All posts by Whitney

Layered Ombrè Buttercream Cake Tutorial

layered ombre buttercream cake by sugar and sparrow

I tend to use color ombrès a lot in my buttercream cakes. There’s something about the gradient color change that is so eye-catching and works a little better than a solid finish in some cases (like my Cactus Cake, Under the Sea Cake, and Strawberry Lemonade Cake Recipe to name just a few). Today though, instead of creating a subtle gradient with my buttercream colors, I decided to make them a bit more edgy with this Layered Ombrè Cake. The design allows each color to really stand out and I just love the beautiful texture you can create with the layers! 

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How to Make + Decorate Cakes Ahead of Time

how to freeze cakes

I’m a big advocate of cake making as a means to reduce stress and have fun. That said, I know how incredibly stressful cake can be when you’re running short on time and/or things just aren’t going the way you wanted – especially if said cake is an order. I can remember many stressful nights (and even a few panic attacks) from my years of running a cake business from home and most of them stemmed from not giving myself enough time to enjoy the process. Can you relate? In hopes of sparing you some of that added stress, I’ve put together my best tips for making a timeline and working ahead. This way, maybe you won’t find yourself up at 2am agonizing over an unfinished cake! 

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Sugar & Sparrow is 3!

pink watercolor cake by sugar and sparrow

My blog baby is three! In some ways it seems like only yesterday that I got up the nerve to launch Sugar & Sparrow. I was so anxious to do it – what if no one read my posts? What if my recipes didn’t work for other people? What if it’s just an epic failure? Somehow I pushed through my anxiety and hit the publish button, and here we are three years later. I have learned so much and this past year wasn’t exactly the easiest (for anybody), but I’m still here thinking of cake ideas and playing with buttercream. 

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Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe

vegan and dairy free chocolate cake
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I know I’m not alone when I say my love for chocolate cake runs DEEP. I’ve just always had a soft spot in my heart for a good chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (bonus if it has sprinkles!). So when I went about making this Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe, I made sure it had all the essentials: extra moist, rich chocolate flavor, just the right balance of sweet and decadent, and has that melt-in-your-mouth crumb we all want in a chocolate cake. It’s a true rival to my (full-dairy) One-Bowl Chocolate Cake recipe and I could not be more satisfied with how the vegan version turned out! 

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Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Recipe

vegan chocolate frosting recipe
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I am a chocolate lover to the core, so when I decided to create a vegan version of my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe, I was extra careful to make sure that not an ounce of flavor was sacrificed in the process. Rest assured, this Vegan Chocolate Buttercream is every bit as delicious as the real deal – it’s the kind of buttercream that I have to hide from myself so I don’t end up eating spoonful after spoonful! Whether you enjoy it straight out of the bowl or pair it with a cake (this Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe is it’s soul mate), it’s a frosting that’s sure to satisfy. 

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Vegan Vanilla Cake Recipe

vegan vanilla cake with vegan vanilla buttercream by sugar and sparrow
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Ever since I published my favorite fluffy Vanilla Cake Recipe, I’ve gotten lots of questions about how to make it eggless or full-on vegan. The truth is, I’d been wanting to make a vegan vanilla cake for years, but everything I read about vegan baking scared me into thinking it was going to be a huge mountain of recipe testing I was going to have to climb (spoiler alert: it was). Still, I kept it on my list, mainly because I wanted an option to offer those asking for the vegan version of my vanilla cake recipe. But it wasn’t until I had my son and had to cut out dairy shortly after that it moved from the bottom of the list to the top. I rolled up my sleeves, put on my apron, and began my absolute OBSESSION with creating the perfect, fluffy, easy, flavorful, can’t-even-tell-it’s-vegan cake recipe. I can say with assurance after what seems like a hundred recipe tests that this is the one.  

vegan vanilla cake by sugar and sparrow
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Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

vegan vanilla buttercream recipe
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I am a firm believer that having a go-to vanilla buttercream recipe is essential for cake making, and this Vegan Vanilla Buttercream is the one I reach for when I’m in need of a trusty vegan frosting. Not only does it frost like a total dream, it also holds its shape beautifully when piped and can be easily tinted any color under the sun. Oh, did I mention it tastes amazing too? Cause that’s pretty important! 

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How to Transfer Cakes From a Turntable to a Stand

how to move a cake to stand

One of my most frequently asked questions (aside from what my favorite buttercream recipe is and how I get my buttercream cakes smooth): “how in the world do you move a cake off the turntable and onto a cake stand without ruining the finish?” Transferring a cake, whether it’s onto a stand or into a box, can be totally nerve wracking if you’ve never done it before. After you’ve spent so much time decorating, the last thing you want to do is mess up all of your work before anyone gets the chance to see the cake in its most perfect state! In hopes of saving you extra stress, today’s Cake Basics is all about the method I use for transferring my cakes once they’re decorated. 

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Raspberry Chocolate Cake Recipe

raspberry chocolate cake recipe

One of the very first recipes I put on this blog was this Raspberry Buttercream recipe. It’s one of my favorite buttercream recipes ever – ultra flavorful, not too sweet, and the natural color is just so beautiful! I’ve paired it with so many cake flavors (it truly goes with anything), but this Raspberry Chocolate Cake recipe is one classic flavor pairing I had yet to officially turn into a recipe until now. So with Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought it would be the perfect time to share this recipe with you to bake up for your loved ones! 

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Sugar & Sparrow’s Best of 2020

best cake recipes 2020

My, what a year it’s been! 2020 was hard, weird, tragic, wonderful, and just all the things at once. It’s the year I became a mom to the sweetest baby boy and the year I launched Cake Basics after dreaming about launching a series like that for so long. I’m thankful to be welcoming a brand new year and starting on some fresh goals, but first, I want to share this year’s greatest hits from my Instagram! These are the recipes, tutorials, and cake designs that you all loved the most: 

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