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: 

The Launch of Cake Basics

Back in July, I launched something I’ve been dreaming about for a long time: Cake Basics! It’s an ongoing series of blog posts and YouTube Videos where I show you all the essential methods of cake decorating that I swear by. 

The first set of Cake Basics show you how to build a cake from start to finish, from leveling cake layers to filling and stacking, crumb coating, frosting a smooth buttercream finish, and decorating with sprinkles. Like I mentioned, this series is meant to be ongoing – I’ve got more Cake Basics up my sleeve for 2021! 

Chocolate Ganache Drip Recipe

This chocolate ganache drip recipe + tutorial has been my number one blog post for years, but this last year I decided to revamp it and make a detailed YouTube video to go with it! 

chocolate ganache drip cake recipe and tutorial

Painted Cake in Summer Colors

This was actually the very last cake project I did before my son was born, just days before I went into labor. I was a bit tired of waiting while on maternity leave so I whipped up a Summer-inspired color palette and used them with this painted buttercream cake tutorial. Just goes to show that this style looks great in a variety of color schemes! 

painted cake by sugar and sparrow

Peppermint Mocha Cake Recipe

I created this peppermint mocha cake recipe for the holidays, but it’s really meant to be enjoyed all Winter long! Layers of peppermint mocha cake with coffee buttercream, decorated with a chocolate peppermint drip for looks and flavor.

peppermint mocha cake by sugar and sparrow

Y’all. This one is so, so good. Just the perfect balance of chocolate/coffee/peppermint and basically tastes exactly like a peppermint mocha in cake form. 

Watercolor Cake in Fall Colors

This beauty was created for a wedding photo shoot and I just love the color scheme so much! This is basically my watercolor ombrè buttercream tutorial with a Fall-inspired color palette of deep reds, peach, and dusty rose. 

watercolor buttercream cake by Sugar & Sparrow

Pumpkin Cake Recipe

The design for my pumpkin layer cake recipe is one of my most replicated of all, and I’m flattered to see your renditions every time.

pumpkin layer cake recipe by sugar and sparrow

This classic recipe is layers of tasty pumpkin cake with cream cheese buttercream, decorated to look like a cute little pumpkin patch! 

Salted Caramel Buttercream Recipe

Need I say more? This salted caramel buttercream recipe has been a hit from the start! It’s infused with my four-ingredient salted caramel sauce and is the perfect pair for so many cake flavors (or to eat by itself, it’s that good!). 

salted caramel buttercream recipe by Sugar and Sparrow

Spatula Painted Rainbow Cake

I created this beauty for AmeriColor (my favorite color gel brand!) and there are actually 20 different shades represented here!

rainbow cake buttercream by sugar and sparrow

I mixed them all up with buttercream and used this spatula painted cake technique to apply them in a rainbow layout with multiple shades. Lots of color mixing, but worth it! 

Lucky Charms Cake

I whipped this beauty up to showcase my milk & cereal cake recipe and its versatility. The original recipe uses Froot Loops, but you can use any cereal you’d like! For this version, I separated the marshmallows out from the cereal and used the ground cereal in the cake batter + the marshmallows to decorate. I’ve also seen this recipe paired with Cap’n Crunch, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Fruity Pebbles! 

lucky charms cake by sugar and sparrow

And that’s a wrap on 2020 for Sugar & Sparrow! I’ve got so many plans for 2021 that I can’t wait to start on: more Cake Basics to help you grow your cake making skills further, more vegan recipes, more frequent emails, writing my first eBook, and creating some fun cake designs I’ve been dreaming up! I’m always adding to the list of things I want to do, so let me know if there’s something you want to see next year by commenting below. Wishing you all the happiest new year!


  1. Chaelene von Brause

    Hello all the way from New Zealand
    Just discovered your page and am absolutely loving it…all your ideas and tutorials are awesome!! Thanks :0
    Quick question…for a baby shower cake, 2 tiers, what sizes would you recommend for tiers and what are your thoughts on the bottom cake iced in fondant and top with buttercream??
    Any feed back and suggestions are greatly appreciated
    Keep up the great work please so I can carry on learning

    • Thanks for the kind words, Chaelene! To figure out the best size for your tiers, I would start by figuring out how many guests will be eating the cake. That will give you a better idea of what sizes to make so you have the right amount for people to eat. I like to have a 2 inch difference when making tiered cakes (ie a 4 inch on a 6 inch, 6 inch on 8 inch, etc). And I’m not much help about fondant icing since I don’t work with it but I would recommend using the same finish on both tiers (all fondant or all buttercream). Hope that helps!

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