Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Funfetti Layer Cake.

Buttery vanilla layer cake filled to the brim with rainbow sprinkles and finished off with sweet vanilla frosting with piped pink and blue border. No celebration is complete without a funfetti layer cake! Learn how to make it completely from scratch using this detailed homemade recipe.

Sally's Baking Addiction Recipe - Funfetti Layer Cake

ITSMA BIRTHDAY!

30!

Funfetti Layer Cake-3

In the spirit of this “no-more-excuses-you’re-seriously-a-grown-up-now-because-you’re-thirty” day, I’m sharing the most obnoxiously vibrant, playful recipe in all the land. I’ve shared a plethora of sprinkle-packed cakes on my blog before:

Each one is a little different in both preparation and ingredients, which just goes to show that there are many ways to enjoy this classic birthday masterpiece.

I made today’s cake for my birthday. Sidenote. Is that weird? I always make my own birthday cake? Do you do that too? #bakerproblems

For my 30th, I wanted a towering colorful cake with a soft, cakey interior that is perfectly moist without tasting greasy. Lots of vanilla and butter flavors in each crumb with a sweet vanilla frosting that can only be compared to big fluffy clouds. I realize these are high standards for a cake but it’s completely doable. Are you ready? Apron = on. Butter = softening. Sprinkles = obviously I just dropped those on the floor. Let’s do this!

This Funfetti Layer Cake recipe is on sallysbakingaddiction.com!

First thing’s first. Look at this cake. This is a huge three layer funfetti monster. Expect high amounts of each ingredient. To get that ultimate fluffy, cakey, soft crumb– we are going to cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer. Oh HEYYY look what I’m giving away right now. Let’s get the butter and sugar nice and creamy. To this, we’re going to add vanilla extract and eggs. Lots of vanilla for flavor. Make sure you’re using pure vanilla, none of that imitation stuff.

*About those egg whites. We are going to whip those until they are thick and foamy, then fold them into the batter last. Those voluminous, airy egg whites help create a fluffy cake with less likelihood of a dense crumb. I do something similar with my red velvet cake and love the results.

Make sure you’re using buttermilk. Not skim, 1%, 2%, whole milk, etc. Buttermilk is necessary not only to neutralize the baking soda, but to give the cake a luxuriously moist, rich flavor. If you don’t usually keep it on hand, please read my recipe notes about making your own DIY buttermilk at home.

One more thing about the batter– the sprinkles. I get questions about sprinkles on a daily basis. Confusing little gems, aren’t they? Do not use nonpareils (the little balls) in this cake. They will bleed their color as you fold them in, resulting in a less-than-appetizing color cake. Use rainbow sprinkles, also known as jimmies. I buy them in bulk from here. Or you can use confetti quins. Confetti quins are the little circle sprinkles I used as decor on top of today’s pictured cake. I love quins because (1) they never streak the batter, (2) are adorable, and (3) they’re my last name.

Win win win.

This Funfetti Layer Cake recipe is on sallysbakingaddiction.com!

We’re going to frost this rainbow delight with vanilla frosting. If chocolate is more your style, use the chocolate fudge frosting recipe in this post. (It’s enough for this size cake.)

It’s a basic vanilla frosting recipe that is creamy, smooth, and complimentary to the buttery funfetti cake underneath. I had a little frosting leftover, so I tinted it pink and blue to use as garnish for the top of the cake.

Reminds me of pretty pastel cotton candy. 🙂 You can certainly do this too, or you can tint the entire bowl of frosting any color you’d like.

The best confetti birthday cake recipe! Learn how to make this vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream from scratch! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Yes or no: you are now blind from the amount of rainbow in this post.

Let’s party!

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Funfetti Layer Cake

Buttery vanilla layer cake filled to the brim with rainbow sprinkles and finished off with sweet vanilla frosting with piped pink and blue border.

Ingredients:

Funfetti Cake

  • 3 and 3/4 cups (431g) sifted all-purpose flour1 (measured correctly)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons (15ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) buttermilk, room temperature2
  • 3/4 cup (142g) rainbow sprinkles3

Vanilla Frosting4

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6 cups (700g) sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream
  • 3 teaspoons (15ml) pure vanilla extract (or use clear imitation vanilla extract for stark white frosting)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • optional: additional sprinkles for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and lightly flour three 9-inch cake pans.5
  2. Make the cake: Whisk the sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 5 full minutes until creamed together fairly well. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. On medium-high speed, add 1 whole egg at a time, beating well after each addition until all 4 whole eggs are mixed in. Set the 2 egg whites aside for now. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix this batter. The batter will be smooth, velvety, and slightly thick. Vigorously whisk or beat the 2 additional egg whites until thick, foamy, and soft peaks form- about 3 minutes. Gently fold into the batter. Finally, fold the sprinkles into the batter. Spoon/pour batter evenly into each cake pan.
  4. Bake for around 25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
  5. Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin, more cream if frosting is too thick, or a pinch more of salt if frosting is way too sweet.
  6. Assemble and frost: First, using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard (or crumble over ice cream!). Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and evenly cover the top with frosting. Finish with the third cake layer and spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. I tinted extra frosting both pink (1 drop pink food coloring) and blue (1 drop blue coloring) and used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe it around the top edges. Decorate top of cake with sprinkles, if desired.
  7. Slice, serve, enjoy!

