how to: make your own sprinkles

sprinkles 1 sprinkles 2


I’ve had more than a few mishaps with funfetti cakes. If you’ve not heard of them before, the basic premise is this: sprinkles are mixed into the cake batter, the cake is baked as usual, and when it’s cut into, the sponge is full of brightly coloured speckles where the sprinkles have been.

My issue is that the sprinkles you buy nowadays are all made with natural colourings, which you can rightly argue is a very good thing… except if you want to do anything funfetti. The natural colours just blend into the cake, so you’re left with a slightly sweeter, plain cake rather than the crazy colourful one you were envisioning – and you don’t realise until it’s cut into. Gutted.
So when I stumbled across a way to make your own sprinkles, in any colour = day made. yep I’m that sad.
If you need sprinkles to match a certain colour theme for a birthday or something, you’re sorted. All you need is food colouring in your desired shade, a steady hand, and 24 hours to let them dry out. You can flavour them however you like, with vanilla, rose water or orange blossom, and you know exactly what’s gone into them (4 ingredients instead of the long list on the back of a supermarket jar).
sprinkles 3
NB. The colour from these sprinkles really comes through in funfetti, but I’ve only ever used gel food colouring (the E number kind) to make them. I can’t guarantee that the colour would come through in the same way – if at all – if you used natural colouring. If you were simply using the sprinkles as decoration, I’m sure natural food colouring would be fine.

DIY Sprinkles

  • Servings: makes about 1/3 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Recipe from Food 52
  • 115g icing sugar (or 4oz)
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract {or other flavouring}
  • pinch salt
  • roughly half of one egg white
  • desired food colouring


Sift the icing sugar into a mixing bowl, and add the vanilla, salt and egg white. Mix together to form a thick, glue-like paste.
You can divide the mixture into separate bowls at this point if you want to make a few different colours. Add food colouring to each one and mix well until you get your desired shade. Bear in mind that when they’ve dried, they’ll be a little bit paler than they are at this stage.
Spoon each colour into a plastic sandwich bag, and cut one of the corners off. Cut as little off as possible because you want the lines to be thin.
Cover some baking trays with rectangles of greaseproof paper. Pipe long thin lines of each colour across the paper.
When you’re finished/bored (I stopped after three trays!), carefully move the trays to somewhere where they won’t be disturbed, and allow to dry for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, retrieve the trays. Using a large, sharp knife, gently cut into the lines to form sprinkles. Collect them altogether in a bowl, and cover with clingfilm until you’re ready to use them. They’ll be good for 3 weeks or so.
I hope you liked this sort of ‘how to’ post – if there any you’d like to request, please leave a comment!

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