Striped Buttercream Circus Animals Party Cake

pink and white striped circus cake with sprinkles

This tutorial was originally a guest post I wrote for SprinklePop’s blog. It’s too good not to re-share here, mostly because these Circus Animals-inspired sprinkles are so nostalgic and they were the perfect finishing touch for this party cake. Enjoy!

In my memories of childhood snacks, Circus Animals were an extra special treat. My eyes still get wide when I see the iconic pink and white frosted cookies covered in sprinkles, so when I found out that this A Frosted Affair sprinkle mix by SprinklePop was largely inspired by them, my heart definitely soared! I just knew I had to create a fun pink and white sprinkled cake with major Circus Animal cookie vibes to celebrate my love for all of it.

pink and white striped cake with sprinkles

Just one look at the colors going on in the A Frosted Affair sprinkle mix will transport you back to childhood. The larger pink and white spherical sprinkles are perfectly intermixed with rainbow-colored jimmies and nonpareils. It’s all the colors of Circus Animal cookies in sprinkle form and made me giddy just opening the bottle! Look at how beautiful these sprinkles are:

circus animals sprinkles by SprinklePop

Going with the fun circus-inspired theme, I decided to make the cake striped with pink and white buttercream. It’s the first time I’ve ever used a cake comb for striping the cake, and I found it to be a serious hack for creating perfectly level and evenly-spaced stripes! I’ll show you all the tips I learned below, so if you’ve been dying to create a buttercream striped cake and haven’t yet tried the cake comb technique, I highly recommend it. It’ll save you so much time and stress. And just look at how pretty the sprinkles look on these stripes!

striped buttercream cake tutorial
circus animals cake by Sugar and Sparrow

I whipped up a video of the entire process, from striping the cake to adding the sprinkles, so you can visually see the techniques before reading all about them in the tutorial below:

You Will Need

Step 1: Frost The Cake

With your crumb coated cake on the turntable, frost the cake with the vanilla buttercream and use the icing scraper and angled spatula to create a smooth buttercream finish.

how to frost a cake with buttercream

If you’re looking for tips on how to get the buttercream extra smooth and level, this blog post will give you all the info you need!

Step 2: Comb The Cake

With the smooth buttercream frosting still wet to the touch, hold the cake comb at a 45 degree angle toward your body and gently indent the cake with it. Be sure to wipe the cake comb clean each time you go around the cake.

using a cake comb on buttercream
buttercream stripes cake tutorial

Continue the process of combing the cake and wiping the comb clean until you’ve got even grooves in the buttercream all around the cake. They should be about ⅛ to ¼ of an inch deep when you’re finished.

Step 3: Create The Buttercream Stripes

Tint all of the leftover buttercream a light pink shade using your favorite color gel. I used a tiny amount of Americolor Electric Pink to get the shade pictured. After the buttercream has been tinted, load it into a piping bag and snip off ¼ inch opening. Fill each of the grooves on the cake with the pink buttercream and be sure to overfill the grooves rather than underfill them.

how to make buttercream stripes on cake

When you’re finished filling all of the grooves with pink buttercream, use a clean icing scraper to smooth the cake. It will look a bit messy at first, but keep smoothing the cake (wipe your icing scraper clean in between smoothing!) until perfect buttercream stripes are revealed.

perfect buttercream stripes tutorial

Once your buttercream stripes are looking amazing, swipe your angled spatula over the top of the cake, from the outer edges inward, to create sharp edges.

how to make a striped buttercream cake

Step 4: Add The Sprinkles

With your striped buttercream still wet to the touch, add the A Frosted Affair sprinkles all around the bottom edges of the cake. The easiest way to do this is to pour the sprinkles into the palm of your hand, then gently press them to the cake.

how to add sprinkles to cake

When you finish sprinkling the bottom edges, gently place the sprinkles in a floating pattern around the top two thirds of the cake. You can use a pair of tweezers for this part, but I find that pressing a sprinkle to my finger before gently touching the cake with it is the easiest way to add sprinkles one by one without making marks in the cake finish.

how to put sprinkles on a cake

Once you’re happy with the sprinkled sides, pop the cake in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to let everything firm up before continuing the decorating process.

Step 5: Decorate The Top

Prepare a piping bag by fitting it with Wilton Tip 1M and filling it with more pink buttercream, then pipe swirls all around the top edge of the cake. Generously add A Frosted Affair sprinkles to the swirl border and fill in the entire top of the cake with more sprinkles if you’d like. Then, place a Circus Animal cookie on top of each buttercream swirl.

cake topped with circus animals

And there you have it: a fun, Circus Animal-inspired cake with the prettiest sprinkles ever! It’s perfect for a circus-themed party or to get a little nostalgic.

pink and white striped cak

For more cake tutorial videos, be sure to follow along on my YouTube channel! And if you’re inspired to make this cake, be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see it. I love to know what you’re caking!


  1. Hi there! I want to try making this for my birthday and wanted to ask how many layers does the 6″ cake have? Two layers? Three?

    Thanks for any help!!

    • So excited for you to make this cake, Amanda! Happy Birthday!! I used three 6 inch layers for this design 🙂

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