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. Hi Sally! I love this recipe, I’ve made it before so many times, but now I want to make a smaller cake, Can I just divide all the ingredients in half?

    1. Hi Milly, It depends on what size cake you wish to make. For a 6 inch cake I suggest you use my recipe for Confetti Cupcakes and follow the directions on my post 6 Inch Cakes.

  2. made this cake today as its my birthday tomorrow and seen as we are all in quarantine thought it would be nice to bake myself a cake to get my mind off it. the cake tasted amazing, lovely and moist. 100% recommend and would bake again! 🙂

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed the cake and wishing you a very happy birthday, Kate!

  3. Jaclyn Young says:

    Hey Sally! I will be making this cake for my son’s 2nd birthday this weekend. If I use cake flour instead of all purpose, do I still need to sift it? Any other adjustments to the recipe?
    Thank you!

    1. I would sift it, yes. No other changes necessary.

  4. We only had 2 9 inch pans, so we also made a small smash cake. It was for my two year olds birthday. It turned out great! I’ll definitely be making it again. It went quickly!

  5. Making this for Easter, Is it a big deal if I use unsalted butter or salted butter for the batter or frosting? I have enough unsalted butter for one or the other, for the cake batter or the frosting. Which one should I use it for?

    1. Hi Kasey! You can use salted butter in the cake batter, but I recommend reducing the added salt to 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon. It may be easier to use salted butter in the frosting and simply add no salt to it, or to taste. (I like frosting made with salted butter sometimes! A bit more flavor.)

  6. I really love this site, but this recipe didn’t work for me at all. I followed the recipe exactly as directed, and the cake was beautiful. However, I could tell something was wrong when it took much longer to cook then it should’ve. Once the whole thing was done, my teen son’s review was: “Tastes a little like cornbread. It’s pretty dense. It’s a little chalky. But the frosting is good?” I’m really not at all sure what went wrong.

    1. Hi Josie! I’m wondering how the cake tasted like cornbread when it’s a sweet cake! I’m so sorry for the trouble, but appreciate the feedback. Since you followed the recipe, I wonder if the butter wasn’t at the right room temperature to be creamed properly. Anyway, you may find my How to Prevent a Dry and Dense Cake helpful if you decide to try the recipe again. I really like this white cake, too, and I love to add sprinkles to it. It’s very light.

      1. Are we supposed to put each cake pan in the oven together? Or one at a time?

  7. Made this for my daughter’s birthday this week — I was nervous about making it from scratch but was trying to emulate her favorite bakery cake (bakery temporarily closed!). It was delicious — my husband and I thought it was very dense (but moist!), but my daughter said she likes it that way, so it was a hit!

  8. Hi Sally, I was wondering about using parchment paper. I made your easy funfetti cake yesterday for my sons birthday. I doubled the recipe and sadly I didn’t have 2 9 inch round pans. I used a spring form 10 inch pan…baked it for 50 -55 mins. I cut the cake in half and frosted the cake. It was delish but the bottom was stuck to the bottom of the pan I couldn’t cut through the cake the bottom seemed burnt…Should I have used parchment paper? The cake was a hit but hard to cut…please advise…

    1. Hi Maria, I always line the bottom of my pans when making cakes. I spray with non-stick spray, use a parchment round, and then spray again.

  9. Hi,
    Would making this without the sprinkles cause any problems?

    1. Nope, just leave them out!

      1. Awesome, thanks! This is currently going to be the base of the 3 level cake my soon to be 6yo is requesting! I made the favorite white cake 2 layer for the 2nd level in 8 in! I will send you a picture!

  10. I tried this recipe for my son’s 10th birthday yesterday and it turned out great! Cake was perfectly moist and nice flavour and the frosting was really well balanced. I would definitely make this recipe again. I thought I had sliced the cake in small servings (16 slices) but I could have sliced them smaller because of it being a 3-layer cake.

  11. Kelly Walters says:

    Hi. I’m making this cake for my moms 41st birthday and I was wondering for the egg whites when you beat then, are we beating till there like when you want to make meringue cookies? Not sure if that makes sense. Sorry.

    1. Hi Kelly, You want to beat the egg whites to soft peaks – so less time than you would for meringue. Take a look at my Red Velvet Cake post and you can see a photo of what the egg whites will look like and also watch the video to see how this step is done. I hope this helps!

  12. I made this for my niece and she LOVED the cake. I wanna make it again but this time without egg.. what can I replace egg with please.

  13. Raquel Musgrave says:

    Hi Sallie: I want to make this cake for my husbands birthday. However, I want to make a 2 layer cake. I want to use this particular recipe. Can I cut the ingredients in half, and what size pans should I use to make 2 layers.
    Thank you so much.
    Raquel M.

    1. Hi Raquel, You should be able to cut this recipe in half. To calculate the capacity of pans you can visit my post on Cake Pan Sizes and Conversions.

      1. Raquel Musgrave says:

        Oh, Sally you are a doll!!
        I didn’t expect a reply so soon!!

        It is perfect, since my husband’s birthday is tomorrow and
        I wanted to make the cake layers this evening.
        I truly enjoy your recipes, and am so grateful for your kindness in sharing your knowledge with us. Warmly, Raquel M.

  14. I made this cake a few days ago. Followed the recipe to a T and it came out perfect! Everyone loved it!! I used your rainbow chip frosting for the filling and the outside with your chocolate fudge frosting! Thanks for a great recipe.

  15. Very excited to try it out! Just wondering if this could be made into cupcakes? Thanks!

  16. Kim Schindel says:

    Hi Sally… how long can you safely leave the buttermilk out to reach room temperature?

    1. Usually 1 hour does the trick.

  17. A lot of people here are asking about 8 inch pans… I just used 3 x 8-inch and they baked a bit longer (little over 30 min) and the cake is tall but still manageable and tastes great!

  18. I just made this recipe for my son’s 6th birthday and it was SO GOOD! I never made a funfetti cake or a 3 layer cake. but it came out perfect and was a great way to end a quarantine birthday! i made the cake and frosting as is in 3 deep 8-in pans. i keep the frosting white and then covered with rainbow sprinkles. this is a birthday cake keeper recipe – thank you!!!

  19. Hi Sally, I love your recipes! I want to make this cake, it looks delicious and pretty. Do I need to make any changes for high altitude baking? I live in Wyoming.
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Norma, I wish I could help, but I have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful:

    2. Hi Sally,

      Im planning to make this cake on my niece’ bday, but i worry about the frosting since we live in a tropical country, any advise to avoid melting?

  20. I want to make this for my daughters birthday on June 1. I am planning on baking the cakes and making frosting Saturday morning, then assembling Monday afternoon (I’m a nurse working the nightshift Saturday and Sunday). This way I’m not scrambling bleary eyed Monday afternoon.

    Would the unfrosted cake be best left in a Tupperware at room temp or refrigerated for 48 hours?

    1. Hi Katie, I often bake cake layers ahead of time and store them at room temperature for 1-2 days. Let them cool completely, then wrap up tightly and keep at room temperature until ready to frost and serve.

  21. If I make this recipe in a 9 x 13 inch pan without making it a layer cake, how long would I bake it for?

    1. I’m also wondering how long to bake as a 9×13 sheet cake. Any ideas?

  22. This was the best cake I have ever made and I have made a lot of cakes from this site. You should whip the eggs whites first if you are making a stand mixer, my mixer was full of batter so I ended up having to do it by hand at the end. I have never whipped the butter and sugar for the full five minutes, but I recommend it because it just kept getting fluffier (used whisk instead of paddle attachment). I used whole milk with lemon in place of buttermilk and this has seemed to turn out even better than using actual buttermilk in the last few recipes I have made. This was just so, so, so moist for a butter cake.

  23. Hi Sally,

    I know I can use your confetti cupcakes recipe for a 6 in layer cake, but I would prefer to use this recipe as it calls for AP flour and that’s all I can find right now.
    Have you tried using this recipe for 6 in pans and if so, how long was the bake time?
    Could I evenly divide the batter into 3 6 in pans and then use the rest to make a couple of cupcakes?

    1. Hi Sasha, If you want to you the confetti cupcake recipe you can make a Homemade Cake Flour Substitute using all purpose flour and cornstarch. You would have a lot of leftover batter if you used this cake recipe however you can see my guide on Cake Pan Sizes and Conversions to help calculate how much batter you would need. For directions on bake time see my post on 6 Inch Cakes.

  24. Hi
    I have two 9 inch pans and I want to make this recipe. Should I bake the 2 cake layers first and then the last one?

    Thank you so much!!

    1. Hi Anna, Yes, bake your first two layers and leave the remaining batter covered at room temperature while they bake. Enjoy!

  25. I made this cake for my daughters 4th birthday. She’s obsessed with sprinkles. I appreciated the easy to understand, step by step instructions as well as the info on how to store/making ahead and substitutions. I felt very comfortable making this recipe because of all the details you provided! I used a 9” and a 6” pan and with the extra batter I made cupcakes. The baking time for me was off. Maybe I filled the pans too full? It took 38-40 mins for it to cook. The cake tasted amazing!! It wasn’t as fluffy as I expected, a little more dense but everyone enjoyed it especially my daughter. I’ll be trying more of your recipes for sure!

  26. Hi Sally! I love your recipes, and NO you are not the only one that bakes your own birthday cake! In fact, I plan on baking this one for my birthday on June 10! While looking through some other comments, I noticed that it seems pretty obvious what size pans I should use for this cake, but I still am confused. Should I be using 3 9in. pans?

    1. Yes, three 9-inch round pans. Happy birthday!

  27. Best cake I have ever made, hands down. I wound up making 5 6” cakes plus 6 cupcakes. I wish I was on social media because it came out so beautiful and professional looking (not as pretty as yours but not bad!). Thank you!

  28. Would your strawberry buttercream frosting pair well with this funfetti cake?

    1. I can’t see why not! I would 1.5x the strawberry frosting recipe to ensure you have plenty for the layer cake.

  29. Hi Sally,
    I am making this cake for my sister’s 21st bday, and putting layers of edible cookie dough in between. I had also seen your funfetti cake recipe with the brown sugar which I was originally going to use, but then stumbled across this one and wondered which you suggest. I will be making this cake in 8 inch pans, and I ‘d like to make atleast 3 layers. I am super excited to try, but am not experienced in baking, (she is), and really want to impress her. Let me know what you suggest please!

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Liv, the cake you’re planning to make sounds delicious! For a layered cake I recommend this layer cake. The layers will be thicker if using 8 inch pans, so increase the bake time. I’m unsure of exact bake time. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Hope your sister has a wonderful birthday!

  30. Hi Sally! I want to make flower frosting on this 3 layer 9 inch cake (same with your 6 inch cake). How much more frosting should I make?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Liz, I always make extra frosting when covering a cake with flowers. If you make 1.5 times this frosting that should be plenty to work with. Have fun!

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