Funfetti Layer Cake

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 recipe in this post. (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

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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 12-14
  • 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

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

308 Comments

  1. I have a 10.5 inch pans how long do I cook it for?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ell, we’re unsure of the exact bake time, but it will be a bit less due to the thinner layers. Use a toothpick to test for doneness.

    2. Ok!! I’m going to try my hand at it, but keep frosting on standby. Sally’s recipes are always a win Thanks so much!!

  2. Have you ever made Fondant? Would this cake stand up to the weight of fondant on top? Could a mixture of frosting and fondant decorations be used? Can’t wait to try this on Friday!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jennie, we don’t typically decorate with fondant, but this cake should hold up just fine under it. Enjoy!

  3. This cake was perfection! It was soft, fluffy, and moist. The layers baked up nice and tall and made for a great looking cake for my boys’ birthday party. So good.

  4. I tried making a unicorn cake using this recipe with 4 – 7” round pans. My cake ended up quite dense. When I added food coloring into the 4 pans, I had to mixed the batter to blend in the color. Do you think I overmixed or could it be the recipe is not meant for 7” x3” round cake pans?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gina! This cake recipe should be fine in 7 inch pans, over-mixing is often the cause for dense cakes and is most likely the culprit with your unicorn cake.

  5. I need to make a sheet cake what size pan would be best

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mary Ann, we recommend using this easy homemade funfetti (doubled) 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 in the post. We also have this funfetti sheet cake recipe that uses a 12×17 pan.

  6. Hi, Sally! I only have an 8 inch pan. Would that be fine?How much more batter should I add?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Olive! For a one layer funfetti cake, we recommend following this Easy Homemade Sprinkle Cake instead. Enjoy!

      1. Sorry my bad I meant I have three 8 inch pans how much more time should I do

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        We’re unsure of exact bake time for thicker cakes in 8 inch pans. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Happy baking!

  7. Hi Sally

    I baked this cake for my daughter’s birthday party but had to cancel it due to unavoidable reason. Thankfully i had not done the icing yet, so I froze one part (I baked this recipe into two layers). What should I do to defrost it and will it still be good? Super thanks in advance!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nidhi, to defrost the cake, simply put it in the refrigerator overnight to allow it to thaw out. If wrapped tightly to prevent moisture from getting in, it should still taste great!

      1. I followed your instructions and after almost one month of being in the freezer it still came out so good! Thank you.

  8. Love this Recipe. My niece and I made it for her 6th birthday. We colored one layer blue and the other layer pink and it came out awesome!!! Your recipes are my go to whenever I bake. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  9. Could your recipe for “The Best Vanilla Cake I’ve Ever Had” be used as a base for this funfetti cake instead of the one listed here? I love that recipe but I don’t know if this one is better for funfetti for some reason. Maybe the sprinkles in the batter make a difference? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ari, you can definitely add sprinkles to our vanilla cake instead if you prefer!

  10. Hello! Could you make this into a 2 tiered cake? Also, could you pipe this frosting like buttercream?

    Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Britney, this cake should work well as a two-tier cake. You may want to use cake rounds and dowels as we do in our wedding cake for extra support. You can pipe this frosting as well. Enjoy!

  11. Would it be possible to use a flavoring in place of vanilla or along with the vanilla? Just wanting to know for future reference, just in case!

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nini, We wouldn’t replace the vanilla extract completely – try reducing the vanilla extract to 2 tsp and adding your flavor of choice in addition to that.

  12. Rakele Cassar says:

    I need to make a gluten free version of this cake, can I just substitute the cake flour with gluten free flour please?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rakele, we haven’t tested this recipe with that substitution so we’re unsure of the results, but let us know if you give it a try.

  13. Made this cake yesterday. I followed the directions exactly. I did use cake flour. If you are on the fence about making this cake or Sally’s “best vanilla cake” recipe, DEFINITELY MAKE THIS ONE!!! I’ve made both of these cakes and this recipe comes out a little more moist . Great recipe. Thank you!!!

  14. How do you adapt the recipe for a two-layer cake?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Betsy, 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.

      1. Stephanie Dolan says:

        I’ve been using your recipes for years! They are top-notch. I’m looking to use this one for my baby’s first smash cake. Any tips on how to scale it down? I’m considering cutting the recipe in half and filling two 6-inch pans…? Any recommendations on bake time? Thanks for being a part of our family memories 🙂

      2. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Stephanie! We’d recommend using our confetti cupcakes recipe instead — same great taste, but it yields the perfect amount for 3, 6 inch cake layers. If you only want two layers, you can simply make two and then use the leftover batter for a few cupcakes. Use our post on 6 inch cakes as a guide for baking time and temperature. Hope the cake is a hit at the birthday party!

  15. This was such a beautiful cake – I did 3 layers in 7inch cake tins, and forgot to beat the egg whites before putting them in but the cake was still fluffy and delicious!!

  16. This is an amazing birthday cake and frosting! Made it for a family dinner for my 9 up’s birthday and everyone raved. I cooked a cheesecake without a crust and sandwiches it in between two layers. I also used clear vanilla which I’ve been told lends a birthday cake flavor. Anyway, my 49 yo brother requested I make it for his next birthday.

  17. If I have both all purpose flour and cake flour available which do you recommend I use?

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Alissa, We use all purpose flour in this recipe. Enjoy!

  18. Hi Sally! How long would baking time be if I am baking them one at a time?

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Aliah, The bake time will be the same. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Happy baking!

  19. Gail Mitchelll says:

    Made it and it was awesome. I was wondering if I can switch out the sprinkles for mini chocolate chips?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Definitely!

  20. Melissa Cornell says:

    Is it OK to make 1.5x this recipe for 3, 10″ pans or do you recommend making two separate batches

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Melissa, you should be able to 1.5x the recipe with no problems. When you get closer to doubling, we recommend two separate batches. Hope this helps!

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