Easy Homemade Sprinkle Cake (Funfetti)

There’s nothing like sprinkle cake to make you feel like a kid again! Reminiscent of box funfetti cake mix, this homemade version is soft, moist, and loaded with rainbow sprinkles. It’s a single layer cake baked in a regular 9-inch cake pan, so it’s perfect for smaller gatherings and celebrations. Top with vanilla buttercream for the ultimate birthday treat!

There’s a lot of recipe testing and baking science background discussed in this post, so feel free to skip it by clicking the Jump-to-Recipe button.

slice of sprinkle funfetti cake

Do you remember when I shared an updated recipe for my pineapple upside down cake? I love looking back at older recipes, reading your reviews, and applying new techniques to make the recipes even better. With constant practice and recipe testing comes the opportunity to bring you the best content that I can. Baking is truly a science and I’m happy to continue to deliver you well tested and improved recipes!

Improved Cake Recipe – Read the Difference

I published a homemade funfetti cake recipe several years ago. It’s a wonderful one layer cake, but it often tasted overly dense and was prone to overflowing. Though I kept the original recipe written in the notes below, I want to share my new and improved version with you.

This new sprinkle cake recipe, written below, is much softer than the original. Using (1) creamed butter instead of melted, (2) cake flour instead of all-purpose flour, (3) white sugar instead of brown sugar + white, and (4) just egg whites all guarantee a HUGE textural difference. I adapted it from my confetti sprinkle cupcakes and it’s the same base as my new pineapple upside down cake, too. We’re actually using the same ingredients in the updated recipe– just in different forms, ratios, and amounts.

  • Old Cake Recipe (in notes below): Overly heavy, dense, overflowed
  • New Cake Recipe (below): Softer, pleasantly moist, reduced amount of batter

This Easy Homemade Sprinkle Cake Is:

  • Soft, cakey, & fluffy
  • Buttery & moist
  • Completely homemade and better than a box mix
  • Loaded with colorful sprinkles
  • Topped with extra creamy vanilla buttercream

slice of sprinkle cake

Homemade Sprinkle Cake: Video Tutorial


Overview of Ingredients & Why They Work

  • Cake Flour: Lighter than all-purpose flour, cake flour produces a soft crumb.
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda: The two add plenty of lift.
  • Salt: Balances the sweetness.
  • Butter: Instead of melted butter, use 6 Tablespoons of softened butter. Creaming butter and sugar guarantees a buttery soft crumb.
  • Sugar: White granulated sugar sweetens and tenderizes the cake.
  • Egg Whites: Egg whites create the fluffiest white cake and they’re doing the same job here. Egg yolks, though excellent for moisture, weigh a cake down. Sometimes they’re imperative for flavor, such as in my yellow cake recipe, but we don’t need them in this fluffy sprinkle cake. The sour cream makes up for the lost moisture. And so there’s no waste, here are my recipes using egg yolks.
  • Vanilla Extract: Flavor.
  • Sour Cream: Along with cake flour and egg whites, sour cream promises a tender cake crumb. Plain yogurt works in a pinch.
  • Milk: Liquid is key in most cakes because it thins out the batter.

sprinkle cake batter

one layer sprinkle cake in cake pan

Best Sprinkles to Use

I’ve been baking cake and cupcake batters with sprinkles for quite awhile and have learned exactly what works– and what doesn’t. Here’s what I know:

  • Sprinkles sold in the US are intensely colored where sprinkles sold in other regions tend to lose their color when baked. I actually used Sweetapolia “Bright Skies” medley in the pictured cake batter.
  • Use confetti quins (the little discs) if you can. They rarely bleed their color in batter. These shimmery ones hold their color nicely too.
  • Do not use nonpareils (the little balls) in cake batter. They bleed their color.
  • Naturally colored sprinkles are wonderful in cookies and as decoration, but– depending on the brand– can lose their color in cake batter. I actually use and love this Starfetti mix. They seem to hold their color wonderfully when baked in cake batter. They’re what I used to decorate the top of this cake.

Vanilla Buttercream

We’re using a slightly scaled down version of my favorite vanilla buttercream.

Creamy, silky, and smooth, this vanilla buttercream is perfect on birthday cakes, cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, cookies, and more. My #1 tip is to make sure that you use room temperature heavy cream/half-and-half/milk. Using cold liquid can cause the buttercream to break and separate. You need room temperature butter anyway, so simply set out the measured liquid when you set out the butter.

Does your buttercream have air bubbles? See vanilla buttercream for tips to get rid of them.

