This Funfetti Cake is made with three deliciously moist vanilla cake layers with rainbow sprinkles gently folded into the batter to be evenly dispersed — complete with a smooth vanilla buttercream! As one of my reader’s daughter’s said “it’s SPRINKLE-RIFIC!” And I couldn’t agree more!
I feel like it’s appropriate to post this funfetti birthday cake during my birthday month! Other favorite birthday cake recipes of mine are my Harry Potter Birthday Cake (can’t go wrong with a lil Hagrid birthday love), my Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (chocolate heaven anyone?!) and another sprinkle cake favorite is my Smash Cake Recipe!
Why This Recipe Works
- Best funfetti cake recipe. I’m so excited to share this recipe with you because I tested this vanilla funfetti cake three times before feeling confident about it. I wanted to get it just right. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
- Moist funfettic cake. This homemade funfetti cake (aka confetti cake) has the perfect amount of sprinkles, the crumb is just right and it’s so yummy! My sister came over and we had like three-day-old leftovers of this cake and she was gushing about it, so if you don’t take my word, you can take my kids’ word, my husband’s word AND my sister’s that this recipe is amazing.
- Better than a box mix!! I know people will often use the cake mix as a go-to for a birthday confetti cake, but it is FAR from the same as this guys! Once you make this, you’ll never want to make the dry and tasteless boxed cake mixes ever again. Pinky promise.
- Cake Flour: Fluff your flour and use a spoon to fill your measuring cups (this keeps the flour light. If you scoop and shake the flour into the measuring cups, you’ll end up with more flour than you need and risk a dry cake!) I recommend using cake flour since it is lighter than all-purpose flour and gives the cake a soft crumb.
- Baking Soda: When the baking soda combines with the acid in the buttermilk, it reacts and gets bubbly. That’s how we get the leavening for the batter.
- Unsalted Butter: Softened to room temperature. If you use salted butter, be sure to cut down on the salt you add to the batter.
- Eggs: At room temperature. Always use room temperature wet ingredients in cakes! The dry ingredients will incorporate better with the wet and you’ll get a lighter and more even bake.
- Clear Vanilla Extract: The secret to achieving the genuinely sweet and “funfetti” taste and the pure white color of the cake is to use clear vanilla extract.
- Buttermilk: At room temperature. I’d recommend real buttermilk over a substitute option.
- Sprinkles: This is how we get that classic rainbow-colored cake look inside! See my Recipe FAQs for what sprinkles are the best to use.
- Heavy Cream: I like using heavy cream over milk because as you’re beating the frosting, the heavy cream whips up a little bit and gives the frosting a much lighter and fluffier texture.
- Prepare the pans. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottoms of each pan with a circular piece of parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray and set aside.
- Combine the dry ingredients. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together 3 1/4 cups + 2 T cake flour, 3 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt.
- Combine wet ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add 1 cup softened butter and 2 cups granulated sugar. Beat together for 2-3 minutes (until light and fluffy). Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating for 30-60 seconds after each egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula between each. Add 3 tsp clear vanilla extract. Beat again.
- Alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and 1 3/4 cup room temperature buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix!
- Fold in the sprinkles. Using a rubber spatula, fold in 3/4 cup sprinkles. Only fold a few times to avoid the colors spreading.
- Pour into pans and bake. Evenly distribute the cake batter among the 3 cake pans. Spread the batter in the pans evenly. Bake for 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes come out with a few moist crumbs but no wet batter. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the buttercream frosting. Beat 1 1/2 cups softened butter for 2 minutes on medium high speed. Add 6-7 cups sifted powdered sugar, 2 tsp vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Add 1 T of heavy cream at a time until the frosting is a spreadable consistency.
- Assemble the funfetti cake! Place a funfetti cake layer on a cake board or cake stand. Frost and even layer of frosting on top using an offset spatula. Place the second cake layer on top and frost an even layer of frosting on top. Place the third cake layer on top, bottom side up.
- Apply a crumb coat. A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting covering the entire cake. Once you have the crumb coat, place the funfetti layer cake in the freezer for 10-15 minutes or until the frosting is firm.
- Frost and decorate. Remove the cake from the freezer and frost the whole cake in the buttercream frosting. Add sprinkles or any desired decoration. Slice and serve! Enjoy!
It doesn’t take long for the sprinkles to be evenly distributed. If you get carried away and start mixing the batter too much, the cake batter will start to turn gray — not pretty!
This recipe calls for cake flour, so use cake flour! — The protein content in cake flour is about 8%, while all-purpose flour has a protein content of 13%. So ultimately, cake flour will give you a lighter and more tender cake.
If you aren’t a fan of American buttercream frosting you can frost this cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
The crumb coat is important because it will set in the freezer enough to be able to frost the entire cake without getting a bunch of crumbs in your buttercream as you’re frosting.
