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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.

slice of funfetti layer cake on a pink polka dot plate

funfetti layer cake on a serving plate with a 3 and 0 candles

Funfetti Sprinkle Cake

This is 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?

slice of funfetti layer cake on a pink polka dot plate

My tip: 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.

layer of funfetti cake with frosting on top

We’re going to frost this rainbow delight with vanilla frosting. If chocolate is more your style, use the chocolate fudge frosting from my piñata cake. (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. You can certainly do this too, or you can tint the entire bowl of frosting any color you’d like.

funfetti layer cake on a plate and a slice of cake on a pink polka dot plate

Looking for a fun sprinkle cake with a little less work than a layer cake? Try my funfetti sheet cake or easy homemade sprinkle cake instead.

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slice of funfetti layer cake on a pink polka dot plate

Funfetti Layer Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: serves 1214 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Buttery vanilla layer cake filled to the brim with rainbow sprinkles and finished off with sweet vanilla frosting with piped pink and blue border.


Ingredients

Scale

Funfetti Cake

  • 3 and 3/4 cups (443g) sifted all-purpose flour* (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 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 temperature*
  • 3/4 cup (142g) rainbow sprinkles*

Vanilla Frosting*

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and lightly flour three 9-inch cake pans.*
  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!

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. Honestly, it tastes much better fresh.
  2. Flour: 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 the same amount, 1:1 substitution.
  3. Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a DIY sour milk substitute. Add 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1 and 1/2 cups. (In a pinch, lower fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk, but the cake won’t taste as moist or rich.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.
  4. Sprinkles: Avoid using 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.
  5. Chocolate Frosting: Try my chocolate fudge frosting instead! Use this frosting recipe. It makes enough for this size cake.
  6. 4 Layer Cake: 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.

Keywords: funfetti layer cake, funfetti cake, sprinkle cake

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi! If I want to make cupcakes, do you recommend using the Funfetti cupcake recipe instead of this one? I looked at the cupcake recipe and they are quite different.

    1. Hi Amanda, I have a soft spot for those funfetti cupcakes! Since they’re made with melted butter, you can really taste that buttery flavor in the baked and cooled cupcakes. Using melted butter in a tall layer cake does create a denser texture, so that’s why I prefer softened/creamed butter here among a couple other small changes.

      1. Sally- my son loves this cake. But he is convinced the recipe recently changed – i. E. No egg whites before. Is he right?

      2. Hi Jonathan! This recipe hasn’t changed since it was published in 2015. I wonder if he’s thinking about another recipe?

      3. Haha no idea but possible. He’s baked it a few times. Next weekend he is making it for a friends 11th birthday …his first ‘public’ cake

      4. Hi Sally,
        I was about to use your funfetti cupcake recipe for a 3 layer 6inch cake (a tip you gave in your post about adapting recipes for 6inch layer cakes), when I read this comment. If I use your funfetti cupcake recipe in a 6in cake pan, will the texture be too dense?

      5. Hi Batool, since a 6 inch cake is so small we don’t run into that issue as much here. This recipe will work well for a 6 inch cake!

    2. Made this for my son’s 5th birthday party. It was straightforward to make and was a hit among the kids and the adults! I did reduce the amount of confectioner’s sugar in the frosting a bit. De-li-cious!

      1. I’m baking this cake tomorrow so I hope this message gets to you in time.

        I’m making a tiered square cake for my little one’s birthday a 10 inch square cake with an 8 inch in top.

        I have a few questions…

        1) What is the difference between this recipe and the easy homemade sprinkle cake recipe?
        2) I saw you recommended using the easy homemade sprinkle recipe to another user. If I were to use that recipe instead, could I use buttermilk instead of sour milk?
        3) My square cake tin is quite deep, does this recipe cut nicely?

      2. Hello! Both cake recipes are fantastic, this one yields more batter which will be helpful for your tiered cake. Here is everything you need to know about converting recipes to different Cake Pan Sizes. We usually recommend baking thinner layers instead of slicing thick cakes because this allows cakes to cook more evenly. Let us know what you try!

  2. Two questions:
    1. Why flour dusted bottom versus parchment for baking?
    2. If I bake on a Monday and plan to serve on a Wednesday, would you recommend for storing? Keep out or freeze?

    1. Hi Teal, You can use parchment here. Spray with non-stick spray, use a parchment round, and then spray again. If your cake is covered tightly, you can keep it out until you’re ready to serve it. Enjoy!

      1. The recipe is for a 3 layer 9 inch cake, but what about a 2 layer rectangular cake?

      2. Hi Athena, you can double this Easy Homemade Sprinkle Cake (Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean) for a single 9×13 cake — so you can do that twice for two 9×13 cakes. Let us know if you give it a try!