 

vanilla buttercream frosting in bowl

one layer sprinkle cake with vanilla frosting

slice of sprinkle cake

Other Size Cakes

  • 9×13 Inch: Double this recipe for a 9×13 inch quarter sheet cake. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Top with vanilla buttercream, which is slightly scaled up from the frosting amounts here. I also have this vanilla sheet cake, but it’s denser than today’s cake.
  • 9-Inch Square: Follow the recipe below. The cake will be thinner and the bake time will be a few minutes shorter since a 9-inch square baking pan holds more batter than a 9-inch round cake pan. I recommend lining with a parchment paper square, just as instructed in step 1.
  • Cupcakes: Make this confetti sprinkle cupcakes recipe, which is essentially the same, only slightly scaled up. Same taste and texture.
  • Bundt Cake: Doubling this recipe would be plenty for a 10-12 cup bundt pan. Bake at 350°F (177°C). I’m unsure of the best bake time, but use a toothpick to test for doneness.
  • Layer Cake: Use my 2 layer white cake recipe, which is just as light and fluffy. Or use my 3 layer vanilla cake recipe which is a little denser. Gently stir about 2/3 or 3/4 cup of rainbow sprinkles into either batter.
Print
slice of sprinkle funfetti cake

One Layer Sprinkle Cakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours (includes cooling)
  • Yield: serves 8
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Updated in 2020, this is my favorite recipe for a one layer sprinkle cake. Tastes close to box funfetti cake mix, but it’s completely from-scratch. For best success, read the recipe and recipe notes before beginning.


Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (170g) cake flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (80gsour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (70g) sprinkles

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp; 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream, half-and-half, or whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste
  • optional: sprinkles for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9×2 inch round cake pan, line with a parchment paper round (see #6 in Cake Baking Tips), then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cake seamlessly release from the pan. I recommend using nonstick spray for greasing.
  2. Make the cake: Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until creamed together, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. On high speed, beat in the egg whites until combined, then beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer to low speed and as the mixer runs, slowly pour in the milk. Beat on low speed just until all of the ingredients are combined. Do not over-mix. 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. Gently fold in the sprinkles.
  4. Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pan.
  5. Bake for around 27-31 minutes or until the cake is baked through. After about 18 minutes, tent the cake with aluminum foil to prevent the top and edges from over-browning. To test the cake for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done.
  6. Allow cake to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. The cake must be completely cool before frosting.
  7. Make the buttercream: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium-high speed and beat for 2 full minutes. Add up to 1/4 cup (30g) more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or a splash of heavy cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. (I add a small pinch.)
  8. Spread frosting all over the top. I always use an icing spatula. Top with sprinkles, if desired.
  9. Cover leftover cake tightly and store at room temperature for up to 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare cake through step 6. Wrap the baked and cooled cake tightly and keep at room temperature for 1 day or freeze up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature (if frozen) then continue with step 7. Frosting can also be made 1 day ahead of time. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. Bring frosting to room temperature, then beat the frosting on medium speed for a few seconds so it’s creamy again. Adding a splash of cream/milk will help thin the frosting out, if needed. Frosted cake freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature or serve cold. See How to Freeze Cakes.
  2. Other Size Cakes: See details above the recipe.
  3. Best Sprinkles to Use: See details above the recipe.
  4. Old Recipe: The current cake recipe was updated in 2020. If you loved the old cake batter recipe, originally published in 2013, here it is: Follow step 1 in the recipe above, but use a 9-inch springform pan instead of a regular 9-inch cake pan (too small for the following batter). For the cake batter, whisk 1 and 2/3 cups (210g) all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt together. In a separate bowl, whisk 1/2 cup (115g) melted unsalted butter, 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar, 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar, 1 large egg, 1/4 cup (60g) yogurt or sour cream, 3/4 cup (180ml) milk, and 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract together. Whisk wet and dry ingredients together until smooth. Fold in 2/3 cup (90g) sprinkles. Continue with step 4 in the recipe above and extend the bake time to 33-37 minutes.
  5. Cake Flour: If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, use this cake flour substitute. I suggest doing this 2x, then remove 1/2 cup since you need 1 and 1/2 cups in this recipe.
  6. Sour Cream & Milk: Full fat sour cream and whole milk are strongly recommended for the best taste and texture. A full fat plain yogurt would work instead of the sour cream, though the cake may not taste as tender. Same goes with a lower fat or nondairy milk.
  7. Heavy Cream in Buttercream: I love using heavy cream for the creamiest consistency. You can use half-and-half or whole milk instead if needed. The lower the fat, the less creamy your buttercream will be. Whichever you use, make sure it’s at room temperature. Otherwise your frosting could separate or appear grainy.
  8. Why is everything at room temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information.

