All posts by Whitney

Dia De Los Muertos Spiderweb Cupcakes

Dia De Los Muertos spiderweb Cupcake tutorial

When it comes to spooky sprinkles, SprinklePop is killing it. They’ve got the perfect collection of Halloween and Fall-themed sprinkles, and I’ve gotten to create some amazing projects with them in the past (my fave being this scary Monster Mashup cake!). This year I got the chance to play with their Dia De Los Muertos mix, and I fell so in love with the little sugar skulls that come in the mix. Paired with a festive color scheme and some piped Candy Melt spiderwebs, they look downright amazing on these cupcakes:

Dia De Los Muertos cupcakes by Sugar and Sparrow

This Dia De Los Muertos mix is ideal for adding to Day of the Dead themed cupcakes or cakes. The color scheme is perfectly vibrant, and my favorite part is that the mix comes with plenty of those cute little sugar skulls. I want a whole bottle of those cuties just to stare at them! Just look at how fun these sprinkles are:

Dia De Los Muertos sprinkles by Sprinklepop

Although these sprinkles are outstanding on their own, I decided to make some spiderweb cake toppers using piped Wilton Candy Melts. The spiderwebs are so easy to make and the best part is that they’re fully dry and ready to use in about ten minutes. After topping the cupcakes with an edible spiderweb and sprinkling with the Dia De Los Muertos mix, these cupcakes have the perfect balance of pretty and scary.

Halloween cupcakes by Sugar and Sparrow
White chocolate spiderweb cupcake toppers

I made a quick video of the process so you can see the techniques it takes to get the look. From the Candy Melt spiderweb toppers to piping and sprinkling the cupcakes, here are all the visual details before you read about them below:

PS: If you love watching videos like this one, be sure to check out my YouTube Channel! I post cake decorating videos and recipes there quite often, so be sure to subscribe to the channel so you don’t miss a thing.

You Will Need:

Step 1: Make The Candy Melt Spiderwebs

Spread a sheet of wax paper onto a baking sheet. Then, melt your Wilton Candy Melts in the microwave according to the package instructions. Alternatively, you can use white chocolate chips for this part, but I love the Candy Melts because they’re a much brighter white than white chocolate chips, which tend to be a bit yellow. 

How to melt Wilton Candy Melts

Add the melted Candy Melt mixture to a piping bag fitted with Wilton Tip 3, then pipe spider web designs onto the wax paper.

White chocolate spiderweb tutorial

At this point, you can let them air dry or speed up the process by popping the baking sheet into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. When they’re completely dry to the touch, remove the wax paper backing from each spiderweb.

how to make white chocolate spiderwebs

Step 2: Prepare The Buttercream

Divide the buttercream into three separate bowls for color mixing. Add black food coloring to the first bowl, purple food coloring to the second bowl, and orange food coloring to the third bowl. Mix until you have the desired shades for your buttercream color palette.

Halloween cupcakes tutorial

When you’ve got the perfect colors, add each color to a separate piping bag fitted with Wilton Tip 1M. 

Step 3: Pipe The Cupcakes

Using each of the piping bags, pipe swirls onto each cupcake starting on the outer edge of the cupcake and spiraling the buttercream toward the center.

How to pipe a swirl on cupcakes

When you’re finished, all of your buttercream colors should be represented equally amongst the cupcakes. 

Step 4: Top The Cupcakes

Top each cupcake with a white chocolate spiderweb and sprinkle the Dia De Los Muertos mix generously. Make sure that each cupcake gets at least one sugar skull, because they’re the cutest!

Halloween spiderweb cupcakes tutorial
Halloween cupcakes with spiderwebs and sprinkles

And there you have it – an easy way to create Halloween or Day of the Dead themed cupcakes with the prettiest spooky sprinkles around.

Dia De Los Muertos cupcakes tutorial

Disclaimer: I was compensated by SprinklePop for my work of creating this project, styling, filming, photographing, and writing about their products. As always, all opinions are honest and my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support Sugar & Sparrow.

