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There’s nothing like sprinkle cake to make you feel like a kid again! Reminiscent of box 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 button above.

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 sprinkle 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
  • The same batter we use for tie dye cake (so fun!)
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. For a 12×17 inch jelly roll sheet, use my funfetti sheet cake recipe.
  • 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.
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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


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


  • 1 and 1/2 cups (177g) 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


  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.


  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, birthday cake

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi Sally,

    I tried to add strawberry purée in this cake but it is taking too long to cook it. Do you think it is a good idea to do that?


    1. Hi Parul! Adding strawberry puree will add too much moisture to this batter, we don’t suggest it.

    1. Hi Caitlin, we recommend using our 2 layer white cake recipe, which is just as light and fluffy. Gently stir about 2/3 or 3/4 cup of rainbow sprinkles into the batter. Happy baking!

  2. In the interest of following the recipe perfectly, can you please tell me how many grams of egg whites should go in the batter? I live in India and we don’t get eggs according to sizes here. The maximum an egg weighs is 50-53g, so if you can tell me the exact amount of egg whites in grams then I’ll use the appropriate amount of eggs to match that. Also hoping that using plain yoghurt instead of sour cream works!

    1. Hi Kinjal! One large egg white is about 30 grams, so you’ll need 60 grams for this recipe.

  3. Sally will I be able to bake this cake on a 8 x 8 square dish? Should I adjust the temperature if I do? I wouldn’t mind if it ends up taller.


    1. Hi Melissa! An 8 inch square pan will be just about the perfect size to use for this cake recipe – bake at the same temperature.

  4. Hi Sally,
    Can this recipe be halved and made in a 9inch round pan for a thinner layer cake?

    1. Hi R, the cake would be incredibly thin. You can try it, but I don’t think the texture would be very desirable.

      1. Hi Lauri, 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 our 6 inch cake recipe.

  5. So I notice that this recipe calls for softened butter and other vanilla cakes on the blog call for melted butter – is there a reason for that? I was looking specifically at the brown sugar butterscotch cupcakes recipe but noticed it in other recipes as well.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Pamela! Some of my older cake and cupcake recipes use melted butter. I enjoy using creamed butter in most cake and cupcake recipes these days though. You get a much fluffier crumb when starting with creamed butter and sugar. If you try the brown sugar butterscotch cupcakes, though, make the recipe as written. They are still pretty soft.

    1. Hi Alison! 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.

  6. Hi Sally,
    I made this cake but it came out dense‍♂️. Is it because I over mixed or because the butter might be different here in Europe than in the US.
    Also, they class flour like, T55 is all purpose and T65 is for pastries. Are you familiar with these? If so what would you suggest foe cake flour?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Chris, over mixing is likely the culprit (more here on how to prevent dry and dense cakes) but if your butter was different, that could be playing into the texture, too. We’re not familiar with those classifications of flour, but we do have our own DIY cake flour substitute recipe that calls for all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Hopefully this is helpful for next time!

    2. Hi Chris – I’ve heard of these classifications and you could probably use their DIY cake flour recipe from here and use T55 with the cornstarch.

  7. Hi!!! I’ve being doing a lot of your desserts and I’m a biggest fan of you! Now! I’m doing this cake today for my son’s birthday tomorrow can I use buttermilk instead whole milk or is better just go with the milk?

    1. Hi Melanie, 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.

      1. Thank you very much! I’ll try like that !

  8. This cake was fun to make but was a sugar overload!
    It gave me such a headache.

  9. Well, this was yummy. My first time making a single layer cake and it is the perfect size for my family. Such a simple idea that I never thought of. Are there other single layer cake recipes on this site? Or, I guess I can just take any cake recipe and cut all ingredients in half, right? Thanks for this. It’s a keeper.

  10. I used to make the old recipe and now just made the new one. I literally make this cake for every birthday and its SUCH a hit. I have never had a better cake. We love you, Sally!

  11. Can I double this recipe to make 2 layer cake? Why is it a different recipe? Sorry, beginner baker questions. So excited to try this recipe for my son’s birthday!

    1. Hi Deepika! We recommend using our 2 layer white cake recipe, which is just as light and fluffy. Gently stir about 2/3 or 3/4 cup of rainbow sprinkles into the batter. Happy baking!

  12. Can I make this using 2- 6″ cake pans? I’m making my great granddaughter’s ‘smash cake’ for her first birthday party!

