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 Cake

  • 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

83 Comments

  1. Wonderful recipe! I made this with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour and it turned out perfect. I made no other changes. Amazing! Thank you!

  2. I doubled the recipe and put all the batter in a 9 x 13 in. cake pan. It seems like it took close to an hour for the toothpick to come out clean, But after 40 min of baking I kept checking for doneness every 5 minutes. So a lot a heat escaped and lowered the oven temp. I tasted the crumbs that were left in the pan once I turned out the cake. The crumbs taste good. I hope I did not over-bake the cake. It is for my grandson’s 5th birthday party tomorrow. I covered the cake loosely with tin foil after around 40 minutes of baking. I should have covered it sooner, as the recipe indicated. I need to put a Zelda sword on the cake next.

  3. Made this a couple weeks ago for my daughters 2nd birthday. I used non pareils because i ran out of the jimmies…and it worked out fine- i just had to stir gently.
    Me and my little family enjoyed it so much that we werent able to save a piece for my mom!!! I also only made a half batch of icing and i had some leftover…it was plenty. Loved the dense crumb….and it was unbelieveably delicious!! Will definately be making again!! Thank you!

  4. I am going to give this cake a try for my grand-daughters 6th birthday cake. I will be putting in a spongebob cake pan. What I would like to know is will your frosting recipe work for making the stars in decorating, will it hold a shape…hope you know what I am asking…LOL!

    1. This frosting should hold a shape, yes.

  5. wondering if anything about this would be different if using in a bundt pan? I’m doing a donut theme for my daughter’s birthday and this looks so fun and yummy! Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Kristin! I recommend this vanilla cake recipe for a bundt pan. You can add sprinkles to the batter.

  6. I’m making this recipe for my daughters smash cake. I want to make a 2 layer cake and my pans are 6 inches – should I still double the recipe? If I double, would it make 3 layers easily? I don’t have a problem making 3 layers, I just don’t want too many extra cupcakes hanging around.

    1. Hi Gina! This recipe, as written, will easily make a 3 layer 6 inch cake. And you’ll probably have extra batter leftover. For best recipes, use my 6 inch cake recipe.

  7. How long would I bake this if I’m making it in a bundt pan?

    1. Hi Angela! I recommend this vanilla cake recipe for a bundt pan. You can add sprinkles to the batter.

  8. I have a set of small pans (5 pans) for a 6″ layer cake. How many layers do you think this recipe would provide? Any suggestions on cook time? Thanks!

    1. Hi Cassie! I’m unsure about this one, but I have a 6 inch sprinkle cake on my blog if you want to use that one instead. It’s only 3 layers. This cake would likely produce at least 5.

  9. Just made this cake and icing for my daughter’s birthday. She is 22 but loves anything with sprinkles. It was a home run. She loved it. I doubled the recipe and split it evenly between two 9″ round cake pans. I covered them loosely as suggested after the first 20 minutes of baking. They turned out perfectly. Thank you for sharing this recipe. It will be added to my recipe book for future use.

  10. Is this a good recipe to use to make funfetti cake pops? And would you suggest using this same icing recipe or a different icing for the pops?

    1. You can make cake pops from this recipe – the trick to cake pops is the ratio of cake to frosting. Or you can use my cake pop recipe so you can be sure of the quantities and simply add sprinkles to the cake. You can get the recipe and watch me make them here.

  11. I just finished making this cake. For European standards this cake is way way too sweet. I had to reduce the sugar by half because the amount of sugar I had in front of myself was ridiculous. So even by putting 50% less sugar in the cake it was almost impossible to eat it. So I improvised with some cream cheese icing without addingbany sugar and some blueberries to even out the sweetness. I can not understand how can a cake twice this sweet be eaten and considered “just sweet enough”.

  12. Hi Sally. I have made this cake countless time and it is my to-go vanilla cake ever. I am making a latte cake and am wondering if i can swap the vanilla extract with latte syrup/ latte caramel sauce? If it is possible, is it 1 tbs as well? Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Muna, I’m so glad you enjoy it! I’ve never tried to make this latte flavor – but it sounds so good! I found this recipe where to flavor it she uses espresso powder in the milk – you could try that! https://livforcake.com/vanilla-latte-cake/

  13. Hi Sally,

    Can you tell me why this recipe includes brown sugar and your Funfetti cupcakes recipe does not? I have had great success using the cupcake recipe before and am debating which version to use for a 3 tier cake. Also would you recommend that I just double either recipe when using 3 8 inch cake rounds?