      3. Thanks! Can i use lowfat cultured buttermilk vs regular if all I can find?

  3. I followed this recipe exactly – room temperature ingredients, not overmixing the flour (I used cake flour), etc. My cake didn’t rise. I used fresh baking powder & fresh baking soda. But when I saw only 1 tsp baking powder & 1 tsp baking soda for 3 & 3/4 cups flour, I was skeptical. I was taught in my college baking class that 1 tsp leavening to 1 tsp flour is the norm. So a big part of the rise was supposed to happen because of the 2 whipped egg whites folded into the quite thick batter. I ended up with 3 flat layers of cake on my hands that needed to feed 11 people. I had to bake another cake. I baked my mom’s old recipe for yellow layer cake and added sprinkles. It turned out perfectly. I used 2 of the Funfetti cake layers (they tasted really dry & “heavy”) & the two of my mom’s yellow cake layers which were tender & fluffy. The cake was a success, but not because of the Funfetti Layer Cake recipe. I won’t make it again. However, the frosting was to die for. I frosted the cake with the Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting from Sally’s Homemade Strawberry Cake which is delicious & I bake often.

    1. Mine are also very dry and didn’t rise well either. I”m really bummed as this took me a good bit of time to make. One of my cakes actually broke when pulled it out of the pan too… really dry. I am so bummed.

  4. Hi Sally! For a six-inch layer cake, would you recommend using this recipe or the cupcake recipe?

  5. Excited to try! How many cups of batter does this recipe make? I want to use a dome pan (9in x 4.5in) that says it needs 6 3/4 cups of batter. Wondering if I will have enough batter/ how much I will need to adjust the recipe by. Thanks!

    1. Hi Audrey, Happy to help, this batter produces at least 8 cups. (Around 8-9 cups exactly!)

  6. Can’t wait to try this, Sally! If I want to tint the entire batch of frosting blue, how many drops and when should I add the coloring?

    1. Hi Paul, you can mix in food coloring at the end. We always recommend gel food coloring for the most vibrant colors without adding too much liquid. Start with a small amount and add more to your desired color. Enjoy!

  7. Each layer was a little bit over an inch tall. Is this normal for this recipe?
    I need two 3or 4 layer cakes and my layers came out much shorter than expected m. Suggestions?

    1. Hi Amanda, these layers aren’t particularly tall, but if yours seem a bit squat, make sure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh. We find they start to lose their freshness after 3 months. Also, be sure not to over mix your batter, as that can lead to dense, squat cakes. Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try!

  8. Quick question.. How does using cake flour instead of all purpose flour impact the outcome of the cake? I see you identified they could be substituted for one another at a 1:1 ratio, but just wanted to explore this further before I make the cake. Thank you!

    1. Hi CeeCee, cake flour will give you a lighter crumb/texture than all-purpose flour. Let us know what you try!

      1. Hi Nelson, this cake batter will fit nicely in a Bundt pan — we’re unsure of the exact bake time. Let us know how it turns out for you!

  9. Will this recipe work for a 4 layer 6 in cake? Would the baking time be about the same? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sarah, you can use this recipe for a 4 layer, 6 inch cake. Fill your pans 2/3 way and use any leftover batter for a few cupcakes. Follow the bake times for 6 inch cakes. Hope this helps!

      1. Thank you! I’m looking forward to trying this out!

    1. Hi Barbara! The layers will be thicker if using 8 inch pans, so increase the bake time. We’re unsure of exact bake time. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Happy baking!

  10. Hi Sally, is there a reason this cake would be coming out quite caramelised and SUPER moist? Almost oily.
    I followed as close as possible converting what (I think, lol) is correctly from US to Australian. I used cake flour too, and it just looks super ugly cause it’s caramelised?

    1. Hi Caitlin, what kind of sprinkles are you using? Sprinkles can vary (especially in other countries) and some end up kind of melting/dissolving when they’re baked, which could be the cause of your caramelization. We recommend rainbow jimmies and pastel colored quins. Avoid using sprinkles that will dye your batter. Steer clear from nonpareils, which are the little balls. Hope this helps!

  11. HI, this cake is so good and i was wondering if you had any other great birthday cake recipes.

  12. Hi, Sally! I’m so excited to make this cake! (I’ve already rated it five stars because I know it’s going to be perfect!)

    I’m hoping to make a mini cake—could you give me some recommendations on how I can do this? I’m thinking of just halving the recipe; would this be okay or should I change any of the specs, other than halving them all equally?

    Thank you I’m advance! Your recipes are the greatest and I’m excited to try this one!:)

    1. Hi Victoria, you can definitely halve this recipe! Hope you love it.

      1. Thank you:) Can’t wait to bake this one!

  13. Hi there,

    How could I use cake flour or add cornstarch to this recipe for a less dense cake?

    Or do you recommend I use your vanilla cake recipe (https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/vanilla-cake/) and just add sprinkles to the batter?

