All posts by Whitney

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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Peppermint Mocha Cake Recipe

peppermint mocha cake recipe by sugar and sparrow

Now that I’ve shared my Eggnog Cake Recipe and my Hot Cocoa Cake recipe, it’s only fitting that I close out my 2020 holiday cakes with another that’s based on a festive drink: this decadent Peppermint Mocha Cake! This one may be my favorite one of all and it even impressed my husband, who is not a coffee drinker or a big fan of peppermint. We could not stop tasting it and talking about how good it was, so I am confident that you’ll love it too. Oh, and just look at that candy cane drip. 

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Hot Cocoa Cake Recipe with Marshmallows

hot cocoa cake recipe by sugar and sparrow

I know I’m not alone in saying that a mug of hot cocoa with marshmallows on top is downright nostalgic. It’s a distinct flavor combo that is enjoyable at any age, reminiscent of winter and the Holiday season. Remember how I talked about having a list of Holiday cake flavors I wanted to create? Well, this one has been on the top of the list for a few years now. So as soon as I had the energy toward the end of my maternity leave, I decided to do some recipe testing and check it off the list. Surprisingly, this one didn’t take much testing at all! It is packed with hot cocoa flavor, marshmallowey goodness, and all the nostalgia. Behold: 

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Festive Eggnog Cake Recipe

eggnog cake recipe by sugar and sparrow

Of all the years, 2020 has everyone ready to kick off the Holiday season earlier than ever. It almost feels like the last chance we have at a little magic and I am here for it. So much that as soon as I felt like I made it out of the newborn haze of maternity leave (and realized I could wear Bubs around the kitchen in my Solly Wrap), I got inspired to start testing all the Holiday cake recipes I’d been dying to try since last Christmas. First on the list: this tasty and festive Eggnog Cake! 

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Recipe

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by sugar and sparrow

Some say that peanut butter and jelly are the perfect match for each other, but I say peanut butter and chocolate are even better. It’s the best blend of salty and sweet ever, and the sole flavor inspiration behind this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. If you’re a chocolate peanut butter fan, this is the cake of your dreams! Behold:

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Almond Joy Cake Recipe

Almond Joy Cake Recipe by Sugar and Sparrow

If there are fun-sized Almond Joys anywhere in my general proximity, I will eat them. All of them. I just love the flavor combination of sweet coconut, milk chocolate, and almond. It’s a taste trifecta and if you agree, you’re going to LOVE this cake! Just imagine all the textures and flavors in an Almond Joy candy bar, only in cake form, and behold this beauty:

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Perfect Pumpkin Layer Cake Recipe

pumpkin layer cake recipe by sugar and sparrow

These past few months have been crazy. Between the demands of the holiday season coming up and working on a never-ending list of house projects, I am feeling perpetually frazzled these days. Despite the chaos, I thought a little recipe creating sesh would be perfect for me because baking does something good to my soul. I was right. I put on some Springsteen and decided to try my hand at creating the perfect pumpkin layer cake. Five rounds of bakes and a handful of albums later, I am so thrilled with how this Pumpkin Layer Cake turned out.

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Golden Milk Layer Cake Recipe

golden milk latte cake recipe by sugar and sparrow

I have an ongoing list of cake flavors I want to make, and this Golden Milk Cake recipe has been on it for two whole years! I just love golden milk lattes and thought a layer cake version would be a fun flavor to try in cake form. So when I was killing time on baby watch in my final weeks of pregnancy, I decided to break out the turmeric and get a little creative in the kitchen. Not only did I learn some surprising things in the testing process, but the end result was so tasty and timely for Fall baking. Whether you’re a turmeric tea lover or just looking for something different than your average tea cake, this one’s for you!

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Tips For Perfect Chocolate Ganache Drip Cakes

chocolate ganache drip cake recipe and tutorial

One of my favorite easy things to dress up a cake is to do a chocolate ganache drip finish. Over the years, my ability to create the drip look has definitely grown, and I get tons of questions asking what my secret is. The truth is, chocolate ganache has definitely put me through the wringer before (especially white chocolate ganache, which used to be my absolute nemesis). After figuring out the perfect ratio for chocolate to heavy whipping cream and learning the do’s and dont’s of drip cakes, I’ve got it down to a science these days. And now you will too!

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A Guide to Coloring Buttercream Frosting

how to color buttercream frosting with color gels

I think one of the coolest things about cake is how artistic it can be, and a big part of that comes from the freedom to create any buttercream color you could possibly imagine! In fact, when planning out my cakes I love to nerd out on the color palette and get a real thrill when the colors turn out exactly how I pictured. As with anything, getting my buttercream shades just right has come with tons of practice and finding products I love to help make it happen. 

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