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. I made this for my 5 year old nephew but used brown and orange jimmies instead – to match the tree stump house cake I was making for him.
    It turned out nicely – moist and sturdy – but not amazing; certainly not the disaster I ended up with by making the Easy Homemade Funfetti Cake recipe also on this site (I couldn’t leave a comment on that one to say it didn’t work out).
    I’d make it again if I need a dependable cake that’s easy to cut but there are definitely nicer cakes to make from this site.

  2. Hi Sally! I absolutely love this cake. It is a success every time I make it. But now I want to make it into a smash cake for the soon to be 1yr old nephew. What size pan and bake time do you suggest I use to adapt the recipe? Can it be easily adaptable to that? or do you suggest I make it in the 4 nine inch pans instead?

    Thank you!


  3. Buttercream icing is top notch. Used it on a 6 layer cake today.

  4. Sally, can I make this a double layer rather than triple and if so, what adjustments do I need to make? Thank you so much!!


    1. Hi Jillian! I recommend making my white layer cake, which is soft, fluffy, and only 2 layers. You can add 1/2 cup of sprinkles to the cake batter.

  5. Hi Sally! Beautiful recipe! How can I adapt this to a sheet cake? (I know you already have another sheet cake recipe with different ingredients.)

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Amanda! This will be too much batter for a 9×13 or 12×17. You can use it, however, and only fill the pan halfway. Use the rest for cupcakes if you’d like.

  6. Hi Sally, made this last night in a large 12 ‘ round cake pan.. used all the batter, but it didn’t rise a lot…. wondering if I should use it or make your white layer cake… and just add the confetti and sprinkles….
    love your site

  7. Sally, could I do a swiss meringue buttercream with this cake? Or would your rainbow chip frosting make enough to frost this cake (the three inner layers and the top and sides)? Thanks! It looks delicious!

    1. A swiss meringue works! I suggest 1.5x the rainbow chip frosting recipe so there is enough for this cake.

  8. Hi Sally! A lot of your cake recipes say, “Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy” — The handheld mixer that I have does not have a paddle attachment, but I do have a whisk attachment. Can I use the whisk attachment for the handheld mixer to get the same results? Thank you! Love your recipes!

    1. Hi Kim! Use the beaters/whisks that come with the handheld mixer 🙂

  9. Hi, can i just use whipped cream frosting for this cake??? My family is not a fan of buttercream frosting ☹

    1. Yes, you can!

      1. Made this for my daughter’s birthday with white chocolate whipped cream frosting….the cake was toooooo yummmm…..thank you

  10. Hi Sally
    I made this cake using cake flour in an aluminum Nordic Ware cake round lined with parchment paper, and the parchment paper was buttered (not excessively, just covered) and floured. The cake was done in the amount of time indicated in the recipe, and I then followed directions to let it cool completely in the pan, which was set on a cooling rack. It took 1 hour + to cool. When I turned the cake out the bottom was very mushy – a real “soggy bottom”. I wonder if this could be due to it being in the pan for so long, or the butter on the parchment? Any ideas? I am practicing for a birthday party this weekend – help!

    1. It could definitely be the butter on the bottom of the pan. I recommend just giving them a light spray with baking spray. The parchment paper will guarantee that they come out cleanly!

  11. Thanks for another great recipe, Sally!! I made this cake for my birthday (I too always bake my own birthday cakes!) and it was a huge hit. I am going to bake it again this weekend for my sister’s birthday but want to do a double layer 9×13 cake instead of a round cake. How would you recommend multiplying the ingredients for this conversion?
    Many thanks!

  12. Hi Sally! This is my boyfriend’s favorite cake recipe and begs me to make it for his birthday every year! He was just diagnosed to Celiacs, any tips on how to make this gluten free? Thank you!

    1. Unfortunately I don’t have any experience baking with gluten free flour. Other readers have had success substituting 1:1 gluten free flour. Let me know if you try it!

  13. Hi Sally, I am going to make this cake for my daughter’s birthday although I just realised I have 3 x 8” tins, not 9 inch. Would this be ok or should I try to source the 9 inch. Also, what would be the depth of the tin? Thanks for your assistance – your recipes look amazing!!!

    1. Hi Mel! 9 inch cake pans are recommended for best results, but you can use 8 inch instead. The cakes will be taller and require longer to bake through.

    2. Thanks for responding so quickly. I only just realised that you were using the deep dish tins and not the springform ones. I have just managed to source the 9 inch at a cost not a common size in Australia), so I am hoping the Chicago metallic 23cm cake pans are up to the job. I intend to make many more of your recipes so I thought I’d just go with that size. If I do a 4 tier cake with a piñata filling, will the frosting amount above be sufficient or could you please advise what quantity to use. I don’t mind if there’s leftovers as I’ll be able to use those. Thank you

  14. I’m a little confused by the flour. It says 3 3/4 cups is 431g but for cake flour it says 4cuos is 400g. Is that correct?

    1. Hi Bethia! All-purpose flour and cake flour weigh different amounts, these different amounts won’t make a large difference in the recipe if you swap one for the other.

