Sometimes sprinkles are just too sweet on a sugary cupcake. Colored coconut (see my Pina Colada cupcakes) is a nice sprinkle substitute, but coconut is extremely divisive. There are always crushed nuts. However, nuts don’t go with everything – plus, there’s that darn allergy thing to contend with. What’s left when you want a colorful sprinkle-like look for the top of your cupcakes? Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)!
Really! You have no need to fear. Panko sprinkles are a fun low-sugar decorating technique that will leave people guessing. I know that I’m not the only one who gets their entertainment forcing friends and family to play Guess the Flavor. Are you with me?
Panko does not impart a flavor to the cupcakes. I suspected that the panko sprinkles would give the cupcakes a crunch, and they will – but only if you serve the cupcakes immediately after panko-ifying them. Because the panko is on top of moist frosting, it absorbs some of the moisture and the crunch disappears within hours.
To make colored panko sprinkles, use a sandwich bag for each color you’d like. Put a little bit of panko in each bag along with a few drops of food coloring and shake. Add more color until you are happy with how things look.
What Cupcake Is Under That Panko?
The cupcake hidden under the panko is one of the many iterations of vanilla cupcake that I’ve made on the Quest for the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake. The Explorers are hard at work testing cupcakes along with me and we can’t wait to share a winning recipe with you when we have one.