When I recently mentioned sprinkles in the office, my colleagues wistfully reminisced about the post-baseball practice ice cream cones and birthday parties of their childhoods, all of which included a hefty dose of sprinkles.
But sprinkles aren't just for children: Last year, my sister requested I bake her a birthday cake, and her sole request was that it be covered in sprinkles. It was the most birthday cake of all the birthday cakes I’ve ever made her, and it made us feel ten years old again (in the best way).
Now, listen, I know that sprinkles, which are comprised almost entirely of sugar and wax, are never going to qualify as health food. But the lurid, artificially colored ones also come with preservatives and chemicals added to achieve their bright hue, which can put a damper on any party.
As a result, I tend to favor naturally colored sprinkles — except most options just don't have the same vibrancy as their classic counterparts. Thankfully, King Arthur recently started carrying these naturally dyed sprinkles from women-owned brand Supernatural that are just as colorful and bakeable as conventional offerings, but with no artificial ingredients: just fruit and vegetable colors for a full rainbow spectrum.
Lately, the King Arthur Test Kitchen has been inspired by Supernatural and leaning into sprinkles. You might have seen a sprinkle-laden version of our Recipe of the Year: Birthday Coffee Cake, a tender, almond-scented cake that features sprinkles in the batter, the crumbs on top, and as a final garnish over the glazed cake. We’ve also just released these Oatmeal Cream Pie Bars, a recipe that fully embraces its nostalgic vibes with a garnish of colorful sprinkles on top of marshmallow fluff icing.
And then there’s these Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich Bars, a genius recipe that relies on no-churn homemade ice cream sandwiched between chewy chocolate chip cookie bars. After freezing, the ice cream edges are dipped in a coating of sprinkles for a little extra color and crunch — in other words, pure summer vibes.
But why stop there? Maybe you want to make an old-fashioned ice cream sundae with homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Hot Fudge Sauce, and a hefty shower of sprinkles. Or go fully over-the-top with this Brownie Sundae Set, which not only comes with a sprinkle jar but also fudge brownie mix and a brownie bowl pan.
You can turn a breakfast plate into a party with sprinkle-topped pancakes and waffles. Or take a cue from Cupcake Season and garnish any of our recently debuted cupcake recipes — might I suggest Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes? — with a dash of color.
We’re declaring it now: Summer is the unofficial season of sprinkles. How will you celebrate?
Pick up a jar of Supernatural sprinkles to make your baking a little more fun, and while you’re at it, check out their naturally colored food colors too.
Cover photo (Birthday Coffee Cake) by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne.