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

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. I am planning on using two 6-inch cake pans to make a small personal cake and use the rest of the batter for cupcakes. Is this a good recipe for that? How high do you recommend filling the pans and baking? Thanks!

    1. Yes, you can do that! Fill the pans no more than 2/3 full. Or I have a seperate recipe already proportioned for a 6 inch cake: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/decorated-6-inch-cake/

  2. Hey Sally — I know I can bake layers ahead and freeze them (after cooling and wrapping)… any limit on how long I can freeze? Hoping to make this Saturday for a party next Friday.

    Thanks!!

    1. Up to 3 months is great. The shorter the amount of time, the better. See my freezing cakes tutorial if you’re interested. 🙂

  3. Do you sift the flour before or after measuring it?

    1. Hi Linda, Sift the flour before measuring – see recipe note #2 for details! Enjoy!

  4. Hi Sally! I love your recipes! Do you think I could use this recipe for two 12 pans I stead of the three 9 inch? Thanks so much for your help!

    1. Hi Meg! Two 12-inch pans should be great for this amount of batter.

  5. Dear Sally, I’m going to make this cake for a birthday party. I was wondering about storing the cake when made, does it need to be refrigerated because of the frosting or will it be ok stored in a covered cake dome? Thanks for your advice, Kind regards, Colin

    1. Hi Colin, How far in advance do you need to make it? Buttercream frosting is ok covered in your cake dome at room temperature for at least 24 hours.

  6. Sally THIS CAKE! It’s EVERYTHING! Made it for my son’s birthday and it was a HUGE hit! And with your instructions, it was fun and easy to make too! So THANK YOU SO MUCH for this recipe! Now the problem is I have requested for it! And HERE’S MY QUESTION: My nephew has requested it ‘cookies & cream style’ (his words)… do you think chopped up Oreos instead of sprinkles would work? Or chocolate chip cookies?

    1. Hi Steph! You can definitely add chopped Oreos to this batter. I recommend about 1 cup chopped Oreos, then leave out the sprinkles.

      1. Yay! This is going to make giant day! Thanks so much, I’ll be sure to tag you in the final result!!!

  7. Hi Sally,

    I am thinking to use this recipe for a small wedding cake (about 40 ppl). I’m making a 6” tier and an 8” tier, each with two layers of cake. First question- will I need to increase the about of batter? I like my layers pretty full. Maybe do 1 1/2x the recipe? I don’t want to sacrifice the texture of the cake! Lol Second question- is it your preference to use this recipe with the AP flour or the Cake Flour? I’ve loved all your recipes and trust your opinion!
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Gina, To figure out the capacity of baking pans I like to refer to this chart: https://www.joyofbaking.com/PanSizes.html
      Just keep in mind it’s better to make the batter twice instead of doubling the recipe!
      And honestly you can use whichever flour you prefer as long as you follow the recipe amounts. Cake flour produces a lighter fluffier crumb so it’s whatever texture you are going for!

      1. Thanks again! I will definitely follow all these tips! You’re the best!

  8. Hi Sally! Any chance you know about how much batter this recipe produces? I’m going to be making one of those giant cupcake cakes (using a Wilton mold) and I will need probably around 8ish cups. Just trying Ron figure out if I should make 1.5x or 2x this recipe. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Aly, I’m happy to help. This batter produces at least 8 cups. (Around 8-9 cups exactly!)

  9. Hi sally! Can this be used for cupcakes? If so, how long should they be baked for?

    1. Yes, see recipe note for instructions. Enjoy!

  10. Hi Sally,

    Sorry to ask you another question about sprinkles, but I wanna make sure I get this cake right! Did you use the confetti quins for the cake batter as well or regular jimmies? I’m worried about the confetti quins bleeding because they don’t have a waxy coating.

    Thanks,
    Mario

    1. For the pictured cake I used them just as decor on top of the cake. But I love quins because they never streak the batter if you mix them in! The link to the exact ones I use is in the post above!

  11. I have made your delicious peach bundt cake with brown butter icing and an apple pie from your recipes, so when my husband asked to bake me a cake for my birthday, I had him go right to your recipes. He made this delicious 3 layer fun-fetti cake and it was beautiful and delicious. My favorite part of my birthday is the cake and it did not disappoint! Thanks again, Sally!

  12. Hi. I have a party on sat night. Can I bake cake today on thurs and refridgerate it and icing it on Friday and refrigerate it until it’s time to take it out Sat? I just have family coming from out of town and am
    Worried I won’t have time to icing it sat

    1. Hi Robyn, That should be fine! Just be sure to tightly wrap your cake layers before frosting so that they dont dry out and bring the cake back to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!

  13. This cake sounds delicious. Can II may use and use a cream cheese frosting instead? Thank you for sharing!

    1. Yes, absolutely! This is my favorite cream cheese frosting.

  14. Hi Sally!
    I’ve baked this about 5 times now and while it has an exceptional flavor and has become a favorite request it always comes out a bit dense for me. I did all the typical trouble shooting and usually only mix the dry and wet ingredients about 30 seconds to avoid a dense cake…but still have to fold in the egg whites and sprinkles…..then it’s often not mixed properly and still comes out dense. Your cake looks light and fluffy with a tender crumb in the pictures. Is this cake recipe just a bit more dense by nature like the white cake recipe tends to be or am I still doing something wrong here? How long do you mix your batter toward the end? 

    Thank you kindly,

    Nissa

    1. I’m so happy you have been enjoying this cake, Nissa! If it’s turning out a bit too dense I would take a look at your 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 for an even lighter crumb. Use the same amount, 1:1 substitution.

  15. Hi Sally,

    First time cake baker here. I only have spring form pans … that’s fine, right?

    Thank you!

    1. Yes, that will work. Happy baking, Jenna!

  16. Krystal Williams says:

    I am preparing to make this for my baby’s 1 year birthday but I have 10 inch pans. How do I make this recipe work for that size?

    1. Hi Krystal, I often refer to this chart by Wilton when looking at how much batter to use for different size pans: https://www.wilton.com/cake-serving-guide/cms-baking-serving-guide.html

  17. Hi Sally, can make the cream cheese frosting with it ?

  18. Hi Sally! Planning to make this next week for my son’s birthday with some awesome primary colored quins I just got. I no longer measure by volume, only by weight, so I have a couple of questions for you around subbing cake flour (which I prefer): Is 431g still the correct weight for using cake flour? (It actually seems light for 3 3/4 cups of AP flour by your equivalents in your measuring post, so I’m thinking it’s fine for cake flour.) I know you say 1:1, but I wasn’t sure if that applied to weight as well as volume. Also, do you sift your cake flour also? If so, should the measurement be even lower (like 375 grams)? Many thanks!

    1. Hi Liz! The easiest route to take– make my vanilla cake recipe which is formulated for the use of cake flour. See the recipe notes for adding sprinkles. I LOVE that vanilla cake– very popular with readers, too. You (and the birthday boy) won’t be disappointed.

      1. Thanks, Sally! I’ll do that and let you know how we like it!

  19. Sheila Nelson says:

    “Sally, I’m looking forward to making this cake. I’d like to make it in a 9 X 13 pan so I can cut it into thirds as part of a slumber party “bed cake”. Will it be enough batter for the pan?

    1. Hi Sheila, This makes a little too much batter for a 9×13 inch pan. I suggest using my White Cake recipe, folding in sprinkles, and following the recipe notes for a 9×13 pan. Enjoy!

      1. Sheila Nelson says:

        Thanks for the quick response Sally. I’ll check it out.

  20. Hi Sally! I made this for a birthday, unfortunately it came out very dense. I’m a novice baker, but my ingredients were all room temperature, I sifted my flour before measuring, checked that my baking soda and powder were still active, and I followed the mix times exactly. Any thoughts as to what happened?

