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

Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon
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

463 Comments

  1. Hi Sally. I want to cover this cake in fondant icing and decorate for my daughters birthday. Will it be strong enough to hold the fondant?

      1. Fabulous! Thank you.

  2. I have made quite a few of you cakes and they are all wonderful. Everyone raves about them

  3. I’m making a baby shower cake, baby gender unknown as they want a surprise. I have hoping to make a 10-inch cake with my 10×3 pan. Should I make 2 batches for the 10-inch cake or would I be able to get away with one batch?

     

    I plan on making a half batch second 6-inch tier for a small mountain of baby dinosaurs! With lots of Italian meringue buttercream on request of the mom to be. We figure I have to pour 240 degree syrup in the eggs it will all be good for her.

  4. Hi Sally
    I would love to make this cake but with 4 layers to make it higher. Any suggestions for a 9inch tin? Shall I make 2 batches? Is it dense enough to torte with a cake leveler or is it too crumbly?
    Thank you
    Lisa

  5. Loved this cake! I used King Arthur cake flour and your optional fudge frosting recipe. I used 3 8″ round pans also and it was delicious!

  6. Hi Sally! Was wondering how long to bake to make 3 six inch layers? Do you think they would bake okay?

    1. There is too much batter for 3 6-inch layer cakes. I suggest making it into a 4 layer cake or using leftover batter to make cupcakes (only fill the cake pans halfway).

  7. Hey Sally! I just realized that I bought 10 inch cake pans. Would I be able to use the 10in cake pans to make a 3 later cake as well? Or do I need to be 9 inch?

    1. 10 inch pans is completely fine, but the cake layers will be slightly thinner– so keep that in mind. The bake time will be a little less as well.

  8. I love your recipes! They are always a hit! My question is: I never have success with getting the nonpareils to hold their colour. They ALWAYS bleed even if I’m gentle lol. What other sprinkles could I use? Would confetti (the circular flat ones) hold their colours? Thank you!

    1. Confetti quins work! (Those are the flat sprinkles you mention) 🙂

  9. Hi Sally! I have made this a few times already and I love it! I’m doing it again for my daughter’s bday this weekend as a sheet cake (I love this way), but my almost year old wants “pink strawberry” cake. Is there anyway I could incorporate strawberries into this batter or frosting? Or would you suggest just adding pink food coloring? Thank you Sally

    1. Hi Stacey! You can try to add some chopped strawberries to the batter. And this strawberry frosting would be great! I would double the recipe for it. https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2017/02/05/strawberry-frosting/

  10. Sally, I’m a novice (but passionate!) baker and I’ve had great success with your recipes over the past couple of years. I’ve recently tried my hand at cake making for the first time and once again, your recipes and techniques have triumphed. I made this cake for my nieces 1st birthday party today and my 91 yr. old grandma – who is the queen of baking, especially cakes and bread – said “this is the best funfetti cake I’ve ever had.” It literally brought me to tears! So I just had to thank you for all of my baking successes, and particularly for this cake! 

  11. Rosaline Keys says:

    Hi Sally,

    I made this recipe using the 4 cups of cake flour. It came out a little dense to me. I sifted the flour a couple of times. What do you recommend to correct this problem? BTW I absolutely love the frosting!!! Will be using it for lots of other recipes. Thanks

  12. Hi Sally,

    Firstly, you are single handedly responsible for my scone addiction. Now that we have that out there. I am looking for a recipe to use to make a stacked and iced cake for my son’s birthday party (in the shape of a skyscraper). Is this cake sense enough to be stacked and decorated in that way? I always have a hard time finding a recipe that tastes good but won’t fall apart when I try to ice it.

    1. Absolutely. It’s a very sturdy cake for manipulating into different stacked shapes.

  13. Hey Sally, I am a huge fan of your recipes, I have made several and they always turn out perfect! I am planning to make this cake for my daughters birthday, could you tell me which tip you used to pipe your border? Thanks!

    1. 1M (see step 6) 🙂

  14. Hi Sally,
    Which funfetti recipe do you recommend for a bundt cake that will also go with your cream cheese frosting?
    Thank you!

    1. This cake batter will fit nicely in a bundt pan and will taste wonderful with cream cheese frosting on top. I’m unsure of the exact bake time.

  15. Hi Sally, I’m making your cake right now and I have a question about the oven that I should have thought of earlier to ask. What rack position should I bake the 3 pans on? I can get them on the same rack if the pans touch. Is it ok if the pans touch or does it mess up the temperature of the pans?

    1. It’s ok if the pans touch 🙂 I typically bake them all on the same rack.

  16. Jessica Bowden says:

    Question: I made your soft and fluffy funfetti cupcakes for my daughters birthday. My husband loved them so much that he asked for the same thing for his birthday, but in a cake version (instead of cupcakes). Will this recipe be similar to your funfetti cupcake recipe? What’s the difference between the two?

    1. Hi Jessica! This funfetti cake is a little more dense than the cupcakes. If you’re looking for a soft and fluffy cake to match the funfetti cupcakes, try this vanilla cake recipe and add sprinkles.

