Sprinkle Heart Cupcakes

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Sprinkle Heart Cupcakes are the perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, or any special occasion. Use this easy cupcake decorating trick to make cute, customized, sprinkle-covered cupcakes in no time!

White cupcake with heart sprinkles around the edge and a heart-shaped sprinkle shape in the center

🧁 Easy Valentine’s Day Cupcake Decorations

I’m always on the lookout for decorating hacks–quick tricks to make stunning desserts in a short amount of time. (Heaven knows I love an intricate baking project, like these Chocolate Rose Cupcakes, but sometimes mama just needs to whip out a few dozen cupcakes, y’know?)

These Sprinkle Heart Cupcakes are such a great cupcake decorating trick. All you need is a mini cookie cutter and some small sprinkles, and you can make eye-popping cupcakes in just a few minutes! I shared this technique on Instagram recently and folks went crazy for it, and I hope you love it too! Read on to learn what you’ll need and exactly how to do it.

If you’re looking for more easy Valentine’s Day dessert inspiration, you’ll love my Love Potion #9 Valentine’s Day punch, Red Velvet Cake in a Jar, or Brown Butter Sugar Cookies.

White cupcake with a pink heart-shaped sprinkle shape in the center

🧾 What You’ll Need

Components

This decorating technique can be used with a wide variety of recipes! I’ve linked to some of my favorites below, but if you have a tried and true recipe you love, chances are it’ll probably work to make Sprinkle Heart Cupcakes. Just pick a cupcake and a frosting flavor, and get ready to sprinkle!

Cupcake Recipes to Try

Frosting Recipes to Try

Storebought vs Homemade

Looking for shortcuts? You can definitely use a cake mix to make cupcakes, or even buy baked cupcakes to decorate.

I do not recommend using store-bought canned frosting for this technique (ie, the frosting sold in plastic cans near the cake mixes.) It can work, but it is very soft and you won’t get a nice smooth finish on your cupcakes. If your grocery store sells American buttercream-style frosting in the bakery section, that will work just fine.

Group of cupcakes with red and pink heart-shaped sprinkle shapes in the center

🥄 Equipment

Here’s everything you need to decorate these cute cupcakes!
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Group of cupcakes with red and pink hearts made of sprinkles in the center

📋 Instructions

How to Make Shapes Out of Sprinkles

Once you have the ingredients and equipment, making sprinkle-topped cupcakes is a fast process.

A quick note on timing: if you are using a meringue-based buttercream (like Swiss meringue) you can frost all the cupcakes at once, then decorate them after.

If you are using an American-style buttercream (made with powdered sugar + butter or shortening), you will want to work in batches of 2-3 cupcakes at a time, so the frosting does not form a crust before you put the sprinkles on.

If the frosting does start to crust and the sprinkles won’t stick, you can brush the top with a bit of thinned-out corn syrup to get the sprinkles to stay.

Red velvet cupcake being frosted with white buttercream

Step 1: Fit a piping bag with a large round tip or coupler. Fill it with frosting. Pipe a flat swirl on top of a cupcake. You don’t want a ton of frosting, just one fairly even swirl across the top should do it.

Small spatula smoothing the top of a cupcake with white buttercream

Step 2: Place a mini spatula in a mug of hot water for 15-20 seconds, to heat up the metal. Wipe off the spatula to remove any water, then start moving it across the top of the cupcake with gentle pressure. The heat from the spatula will help smooth out the frosting. The swirl marks will disappear and you will be left with a flat, round surface.

Hand dipping the edges of a frosted cupcake in heart-shaped sprinkles

Step 3: Hold the cupcake over a bowl of mini heart sprinkles. Gently press the side of the cupcake into the sprinkles, then rotate and press again until the cupcake has an even layer of sprinkles around the edge.

Placing a small heart-shaped cookie cutter on top of a cupcake

Step 4: Set a mini heart-shaped cookie cutter in the center of the frosting cupcake, and press down gently to adhere it.

Filling the inside of a cookie cutter with small round sprinkles

Step 5: Use a small bowl or spoon to transfer some red or pink nonpareils to the center of the cookie cutter. Tilt it from side to side to evenly distribute the sprinkles, then gently use a finger to press them into the top of the cupcake.

Removing a cookie cutter from the top of a frosted cupcake

Step 6: Carefully remove the cookie cutter, displaying your perfect sprinkle shape! Repeat with the remaining cupcakes, until all of them are decorated.

