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!
  8. 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 required 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. Do NOT use 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!

507 comments

  1. Hi Sally! It’s me again… still planning my grandma’s birthday cake! Approximately how many cups does your vanilla frosting recipe make?

  2. I’m making this cake for my son’s birthday.  If i want to make it the night before, where do I store the cake and how?  Wrap in tinfoil, assemble in the morning? I’m new to baking so please be detailed!  Thank you!

  3. Sally, 

    In your Homemade Funfetti Cake recipe, non layered, you don’t mention sifting. In this one you do. Is that because this one is layered? Does the sifting make a difference for the non layered one?

    Thanks,

    Laura 

    • Using sifted flour is a wonderfully easy way to make a cake a little lighter in texture; doesn’t have much to do with the layers.

  4. How long would you say the cake layers need to cool for before adding icing? I made your funfetti cake recipe with just the one layer and the icing became melty when I added it.  I’m guessing it is because I didn’t let it cool long enough? 

  5. Hi Sally
    Can I bake it in one go then slice it equally? Thanks.

  6. edible confetti? yum! thanks for the recipe!

  7. This looks amazing! I’m looking to make a 3-tiered cake for my daughters first birthday and was wondering if this cake recipe would go well with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting and strawberry jam filling? Or do you think your wedding cake/cupcake recipe would be better? Thanks!

    • Now that sounds like an amazing birthday cake! This recipe would definitely work with that frosting and filling.

  8. Sally,

    I am wanting to make this delicious cake again for my son’s birthday this time and want to know if I can bake it in a 9 by 13 cake pan?  

    • You can, yes. Fill the pan halfway with batter and bake at 350. I’m unsure of the bake time. Any extra batter can be used to make cupcakes (about 20 minutes for those)!

  9. Hi Sally!
    I’m going to make this for my boyfriends birthday (with your fudgy chocolate frosting) but I only have 2x8inch cake tins! What are your recommendations for baking all three layers? Am I able to bake two first and leave the rest of the batter sitting until the other two are done? 🙂 if so should I put it in the fridge? 
    Thanks in advance!! 🙂

    • Fill your 8-inch pans halfway, bake as directed (might take a minute or two longer because the pans are smaller), and keep the remaining batter covered tightly in the fridge. Cool the baked cakes in the cake pans on a wire rack until the pans are cool enough to touch. Then you can stick one pan in the refrigerator to cool the cake completely before removing it from the pan and baking the last layer. There might be leftover batter. You can make cupcakes– 20 minutes bake time.

      It might just be easier to buy one more pan!

      • Thanks for your quick reply! Oops I didn’t notice that these cakes cool completely in the pan! In that case I think I will just buy one more pan, gives me good reason to bake more three layer cakes 😛
        Thanks for your help – cant wait to make it!

  10. Is there any way to change the frosting recipe to where I can pour it over a bundt cake?

  11. I learnt from this recipe to read to the end of the instructions before starting! I used the sprinkle balls that dyed the batter. Considering that this was my first layer cake attempt I was a bit disappointed that not only does it look like the Tower of Pisa, but it’s not even Funfettied. As we say, Cook and Learn!

  12. Sally, THIS cake has had my attention for Months! With my son’s birthday coming up next week, I’m finally going to take the plunge and Attempt to make this.! 
    I’m an *inexperienced baker, so I’m nervous but So Excited. 
    For my son’s birthday party, we’re expecting 32 guests.. So should I make this complete recipe twice or three times to make 2 or 3 cakes??? I want to be sure there is enough cake for our guests. .
    Also, the party is Saturday, would it be just as delicious and moist if I made the cakes on say Thursday and then stacked and frosted the cakes Saturday morning??
    I So Appreciate your recipes and your advice!

    • Hi Joan! I recommend making three separate layer cakes. This will definitely be enough to feed everyone. And you can freeze anything leftover. Or give it away, of course. You can bake the cakes on Thursday, cover them tightly at room temperature, then assemble/frost on Saturday.

  13. Hi Sally,

    I’m planning to make this for my Sisters birthday this weekend – but I’m going to attempt a blue ombre finish on the frosting! Do you think I should make more of the frosting to allow for a crumb coat and any excess that I scrape off to achieve the ombre effect?

    Also, do you think this frosting is smooth enough to spread together for an ombre effect or should I make a different frosting recipe? 

    Hope that all makes sense? Your advice would be much appreciated! 🙂

    Thanks!

    Aimee x

    • I don’t think you need to change anything about the frosting to create the ombre look, besides coloring it. Should work just fine!

  14. Sally, may I halve this recipe? Thanks!

  15. Hi Sally, I’m trying to bake this for a friend’s birthday next week. She loves cream cheese frosting – is there any cream cheese frosting recipe you can recommend? I would love to pipe the same stars/flowers so would need one that can pipe 🙂

    Thank you in advance!

