How To Add Sprinkles On The Sides Of Cakes

Did you know I started baking with cakes? Like so many of you, I got my start baking party cakes from home. A hobby that would later turn into a little business, and then blog. During that time period cake shows were all the rage and it seemed that the crazier the cake the better. People wanted giant sculpted 3-D cakes like they seen on TV, for the price of their local grocery store’s frozen + frosted cake, of course. For me this was a recipe for burnout. I slowly began to shift my love to cupcakes, and eventually cookies stole their own little piece of my heart. Spending an entire week creating one cake just was not for me. I basically avoided cakes at all costs. Thankfully that time seems to have passed, and while amazing 3D cakes still exist, we’ve moved on to the world of over the top drippy cakes adorned in ganache, sprinkles, and treats of all kinds. Now that is something I can get along with! So this past year I made it a goal to get my cake mojo back. I even promised the whole fam a cake for their birthday – no cupcake shortcuts. Last week I made the last cake in our string of six birthdays since December. I thought it would be the perfect time to show you guys how to add sprinkles on the sides of cakes, even upside down!

Birthday cake with sprinkles and sparklers.

Although it’s trending now, I’ve been doing this for quiet a few years (You know I can’t turn down a chance to add sprinkles!) and every cake I post I’m always shocked at how many questions I get about the sprinkles on the sides of the cakes. Especially the last rainbow swirl cake where I decided to actually put the sprinkle rim on the top! Today we’re answering that question! After thinking it over it totally make sense why this is such a hot topic. After spending a crazy amount of time getting your frosting super smooth and pretty it’s hard to get up the nerve to then cover it in sprinkles. But it’s so smooth! Right? And then there’s the issue that most often the frosting has crusted over or the cake was chilled during the process and now the sprinkles won’t even stick. Don’t worry. I’ve got a simple way for you to add sprinkles to the side of cakes. Along the way I’m going to show you how I also get those sprinkles on the top of the cake. Like I did in this birthday cake for the hubs. Who just turned 32 last week, but you didn’t hear it from me.

Birthday cake with sprinkles and ribbon on the side.

How To Add Sprinkles To The Side Of A Cake

Step 1: First, your cake needs to be nice and chilled, and I mean chilled. I place mine in the freezer for 30 minutes so it’s nice and firm. Because we’re about flip this bad boy over. Place the cake on something sturdy that will raise it up a bit. I am using a plastic plate in the photos, this makes it easier for me to lift up. I also place the entire thing on a cookie sheet to contain the sprinkles. Next place a cake board on the top of the cake. You can also place a piece of parchment paper between the two. I prefer to have it straight on the cake and not risk sliding. I wouldn’t rather clean up any damage left on the top frosting. Slide the cake so you are now holding in with two flat hands one on bottom and one on top, quickly flip the cake.

Getting ready to flip the cake and add sprinkles to the side of the cake.

Whew, scary right?

Step 2: Now that you’ve flipped the cake were going to add sprinkles to the bottom rim. Which we will flip again and use as your bottom! The trick to adding sprinkles to the side of the cake is to scrape on extra frosting or clear piping gel making sure the cake is of course nice and firm from chilling. This gives you a fresh layer of frosting or gel for the sprinkles to completely stick to. If you work slowly you may want to consider adding sprinkles to 1/3 of the cake at a time as the frosting won’t be as sticky the longer it sits.

Adding frosting to a cake to add sprinkles.

Step 3: Next I take a cupped hand of sprinkles and gently press them on to the cake as you can see below.

Can we take a moment to talk about how adorable this sprinkle mix from Sweets & Treats is? I’ve been dying to use it on a cake!

GIF of adding sprinkles to the side of a cake.

Step 4: And now you have a sprinkle rimmed cake! If you’re not flipping the cake you are all set. If your putting you sprinkles on the top, you will now need to gently but quickly flip the cake back over.

Blue cake with sprinkles added to the side.

Step 5: The last step is to smooth out any imperfections the top cake board may have caused. And if you would like add more sprinkles just inside the top rim of the cake. Then I use my hand to gently smooth out any little imperfections left on the edge of the cake. I like to also toss on a few random sprinkles on the sides at this point.

Cake with sprinkles on the sides and top.

So simple, yet so much awesome. The only thing that could make it more awesome is if you realize you have candles that exactly match your sprinkles. Then add ribbons for a retro vibe and light that puppy up! I’m bringing ribbons back on cakes this year, you heard it hear first!

Birthday cake with sprinkles and ribbon on the side.

What do you guys think? Are you ready to try your hand and sprinkles and flipping a cake?

Want to check out more cakes? Here’s a few more for inspiration!

Heads up! To keep those legal gurus of the world happy, I need to inform you that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. In short – I may earn a small commission from the use of said link with no cost to you! But don’t worry I only link to stuff I use, love, and know you will too!

Image of Toni Miller in front of a sprinkle shelf.


 I’m Toni, the baker, the blogger,  and cookie cutter maker  behind The Sprinkle Factory and I hope you find a sprinkle of inspiration here at The Factory.

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