I use my kitchen scale to divide the batter among the cake pans. This is the best way to get even layers!
I made this cake in three 8-inch round cake pans. You could do this in four 6-inch round cake pans, too. I haven’t tested the recipe with this cake size, so you’ll have to keep an eye on the oven to determine when the cake will be done. I would check around the 15-20 minute mark by turning the light on in your oven and peeking in.
Sprinkles — Don’t use nonpareils (the tiny circular ball sprinkles) because they bleed their color. You can use confetti quins or rainbow jimmies sprinkles in the cake batter. If you’re looking for fun sprinkles to use as decoration, I love Sweetapolita’s and Sprinkle Pops’ sprinkle mixes. There are some really cute ones!
I used this electric pink food coloring to frost the top of the cake. I love this brand of food coloring. It’s gel, and the pigment is insane! You can find a handful of beautiful colors here. Then I just put some extra sprinkles in my hands and pressed them onto the outside of the cake right after frosting it.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
To make ahead of time, let the cake layers cool completely then wrap in two layers of plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 1-2 days or in the freezer for up to 7 days. If freezing for longer than 1 week, I would add an additional layer of aluminum foil.
Remove from the freezer and let thaw in the fridge overnight.
Store the frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight and then on the counter until room temperature. Beat again to return to a fluffy, spreadable consistency.
Store any leftover cake slices in the fridge in an airtight container for 5-6 days.
For information on storing and freezing cakes, check out my How to Store and Freeze Cakes guide!
This funfetti cake recipe makes a white-colored, vanilla-flavored cake batter filled with rainbow-colored sprinkles and topped with a fluffy vanilla buttercream frosting. This cake is made from scratch and has a moist, light and delicate crumb texture, perfect for any birthday celebration!
Funfetti cake is a white-colored, vanilla-flavored cake filled with rainbow-colored sprinkles.
If a recipe calls for cake flour, I would use cake flour. All-purpose flour has a higher protein content so the way in will bake up is different than cake flour. If you choose to use all-purpose flour, I can’t guarantee the same result in the recipe. However, if you do, you’ll use 3 cups of all purpose flour rather than 3 1/4 cups + 2 Tablespoons of cake flour.
Be sure to use sprinkles that won’t bleed. See my Recipe Tips for more on which sprinkles are the best to use. Also, be sure to not overmix your batter (ever, ha) and especially not after putting the sprinkles in. The recipe says fold in the sprinkles. If you overmix or aren’t gentle with mixing in the sprinkles, the color can bleed.
I used jimmies sprinkles in the cake batter. Don’t use nonpareils (the tiny circular sprinkles) because they will bleed their color and affect the color of your cake. With that said, any sprinkles you use, if you over mix your cake batter with the sprinkles in there, the color of your cake will change.
This cake is moist as is, however, if you’d like a super extra moist cake, I would use 1 1/4 cups buttermilk and 1/2 cup full fat sour cream. While I’ve made plenty of cakes with either sour cream or Greek yogurt that have turned out amazing, I haven’t tested this cake recipe with it. So, keep that in mind. If you do try it, let me know how it turned out in the comments below.
Yes! You can make this cake in advance and freeze it. Make the cake layers as instructed and let them cool completely. Once cooled fully, wrap each cake layer in plastic wrap and then wrap each layer again in aluminum foil. You can freeze the cake layers for 2-3 months. Pull the cake layers out of the freezer and thaw in the fridge overnight. Then make the frosting and assemble!
More Specialty Cake Recipes
- 3 1/4 cups + 2 Tablespoons cake flour - (spooned and leveled)
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter - softened to room temperature
- 2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs - at room temperature
- 3 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk - at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sprinkles
- Preheat to 350°F. Grease 3- 8 inch round cake pans. line each with circular parchment paper, and then grease and flour the parchment paper and the bottom and sides of the pans. Set aside
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 2-3 minutes. The butter and sugar will appear light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition for 30- 60 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the clear vanilla extract and mix until combined.
- With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk, starting and finishing with the flour. Mix until just combined.
- Fold in the sprinkles.
- Evenly distribute the batter amongst the 3 pans. Bake for 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake pans from the oven and set on a wire rack for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, turn the cakes out of the pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium high speed for about 2 minutes.
- Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix. Add the heavy cream 1 T. at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
- To assemble. Place a generous amount of frosting on one of the cakes, spread until it’s in an even layer. Add a second cake to the top of the frosting. Add a generous amount of frosting to the top of the cake and spread until the top of the cake is evenly covered.
- Finish by placing the third and final cake atop of the frosting. Do a thin crumb coat on the top and along the outside of the entire cake. Place the cake in the fridge (or freezer) for 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
- Remove from the fridge or freezer and add the remaining frosting to the top and sides of the cake. Add sprinkles or additional decorations.