How to Put Sprinkles on the Side of a Cake

In my opinion, nothing shouts celebration cake quite like sprinkles. But trying to toss sprinkles onto a cake isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. The good news is, with the right technique and a bit of practice, you can easily achieve sprinkly cakes.

Hello! My name is Michelle and sprinkles are some of my favorite things in the world. I love the way they look, so bright and cheerful. They’re pretty tasty, too, with a crunchy texture that adds pizazz. That’s why I’m always trying to add sprinkles to my baked treats, especially cakes!

If you’re trying to stick sprinkles to the side of your cake with no luck, don’t worry, you’re not alone. It can take a few tries with the right technique to get it right – that’s why I’m here. Below, you will find everything you need to know about how to put sprinkles on the side of a cake.

Who’s ready for some sprinkle fun?

How to Get Sprinkles on the Side of a Cake

Placing sprinkles on top of a cake is a cinch. But what about trying to reach those sides for a really outstanding finish? There are four different methods you can use. Some methods are designed for individual cakes, so consider that before giving them a try.

Method 1: Freshly Frosted Sprinkles

You’ve waited for the cake to cool and frosted it to perfection. Finally, you have a smooth, flat surface of delicious buttercream or whipped cream frosting. Now, it’s time to step your game up with some frosting. 

To do the freshly frosted sprinkle method, all you need to do is place your cake on a turntable. (If you don’t have a turntable, don’t worry. It makes this method easier, but it’s not necessarily essential).

From there, grab a handful of sprinkles and tilt your hand so that it is at a very steep incline. The bottom of your hand should almost touch the cake. Then, let the sprinkles fall from your hand onto the sides of the cake, turning it as you unleash the sprinkles.

Remember that you need to use fresh frosting that hasn’t hardened yet for this method to work. This means that you will have to work quickly, but it’s well worth the rush. 

Any sprinkles that didn’t make it onto the cake can still be applied. Simply scoop them up using a knife or spatula and press them onto the cake. Continue to do so until you’re satisfied with your sprinkly creation.

Method 2: Frozen Sprinkles

Plenty of people swear by freezing a cake before you sprinkle it. This process also involves flipping the cake upside-down. So if you’re nervous about doing that, it might be best for you to skip this method entirely.

To use the frozen upside-down cake method, do the following:

  1. Freeze the frosted cake for around thirty minutes – The goal is to make the cake cold enough to be flipped without mishaps.
  2. Flip the cake upside down and place it on a cookie sheet – It doesn’t have to be a cookie sheet. Any type of pan that can hold your cake is fine.
  3. Line the cake with a thin layer of frosting – Since the sprinkles can’t stick to a hard surface, you will need to apply a bit of fresh frosting for success.
  4. Grab a handful of sprinkles and apply directly to the frosting – You want to press firmly but not so hard that you destroy the cake.
  5. Continue to press until you’re satisfied, then flip the cake over – Remember that you should frost and sprinkle in batches. Otherwise, the frosting will become too hard to accept the sprinkles.

Method 3: Rolled Sprinkles

If you’re working with a large cake, it’s best to avoid this method entirely. It won’t work. But if you’re creating a smaller, denser cake, this can be a simple way to get sprinkling done. 

To use this method, you will need to empty a container of sprinkles onto a cookie sheet (or another type of wide and large pan that will fit your cake). Then, apply the frosting all around the cake. 

The final step is to – you guessed it – roll the cake in the sprinkles. Yes, your fingers are likely going to get messy. However, this is a super simple way to get sprinkles all around your small cake. When you’re done, just lick your fingers and enjoy the frosting and sprinkle combo – yum!

Method 4: Fondant Sprinkles

What happens if you’re working with fondant? Don’t worry. Adding sprinkles to the side of a fondant cake doesn’t have to be challenging. 

The best way to achieve sprinkles on the side of a fondant cake is to lightly moisten the fondant where the sprinkles will go. Next, brush it with a bit of water or piping gel, and then apply the sprinkles directly to the area using your hands or a spatula. 

You can also use a fresh layer of buttercream or whipped cream on top of the fondant, then apply sprinkles. Of course, keep in mind that it will be adding a lot more sweetness to the cake, so it might not be applicable to all fondant cakes. 


As you can see, putting sprinkles on the side of a cake is pretty easy. But, for the most part, the fresh frosting will be the best option for all types of cakes unless you’re using fondant. Still have some questions? Then keep reading.

How far in advance can you put sprinkles on a cake?

Great question! While you don’t need to worry about sprinkles going bad soon after applying to a cake, you have to worry about the colors bleeding and changing the shade of your cake. That said, it’s best to sprinkle the side of your cake within 12 hours or less of serving.

Do sprinkles go on before or after baking?

While you can certainly add sprinkles to your batter to create a confetti-style center, if you want to add sprinkles to the side of your cake, then you need to do it after baking and cooling. Your cake should be cooled entirely, frosted, and then sprinkled.

Do sprinkles expire?

Sprinkles are known for having an indefinite shelf life due to their incredibly high sugar content. Sugar fends off bacterial growth, making it a long-lasting ingredient that can sit in your pantry for years without fear of it going bad. 

Will sprinkles stick to buttercream?

If the buttercream is set, no. That is why you should always use fresh buttercream (or whipped cream) when applying sprinkles to the side of a cake. This is true whether you’re using the first, second, or third method.

Final Thoughts

Plenty of people want to add sprinkles to the side of their cake for a fun and exciting appearance. It’s easy to do when you add fresh frosting to your cake. Just apply a layer, add the sprinkles using your hand or a spatula, and enjoy your sprinkled creation!

Do you put sprinkles on the side of your cake?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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  • TalyBlueHue

    Thank you so much! I had no idea how to put sprinkles on a cake, and it has led to some tragic cake incidents. I did not want this to happen with my birthday cake, so this has helped me so much! I’m going to be using the freshly frosted sprinkles method on a vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and a chocolate drip. I am a paleo baker and find it difficult to find easy recipes and tutorials online that are simple and cost-effective. I really appreciate you posting this, and it has helped me so much!