    1. Hi Alex, You can use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour for an even lighter texture. Use the same amount, 1:1 substitution.

  21. Hi! Can you split this recipe into two 13 x 9″ pans? If so, how long would you bake them for?

    1. Hi Jocelyn, This cake is too large for a 9×13 inch pan but it would be too thin to divide between two of them. 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.
      For two pans make the recipe twice (do not double for the best texture).

      1. A lot of steps, but definitely worth it! Very moist and tasty cake…icing is great too. Just right for this cake!

  22. This is on my list to make … but I was thinking of turning up the fun a notch by taking 1/4 to 1/3 C of Froot Loops, turning them into “powder” in a food processor (like you do with the freeze dried strawberries in your amazing strawberry cake), and adding it to the icing. It may require a bit more salt to balance the extra sweetness. I was wondering if you have tried this (and how it turned out). Visually, it would be great.

  23. Hi Sally,
    Would adding oil to this cake make the cake a little bit more moist? How much oil would you recommend?

    1. I do not recommend adding oil to this recipe. The cake should be very moist as written. Use sifted cake flour for the lightest texture, and be sure you are using buttermilk.

  24. I made this cake and wow! It was perfect. If calories weren’t a thing I would have eaten 4 slices! Our new favorite cake recipe and that says a lot because your lemn blueberry cake is fantastic! Great recipe!

  25. This cake looks super yummy! I want to use a funfetti cake for my son’s birthday. It will be an R2D2 cake per his sweet, little, about to be 4 year old request‍♀️. The template I think I have decided on requires a 9×13 and a round. I will make two layers (hopefully). Do you think a single batch of this will divide well into one 9×13 and one 9 inch round? And any ideas on change in temp/time for the 9×13? Sorry for the lengthy question! #boymomprobs

    1. Hi Amber! I’m happy to help. You should have enough batter for both pans since there is too much batter for one 9×13 inch cake. Bake both cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  26. Perfect cake for a birthday celebration for this weekend. Not a slice leftover. Thank you so much for sharing! I’m making it again for my daughter’s birthday next month.

  27. Hi Sally! Do you think pearlized jimmies would work the same or cause issues in the batter? Thank you!

    1. Those should be just fine!

  28. Hi!
    So excited to make this, you cannot go wrong with funfetti! I am thinking of making your rainbow chip frosting to go in between the layers and still using the called for vanilla frosting to frost and decorate the outside… Would the consistency of the rainbow chip hold up in between the layers? Thoughts on this? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Jessie, Yes the rainbow chip frosting would be great between the layers! I hope you love it!

  29. Hi! I want to make this cake for my boy’s 7th birthday this next week, I’ve never made a cake before, I’m attempting now because the shelter at home order around the. Can I use this batter for a 8in and 6in round pans? Did you sliced it by half or just baked 3 thin layers of cake?

    1. Hi Claudia! There’s too much batter for an 8 inch and 6 inch cake pan. You may want to try my 6 inch birthday cake instead. No need to decorate with buttercream flowers as I did there!

  30. Hi there! I’d love to make this cake this week, but I only have two 9 in. round cake pans. Any tips for adjusting the recipe to avoid wasting cake batter and frosting?
    Alternatively, would it be possible to refrigerate some of the batter and bake the third layer sequentially once I can remove a baked & cooled layer from one of the pans?
    Thanks in advance for the help!

    1. Hi Erin, I do not recommend refrigerating the batter once it’s mixed up. For a two layer cake you can follow my recipe for my Favorite White Cake and fold 1/2 – 2/3 cup sprinkles into that batter.

    2. Hi, I am in the UK and just wondered what we would use instead of all purpose
      Flour? Do you have any recommendations? Thank you x

      1. I used Swans Down cake flour (not sure if they have that brand in the UK) and it turned out really well! But I defer to the expert here 🙂 Hopefully Sally can recommend something.

      2. Looking forward to anyone else’s views on which flour to use in the UK? Thank you

      3. All purpose flour in the US is just what they call plain flour in UK 🙂

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