Cake covered with red sparkling sugar, with an empty white space in the center in the shape of a heart
Sparkling Heart Cake made by reversing the sprinkle heart method

💭 Variations

There are a lot of ways to make this technique your own! In addition to swapping in your favorite cupcake and frosting flavors, consider one of these variations:

  • Different sprinkles: any small sprinkles will work. I personally love how sanding sugar looks using this technique!
  • Different shapes: any small cookie cutter should work for this. I recommend keeping the shapes fairly simple–extremely detailed shapes might not come out clearly with sprinkles.
  • Make a cake: use this technique on a whole cake instead of cupcakes!
  • Reverse the sprinkles: instead of putting sprinkles inside the cookie cutter, cover the area outside the cutter instead. Or do a mix of both on different cupcakes! You can see how effective this technique is on the red cake above.
White cupcake with a red heart-shaped sprinkle shape in the center

❤️ More Heart Desserts You’ll Love

Don’t miss the step-by-step tutorial showing how to make Sprinkle Heart Cupcakescheck out the web story here!

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on the recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram @elabau, or use #sugarhero on IG!

Close-up of a cupcake with a red heart-shaped sprinkle shape in the center

How to Make Sprinkle Heart Cupcakes (Decorating Tutorial)

5 from 6 votes
Sprinkle Heart Cupcakes are the perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, or any special occasion. Use this easy cupcake decorating hack to make cute, customized, sprinkle-covered cupcakes in no time!
You can use this technique with almost any frosting and cupcake recipe, and swap out the heart shape for another mini shape. See the Note below for some frosting pointers!
Prep Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr
Servings 24 cupcakes
Calories

Ingredients
 

  • Baked and cooled cupcakes
  • Frosting, (about 6 cups for 24 cupcakes)
  • Piping bag
  • Round tip or coupler
  • Mini spatula
  • Mini heart-shaped sprinkles
  • Mini heart cookie cutter
  • Red nonpareil sprinkles
  • Pink nonpareil sprinkles

Instructions
 

  • Fit a piping bag with a large round tip or coupler, and fill it with frosting.
  • Pipe a flat swirl on top of a cupcake. You don’t want a ton of frosting, just one fairly even swirl across the top should do it.
    Red velvet cupcake being frosted with white buttercream
  • Place a mini spatula in a mug of hot water for 15-20 seconds, to heat up the metal. Wipe off the spatula to remove any water, then start moving it across the top of the cupcake with gentle pressure. The heat from the spatula will help smooth out the frosting. The swirl marks will disappear and you will be left with a flat, round surface.
    Small spatula smoothing the top of a cupcake with white buttercream
  • Hold the cupcake over a bowl of mini heart sprinkles. Gently press the side of the cupcake into the sprinkles, then rotate and press again until the cupcake has an even layer of sprinkles around the edge.
    Hand dipping the edges of a frosted cupcake in heart-shaped sprinkles
  • Set a mini heart-shaped cookie cutter in the center of the frosting cupcake, and press down gently to adhere it.
    Placing a small heart-shaped cookie cutter on top of a cupcake
  • Use a small bowl or spoon to transfer some red or pink nonpareils to the center of the cookie cutter. Tilt it from side to side to evenly distribute the sprinkles, then gently use a finger to press them into the top of the cupcake.
    Filling the inside of a cookie cutter with small round sprinkles
  • Carefully remove the cookie cutter, displaying your perfect sprinkle shape! Repeat with the remaining cupcakes, until all of them are decorated.
    Removing a cookie cutter from the top of a frosted cupcake

Recipe Notes

If you are using a meringue-based buttercream (like Swiss meringue), the frosting will not form a crust, and you can frost all of the cupcakes at once, then continue decorating.
If you are using an American-style buttercream (made primarily with powdered sugar and butter), the frosting will form a crust as it sits at room temperature. You will need to work in batches of 2-3 cupcakes at a time, so the frosting does not crust over before you can get the sprinkles to stick.
If the frosting does start to crust, you can brush the top with a bit of thinned-out corn syrup to get the sprinkles to stick.

MEASURING TIPS

Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.

Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.
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2-photo collage of Sprinkle Heart Cupcakes with text overlay for Pinterest
Elizabeth LaBau

About Elizabeth LaBau

I’m Elizabeth, but you can call me SugarHero! I’m a former pastry chef turned blogger, cookbook author, and baking instructor, and I consider myself sugar’s #1 fan. Learn more from my About page, or connect with me on social media:

What You'll Need
Editor's Note

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which is an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  For more information, see my Disclaimer and Disclosure Policy.

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