Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Soft & Fluffy Funfetti Cupcakes

Softest fluffiest from scratch homemade funfetti cupcakes! Moist and flavorful with creamy vanilla buttercream! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

There’s a unicorn craze happening right now. Everything colorful, rainbow, sparkly, and exploding with happiness is labeled “unicorn.” Have you tried the new Starbucks unicorn frappe? I’m weird and don’t like drinking blue or purple colored concoctions. I don’t know why! I’ve always been like that! No blue raspberry kool aid, no purple slushies, nada. Even if those flavors are natural.

I told you, I’m weird.

So I haven’t tried the new Starbucks frappe, BUT I have been noshing on purple frosting. I made these soft & fluffy funfetti cupcakes last month for our friend’s birthday and I can’t help but smile when I look back at the pictures. That’s the thing about colorful, rainbow, sparkly unicorn treats– they tug at your heartstrings in just the right way. And always bring a smile to your face.

Softest fluffiest from scratch homemade funfetti cupcakes! Moist and flavorful with creamy vanilla buttercream! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This unicorn moment the world is having… I hope it stays.    

Nerd Alert!

The base recipe for these homemade funfetti should look familiar to you. We’ve visited it many times in the past 8-9 months:

And, of course, where it all began: simply perfect vanilla cupcakes. The reason I love it so? These are the softest, fluffiest cupcakes to ever come out of my kitchen. They’re as soft and moist as box mix cupcakes, but have that distinct flavor you only get from homemade. If you take a look back on that post, I go into hefty detail about how that cupcake recipe came to life– and why I use certain ingredients and ratios. Cake flour, you’ll read, is a must. As well as sour cream (read why I prefer it over yogurt), creamed butter + sugar, and egg whites. No joke, zero yolks. 🙂

Today’s funfetti cupcake recipe differs from my older 2012 recipe for the same cupcake. To be honest, I love that recipe because it’s unbelievably simple. You don’t even need a mixer. They’re soft and fluffy cupcakes, for sure, but they’re not quite as cakey and light as today’s version.

Homemade funfetti cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Homemade funfetti cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

So what’s the difference between the vanilla cupcakes and today’s funfetti version? Rainbow sprinkles, for starters. But I also add a little something special. This is completely optional, but I highly recommend it if you can spot it in the baking aisle: butter extract. WOW! That extra oomph of buttery goodness paired with a little sweetness from sprinkles separates these cupcakes completely from the plain vanilla version.

I like adding vanilla bean to these cupcakes, just like how we add it in the vanilla cupcake– but that’s optional. Oh! I almost forgot… if you leave out the butter extract, no need to add anything in its place. Although a splash of almond extract would be sooooo good. I’ll add that as an option in the recipe notes below.

Softest fluffiest from scratch homemade funfetti cupcakes! Moist and flavorful with creamy vanilla buttercream! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Here’s what I love most about these cupcakes: they’re so moist that they’re almost creamy. In a good way!

Delicious purple vanilla buttercream on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Let’s discuss the vanilla frosting.

Of course you don’t have to tint it purple, but isn’t it such a gorgeous shade? I used 2-3 drops of “violet” gel color by Americolor. Speaking of, I have this gel color set and swear by it. You use SO LITTLE color at a time that this kit will last forever. I’m really happy I bought it and especially love it for its gorgeous colors, two-toned roses!! and for using in royal icing with sugar cookies. (That’s not an ad, I’m just a fangirl!)

Other than that it’s just my basic vanilla frosting. Light, creamy, and perfect for piping. Sprinkles on top are a must.

Softest fluffiest from scratch homemade funfetti cupcakes! Moist and flavorful with creamy vanilla buttercream! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Happy Friday! PS: I got this ↑ sprinkle plate ↑ off Etsy but it looks like no more are available!

And you know what’s next? May Baking Challenge!

Soft & Fluffy Funfetti Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (200g) cake flour1
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract2
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter extract3
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 of a vanilla bean2
  • 1/2 cup (120g) full-fat sour cream at room temperature4
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk at room temperature4
  • 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles5

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 - 5 cups (480-600g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste
  • optional: 2-3 drops purple food coloring, sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners - this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside.
  2. Make the cupcakes: Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. 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 2 minutes until creamed together. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg whites, vanilla + butter extracts, and vanilla bean. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in the sour cream. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk until combined. Do not overmix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick. Fold in the sprinkles-- careful! Do not overmix as this could cause them to bleed color.
  4. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners - fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 19-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  5. Make the frosting: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Add 4 and 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, the heavy cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes, then beat in the food coloring. Add up to 1/2 cup more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  6. Frost cooled cupcakes. I used the Ateco #849 closed star tip.