    • I’m unsure of a solid cream cheese frosting recipe that pipes. Here’s mine— nice and creamy, great for spreading.

      • I actually used your cream cheese frosting for piping a cake I did recently and it held up ok, definitely softer than piping a buttercream but it held its shape (made a day in advance and left overnight) 

  16. You use granulated sugar in your recipes instead of caster sugar is there any particular reason. What is the difference between regular rainbow sprinkles and jimmies  for the funfetti cake cause I’m not familiar with jimmies. Thanks

  17. Hi Sally, I just made your cake yesterday and boy whatever I did, it was a disaster.  I followed the directions, baked it till toothpick was clean, etc.  when I took it out of the oven it felt awfully heavy, but everything pointed to it being done. My first clue something was wrong,  my second clue was when it fell and the the top was all wrinkley, third clue, taking it out of the pans, it was still very heavy.  Anyway, I made the frosting (it’s delicious!) finished up the cake, then one bite……it was still unbaked. Thick doughy texture and taste.  I’m not a novice baker, I’m 69 and have been baking all my life, although I did get lazy and used cake mixes until I was sick of them. Lol any ideas what I did wrong before I try it again? At our age, we try to penny pinch. Lol. I won your first book “Sally’s Baking Addiction” autographed by you. I love it!  And of course  pre ordered your new book “Candy Addiction”.  I’m hoping in your posts on  baking lessons you’ll have a trouble shooting section too:). Thanks for all the joy you share everywhere with your blog and books. God bless

    • Hi Candi! Oh goodness. The cake was definitely underbaked! This is not at all how the wonderfully light and fluffy funfetti cake layers should be. How long did you have these in the oven? Did you use 9-inch cake pans or a smaller size? How about trying to bake them for 4-5 minutes longer?

      • When they were so heavy, I did put them back in for 5 min, then another few minutes, but any more than that I was a little afraid to do. lol I made two small cakes in springform pans and the same thing happened. Loll whatever I did or didn’t do was. Doozy. Lol. Thanks Sally

  18. Hey there Sally!

    Do you think it would be a problem to just halve the mixture into two tins and bake longer? I’m just trying to save time!! Thanks for sharing your great recepies!

    • Do you mean– to make a two layer cake with half of this batter? I’ve never tried that before. I’m unsure of the bake time too– the layers will be thinner so the bake time will be a little shorter.

  19. Hi again Sally…Thanks for your replying to my question about halving the cake. I was wondering if you halved the entire mixture rather than split into thirds. It should work ok with a longer bake time? I only have two tins on hand and want to save time……and I’m very lazy. Thank You!

  20. I used 3 9-inch pans and had a hard time getting it even for all three pans. I just felt like the batter wasn’t enough in my opinion. Maybe something I did. It tastes great though! Next time I make this though I’ll make sure to double the recipe. 

  21. Hey Sally. HELP !!
    I want to make a 2 tiers birthday cake : the first tier 10in round and the second one 8in. How many batches to you recommend to make for each cake if i want each tier to be 4in high? and what it the baking time for each? thank you!!

  22. Hi Sally, 
    I was wondering, is this cake strong enough to cover it with fondant instead of frosting?? 
    Thanks!

  23. Hi Sally, 
    I forgot to buy yogurt, as specified in Funfetti cupcake recipe. Can I use this one for cupcakes? 
    Thank you,
    Allison

  24. Why do the cakes need to be cooled completely in the pan before removing?

  25. I make this cake..i’m so happy,this is perfect funfetti cake,very moist and buttery flavor.
    For frosting i make vanilla buttercream & add sour cream.
    Thankyou for recipe !

  26. Hi Sally! I looooove all of the recipes I have tried from you, and get tons of compliments on them when I bake for others. I would like to use thus recipe to make a 6in smash cake and am wondering if I would be okay just halving this recipe! I would just make the whole recipe but I don’t want to waste the batter. Thank you!

  27. I am so excited to give this a try for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. I plan to do a four tier cake – two 8 inch pans on the bottom and two 6 inch on the top. How should I adjust the recipe to accommodate? Thank you so much!!! 

  28. Hi sally. Will this frosting go with your devils chocolate cake. I need a white frosting because I need to dye it blue,to look like the ocean. I just want to make sure it will taste good together. 
    Thanks
    Sara

  29. This cake looks amazing! I will have to try it. On a side note- I also turned 30 on May 27 of this year! I wish I had seen this recipe sooner 🙂 

  30. Hi Sally,

    I don’t have a sifter but do you have any suggestions for what do do with the flour?  Also, if I made this in a 9×13 pan, how many leftover cupcakes could I make?

    Thank you so much!
    (BTW- I plan to make this with strawberry frosting)

    • This is kind of late, but you can use a regular wire mesh strainer to sift flour. Just dump the flour in and agitate the strainer over a bowl.

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