  15. Alexandra Koytz says:

    HI Sally 🙂
    Thanks for the great recipe!
    I need to make a funfetti cake and was wondering whether to make this one or the “Best Vanilla Cake” and just add sprinkles. I noticed that the funfetti recipe has 350g sugar whereas the Best Vanilla Cake has 400g. I just want to understand why the difference in sugar and which produces a more moist taste. Thanks!

    1. Hi Alexandra! I’ve grown to love my vanilla cake recipe a little more than this one! It’s softer and fluffier. It also yields more a little more batter, so that’s why there is more sugar. You can make either but I would definitely say the vanilla cake is moister.

  16. can i bake this in 2 8-inch round pans?

    1. There is too much batter here for only 2 layers. You can use 3 8-inch pans (your layers will be slightly thicker than mine and the bake time will differ slightly). Or you can make two layers and use the extra batter for cupcakes!

  17. Hi Sally, I have made this cake (you can see it on Instagram, I tagged you) and it was quite nice. However, I found the dough a bit heavy and too moist, not as light and crumby as it looks on your pics. Especially when you have to bake the layers the day before and store them I find they soak up all the moisture and get a bit heavy. Any tips on changing this? Maybe separate all the eggs and beat all egg whites? Thanks! Agatha

    1. Hi Agatha! Two tricks to produce a fluffier cake crumb: use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour (I swear by this!) and beat the egg whites separately first, then fold into the batter. I do this with my red velvet cake recipe.

  18. Natalie Glickman says:


    Could this cake be enough for 20 small children and 20-25 adults?
    (Or is it even enough for just the 20 children?)

    Is it possible to make this cake into 12” or are any of your cake recipes for 12” cakes?

    Love your recipes!


    1. Hi Natalie! I’m unsure how many 12 inch cakes this recipe will yield, but this batter isn’t enough for 20 children and 20-25 adults. How about a funfetti sheet cake? It feeds a crowd!

  19. Hi sally!

    I love this cake and have had so much success making it. However, for my husbands birthday this weekend it will be too big for the party. Do you think it would make a big difference if I halved this recipe?


    1. You can certainly cut it in half – or I also have this 6 inch funfetti cake recipe you can try:

  20. All sprinkles I’ve eaten are gross but I love the looks of them! Do you know a brand that tastes good?

  21. Hi! Can the cake layers be baked and frozen ahead of time? Trying to get a leg up on birthday celebrations! Thank you!

    1. Sure can! Wrap the baked and cooled layers individually in a couple layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

  22. Hi Sally,
    I’m making this cake for my daughter’s birthday party next weekend, will it be OK to make the cake and ice it the night before the party and leave it out at room temperature? I won’t have much time to ice and compile the cake in the morning as her party is at 10am!

    1. Yes, the cake will be fine covered at room temperature overnight!

      1. Samantha Welgemoed says:

        Thank you Sally!

  23. Thank you!! I found your 6 inch Birthday cake recipe after I sent my message, which will be perfect, too!!

  24. Hi Sally
    Can I use this recipe for a cake that I would like to sculpt?

    1. Hi Betty, this cake is dense enough to sculpt into different shapes.

  25. Can this cake be frozen without being frosted first?

    1. Sure can! Cool the cake layers before freezing.

  26. Stephanie Lane says:

    Would this work in 3- 8 inch pans?

    1. Yes. The layers will be a little thicker and require more time in the oven.

  27. I have made your vanilla layer cake many times and it is the perfect recipe! I was looking to make a funfetti cake but see that this recipe does not call for cake flour when the traditional vanilla layer cake does. Is it better to use all purpose flour for this recipe? Thanks!

    1. Hi Taylor! So I began preferring cake flour in some of my cake recipes after this recipe was published. You can use my vanilla cake recipe and add sprinkles (see the notes) or use cake flour in this funfetti cake recipe. (Same amount 1:1 substitution.)

      1. You said 4 cups cake flour in the notes, but you told Taylor to use the same amount. Is it 3 and 3/4 cup cake flour or 4 cups?

      2. It’s actually the same amount. I changed it in the recipe notes. Thank you so much for spotting that!

  28. Hi Sally! I am attempting this cake for my daughter’s first birthday this weekend. Wish me luck! I am hoping to make a two tier cake, but I am having some trouble calculating how much batter I’ll need and what combo of cake pan sizes to use.

    Your recipe says that this is enough to feed 12-14 people. But when I reference this website, it says 9 inches is enough to serve 24. Any advice?? How tall are each of the 9 inch pans you’re using?

    1. Hi Salma! The 9 inch cake pans I use are 2 inches high. It depends how large you are slicing the cake. You could definitely feed 24 people if the slices were very small!

  29. Perfectly moist and tender and delicious. I love this cake!

  30. Hi sally I enjoyed your confetti cake a lot. The taste was very good and moist. But I was wondering is the cake suppose to be a little dense.

    Thank You

    1. Hi Grace, the cake should be pretty soft and fluffy! If it’s dense it could be from over-mixing the batter. This will over-develop the gluten and cause dense baked goods. But I’m so glad you enjoyed it anyway!

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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