Halloween Candy Corn Cake Tutorial

candy corn cake by sugar and sparrow

When it comes to Halloween, Candy Corn is one of the most iconic treats of all. Fun-sized candy bars might be tastier (in my opinion), but nothing beats Candy Corn when it comes to looks! As I perused the aisles of my local JOANN store looking for the perfect Halloween cake inspiration, the bag of those little yellow, orange, and white kernels sitting on the shelf made a light bulb go off in my head. They gave me the perfect inspiration for this non-spooky, yet festive cake design:

candy corn halloween cake

This cake is Candy Corn colored inside and out, and JOANN had everything I needed to make it pop. The outside of the cake is rolled in white, yellow, and orange Wilton Sugar Sprinkles and I’m in love with how the texture turned out! The finish is meant to be a little imperfect (just like real Candy Corn), and I’m convinced that the rolling-in-sugar technique is fail proof for this particular design. 

sugared cake in candy corn colors
cake topped with candy corn by sugar and sparrow

Coloring the inside of the cake is completely optional, but it’s such a fun surprise to cut into the cake layers and see the colors inside. To get the look, I colored some Vanilla Cake batter with the yellow and orange gels from the Wilton Color Right Food Coloring System before baking the layers. It’s an extra little step, but worth it if you want those Candy Corn colors throughout.

candy corn colored cake layers

I whipped up a quick video of the process for baking and decorating this Candy Corn cake. Be sure to give it a watch before following the written steps below for a truly eye-catching and non-scary Halloween cake:

You Will Need

Step 1: Create the Colored Cake Layers (optional)

Prepare three 6-inch cake pans by spraying the sides with cooking spray and placing a parchment paper circle into the bottom of each one. Pour plain vanilla buttercream into one of the pans to fill it ⅔ full. Then, divide the remaining batter evenly amongst two separate bowls. In one bowl, add a few drops of yellow food color gel and in the second bowl, add a few drops of orange food color gel. Gently stir to combine and be careful not to overmix the batter. 

how to color cake batter

Pour the yellow cake batter into one pan and the orange cake batter into the other pan. Bake all three layers according to the recipe instructions and let them cool completely.

how to color cake layers

When they’re cooled, use the Wilton Cake Leveler to level off the tops.

Step 3: Fill and Crumb Coat the Cake

Set a 6-inch cardboard cake circle onto your cake turntable and place a dab of buttercream on top before placing your yellow cake layer on. Fill with a thin layer of vanilla buttercream and place the orange cake layer on top. Frost another thin layer of filling on top of your orange layer before placing your white layer on top, bottom side up.

candy corn cake layers tutorial

Frost a very thin layer, or crumb coat, of vanilla buttercream on top of the cake and smooth it with your icing scraper and angled spatula.

how to crumb coat a cake

Place the cake into the refrigerator to firm up while you move on to Step 4. 

Step 4: Color the Buttercream

Divide the remaining vanilla buttercream into three separate bowls. Leave one bowl white, then add a few drops of yellow food color gel to the second bowl and a few drops of orange food color gel to the third. Mix until you’ve got the perfect candy corn color palette.

how to color buttercream with wilton color right food coloring system

Add each buttercream color to a separate piping bag with about ½ inch opening snipped off the end. 

Step 5: Frost the Cake 

Starting at the bottom of the cake, pipe the yellow buttercream horizontally until you reach the top of the yellow cake layer. Next, pipe the orange buttercream until you reach the top of the orange cake layer. Finally, pipe the white buttercream onto the top third of the cake, including the very top.

candy corn ombre buttercream cake

Smooth the sides of your cake with an icing scraper until they’re perfectly level, then use your angled spatula to swipe the top edges inward to create sharp edges. Getting the cake nice and level is key, as this will be the final shape of your cake once it’s rolled in sprinkles.

buttercream ombre cake tutorial
how to get sharp buttercream edges

When you’re happy with your smoothness, pop the cake in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or until the buttercream is firm to the touch. 

