The most common questions, that we get, when it comes to sprinkles, are following. Can I use sprinkles in cake batter? Will the sprinkles melt in the oven? Will the sprinkles lose their colour in the oven?
There are several pointers you should follow when baking with sprinkles, so the answer is not simple yes or no. Some sprinkles are perfect for baking, but not all of them.
Nonpareils are one of the sprinkles that you should not bake in the oven. Nonpareils will lose their colour, when getting wet. This means that when mixed in your cake or cookie batter, they will bleed into the batter, and will leave streaks of colour to your batter. Rainbow nonpareils can even turn your cake batter into something that looks more like mud than delicious cake. Nonpareils are the perfect sprinkles though, to use as finishing sprinkles. Meaning that you would add them to your edible creations, once they are bakes and cooled.
Another type of sprinkles that you do not mix into your cake batter, are sugar pearls or cachous. Cachous are large and super hard sprinkles and can cause biting/choking hazard for anyone who consumes them, without knowing that they are in the cake. Cachous also quite often tend to bleed to the cake batter, so this would be another reason, why not to use them.
Sprinkle rods are also not really suitable for baking. Rods are long oval shape sprinkles, that are usually built up, around raw piece of pasta, generally spaghetti. Once placed in the cake batter, the rod more than likely will hold its shape. But similarly, to cachous, rods can be a real hazard when consumed, as the raw pasta would still be in the same shape and density.
Sanding or pearl sugar could be used in the cake batter, though in saying that the sugar pieces usually lose their shape during the baking. So, once the cake is cooked, you might have just tiny little coloured spot in your cake, and nothing else.
The best sprinkles for baking are most likely jimmies. Jimmies have usually been coated with shiny sugar coating, that will lock the colour in the sprinkle, and stops it from bleeding. Jimmies that have matte finish to them though, are more than likely custom coloured and again, this custom-made colouring, can bleed to the batter.
So, as you can see, it depends a lot on the actual sprinkles you have in hand, and large variety isn’t really suitable for baking. So, whenever unsure, use the sprinkles as a final decoration on your bakings and do not put them in the oven with you cakes or cupcakes you’re baking.