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Topic: Help...How to get non-pareils to stick to smooth wedding cake?
teacherdolphin 04/14/2009 10:05 AM
I am going to be making my brother & future sister-in-laws wedding cake. They have decided that they would both like the jumbo rainbow non-pareils all over their cake.

This is a link to what they are in case somebody doesn't know:

They want a simple round design, three tier cake iced in smoothed buttercream. They are picking out ribbon to match their wedding colors. They both love sprinkles and want the cake covered in them. I wanted to know if anyone has any suggestions on how to accomplish this? How would I get them sprinkled on somewhat evenly (especially on the sides)? Also, I've become pretty good at smoothing crusting buttercream with viva and a fondant smoothing tool, but if the icing is crusted, how will they stick? If any one has any ideas or suggestions, please help me. I've never done a wedding cake and I will soon begin practicing the stacking, techniques, etc. I plan to do multiple test runs before the real deal. So, if anyone has ANY ideas, please let me know and I can try them out. Thanks so much to anyone who responds! Everyone has been so great and helpful on this site!
celena 04/14/2009 11:34 AM
i used your link to the sprinkles, which then showed ideas using them. most of them just say "add nonpareils" which of course doesn't help, but the christmas one says to press them in immediately after frosting. i would guess you have to do this before it crusts? especially since the pics they have are with the sprinkles barely touching the cake (so more of them stand out). this might become a problem. however, if they really want them on their cake, maybe they won't care if they're pushed in more because you added them after the frosting crusted!
beckthewreck 04/14/2009 11:46 AM
I'm not sure if it would work... but after letting it crust and smoothing it, could you slightly mist it? Not too much, or the dots might bleed.
It's worth a try on a practice cake...

That is a tough one though.
celena 04/14/2009 12:00 PM
i thought there was a pic on here (or an idea) of someone else requesting a cake covered in sprinkles. it might be worth the search...
teacherdolphin 04/14/2009 12:39 PM
I will have to try a couple test runs. I told them that it would probably be a pain. I suggested to them that we could do lots of tiny colored dots all over and it would look cute. They love sprinkles and want actual sprinkles, not dots. Thanks celena & beck. I will have to try pressing them in, then smoothing them. Also, maybe the misting will work. I'll lightly mist a couple of the sprinkles to see if they "bleed" easily. If not, I could try the misting the cake idea. My future SIL has always wanted a wedding cake covered in sprinkles. She must be the only one, because I searched the internet for hours and hours and could find not one single wedding cake covered in sprinkles.
hpjmom 04/14/2009 1:08 PM
I would worry that the sprinkles will bleed into the cake if they are pressed into the icing & left to sit there for a while. I think sprinkles would look better with rough textured icing, but I'm still not sure how to get them on the sides.
celena 04/14/2009 1:16 PM
maybe throwing them at the sides of the cake will work? lol - it might be good therapy. please post a pic of the final project (or any of your practice cakes, for that matter - i'm curious!
teacherdolphin 04/14/2009 2:49 PM
Celena, I thought the same thing about "taking out some frustration" and throwing them at the cake sides. That might be fun (if I took the cake outside to do it). Could you imagine the mess these are going to make? hpmom, I never even thought about them bleeding on the cake after sitting a while. I also think they would look better on a rough textured frosting. That would be better, too, because I could use a non-crusting buttercream. In a couple weeks I'll have to make a couple miniature three tier cakes, one with non-crusting buttercream and rough textured, another with smooth buttercream. Then, I can test how to apply the sprinkles, if they will bleed (if so, after how long), etc. Then, I'll have to show my SIL and see what she thinks. I'll post my findings and pictures of the practice cakes.
dottiepark 04/14/2009 3:54 PM
I wonder how they'd react with piping gel? Like if you let the icing crust, then smoothed it, then brushed it lightly with piping gel so the nonpariels would stick. Too bad they don't want fondant, because you could roll out the fondant and sprinkle it while still horizontal, lightly press the nonpariels in, and then drape. I do that with sugar cookies sometimes--sprinkle the whole rolled-out piece of dough before cutting.

Wouldn't it be easier if you had a big wide container of nonpariels, like a few pounds of them, so you could hold the cake over it and keep scooping up and reapplying? That sprinkling routine is going to get OLD!
Sugar Pie 04/14/2009 6:21 PM
I have put sprinkles on the sides of cakes before, and it's quite easy. It's much the same as putting crumbs or coconut around the bottom edge of cakes.
All you do is place your sprinkles on a cookie sheet - you will have to have a LOT of them. Ice your cake, and immediately put the sprinkles on the cake. You'll have to hold your cake with one hand, kind of tilting it to the side, take your other hand and kind of press the side of the cake with the sprinkles. Keep tilting, turning and sprinkling as you work your way around your cake. Don't press too hard. The sprinkles will stick to the icing. A lot of the sprinkles will fall off, but you will have a festive coating of them adhere to the cake. Do the sides first, then sprinkle the top of the cake. Just make sure that you do this immediately after icing the cake or the sprinkles will not stick. If you are putting sprinkles on the borders, sprinkle them as soon as you do each border.

As for getting the icing super smooth, just smooth the best that you can with your spatula or plastic bowl scraper. The sprinkles will cover a multitude of flaws.

I would suggest storing your cake in the refridgerator after you are finished so that the sprinkles won't bleed into the icing. This has never created a problem for me. And---I'm more confident delivering a chilled cake.

You can purchase the sprinlkes in bulk -8 lb. for around $13.00. I know it won't take this many, but I would rather have too many than not enough. Sprinkles are a festive item to have on hand for cakes, cupcakes, cookies and various other desserts.

You can do it!!
cakedujour 04/15/2009 7:19 AM
With small cakes I've iced the sides only and then rolled the cake over sprinkles, nuts, or coconuts that were spread on a cookie sheet. That is really hard to do with bigger cakes. Maybe if you support the cake on the top and bottom with a cake board you can do it with less fear. I have plenty of fear though so I haven't tried it with anything bigger than a ten inch cake.
mmumsie 04/15/2009 6:16 PM
Apply the sprinkles while the icing is still soft. Crusting will cause problems. Be careful the moisture from the frig. doesn't cause the "bleeding" issue for you.

At club the ladies were attaching medium size sprinkle (not Non pareils) to a crusted cake. They had to apply a thin layer of piping gel to get them to stick. Good Luck and test it out! Report back to us which method worked best.