    Asking because I prefer cake that is baked using cake flour or all purpose+ cornstarch.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Nav, either way would work! You can use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour for an even lighter texture. Use the same amount, 1:1 substitution.

  14. This is my go-to funfetti cake/cupcake recipe!! My daughter has requested for me to do a teal colored, 6-layer, 8” cake for her birthday so I can do a hot pink drip from the top (fingers crossed it turns out good). I love this buttercream but want to know how much I should make for all those layers? I don’t want to have to match the teal color with different batches. Thanks I’m advance!!! 🙂

    1. Hi Melissa! You should be able to double the above vanilla buttercream recipe to cover a 6 layer cake. If you’ll want extra for decorating, you may want to make more. Let us know how it goes!

  15. If I use cake flour instead of all-purpose, would you suggest I still sift it first? I seem to remember hearing that sifting cake flour can negatively affect the final texture, but I’m not positive. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Ellen, it won’t be necessary to sift the cake flour.

      1. Loved this recipe. I cut it in half and made 12 cupcakes and one round cake. All are a bit crispy on top…tastes like a sugar cookie. Delicious but not the texture on top I was expecting. The inside is so moist and fluffy. Very pleased with the way it turned out. Are they supposed to be crispy on top or did I do something wrong?

  16. Hi Sally, very excited to try out this recipe for a friends birthday tomorrow! I was hoping to make it a 2 layer cake and I wasn’t sure if what measurements you would recommend. Should I double your one layer sprinkle cake recipe in stead ? Also is it possible to use one cake pan and then cut it in half for the layers? Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Stella! You could cut the recipe in half and have two thinner layers – the bake time would be less. For 2 layers with the cake as shown, you would need to make 2/3 of the recipe. You could also add sprinkles to our white cake recipe instead. It’s best to bake separate layers because thick cake layers tend to dry out on the edges in order to cook through the middle. Thin layers gives a more even bake. Hope this helps!

    1. Hi Anne, You can certainly use 1.5 tsp of both vanilla and almond extract or use 2 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. almond depending on how strong you would like the flavor.

  17. I made this recipe with cake flour and it baked perfectly, the cake had great structure and a nice soft texture. However, I found the crumb to be dry and I think it could use a few improvements to be more moist / flavorful. A great base recipe though!

  18. I’m having trouble wrapping my head around cake pan size conversions even after reading your very helpful post. I’d like to use this recipe to make a two layer 10 inch cake, instead of a three layer 9 inch cake. Can I make the recipe as is or do I need to size up/down? Thank you!

    1. Hi Katie! You should be able to use two 10 inch pans here – they may be a bit thicker so the bake time would be longer – let us know if you give it a try!

      1. I ended up making this recipe as is in two 10 inch round pans. They came out beautifully after I added about 10 minutes to the bake time! Delicious!

    1. Hi Gabby, this batter produces around 8-9 cups of batter total.

    1. Hi Barb, this cake is too large for a 9×13 inch pan. I recommend using my recipe for White Cake, folding in 1/2 cup sprinkles and following the recipe notes for instructions on baking it in a 9×13 inch pan.

  19. Hi Sally! I have been using this recipe for my birthday for the last 6 years and absolutely love it! My question for you is I know other funfetti recipes use clear imitation vanilla instead for a more nostalgic taste and I was wondering what your thoughts were on that and if the measurements would stay the same. I wouldn’t want to add too much liquid to the batter because I know it needs to be thick. Thanks for such as amazing recipe! I truly make this cake once a year and have family members who can’t wait for my birthday just to eat this cake haha!

    1. Hi Rachel! We’re so glad this cake is your birthday go-to. You can use clear imitation vanilla in place of the pure vanilla extract in this recipe. We recommend keeping the measurement the same — you could try just a slight bit more if you’d like, but as you mention, you don’t want to add too much liquid to the batter. Let us know how it goes!

    1. Hi Miranda, this recipe produces around 8-9 cups of batter total.

  20. Would this work with your SMBC recipe? Will there be enough icing to decorate? (I will make 3×8” cake)

  21. The flavor in this recipe is amazing. Way better than any box cake doctoring. However I just have a question/comment. My cake layers were very tender and fluffy but didn’t rise much. No bricks though. Did I do something wrong or is this the way it should be?
    Thanks! I really enjoy all of your recipes Sally and team! All of them get constant raves and my 2 year old loves the pumpkin cake so much I bake it for his birthday each year and hope to continue that tradition!

    1. Hi Chris, so glad you’re enjoying our recipes! If the texture was soft and fluffy, the cake may have been perfect! We do always recommend replacing your baking powder and soda often as they can lose strength after a few months, leading to dense bakes goods.

  22. I have made this multiple times and it is delicious. I have a question regarding storage. Can I make the cakes and freeze them so I can decorate them a few days from now? If so, Do they need to be completely thawed in order to decorate with frosting?

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