Keywords: sprinkle cake, funfetti, birthday cake, vanilla

93 Comments

  1. I made this cake with black and orange sprinkles for my daughter. Just to get her in the mood for Halloween. I colored the frosting orange and it turned out fantastic. Love the site. 🙂

  2. Hi Sally. I made this cake earlier this week for my work colleagues who had never experienced funfetti cakes before (they’re all British, I’m American). They were impressed, and I can happily say that your recipe was super easy and tasted even better than the boxed funfetti cakes from my childhood. I will definitely be making it again in the future. Thanks so much for posting your wonderful recipe!

    1. Lisa, what a compliment! Especially hearing that my cake is better than a box mix. I couldn’t agree more! So happy your colleagues enjoyed a little taste of american funfetti 😉

  3. just whipped this up for my son’s birthday! he is SO excited!!!

  4. Just made this cake and it is delicious. Definitely like the fact that the cake is moist and not super sweet because to me the buttercream frosting was a little over sweet – even after adding some salt. But I have never made buttercream from scratch before so I may need to adjust a little. Overall I love the taste and texture – and the sprinkles inside make it gorgeous! Next time I may use a regular cake pan instead of a springform pan as the edges baked way faster than the middle, leaving the middle somewhat dented. From someone whohas never really baked, I thought the recipe was easy and very tasty.

  5. Fantastic funfetti recipe! I love vanilla/white cakes that utilize pudding or yogurt. AND SO MANY SPRINKLES!

  6. Wow! my friend made thie care for our friends birthday and its to DIE for. The cake is so moist and the perfect sweetness. The buttercream cn be eaten all by itself as well. Im very picky when it comes to homemade baked goods, but this is definitely on my top list now.

    AMAZING

  7. Hi Sally, I just made this cake tonight with my boys and it turned out really great. I want to thank you for all your recipes and the photos and all the details you include. I have never liked baking but I’ve been forced to learn how to make lots of different things, since I live in France, where they have delicious pastries of course, but the simple things like yellow cake with sprinkles and peanut butter treats are totally non-existent. So your website has become my go-to address whenever I get a craving for something from back home. What makes your site different than others is how you explain different things, having tested it yourself, and that makes it so much easier to understand the “science” behind what I’m doing. That’s what always made me hate baking because I would always mess up on little things like the butter wasn’t melted or the sugar was not measured right etc. So many many thanks and please keep up the detailed work! À bientôt !!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind comment Julie! It’s SO important to know the “whys” and “why nots” when it comes to baking! So I’m glad to have taught you a little something. Thank you for continuing to come back and bake my recipes. Love this funfetti cake and yes… it does taste like home I’m sure!

  8. We had the marvelous Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes last week and, for our other son’s birthday, tomorrow, we are trying this cake. I’m so excited because I’ve always wanted to make homemade funfetti cake and have previously only found complicated recipes that require having to dye white chocolate chips. Can’t wait to taste!

  9. LOVE your recipes, Sally! I just tried these and subbed in some whole wheat flour — they were still wonderful and fluffy!

  10. We loved the funfetti cake and the heavenly vanilla buttercream frosting. Your blog has become my go-to place to get recipes for cakes/cupcakes. I can’t wait to make the Very Vanilla cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday, in a few months. I’m sure I’ll find excuses to make others, in the meantime. 🙂

  11. Not a huge fan of yogurt would I be able to use pudding instead?

    1. I would assume so – but you can’t taste the yogurt; there is such a little amount in the recipe.

  12. Beth Eastwood says:

    Since I stumbled across funfetti cakes on Pinterest, I’m obsessed! I recently made a funfetti cake;

    But I’m going to have to try out all of your other funfetti recipes!

  13. will this still come out okay without the sprinkles? Thanks!

    1. You may leave them out.

  14. Marizza Fouts says:

    I am trying a few funfetti recipes and having my hubby and his coworkers do the test taste. This recipe was 50/50. Hubby , me and some of his coworkers thought the cake was too dense even after I brushed the torted cake with sugar water. The other half thought it was good like it was. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I will try another with cake flour.

  15. My 4 year old essentially made this cake by herself today! So easy and very tasty, although she stirred the sprinkles a little hard and the cake has a purple hue 🙂 but she was proud!

  16. This looks fantastic! And the batter… oh my gosh! 🙂 It’s so rich and creamy, and soooo sweet. I’m really excited for the cake.

    I didn’t have anything but nonpareils, so I scooped tiny little scoops into the pan and then sprinkled, and then scooped, and then sprinkled.

    It’s like tye-dye sprinkles! 😀

    YUMMY.

