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



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!

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!

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

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.


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


  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

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!


  1. I absolutely love your site! Thank you so much for all the wonderful recipes. I recently made this cake for my MIL’s 60th birthday. She loved it but I was a little disappointed that my cake did not look as fluffy and light as yours. I tested my baking soda and baking powder right before making the cake so I don’t think they’re to blame. Could it be that the butter was too softened? 

    • Hi Rachel! The butter could have been the issue- did you cream it until light and fluffy also? And with the sugars for 5 minutes too?

      • I creamed the butter alone and with the sugars as directed. I even had my stopwatch out to make sure. I read (I think in the “Art and Soul of Baking”) that if you use a hand mixer instead of stand mixer that sometimes it takes longer because the hand mixer isn’t as powerful. Could that have been the issue? 

        Regardless, the cake was a big hit. I’m just a perfectionist and don’t want to make the same mistake. Thanks again 🙂 

      • It should have been that– but I’m so glad everyone loved it!

  2. my daughter wants funfetti cake as her wedding cake and she wants me to make it….the bottom layer is 12 inches and needs about 7 1/2 cups of batter.  About how many cups does your recipe make?  By the way, she wanted me to use boxed cake mix, no way! I’m so glad i found this and can’t to try it!

    • That’s my thinking too… why use a box when homemade tastes worlds better! I’m unsure of the exact amount of batter, but I would guess this yields more than 7 and 1/2. Sorry I don’t have a definite answer. I would make 1 batter, use what you need for the bottom layer, and make another for the other layers if you need it.

  3. Hi! Long time reading, first time commenter… planning to make this cake for a friend. Just curious, did you use quins or jimmies for the cake in your photos? PS – I love that you call them jimmies. I haven’t lived in Philly for years, but it is one of the one words I won’t give up on. I guess it reminds me of childhood 🙂

  4. Made this for my daughter’s 1st birthday fiesta party. The sprinkles were perfect with the theme. I even poured sprinkles into the shape of a heart on the top of the cake – turned out great and unlike many purchased cakes, this tasted every bit as good as it looked. Great texture, moist and the vanilla really shines through. Thank you for such a perfect birthday cake recipe!

  5. Hiya, i was just wondering what size cake pans you used?

  6. Made this for my son’s first birthday!  Followed the directions exactly and it came out perfectly.  Thank you.

  7. Hey Sally, I’m a BIG fan of your recipes. and i’m planning to make this cake for a friend’s birthday. I’m wondering, can i make the cake in advance and then freeze it until i’m ready to frost it? how long will it last in the freeze (unfrosted) because i’m usually busy in weekdays. 

    Really looking forward to your anaswer!

    regards 🙂

  8. I made this cake for my daughters’ birthday which is tomorrow.  I was very disappointed, I believe I am an experienced baker and followed the directions exactly. My cake looked fine when I removed it from the oven but as it cooled it dropped. The cake was very dense instead of the light fluffy texture I was expecting.  I baked two six inch round and two four inch round cakes plus one dozen cupcakes and they all had the same dense texture.  This is not a cake I would serve my guests. My children taste tested it as well and gave it a thumbs down. 

  9. Hi Sally

    How high is each layer for your recipe?
    If my party is for 30 adults, 10 toddlers, would 3 pans of 8 inch round (3 inch high) would be enough? Thanks. 

  10. Hi! I made this cake for my mom’s birthday today and it looked, smelled, and tasted absolutely delicious. But when we cut into the cake the layers were far too dense, it was not fluffy in the slightest and was like you had taken the cake and squished it between two pans. I did, however make some substitutions and am curious to know which of them could have cause this mess.
    I used 4 cups of cake flour and sifter them after measuring using the spoon-and-level method, I did not have baking soda on hand so I just used more baking powder, and I used fresh whole milk buttermilk. When I first took the cakes out of the oven, I tasted some, and it was only a slight bit dense compared to after a few hours of refrigeration after frosting when i had it and it was extremely dense. Do you have any idea as to why it ended up that way?

    • Two mistakes: for the flour, you are suppose to measure AFTER sifting. Second mistake, you need baking soda as well. Baking powder and baking soda both do two different things in a recipe. The cake flour was not an issue however, just measure correctly and make sure you have all ingredients needed! 🙂 

      • Thank you! I am actually going to be making this cake again for my nieces’ 5th birthday and I’ll definitely make sure to grab some baking soda and measure AFTER I sift. Fingers crossed it will turn out better!

  11. Hi Sally! I’d like to use salted butter because that’s what I keep on hand. Is there a reason that it wouldn’t be good to do that? Should I decrease the amount of salt added? Thanks!