Make ahead tip: The cake layers can be baked, cooled, and covered tightly at room temperature overnight. Likewise, the frosting can be prepared then covered and refrigerated overnight. Assemble and frost the cake the next day when you are ready to serve. Frosted cake can be frozen up to 2 months if you have room in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. Honestly, it tastes much better fresh.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Make sure you sift the flour before measuring. Sifting is KEY. Otherwise, your cake layers could taste much too dense. You can also use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. Use 4 cups (400g) sifted cake flour.
  2. Buttermilk is best for this cake recipe. If you do not keep it on hand, you can make a sour milk by adding 4 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a large liquid measuring cup. Then add enough regular room temperature milk (whole, skim, 1%, 2%) to make 1 and 1/2 cups total. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. This soured milk can be used in the recipe.
  3. Avoid using sprinkles that will dye your batter. Steer clear from nonpareils, which are the little balls. I use rainbow jimmies and pastel colored quins. Always be gentle adding these to batter and do not overmix.
  4. Try my chocolate fudge frosting instead! Use this frosting recipe. It makes enough for this size cake.
  5. You can pour this batter evenly into four 9-inch cake pans to make a 4 layer cake instead of a 3 layer cake. The bake time is around 23-24 minutes. You can also use a cupcake pan to make about 3 dozen cupcakes, more or less. Fill halfway, bake for about 20 minutes.

Adapted from Piñata Cake

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

3 more birthday treats!

Funfetti Cheesecake

Funfetti Cheesecake Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Funfetti Buttermilk Pancakes (YES and YES)

Funfetti Buttermilk Pancakes-2

Cake Batter Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Cake Batter Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches!

The one and ONLY funfetti cake recipe you need!

603 comments

  1. Hi Sally,
    Which funfetti recipe do you recommend for a bundt cake that will also go with your cream cheese frosting?
    Thank you!

    • This cake batter will fit nicely in a bundt pan and will taste wonderful with cream cheese frosting on top. I’m unsure of the exact bake time.

  2. Hi Sally, I’m making your cake right now and I have a question about the oven that I should have thought of earlier to ask. What rack position should I bake the 3 pans on? I can get them on the same rack if the pans touch. Is it ok if the pans touch or does it mess up the temperature of the pans?

  3. Is it good idea to make without sprinkles? I just want to make simple cake.
    Thanks

  4. Hi Sally,
    I love this recipe. However my son wants it to be chocolate. I have begun making it but just wondering how much cocoa should I add? 
    Thanks 

  5. I’m trying this recipe tonight/morning. I forgot the egg whites before putting it in the oven. Will this mess it up? I hope not because I don’t have time to redo it.

  6. Hi Sally!

    My daughter’s first birthday is coming up and I wanted to make her a giant cupcake with your funfetti cake recipie. I was curious since the cake pan is deep, would you lower the oven temperature and increase the baking time?

    Thank you!

    • I haven’t made one of these before but I know others have – and I believe some people said they baked the bottom part for a bit longer than the top since it’s so deep.

  7. Will this recipe work in 3 –  8” pans or should I remove some batter first?

    Thanks!

  8. Just made the frosting – yum! But it’s way more than I need. Can I freeze the rest? 

    • Sure can! It’s good in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator and come to room temperature before using. Then give it a nice stir before using to decorate.

  9. Can this frosting be used to not only frost the cake as instructed but to pipe roses/flowers? I want to use this recipe to make a unicorn cake for my daughter’s birthday.

  10. I noticed a lot of frosting or cake recipes have cream instead of milk. Does it make that much difference?

  11. Hi sally! I’ve loved all of your recipes and made some before! I’ve made this funfetti cake and used your classic vanilla buttercream recipe before and people loved it! This time around I want to fill it like a piñata cake with m and ma to spill out, do you think this one will be sturdy enough and with three layers not 4? I saw your post on a piñata cake but I know I loved outcome of this cake so I wanted to do it again!

    • I”m happy that you liked this cake!! It should be sturdy enough but with only 3 layers you will not have that much room for the candy in the middle!

  12. Hi Sally,

    I’m planning to bake this cake to make cake pops! 🙂 Would I use the same amount of frosting?

    Thank You 🙂

  13. Hi Sally! I have an urgent question:( can I use this frosting for cupcakes? And would it work if I add some blue colouring to it? I need to make cookie monster cupcakes and your frosting looks really good so want to know if it’ll work for me. Thanks so much for replying!!!

  14. Hi Sally,

    Can I use Salted butter for the cake ?