    1. Hi Steph! They are simply different recipes. This funfetti cake is a little more dense and would be great for a tiered cake. My vanilla cake would be excellent as well.

  14. Hi Sally! I’m thinking of using this recipe for a cake this upcoming weekend, but wondering what’s the difference between this cake and your other funfetti layer cake recipe? This one looks so yummy and moist, and I just wanted to know if there was a reason I should use one over the other if I plan to make a layer cake.

    Can’t wait to try it, and thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Kai, They are both delicious but a little different. This recipe is written for only one layer – it has a tighter crumb and is very moist. The Funfetti Layer Cake recipe is fluffier due to the whipped egg whites while still being very moist. This one is obviously larger and makes 3 layers!

  15. Amazing recipe! I’ve tried about 6 different funfetti recipes over the years and this one is for sure the winner. Thanks Sally!

  16. Just made this, and the cake came out perfectly! I halved the icing, and it was more than enough to frost the top and sides of the one layer. My kids loved it, and declared it a 10/10.

  17. I just this week made your yellow cake and it is the best ever! This confetti cake is the perfect recipe to use the 2 left over egg whites from that recipe.

  18. This is one of my favorite cake recipes. Can’t wait to try it with the updates!

  19. I so appreciate your updated recipes! They tend to be classics that I am more likely to make, and as I have watched your techniques evolve over the years I am a bit more confident in the recipes from the last 4 years or so than I am in your early ones. I get so many compliements when I make one of your desserts (which means, I get compliments a lot!)

  20. Do you have a good marshmallow frosting that will hold up? I LOVE your cakes but would like a non buttercream frosting. Thanks!

    1. Hi Amy, you’ll enjoy my marshmallow meringue frosting.

  21. Hi! You mention in the updated version that you used Bright Sky sprinkles from Sweetapolita did you pick out the colored sixlets and candy bead? Or did you use the sprinkles as is? Thank you.

    1. I did, yes! I typically remove the larger sprinkle mix pieces/edible beads when using in cake batter. Just a personal preference.

  22. Can you use all purpose flour or bread flour instead of cake flour? Thanks!

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ella, use cake flour for best results. You can use all-purpose flour in this homemade cake flour substitute!

  23. also can we make these cupcakes instead?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ella, we recommend making this confetti sprinkle cupcakes recipe, which is essentially the same, only slightly scaled up. Same taste and texture.

  24. Just made this recently and it was so good that it was almost gone in a few hours!will bake again!

  25. Can I use buttermilk in this recipe?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ana, The best way to use buttermilk in this recipe to to replace BOTH the whole milk and the sour cream with it. So you you will use a total of 2/3 cups of buttermilk.

  26. Monica Biegel says:

    WOW! The cake was extremely moist and the frosting was absolutely delicious! My family loved your recipe. I made the cake and frosted it the same day. Do I need to refrigerate the cake because I frosted it, or can I leave the cake out with the frosting for one day?

    1. Hi Monica! The cake is just fine left out for 1 day after decorating with frosting. See the last step!

  27. Dennis Yannakos says:

    My son will love it. Thanks for the recipe!

  28. I was really excited for this recipe, but unfortunately it fell a little flat for my expectations, but I believe the error is on my part. I don’t think I whipped the egg whites for long enough, and I sifted my cake flour after measuring it. I think that I ended up using too much flour that way (should have measured again after sifting) and As a result the cake came out denser. Going to have to try again without sifting the flour next time and see how it goes!

  29. paula sayer says:

    The Confetti cake was the best. My family said this was the best cake they ever ate. Thankyou for doing all the work to get this delicious recipe. You are the best Sally . thankyou

  30. This was amazing! I can’t believe how much it resembled Funfetti cake in taste and visually, but somehow so much better. I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 12 cup Bundt pan; 45 minutes was the right time for my oven. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe!

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