  12. I want to bake my friends daughter a 21st birthday cake and l want to no how I’m a beginner but l love to bake so would love you to give me some advice thankyou Sally love your site

  13. Hi, Sally! This cake looks gorgeous, I can’t wait to try it out! I’m thinking of making this for a friend’s birthday, but I only have springform pans at home. Would the cake batter be thick enough to bake in a springform pan without leaking? Thank you!

  14. Would it be ok to use 8 inch cake pans for this cake?

  15. Thank you for all the recipes. They are simple and so delicious!!!

    Can the Vanilla extract in this recipe be substituted with Almond extract and if so do I use the same amount the recipe calls for? I appreciate your help. Thanks.

  16. I haven’t made this yet but I really appreciate that you included measurements in grams as well, it makes it way easier for me as I live is Australia and our cup measurements are different.
    Thank you! 😀

  17. Hi! I am looking to make a 14″ x 11″ cake. Can you please help with adjustments required. I’m afraid if an under baked/ soggy cake middle! !

  18. Hey Sally!  I’m making my sons smash cake AND a 1/2 sheet cake for his party.  I’m making chocolate cake for his smash cake and then this funfetti cake for the sheet cake.  The pan is 11×15, what adjustments in ingredients and bake time would it be?  

    • Hi Julie! I don’t think you should make any adjustments. This amount of batter should be perfect for the half sheet cake. I’m unsure of the bake time though. The cake will be done when it’s lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  19. What can I substitute for the heavy whipping cream??? I get horribly sick eating anything with whipping cream. Thank you! 

  20. Hi Sally, I used you vanilla cake recipe and made it for a friend’s birthday. It tasted amazing and the vanilla smelled so good through the cake 🙂
    However I just have one question. My cake wasn’t spongy as yours. It looked moist n kinda of stuck together. But I did keep it in the oven for like nearly 20-30 min. I even pre-heated as always. 
    Can you tell me what could be the reason? 

    • Do you think the cake was underbaked then? Did it sink in the center? How did it taste?

      • No. It did not sink. It puffed up perfectly while baking. The sides were already getting crunchy. So I thought if I left it a little more in the oven it would come out burnt.
        But I’m not sure why the texture only looked a little glued and not spongy enough. 

  21. I love your recipes, they are easy and delicious. I just had a question.. can I bake the whole amount in one pan then divide it as I don’t have 3 pans of the same size?

  22. I’m hoping to make this as a smash cake for my little lady’s first birthday. If I were to do two, four inch cakes, how would you suggest I adjust the baking time and temperature? Thank you!

  23. Hi sally do you think this cake can support fondant? Lovelovelove your recipes. Have been following you for 5 years now!!! 

  24. Hi Sally!!

    I’ve made so many of your recipes and cannot wait to make this cake!! What is the best way to store this cake overnight? I plan on making it tonight and bringing it in tomorrow for a co-worker’s birthday. Should it be refrigerated or stored at room temperature?

    • Thanks so much Chelsea! If the cake is already assembled, you can cover it as best you can and refrigerate it overnight. Make sure it sits out at room temperature for a little before serving. It tastes best that way 🙂

  25. Hi Sally, i’m from India and a huge fan of your recipes. One doubt regarding the cake….  can this cake be baked  in one 9 inch tin?thanks .

  26. Hi there, 

    Before I make this cake recipe, I just want to make sure it taste like birthday cake flavour. My daughter wants a cake that taste like birthday cake, but I want to make it from scratch and not from a box.  Thanks.

  27. Hi Sally, 
    My friend wants a funfetti cake for her baby shower it needs to be a two tier cake would this cake be OK to have a second tier?? I usually do a more dense cake for a double tier cake.
    .thanks Nicole 

  28. I was comparing this recipe to other cake recipes on your blog and it seems like the amount of sugar is kinda low compared to other recipe’s ratios of flour, butter, and sugar. Is 1 and 3/4 cup sugar correct? I would love to bake this cake, just being paranoid!

  29. Hi. I just made this cake for my daughter’s 16th birthday and whilst it tasted delicious, the texture was very dense with a tight crumb. It wasn’t too bad immediately after baking but the layers got really firm and dense when wrapped in plastic wrap overnight. The top surface of the cakes also came out very sticky. I baked it in four 9 inch tins. What went wrong? 

  30. That not really how to make real buttermilk. I will have to try it and see if it tastes the same but butter milk is the left over milk after you make butter. Hensel buttermilk. You can take heavy wiping cream and “chern” or shake in a mason jar until the fat separates making butter and buttermilk. You are really going to have to shake hard, but that is how to make real buttermilk.

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