Step 6: Roll in Sugar Sprinkles

Measure out and record how tall each colored section is on your cake. Then, spread out the sugar sprinkles to match your measurements for rolling the cake. For example, my yellow buttercream was about 2 inches in height, so I spread out the yellow sugar sprinkles to create a 2 inch tall section and so on.

sugar sprinkle ombre cake tutorial

Place a cardboard cake circle on top of the chilled cake and carefully roll it in the sugar sprinkles until the sides are covered in a candy corn ombrè. 

rolling a cake in sugar sprinkles

Step 7: Decorate the Top

Place the sugared cake back on the turntable and remove the top cake cardboard. Add some white sugar sprinkles to the top of the cake and smooth them out with your angled spatula until the entire top is covered.

how to cover a cake in sugar sprinkles

From here, I piped some white buttercream swirls to border the top with Wilton Tip 4B, sprinkled some more sugar sprinkles on top of the piping, and added a candy corn piece to each swirl.

sprinkle covered candy corn cake

Now you’ve got the perfect Halloween party cake that everyone can appreciate! I’m a little obsessed with how cute it is:

candy corn halloween party cake by sugar and sparrow

Be sure to visit your local JOANN store for all of the supplies you need, including a bag of Candy Corn! And if the closest JOANN is a bit of a drive, you can find all of these supplies (and more!) on their website. Their selection of cake decorating supplies and tools is so good, they’re sure to become your go-to.

Disclaimer: I was compensated by JOANN for my work of creating this project, styling, filming, photographing, and writing about their products. As always, all opinions are honest and my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support Sugar & Sparrow.

Halloween Witch Cauldron Cake

Halloween cake witches brew cauldron cake

It’s the season of all things scary and if you’re planning a Halloween party to celebrate, you know that the dessert table has to be creepy (yet tasty!). I’m all about Halloween cakes that are the perfect balance of cute and spooky (aka not over-the-top gory), so when The Cake Blog asked me to create a Halloween party cake, I thought this oozing Witch Cauldron Cake would be ideal! Just imagine this showstopper at your next spooky soiree:

Cauldron Cake by Sugar and Sparrow

This Witch Cauldron Cake is frosted with black buttercream, dripped with green (white chocolate) ganache, and topped with some creepy gummy candies and eyeballs. I finished it all off with a generous heap of green cotton candy to make it look like the cauldron steam. The full step-by-step with all my best tips on how to get pitch black buttercream, the perfect drippy ganache finish, and details on decorating is all over on The Cake Blog, so be sure to check out the tutorial there! In the meantime, here are some photos to inspire you:

Witch cauldron cake topped with cotton candy
Halloween cake by sugar and sparrow
halloween candy cake
Witch brew Halloween cake by sugar and sparrow

Perfect amount of spooky and cute, right? I think so! Head to The Cake Blog to see the full tutorial and if you end up making this cake, be sure to tag @sugarandsparrowco and @thecakeblog on Instagram. We love to see what you create! Happy Halloween season, people!

Spiced Vanilla Chai Cake Recipe

I’m a tea lover all year round, but once Fall hits and things start to get cozy, chai is a staple in my tea cabinet. The aromatic spices in a cup of chai are unreal and totally reminiscent of Autumn. So when I decided to bake up those spices in cake form, not only did my kitchen smell amazing, but this Spiced Vanilla Chai Cake tasted like an Autumnal dreamscape! It’s the perfect cake for welcoming the changes of the season whether you’re a tea lover or not.

spiced vanilla chai layer cake recipe

The flavor of this Vanilla Chai Cake is created by both adding the perfect spice blend to the dry ingredients and infusing the liquid with chai goodness. By adding, I mean mixing up a blend of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice, and cloves and whisking it into the cake flour. And by infusion, I mean pouring boiled whole milk over a chai tea bag and letting it steep before adding it to the batter at the end. Both of these methods add tons of spicy chai flavor, and combined with a good dose of vanilla extract, the result is Spiced Vanilla Chai Cake perfection. 