  17. Hi Sally,
    I wanted to ask you what do you mean by the heavy cream for the butter-cream, what is it exactly? Also is normal white sugar like powdered confectioner’s sugar please?
    Thank you so much and by the way your recipes are awesome!!! Can’t wait to bake this one 🙂

    1. Hi Chantelle – heavy cream is also known as heavy whipping cream. And white sugar is granulated sugar. Like table sugar you put into coffee.

      1. Thanks a lot

  18. Hi Sally, I tried out this cake today and it was absolutely delicious! I left out the sprinkles because I didn’t have enough, but the cake is so moist and the buttercream frosting is the best I’ve ever tasted! I’ll definitely be making it again, thank you so much for such a great and easy-to-follow recipe 🙂

  19. Krishna Kumaran says:

    Can this frosting be piped?

    1. Yes, it can.

  20. I both love you and hate you (because I’ve eaten too many cupcakes 🙂 haha! I made both the cupcakes and the cake and it did not disappoint! Unbelievable! Thank you for this great recipe.

  21. I made this but had to make a lot of alterations to the recipe…after following i found the batter was not sweet (like a biscuit dough) and after adding all of the butter, egg and milk it was EXTREMELY dough-y. I added a whole cup (!!) more sugar and 2 more eggs than the recipe called for to make it taste more like a cake.

  22. I made this into a rainbow layered cake for my son’s birthday. I did half a batch per colour (6 colours in total) with no sprinkles and reducing the cooking time, it turned out fantastic. Such a moist cake! Thanks so much!

    Mona – yes I did it sans sprinkles and it’s delicious!

  23. Joanne Rodriguez says:

    Just wanted to thank you for this wonderfully easy and delicious recipe! I used this recipe (without the sprinkles, just plain vanilla) to make a rainbow cake for my daughter’s birthday. I found several rainbow cake recipes online but, because I trust you and I’ve used your recipes before, I knew this one would work for me. It was a success!

    Everyone loved it and your instructions and ingredientes made the process so much easier. Again, thank you.

  24. Used this recipe and it was great. Really nice cake and frosting. The only thing that didn’t work was the sprinkles. Think this is due to the natural colouring they use in the UK. Next time I need to find some brighter artificial coloured ones and I am sure it will be coloured too! Thanks for the recipe!!!

  25. I was wondering if instead of using yogurt or sour cream if I were to use pudding would it come out just as good or better? I just always like how betty Crocker uses pudding in the box cakes, and I have never had one of them disappoint. I have made your cake before with yogurt and it came out great and was gone in no time! Just was hopping to be able to use pudding instead. Will it work and come out great still?

    1. I’m unsure, to be honest. I believe it should work with prepared pudding. Let me know if you give it a try.

  26. One of my best friends is celebrating his birthday tomorrow, and since he’s never tasted a proper funfetti cake (the horror!), I took the liberty of baking him, and 60 of our closest friends, such a cake myself. Except for the flour, which I swapped with self-rising flour, I followed the recipe precisely as it was written (despite the intense horror that shook me when I realized how much butter would be going into this production). I am at an extremely beginner’s level in the kitchen, so much so that my incompetence when it comes to baking has become a wildly popular joke, and yet my cake ultimately came out looking as beautiful as Sally’s cake pictured in this post, and the taste (I made a few cupcakes with the remaining batter for tasting purposes) is absolutely divine. I could not recommend more!! Thank you Sally, will deffinitley be using more of your recipies xx

  27. I made this cake today and it is the most moist and delicious white cake I’ve ever made. I can’t get over how much I love it. Thank you so much for this great recipe. I will use it over and over again in the future. I doubled the recipe and made 2, 9″ round pans, as well as 16 cupcakes. I didn’t double the icing as recommended and ran out with 4 cupcakes left to ice. No problem though, I have some leftover cinnamon buttercream in the freezer. 🙂

  28. Sally, my granddaughter and I made this yesterday. We didn’t have a crumb left by the end of the night. Everyone could not stop raving about it. The texture and taste was perfect. This recipe is a keeper. Thank you.

  29. I made this 2 days ago for my daughter’s birthday and it was perfect! I made a 3 tier layer cake and everyone RAVED about the flavour and texture! The crumb was so satisfying

  30. I made this for my daughter’s birthday party, and let me start by saying it tasted delicious!! I had issues with the baking time though. At 35 minutes in the oven the center was still very visibly raw. I have no clue why. I had to bake it an additional 10 mins or so in order to get a toothpick inserted into the center to come out clean! I thought all was lost and the cake would be too dry/crusty on the outsides, but even with slightly crisp edges, the rest of the cake was dense and moist and very good. Very pretty too. I used a cream cheese frosting recipe and thought it went very well. 

    Next time I am going to try cupcakes instead and hope the baking time works more in my favor. 

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