  17. Alicyn Komine says:

    Also, wondered what you thought about if I used a cream cheese frosting for these cupcakes? and if i cut a hole in center of the cupcakes to put in a custard filling?

    (Sorry I put in another email address as I neglected to add these two questions to the other one I asked about doubling up this recipe vs. making two separate batches)

    1. Hi Alicyn! You can definitely turn this cake into funfetti cupcakes (I also have a separate funfetti cupcake recipe producing the softest fluffiest funfetti cupcakes!) A cream cheese frosting would pair wonderfully both on top of the cupcakes and as a filling.

  18. Do you think this recipe could be used for 2 or 3 6″ cake pans for a smash cake? Would you advise cutting recipe in half?

    1. Hi Pam! I actually have a 6-inch layer cake recipe that I’m publishing on my blog soon. Use this funfetti cupcakes recipe and divide between 3 6-inch cake pans. Works wonderfully. https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2017/04/28/soft-fluffy-funfetti-cupcakes/

  19. Hi,
    I want to bake this cake for my best friends birthday, but i only have 2, 8inch tins, what would the quantities be? should i just third the recipe?
    Thankyou!

    1. Hi Ella! I’m unsure as I’ve only baked the batter as written. You can try using this recipe and dividing between two 8-inch cake pans or making this recipe as written and using extra batter for cupcakes.

  20. Marie-Catherine B. says:

    Hi Sally!
    Your funfetti cake looks yummy and I’d like to make it for nephew’s birthday in a few weeks. I’m wondering though (because it looks so moist!), do you think it would hold up to fondant?
    Thanks!!

    1. I’ve had readers cover the cake in fondant before with zero issue. And I’ve seen pictures, too! The cake holds its shape beautifully.

  21. Hi Sally, do you think I can swap out 3tbs of flour for matcha powder and turn the cake flavor to matcha? Thank you

    1. Hi Jen! I’m not sure, but feel free to test it out.

  22. Is there a chocolate frosting recipe you would recommend to go with this cake? My daughter isn’t a fan of buttercream.

    1. Hi Brooke! See my recipe notes. Enjoy!

  23. I only have one pan to cook at a time. Is it okay if I leave the remaining batter aside for a while whilst the first pan cooks? Or will leaving the batter out alter the taste in some way?

    1. You may leave the unused batter out at room temperature while the layers bake. Loosely cover it.

  24. I made this recipe over the weekend after your lemon cake was such a huge hit! This one also did not disappoint! To me, it tasted just like the funfetti cake in the box!!!! It was beautiful, and the rainbow jimmies I used didn’t sink to the bottom, which is typically what has happened with other recipes. It’s definitely a very sweet cake though, but that’s what you expect with funfetti. Thanks for another fabulous recipe Sally!

  25. Just made the cake as a practice run for my daughters first birthday, I have it fully assembled and frosted, is it best to store room temperature or in the refrigerator over night?

    1. Either is OK.

  26. Hi Sally, I’m looking to make this cake for my birthday.
    And I want to make this a six-tiered cake, how much batter would I need?

    1. Hi Anna! Great choice for your birthday cake. I’m unsure exactly how much batter for a tiered cake but if you are making a regular 6 layer cake, make the batter twice and divide between your 6 cake pans. The cake will be very tall and I worry about its sturdiness.

  27. Made this wonderful recipe. Followed all the directions. Cake turned out wonderful! as always your recipes do not disappoint. I have honestly tried almost all of your recipes and the cakes and frosting turn out great on the first try. I thank God for you Sally!

  28. Hi Sally, planning to make this for my daughter’s 1st birthday.. since my schedule will be a handful, i wanted to do the cake in advance. May i know how long can i keep or store the cake inside the refrigerator? Thanks

    1. A couple days should be just fine! Keep it covered as best you can.

  29. I never leave comments on recipes but had to do it this time, because I’m so excited to finally find a cake recipe that didn’t turn out dry or dense! I’ve tried so many recipes and I’ve never made a cake that turned out as light, moist and perfect as this one. Followed the recipe to a T and used the chocolate frosting suggested – tasted great and looked beautiful.

  30. Hi Sally, I’ve just made this cake last week for my sons 30th birthday , the cake was gorgeous & I made a homemade strawberry buttercream for filling & decorating ( my son loves strawberry) I only had one problem & that was nothing to do with the recipe but everything to do with the sprinkles You see I’m over in the uk & obviously buy my ” sprinkles” here, we call them hundreds & thousands don’t know y ?, but they lost all their colour in the baking process so wasn’t so much a funfetti cake , obviously just due to our products not being as good as yours & all the fun takin out of our lives with the regulations on food colouring, don’t ask !!!!!! Anyway just wanted to say the cake was beautiful & was devoured in minutes ( my family loves cake) I will definitely try again but this time get my uncle to send me some sprinkles from across the pond !
    Hazel, Liverpool England.

1 2 3 4 5 9

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×