How To Stop Sprinkles From Bleeding Into Cake Icing

Decorating cakes is a fun activity for anyone, and the best part is you don't even need to be good at it! However, it can be frustrating when some of your decorations don't turn out the way you want them to, whether it be a gooey frosting, your cake falling apart, or even your sprinkles bleeding into your icing. We've done the research to help you bake and decorate your cakes the way you want them to be.

To prevent your sprinkles from bleeding into your cake icing, you need to modify your icing recipe by including less moisture or letting the surface of your icing set a bit before applying the sprinkles. 

Keep reading below for more baking tips that include baking with sprinkles, different icing recipes, and getting sprinkles to stay on your sweet treat.

Homemade Sweet Birthday Cake with Candles Ready to Serve, How To Stop Sprinkles From Bleeding Into Cake Icing

Bleeding Sprinkles

Directly above shot of a freshly made lemon and vanilla cake on table with a slice of cake in plate. Beautiful birthday cake decorated with cheese cream frosting.

If you are decorating a cake with sprinkles, it's best to let your icing or frosting dry a bit before adding the decorations. This cuts down on the chances of sprinkle bleeding. Also, if you don't make your frosting as moist or wet, that reduces the chances of having your sprinkles' color bleed out.

Another tip to avoid color bleeding is to only put the sprinkles on the cake or cupcake right before serving it. If the sprinkles are on for more than 12 hours, that significantly increases the chance of color bleeding.

How To Put Sprinkles On The Side Of Your Cake

A yellow cake with vanilla frosting that is encrusted in rainbow sprinkles.

Sprinkles are the ultimate celebration icon, but trying to get them to stick to your cakes can be difficult, especially on their sides. Here are some tips on making them stay!

Fresh Frosting

This first method requires your cake to be cooled and freshly frosted that hasn't hardened yet. You'll need to work a little quicker to ensure they stick as the frosting sets.

To accomplish this method, a turntable is recommended. Once your cake is on the turntable or flat surface, you'll grab a handful of your specified sprinkles and tilt your hand at a steep incline but they don't fall off.

The bottom of your hand should not quite touch the cake, you'll then have the sprinkles fall onto the sides of the cake. You should be turning it as the sprinkles fall. Just continue in this fashion until you've achieved your desired level of decoration.

Freezing The Cake

A popular method of applying sprinkles to cake is to roll it in the sprinkles. Beware, this method includes flipping the cake upside down, so it may be best to skip this method if you're unsure of doing so.

To start this method, you'll need to freeze your already frosted cake for around 30 mins. The goal is to ensure that your cake is cold enough to be flipped without messing the cake up. You'll then need to flip your cake upside down and place it on a cookie sheet or any pan style that will fit your cake.

Since your cake will be frozen, you'll need to apply a thin layer of frosting since sprinkles don't stick to a hard surface. You'll want to press a bit firmly but too hard so that you accidentally mess up your cake. Don't forget to frost and sprinkle in small batches, so your frosting doesn't get too hard.

Rolling Sprinkles

This method only works with very small cakes. If you have a large one, it'd be best to avoid this method.

To do this method, you'll need to have a cookie sheet or other type of large pan that will fit your cake and empty a container of sprinkles onto it. You'll then apply frosting to your cake. The last step is just to roll your cake onto the sprinkles. Your fingers will likely get messy, but you can just lick your fingers and enjoy your frosting with the sprinkles!

Fondant With Sprinkles

What if you're working with fondant? We've got you covered there too. Sprinkling a fondant-covered cake shouldn't be difficult.

The number 1 way to apply sprinkles to the side of a fondant cake would be to slightly moisten the fondant where you want the sprinkles to go. You need to brush it with a bit of water or piping gel and then apply your sprinkles of choice to the area using your hands or a spatula.

How Do You Keep Sprinkles From Sinking In Cake Mix?

Girl decorating homemade cake with pink icing and colorful sprinkles while baking at home

If you've ever baked with sprinkles in your cake mix, you might've experienced your sprinkles sinking to the bottom of the pan while baking. Oh no! In any standard boxed cake mix or a recipe that makes a multi-layer cake, you can combine half a cup of sprinkles with a tablespoon of flour.

The sprinkles will get coated with the flour, so the sprinkles will have an easier time floating in your cake batter rather than sinking to the bottom.

Types Of Sprinkles

A collection of sprinkles for cake and ice-cream and cookies, Top view

Sprinkles are a great way to give texture to any dessert. Below we go over all the differing types of those yummy sugar dots!


Jimmies are the most common type of sprinkles and are what most people refer to when they say "sprinkles." They're typically rod-shaped and can be used inside or out of desserts.


Also known as Hundreds and Thousands, these decorative sprinkles are very tiny and multi-colored balls comprised of sugar and starch. This type of sprinkle should NOT be baked in desserts because their color bleeds so much.


This type of sprinkle comes in various shapes, colors, and sizes. They don't work well baked inside sweets because they will melt and lose their awesome shapes.


Dragees, also known as Sugar Pearls, are similar to nonpareils, but these have a very hard outer shell and are much bigger. This type of decoration is also non-edible, making them a less popular choice.

Sanding Sugar

This kind of sprinkles is a type of clear crystal sugar much larger than your regular refined white sugar. They will certainly make your sweets sparkle! Sanding sugar will not melt in the oven and comes in a wide variety of colors- sweet!

Can You Put Sprinkles On Top Before Baking?

Sprinkles can be added to the top of any baked sweet treat while in the oven. They won't burn or melt. They will get a little squishy in the heat, but they harden back up when they cool down.

Best Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Mixing food coloring into Italian buttercream frosting.

One of the most popular types of frosting is buttercream frosting. It's a sweet, fluffy frosting made of creamed butter and sugar. Other ingredients include milk and vanilla extract to give it that fantastic flavor. You can use buttercream as a frosting, filling, or decoration by spreading it over cake layers or creating decorative patterns.

The ingredients you'll need for this simple buttercream recipe from Allrecipes include:

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted room temperature butter
  • 2 cups of confectioners' (powdered) sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • Add a few drops of food coloring

Making this frosting is only two steps!

Cream the butter until light and fluffy. You'll then gradually add the powdered sugar until incorporated and then the vanilla extract.

The last step includes adding the milk and mixing for about 3 to 4 minutes. You can then add the food coloring and blend until you get the desired color!

Storing Buttercream Frosting

You can store your buttercream frosting in an airtight container for up to three days at room temperature, but keep it in a cool, dark place [like your pantry!] If you aren't planning on using it within three days, don't worry! You can keep it in the fridge for up to a week.

Can You Freeze This Frosting?

You can freeze this frosting. Just be sure to transfer it to a freezer bag or other airtight container. It'll keep for about three months in your freezer. Make sure to move it to the fridge a day before you plan on using it so it can thaw overnight.


Colorful Rainbow marble cake with sprinkles over a white background

We hope we have answered all your sprinkle-related questions, and this aids you in choosing the best sprinkle for you! With our help, sprinkle bleeding should be a thing of the past in your kitchen. Be sure to check out our other baking-related articles below!

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