    1. Hi Aundry, this recipe should work great for two, six inch pans. Or, you can use our confetti cupcakes recipe instead, which is enough for three, six inch pans. You can make the three layers or make two and use the leftover batter for a few cupcakes. Hope it’s a hit!

  13. Hello! I have a friend who is allergic to eggs and has therefore had to avoid most cakes 🙁 I am wondering if you have ever experimented with making an eggless cake (other dairy is OK). Do you have any tips on what the best substitutes might be? Thank you!

    1. Hi Casey! We wish we could help, but we’re not trained in egg-free baking and without testing it ourselves, can’t offer a good suggestion for a substitute that would guarantee results. However, we do have some naturally egg-free recipes on our site that your friend might enjoy. Hope this helps!

    2. Hi! I use bobs red mill egg replacer in this cake and it turns out great! Looooove this recipe- I also used the old one for years!

  14. When was the recipe updated in 2020? I made in August and loved it. Curious if I should use the old or new recipe?

  15. Hi, is it okay if I sift the dry ingredients so I don’t have to deal with clumps? Would that affect the end result?

  16. Hi there, I bought Greek yogurt to substitute for the sour cream but when I got home I realized it’s vanilla and not plain. Can I still use it as a substitute and just lower the amount of sugar? Thanks

    1. Hi Ann! You should be able to use it without any other changes to the recipe.

  17. Way way too sweet. The batter was pretty decent but the buttercream was extremely sweet for our taste buds.

  18. Hi! I’d like to make this into a smash cake for my son’s first birthday. Would I be able to use the recipe as written for 3, 6×2 cake pans? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Ashley, this recipe, as written, will easily make a 3, 6 inch cakes. And you’ll probably have extra batter leftover. For best recipes, use our 6 inch cake recipe.

  19. This recipe was not at all what I was hoping for. It tastes like shortcake: very dense and dry and way too many sprinkles mixed in. It was not at all fluffy as it claimed, and didn’t really even taste like a vanilla cake. I double it into a 9×13, which you said would work … not sure if there was something I missed in the doubling instructions? I will def not make it again. Wasted gobs of sprinkles in this!

    1. Hi Emily, thank you so much for your feedback! It sounds like something may have gone awry in the doubling process, perhaps more leavener was needed. Let me double check my notes on doubling the recipe. I appreciate the feedback!

  20. Can I half the frosting recipe? 3 cups of confectioners sugar sounds like too much for me. A thin coating of frosting is more than enough. I see a few comments saying it was way too sweet.

  21. I love your recipes and want to make cupcakes with sprinkles. I ordered the Starfetti and got it today. I opened it and could tell right away that it had an odor like a strong plastic smell. Then I tasted some and the odor had permeated the sprinkles. This is unusable. I’m sure the cupcakes will be good without sprinkles.

  22. Hi!
    I tried this cake today and while I loved the texture (the trickiest part of homemade cakes, imo), the taste was off. Tastes kinda like pancakes/pancake batter? I was sure I was paying close attention to ingredient amounts. Only substitution made was plain Greek yogurt for sour cream (and flour+cornstarch for cake flour). Any ideas why this happened? Does it just need a lot more vanilla lol

    1. Hi Lucy, Thank you for trying this recipe and we are happy you enjoyed the texture! We’ve never had that happen before so our first suggestion is actually to taste your sprinkles. If you don’t love the way they taste, they could be affecting the taste of the batter. But you can certainly add more vanilla extract if you wish!

  23. I love this cake! It’s perfectly moist. And the kids love the sprinkles! It’s perfect for dessert. We have a few pieces left over. The kids pack in up and give it to our neighbors. Nothing goes to waste and I don’t break my diet!

      1. After I wrote that question I made 1.5 x the recipe and it still came out a little on the thin side but sooo delicious. I added some almond extract also.

  24. Do you have instructions on how to tent the cake pan with foil? Nothing comes up when I search google. Am I just laying a piece of foil over the top? Or wrapping the whole pan in foil in sort of a triangle shape? Not sure.

    1. Hi Katie! You want to loosely cover the pan, but secure it enough that it doesn’t blow off in the oven. Just lovely cover the pan and tuck the sides so it stays put.

  25. This recipe came out perfectly for me and I adore it! Thank you so much for an easy, smaller cake for us to make for fun!

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