vanilla chai milk and spices
vanilla chai layer cake recipe

To really up the flavor, I’ve filled and frosted this delicious cake with Vanilla Chai Buttercream. It’s basically my vanilla buttercream recipe with homemade Chai Spice Mix added, and oh my. The combination is Fall flavor heaven! You can choose to pair this cake with all sorts of buttercreams (cream cheese, chocolate, vanilla, or anything that pairs well with chai tea), but if you want the full-on chai cake experience, this is it. 

vanilla chai layer cake recipe
spiced vanilla chai buttercream recipe

To decorate, I crumbled up some Speculoos Cookies and added them to the sides of the cake after frosting, then piped some simple stars (Wilton Tip 4B) and rosettes (Wilton Tip 1M) on top of the cake in a crescent moon design. Then, I topped it all off with some cinnamon sticks and more Speculoos cookie crumbles. My favorite part of all of it is the little specks of Chai Spice Mix that come through in the buttercream. I have all the heart eyes for speckled buttercream!

vanilla chai cake with cinnamon sticks and piped buttercream

Spiced Vanilla Chai Cake

Three 6-inch layers of fluffy, moist vanilla chai cake that's perfectly flavored with chai tea and a homemade chai spice mix. Top it with vanilla chai buttercream for the ultimate Autumn flavor palette.

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 15 slices

Ingredients

Chai Spice Mix

  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Vanilla Chai Cake

  • 1 1/4 Cups (296ml) whole milk
  • 1 chai tea bag
  • 2 3/4 Cups (290g) cake flour, sifted before measuring
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tsp chai spice mix (recipe above)
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 Cups (358g) granulated white sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup (112g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

Vanilla Chai Buttercream

  • 2 Cups (452g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 7 Cups (840g) powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chai spice mix (recipe above)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

Make The Chai Spice Mix

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice, and cloves and set aside.

Make The Vanilla Chai Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare three 6-inch cake pans or two 9-inch cake pans by spraying the sides with a cooking spray (Baker's Joy is my favorite) and fitting a wax or parchment paper circle to the bottom of the pan. Alternatively, you can grease and lightly flour the pans.

  2. Place the chai tea bag into a mason jar. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the whole milk, stirring constantly, until it begins to boil. Pour the boiling milk over the chai tea bag in the mason jar and let steep for 20 minutes before removing the tea bag. Allow the mixture to cool completely to room temperature before moving on.

  3. Sift the cake flour and then measure by spooning and leveling it in your measuring cup. Add the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, 4 teaspoons of the chai spice mix, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer (a handheld mixer works fine too!), cream the butter for on high for two minutes until it's light and fluffy. Add in sugar and continue to mix on medium-high for another two minutes, scraping down the bowl and paddle as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix for one minute on high, scraping down the bowl and paddle once more. 

  5. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the (room temperature!) chai milk mixture slowly and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and give it a few stirs to make sure there are no lumps (without over-mixing). The batter will be slightly thick, but pourable. 

  6. Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans (no more than 2/3 of the way full) and bake for 30-35 minutes. They're done when they spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for five minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack for an additional few hours of cooling. Make sure they're entirely room temperature before applying any frosting. 

Make The Vanilla Chai Buttercream

  1. With a hand mixer or paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cream the butter on medium-high until it’s creamy and light (almost white) in color. About 7 minutes. 

  2. Whisk 1 Tbsp of the Chai Spice Mix into the measured powdered sugar. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar mixture a few cups at a time, scraping down after each addition and making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next one. 