Make ahead tip: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly in the refrigerator for 3 days. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

  1. If you cannot get your hands on cake flour, you can make a DIY version from all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Remove 2 Tablespoons. Mix in 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. This equals 1 cup of cake flour. I suggest doing this twice, mixing it all up in 1 bowl then removing 1/4 cup since you need 1 and 3/4 cups in this recipe.
  2. For best flavor, pure vanilla extract is strongly recommended. If using imitation, increase to 1 Tablespoon (3 teaspoons). You can leave out the vanilla bean if you can't get your hands on it.
  3. You can find butter extract with the other extracts in the baking/spice aisle. If you can't get your hands on it, you can simply leave it out. But the flavor is outstanding here! In its place, you can use almond extract.
  4. Whole milk and sour cream are strongly recommended for the best taste and texture. A full fat plain yogurt would work instead, though the cupcakes may not be as light. Same goes with a lower fat milk.
  5. High quality sprinkles do not tend to bleed their color. Avoid using nonpareils (the little balls) as they definitely bleed color! I used Rainbow Sprinkles and Pastel Star Quins from Sweetapolita

Did you make a recipe?

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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.

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Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

5qt Tilt-Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Colorful Mixing BowlsRainbow Whisk | Cupcake Pan | Cupcake Liners | Americolor GelFrosting Bag | Ateco Tip #849

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pays me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

These are the BEST homemade funfetti cupcakes! From scratch soft and fluffy funfetti cupcakes with creamy vanilla buttercream and birthday sprinkles! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

74 comments

  1. Sally, what would you recommend for me to make for a weekly meet-up of 5 guys? We’ll be playing DnD and fingery food would be nice, we usually play for ~4 hours.

    I’ve made your cookies and adapted your brookie pie into brookie cupcakes already.

  2. The other day at Starbucks I asked what was in the unicorn frap, and the answer….”nothing but sugar”.   I cringed and my 8 year old son jumped with joy. Sadly/gladly they were sold out!

    I have to make a surprise treat for the staff at my son’s school, and I really think a dash of unicorn happiness is in order for them this time of year. However, there are a few gluten sensitivities that I need to work around. Having never made a gluten free cake, would simply substituting gluten free flour for the cake flour in this recipe result in the same level of deliciousness? 

    • Hi Kimberly! I wish I could help, but I am sorely under-experienced working with gluten free flour. I’m not the best person to ask and would hate to give wrong advice. But I assume if you have a GF flour blend you trust, you could try it.

  3. These are beautiful! I bet they would be beautiful with a bit of disco dust or edible glitter. And honestly, I just wanted to try like a few sips of the unicorn frappe but didn’t :(. It sounds pretty gross though with all that dye and sugar though.

  4. OMG Good! Just finished frosting and taste-testing these. They are really for a friend’s birthday, but what kind of person who I be if I didn’t sample…LOL. I found the butter extract and you are right – it adds a nice taste. They are light and super moist. My frosting (I made it pink) may have suffered a little as I forgot to buy heavy cream, so I had to use 1/2 and 1/2. It was good but not as rich as the heavy cream would have made it. I may have to save a few in my freezer – shhh…don’t tell. Thanks Sally!

  5. SOOO pretty! That purple frosting seriously is gorgeous!!!

  6. Beautiful cupcakes! I love the purple color. For the frosting using that tip, did you apply pressure and held at the middle of the cupcake? Also, do you get your sprinkles from anywhere special? I was wondering if you get yours from like Fancy Sprinkles or Sweetapolita.

  7. Hi, Sally! I’d love to make these for my daughter’s bake sale, but I’ll need more than 14. Can I just double the recipe, or do you recommend I make 2 separate batches? 

  8. Hi! I love your site! I’m throwing a paint party for my kids and wanted to know if this cupcake recipe can be used as a cake or can I just add sprinkles to your vanilla recipe and serve with your funfetti frosting recipe?

  9. These look delicious. My husbands birthday is this weekend and funfetti is his favorite, saving this recipe and going to try them out!

  10. Just wanted to thank you for so many recipes that have become staples at our house! We get requests for your oatmeal, yogurt pancakes (I keep them in the freezer), my favorite ever raspberry lemon cupcakes, and last night we made the chocolate sugar cookies in the shape of moose for my daughter’s baby shower. Now we’ll do these cupcakes in blue as well! We can always count on you for easy, beautiful and delicious!!!

  11. Sally, could you substitute buttermilk for whole milk in this recipe?

  12. Hi Sally, thanks for the recipe! I’m going to make these for a coworker’s birthday. I could only find butter flavor, not butter extract, in the baking aisle. Can I use that instead? If so, would I use the same amount? Thank you!! 🙂

  13. Hi Sally! Would these work like most of your other cupcake recipes for mini cupcakes? Just reducing the bake time?

  14. Hello! For all my high-altitude bakers: I made this recipe and, not only did it work, it was DELICIOUS! I didn’t change anything. It yielded 24 cupcakes, but that’s because I filled the pan with very little batter to prevent the overflow I experience in this altitude (5,280).  The frosting is also delicious, but I already knew that. 
    Sally, do you use the same ratios on the Funfetti Layer Cake? That’s next on my list!

    • Hi Sheila! So happy you enjoyed the cupcakes and reported back about them, thank you! The frosting for the funfetti layer cake is essentially the same, just a much higher yield. Is that what you’re asking?

      • I wanted to know if the ratio for the cakes were similar, since this recipe worked.  The frosting is my new go-to recipe!

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