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

stack of colorful bowls with sprinkles and a 3 and 0 candle inside

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

In the spirit of this “no-more-excuses-you’re-seriously-a-grown-up-now-because-you’re-thirty” day, I’m sharing the most obnoxiously vibrant, playful recipe in all the land. I’ve shared a plethora of sprinkle-packed cakes on my blog before:

Each one is a little different in both preparation and ingredients, which just goes to show that there are many ways to enjoy this classic birthday masterpiece.

I made today’s cake for my birthday. Sidenote. Is that weird? I always make my own birthday cake? Do you do that too? #bakerproblems

For my 30th, I wanted 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? Apron = on. Butter = softening. Sprinkles = obviously I just dropped those on the floor. Let’s do this!

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.

Reminds me of pretty pastel cotton candy. 🙂 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


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


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


  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!


  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


  1. Thanks Sally. The cake was a HUGE hit, loved by adults and kids alike!!! 

  2. Jami Jamieson says:

    Sally, this was the best homemade cake I have ever made.  You inspired me to try the 4 layer piñata cake, and it turned out awesome! My kids and family were so impressed with it.  Thanks Sally.

  3. This looks amazing! I’m looking to make a 3-tiered cake for my daughters first birthday and was wondering if this cake recipe would go well with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting and strawberry jam filling? Or do you think your wedding cake/cupcake recipe would be better? Thanks!

    1. Now that sounds like an amazing birthday cake! This recipe would definitely work with that frosting and filling.

  4. Hi Sally!
    I’m going to make this for my boyfriends birthday (with your fudgy chocolate frosting) but I only have 2x8inch cake tins! What are your recommendations for baking all three layers? Am I able to bake two first and leave the rest of the batter sitting until the other two are done? 🙂 if so should I put it in the fridge? 
    Thanks in advance!! 🙂

    1. Fill your 8-inch pans halfway, bake as directed (might take a minute or two longer because the pans are smaller), and keep the remaining batter covered tightly in the fridge. Cool the baked cakes in the cake pans on a wire rack until the pans are cool enough to touch. Then you can stick one pan in the refrigerator to cool the cake completely before removing it from the pan and baking the last layer. There might be leftover batter. You can make cupcakes– 20 minutes bake time.

      It might just be easier to buy one more pan!

  5. Sally, may I halve this recipe? Thanks!

    1. Definitely!

  6. Hi Sally, 
    I was wondering, is this cake strong enough to cover it with fondant instead of frosting?? 

    1. Yes it is. Enjoy!

  7. I make this cake..i’m so happy,this is perfect funfetti cake,very moist and buttery flavor.
    For frosting i make vanilla buttercream & add sour cream.
    Thankyou for recipe !

  8. Hi sally. Will this frosting go with your devils chocolate cake. I need a white frosting because I need to dye it blue,to look like the ocean. I just want to make sure it will taste good together. 

    1. Yes yes! It will be wonderful with my chocolate cake recipe.

  9. Hi Sally! First of all, I LOVE your recipes and they have never failed me. Thank you for sharing your baking wisdom. I want to make a cake with this recipe for my daughter’s 3rd birthday, but also want to make a batch of cupcakes to go with it. Can you tell me approximately how many cupcakes this recipe makes and if I should fill the tin 1/2 way or 2/3 of the way?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hey Diana! I’m completely unsure how many cupcakes this would make– I would say around 2 dozen! Fill them about 2/3 full (no more!).

  10. Hi Sally! I’m wondering if you didn’t add sprinkles would this be a simple vanilla cake? Or do you have a seperate recipe for that

    1. I’ve used this cake recipe, without sprinkles, as a simple white vanilla cake before. It’s amazing! Definitely give it a try.

  11. Hi Sally this cake looks fabulous. I am turning 30 next month and would love tomake this cake. I plan on coveting wit fondant eeeek hoping it will hold. I was wondering if I could omit the vanilla for lemon extract instead? Has this been done before? Thank you.

    1. Lemon extract works! You could even add some fresh lemon zest to the batter as well.

  12. Can this be made into cupcakes instead? I’m assuming so, just kinda wanted to know if anyone else has used this recipe for cupcakes instead. thanks 

    1. Absolutely! See recipe note.

  13. Hello,

    I want to prepare the batter for this cake today and bake it tomorrow so that it is fresh. Is it okay to keep the uncooked batter sealed in the refrigerator overnight? 

    Thank you! 

    1. Because of the baking powder, it must be baked right away. You can prepare the dry and wet ingredients separately the night before, store the wet covered tightly in the refrigerator and the dry covered tightly at room temperature, then let the wet come to room temperature and then combine the two right before baking.

      1. Sally,

        I have only two pans, will the remaining batter be ok at room temperature for half hour until I can get a pan free after baking? Will the sprinkles bleed too much if left as is?


