Our yearly tradition is a cake to celebrate the new school year. This year our cake was a vanilla sprinkle cake covered Swiss Meringue Buttercream and LOTS of sprinkles.
I think that the first day of school deserves a certain amount of reverence. Starting a new school year is a big deal. When we were little, my mom would make a special dinner for me, my brother, and my sister the night before the first day of school. My mom is really good at making things feel special. It’s one of her greatest gifts.
The back to school dinner tradition is something that I have continued to do with my own children and one that I love to do year after year. This year, I tried to do something different and the kids were not happy about it. They acted like I tried to cancel Christmas.
This year I made them a Sprinkle Cake. A vanilla cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream COVERED in sprinkles. This cake is so much fun. I have a hard time believing that anyone could be grumpy when a slice of this cake is put in front of you.
I’m not going to lie, getting the sprinkles all over your cake makes a mess. The best way that I have found to contain the sprinkles is to pour the sprinkles into a 9×13 pan and use your hand to press it up the sides, and the pan will catch most of the fallout. It’s worth it though, covering a cake in sprinkles is very forgiving if you aren’t the best at frosting a cake.
This step isn’t necessary because you are going to cover your cake with sprinkles anyway, but I colored mine with some yellow gel food coloring. I baked two 8-inch layers of yellow cake. Let them cool completely. Pro tip – chill the layers, they are easier to work with when they are cold.
I put a small amount of white into a bowl and added some sprinkles and mixed them in. That’s for the filling. I used regular sprinkles (or jimmies if you are from NJ like me) and little colored round balls that I got at the grocery store.
Frosting a cake isn’t hard, but it does take some practice. And a few tools can really make the project a lot easier. An offset spatula, pallet knife, and a side scraper are the difference between smooth edges and cake that looks like it might fall over.
Spread the sprinkle frosting over the bottom layer of cake. Top with the other cake layer.
Crumb coat the cake. What does that mean? You put a very thin layer of frosting on the cake to seal in the crumbs. When you are scraping the frosting over the edges, make sure not to add the crumby frosting back into the bowl. Chill the cake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until you touch the cake and no frosting comes onto your fingers.
After the crumb coat has chilled, add a thicker layer of frosting, making sure the edges are straight and the top is smooth.
Before the frosting has set, cover the cake in sprinkles. I find the best way is to do it over a pan with deep edges. Pressing the sprinkles up the sides of the cake. Cover the top and fill in any holes you see.
Clean off the edges with a damp paper towel.
Chill the cake for a few hours to let everything set.
Slice and enjoy!
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