.
Repeat this process with the rest of the large and small leaves. Do the larger leaves one at a time, but the smaller leaves can be done a few at a time. Set all the leads aside to harden, about 10 minutes.
Use the piping bag filled with the black coating chocolate to outline the petals of the flower and add detail lines to the centers of the petals.
While the candy is still wet, dust the black lines with black nonpareils. Don’t worry about getting nonpareils on other parts of the flower, as they’ll only stick to the melted chocolate. Set the flower aside to harden, about 10 minutes.
Finish the leaves by piping an outline around the edges, plus a center line and smaller detail lines on the larger leaves.
While they’re still wet, dust the lines with black nonpareils. Set the finished leaves aside to harden while you finished the flower, about 10 minutes.
Working on a cookie sheet, carefully turn over the flower to shake off any stray nonpareils. Return leftover nonpareils to their container. Remove any stiffen nonpareils with the tip of a knife or skewer.
Pipe stamens onto the center of the flower with the black coating chocolate. While they’re still wet, dust the stamens with gold sprinkles. Set the flower aside to harden, 5 to 10 minutes.
All together now…
Attach the large flower to the cake by smearing a few dabs of buttercream onto the back of it. Press the flower against the side of the cake with firm but gentle pressure. Tuck the larger leaves in behind the flower, using buttercream to help them stick to the back of the flower and to the cake. Add the tiny leaves around the bottom edge.