      2. It will be just fine sitting there at room temp. As long as you don’t continue to stir it, they shouldn’t bleed.

  14. How would the frosting differ if I use 2% milk? Forgot the heavy cream at the store 🙁

    1. It won’t be as creamy.

  15. How much would I reduce the recipe if I want to make a 9×13 cake?? Half?

    1. I’d say half, yes.

  16. I just made this for my daughters 6th Birthday party. Did a trail run today for her party next weekend. Was easy to make. 
    I had a few friends and kids round to test and it got a big thumbs up. I have been looking for a Vanilla cake recipe for ages and so glad I found this one!

  17. Mariana Portal says:

    HI Sally!

    I love all of your recipes! Specially red velvet cake is delicious 🙂

    I want to make this cake into a two 6″ pans so I can cut each cake in half and make a 4 layer cake . Do you think I should make half a recipe?

    Thank you!

    1. I would halve the recipe for that. Though I’m unsure of the results or if that will be enough batter.

  18. Hi Sally!
    I have tried many of your recipes and they always work (unlike most on Pinterest.) This is the BEST vanilla layer cake I have made so far, looking forward to many recipes in the future. Thanks for sharing!


  19. Hi I was making this cake for my sons birthday is today and I want to make him this cake. I only have 3 sticks of butter I was wondering if I could use margarine for the cake and the butter for the frosting. I don’t have a way to get out and get more butter. 

  20. This cake is so yummy my 3 layer cake came out so nice and even, it didn’t dome or crack! I also made this recipe for a two layer rectangle it was enough batter. I had to stop myself from eating it so good! This is my go to cake recipe now! I made this for a birthday party. I like how the rectangle cake came out cause it had more crunchy edges. First time i made such an even layer cake.By creaming the butter and sugar it makes it such a velvety batter thank you so much!

  21. Hi Sally! I’m planning on making this cake, it looks delicious! However, I was wondering if this recipe yields enough batter for a double layer 12″ cake, instead of a triple layer 9″ cake? Thank you!

    1. I’d say so, yes. Let me know how it goes.

  22. Jean Vandermoor says:

    I made this yesterday for my sister’s 59th birthday. I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfectly. I love that it’s three layers; it makes the cake much more special. It was moist and delicious and was 5 inches tall. For the next family birthday I plan to substitute chocolate chips for the quins and do chocolate icing.  Thanks for a great recipe!

  23. my daughter wants funfetti cake as her wedding cake and she wants me to make it….the bottom layer is 12 inches and needs about 7 1/2 cups of batter.  About how many cups does your recipe make?  By the way, she wanted me to use boxed cake mix, no way! I’m so glad i found this and can’t to try it!

    1. That’s my thinking too… why use a box when homemade tastes worlds better! I’m unsure of the exact amount of batter, but I would guess this yields more than 7 and 1/2. Sorry I don’t have a definite answer. I would make 1 batter, use what you need for the bottom layer, and make another for the other layers if you need it.

  24. Hi! Long time reading, first time commenter… planning to make this cake for a friend. Just curious, did you use quins or jimmies for the cake in your photos? PS – I love that you call them jimmies. I haven’t lived in Philly for years, but it is one of the one words I won’t give up on. I guess it reminds me of childhood 🙂

    1. Hey Nicole! I used regular rainbow jimmies for the cake batter 🙂

  25. Made this for my daughter’s 1st birthday fiesta party. The sprinkles were perfect with the theme. I even poured sprinkles into the shape of a heart on the top of the cake – turned out great and unlike many purchased cakes, this tasted every bit as good as it looked. Great texture, moist and the vanilla really shines through. Thank you for such a perfect birthday cake recipe!

  26. Made this for my son’s first birthday!  Followed the directions exactly and it came out perfectly.  Thank you.

  27. Joanna Edwards says:

    I want to bake my friends daughter a 21st birthday cake and l want to no how I’m a beginner but l love to bake so would love you to give me some advice thankyou Sally love your site

  28. Two mistakes: for the flour, you are suppose to measure AFTER sifting. Second mistake, you need baking soda as well. Baking powder and baking soda both do two different things in a recipe. The cake flour was not an issue however, just measure correctly and make sure you have all ingredients needed! 🙂 

  29. Hi, Sally! This cake looks gorgeous, I can’t wait to try it out! I’m thinking of making this for a friend’s birthday, but I only have springform pans at home. Would the cake batter be thick enough to bake in a springform pan without leaking? Thank you!

    1. Springform pans work well for this cake batter!

  30. Thank you for all the recipes. They are simple and so delicious!!!

    Can the Vanilla extract in this recipe be substituted with Almond extract and if so do I use the same amount the recipe calls for? I appreciate your help. Thanks.

    1. It can, yes. Almond extract is quite potent, so I would reduce the amount to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons.

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