  3. Add vanilla, milk, and salt and mix on medium-low for another two minutes until fully incorporated. 

Assembly

  1. Once the Vanilla Chai Cakes have cooled completely, fill and frost the layers with Vanilla Chai Buttercream. To create the design pictured, add crushed Speculoos Cookies to the sides of the cake by placing them into the palm of your hand and gently pressing them onto the buttercream finish. Then, fit one piping bag with Wilton Tip 4B and another piping bag with Wilton Tip 1M before filling each with Vanilla Chai Buttercream. Pipe rosettes and stars onto the top of the cake in a crescent moon shape, add some cinnamon sticks, and sprinkle more crushed Speculoos Cookies on top.

Recipe Notes

Make Ahead Notes: 

  1. The chai milk mixture can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. When you’re ready to use it, bring it back to room temperature before adding it to the cake batter. 
  2. The cake layers can be made ahead and stored, wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to two days. Alternatively, you can store the wrapped cake layers in the freezer for up to 2 months before thawing and frosting.
  3. The Vanilla Chai Buttercream can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to use it, bring it back to room temperature and re-whip in your stand mixer to bring back to smooth buttercream consistency. 

What are some of your favorite Fall cake recipes? I particularly love this Caramel Apple Cake and this Matcha Cake (another tea lover’s dream!). It’s the perfect time of year for baking all of the above. Be sure to tag @sugarandsparrowco on Instagram if you try this Vanilla Chai Cake (or any of my recipes!) – I love to see what you’re creating!

Autumn-Inspired Shag Cake

I’ve been swooning over shag cakes for years now, so when The Cake Blog asked me to do an autumn-inspired shag cake I was all about it! Heavily inspired by shag carpets of the 1970’s, the texture of this buttercream is unreal. It took everything in me not to run my hands through it after the cake was finished. Just look at it: 

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Galaxy Cake Tutorial

galaxy cake tutorial by Sugar and Sparrow

If you were offered a ticket to space, would you go? I totally would (even though I’d be terrified) because I have always been captivated by all things space. The planets, the stars, the crazy colors, the final frontier – it would all be worth floating around in a spaceship and eating weird food just so I could see it all up close! So far, the closest I can get is channeling my love for space into an out of this world Galaxy Cake:

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Finally. The Perfect Vanilla Cake Recipe.

I have a little confession to make: when I first started making cakes, my secret go-to for far too long was the box vanilla cake mix by Betty Crocker.

Phew. Now you know. 

Since I became accustomed to the light and fluffy texture of said box mix, every time I tried to make a vanilla cake from scratch, the result seemed off. Blame it on the lack of Propylene Glycol Mono (or the handful of other ingredients in box mixes that you’ve never heard of), but my from-scratch vanilla cakes always ended up too dense, tasted a little cornbread-ish, and just didn’t have that fluffy appeal. Finding a go-to vanilla cake recipe from scratch felt like a mountain I had to climb, but after (what felt like) five hundred tries and a whole lot of not giving up, I’ve found a recipe that is beyond my wildest cake dreams. 

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A Cactus Cake With Major Desert Vibes

cactus cake by sugar and sparrow

Of all the beautiful foliage in the world, cactus is among my very favorite. I was so excited when The Cake Blog asked me to create this cactus cake and make all my desert-loving dreams come true! The buttercream ombrè sunrise, pretty piped cactus shapes, and edible (graham cracker) sand have me all heart eyed. Just look at how pretty! 

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Under The Sea Cake Tutorial

under the sea cake tutorial

Ever since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated with the ocean. I think this is solely because The Little Mermaid was my favorite movie growing up, and I’m still so smitten with colorful coral reefs and the sea life that surrounds them. So when I stumbled upon this Sea Life Gumpaste & Fondant Mold at my local JOANN store, I was so inspired to turn my love for ocean life into an under the sea themed cake! Just look at how magical:

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Tasty Toasted S’mores Cupcakes

smores cupcakes with toasted marshmallow

Word on the street is it’s almost National S’mores Day (aka the best food-related holiday)! Since I’m a s’mores lover to the core, it honestly feels like every day could be National S’mores Day and I celebrate as often as I can. I love them so much that I whipped up this S’mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream last year, and this year I bring you the cupcake version. Behold!

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