    Thanks 

  15. Sally, would it work to cut the recipe in half? I just need a small cake, maybe two layers. Not sure if it would be enough for two layers though. Thanks!

    • You can definitely try! I also have this two layer vanilla cake to which you can add sprinkles if you want.

      • Okay great! Thank you Sally! I’ll try the two layer vanilla cake, with sprinkles, of course. It’s for my friend’s birthday next week. I’m going to bake it this weekend and then freeze the cake, thaw and add the frosting the day of. My friend actually *requested* I bake your funfetti cake because I’ve been baking all your recipes lately!

  16. Hi Sally!!! I’m a huge fan!!! I want to make this recipe in 2 tins- will it still work out?

  17. Hi sally! Made this cake today for my husband’s birthday, he love funfetti. I followed your recipe to a t and it was pretty dense. The flavor was awesome! And it tasted really good but I like fluffier cake. Did I do something wrong or is that how this cake is? More like pound cake?

  18. Hi Sally,
    I want to bake Thursday , assemble Friday, and serve Saturday. Will the cake dry out or spoil? Should it be refrigerated once assembled?

    I want to make a two tier cake. Will this cake be sturdy enough for the bottom tier?

    Thanks!

    • You can cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. You can look into using a simple syrup to keep it moist but I haven’t personally tried that for this cake! Yes, it will be sturdy enough for the bottom tier. Enjoy!!

  19. I want to make this for a kids birthday party so would like a flatter rectangle cake (a little less cake for more people). What size pan should I use and bake timing? Could I split it and make 2 layers?
    BTW…this is my favorite baking site! Thanks for all the great advice!

  20. Hi Sally!

    I’ve been making your recipes for years. I told my friend the other day I can always depend on your recipes. I have one question about this cake. How can I convert this cake to a 2 layer cake? 

  21. Hi Sally,
    I love the look of this recipe! I want to make 2 13×9 cakes using it ( think unicorn… trust me) .. is this recipe enough to do that amount or should I double or do 1 and 1/2 the recipe ?
    Thank you for your guidance and yummy recipes!!!

    • Hi Tammy! I would 1.5 the recipe, but I’m not 100% sure since I haven’t tested it. Let me know if you try it.

  22. Hi Sally!

    I’m planning a ridiculous castle cake for a party, and I need a cake at least 5 inches tall and sturdy enough to take fondant icing and some light toppings – do you reckon this recipe would work for that, baked in 8 inch pans??

    Thank you!

  23. I just wanted to say its totally not strange you make your own birthday cake! I ALWAYS make mine! My daughter’s who are just old enough to be baking by themselves are usually disappointed they couldn’t make mommy’s birthday cake

  24. Hello! I’ve made this delicious cake and frosting recipe twice – it is fantastic, loved by my family. 
    However, the frosting, while yummy, comes out thick and grainy. It hasn’t stopped me, but I can’t achieve the smooth consistency I expect with buttercream. My ingredients were room-temperature. Is it over worked? I added more cream, and that didn’t help. Should I add sugar in smaller amounts? Any advice would be welcome!

    • I make this buttercream all the time and it’s never grainy! What brand of confectioners sugar are you using? I have had other readers tell me that some brands can get grainy. I don’t think overworking would be the problem.

      • Hi again, Both times I used a generic, supermarket brand. I can’t recall if the package specified “cane sugar”. Would you recommend a national brand such as Domino’s (East Coast)? 

  25. Can I make this in three 8” cake pans? Your recipe does not specify the size of your 3 pans to make the 3 layers. Thanks!

    • This cake works in three 8” pans but each layer is a bit thicker. The recipe did state to use three 9” pans. I will assemble tomorrow with icing and add unicorn horn, ears and mane on top! Very nice website and easy to follow fool-proof recipes!

  26. Hi Sally! I made this cake for my daughter’s 2nd birthday party and it was a HUGE hit! There were literally no leftovers. In the days leading up to the party, a lot of people asked why I didn’t just buy a cake — it would be so much easier, less stress, etc. but it was super rewarding to make it myself and have it turn out beautifully. I know you know what I’m talking about 🙂 Thanks for the fantastic recipe! Will be trying out the pineapple upside down cake recipe next!

    • How fun Leia! I’m making this for my daughter’s 4th birthday with a pineapple upside down cake (due to number of guests) but so ironic you posted that you will try this one next! :o)

  27. Hi Sally! I just made your funfetti cake for the first time today…it was a dry run for my daughters birthday party in a few weeks. I’ve never made a homemade cake before…I usually have them made. While the cake is delicious, it turned out a tad dry(my own fault, I’m sure of it ). I was hoping it would be super moist. I followed the directions exactly, even read your post about accurate measurements. Is there something I can do to make it a little more moist when I make it again for her birthday party. Or any tips of something I may have done wrong to make it on the dry side? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Ashley, If the flour was measured accurately the problem might be over-baking. The cake may have just been left in the oven a bit too long, or your oven may run hot (have you ever checked the temperature with an oven thermometer?)

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