Sprinkles ride a wave of nostalgia

Ultimate Birthday Cake from Baked Occasions

Who could have predicted that a boxed cake mix gimmick would endure for decades? That’s exactly what happened to rainbow sprinkles, or ‘Funfetti’ as it was called by Pillsbury in the late 1980s. While sprinkles had been around for some time before Pillsbury unleased Funfetti cake onto the world, putting the sprinkles on the inside of the cake instead of just on the top sparked a craze. Now the people who grew up with Funfetti birthday cakes are putting them on even more desserts and other foods, according to Julia Moskin at The New York Times

Moskin chronicles the rise of Funfetti from its early days to its recent resurgence in popularity. She notes that today’s star pastry chefs like Christina Tosi and Candace Nelson of the aptly-named Sprinkles bakery in Los Angeles have made the kitschy decoration seem sophisticated. (Nelson has just released The Sprinkles Baking Book, which is currently being indexed.) Now you can find rainbow sprinkles (or jimmies as they are called in the Northeast US) on everything from cookies to cocktails and even as design elements on cell phone cases and press-on nails. 

Colorful Funfetti has a special affinity for photo friendly social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram, which helped its rise to popularity. Says popular blogger Molly Yeh“We are obsessed with Funfetti, and we’re the first generation to grow up with social media. The combination of that and nostalgia explains why rainbow sprinkles are all over the internet.”

The EYB Library contains over 200 online recipes for rainbow sprinkles, including the Ultimate birthday cake from ‘Baked Occasions’ (Bake the Book) from indexed blog Serious Eats pictured above. 

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  • Jane  on  November 6, 2016

    Interesting to know from EYB members what these are called around the world. Growing up in the UK we called them hundreds and thousands. At birthday parties we would have them sprinkled on bread and butter (which now I find the thought of quite disgusting!). They were called fairy bread – we may have brought the idea with us from Australia where we lived until I was 5.

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