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.

Sally's Baking Addiction Recipe - Funfetti Layer Cake

ITSMA BIRTHDAY!

30!

Funfetti Layer Cake-3

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!

This Funfetti Layer Cake recipe is on sallysbakingaddiction.com!

First thing’s first. Look at this cake. This is a huge three layer funfetti monster. Expect high amounts of each ingredient. To get that ultimate fluffy, cakey, soft crumb– we are going to cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer. Oh HEYYY look what I’m giving away right now. Let’s get the butter and sugar nice and creamy. To this, we’re going to add vanilla extract and eggs. Lots of vanilla for flavor. Make sure you’re using pure vanilla, none of that imitation stuff.

*About those egg whites. We are going to whip those until they are thick and foamy, then fold them into the batter last. Those voluminous, airy egg whites help create a fluffy cake with less likelihood of a dense crumb. I do something similar with my red velvet cake and love the results.

Make sure you’re using buttermilk. Not skim, 1%, 2%, whole milk, etc. Buttermilk is necessary not only to neutralize the baking soda, but to give the cake a luxuriously moist, rich flavor. If you don’t usually keep it on hand, please read my recipe notes about making your own DIY buttermilk at home.

One more thing about the batter– the sprinkles. I get questions about sprinkles on a daily basis. Confusing little gems, aren’t they? 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.

This Funfetti Layer Cake recipe is on sallysbakingaddiction.com!

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.

The best confetti birthday cake recipe! Learn how to make this vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream from scratch! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Yes or no: you are now blind from the amount of rainbow in this post.

Let’s party!

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

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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 (431g) sifted all-purpose flour* (spoon & leveled)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 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 4 cups (400g) sifted cake flour.
  3. Buttermilk: Buttermilk is best for this cake recipe. If you do not keep it on hand, you can make a sour milk by adding 4 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a large liquid measuring cup. Then add enough regular room temperature milk (whole, skim, 1%, 2%) to make 1 and 1/2 cups total. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. This soured milk can be used 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.
  7. Adapted from Piñata Cake.

Keywords: funfetti layer cake, funfetti cake, sprinkle cake

The one and ONLY funfetti cake recipe you need!

705 Comments

  1. Hi 🙂

    This recipe sounds delicious. I was wondering if I can omit the sprinkles without compromising the texture of the actual cake? If so, what should I change?

    Thank you in advance!

  2. Hi Sally, I just made the batter, the first layer is in the oven now, but I’m extremely worried it’s not right….I’ve baked homemade, semi-homemade, and boxed cakes for decades, I even worked in a bakery for 11 years, and I know I followed the recipe to a T. But the batter was extremely thick, like I scooped it into the pans rather then pour. SO I don’t know what to think?? Is it supposed to be this thick? I’ve never worked with batter that was liquid enough to pour? This almost seemed like it craved more liquid, but i read and re read the directions so I know I did and added everything correctly? I’m waiting on the first layer to be done to see if it works or not?? Otherwise do you have and thoughts or suggestions on this? Thanks 

    1. Jennifer, I’m unsure how the batter could be quite so thick– did you change anything at all? Do you think you overmeasured the flour? Did you weigh the ingredients? How does the cake taste?

      1. It tasted good….it was barely 1″ thick…but it was extremely dense…..and I’m positive I measured the flour correctly because I dumped the cups into my sifter. I will try again another day to see if I get the same results???

  3. How many cups of frosting should I spread across between each level of cake and still have enough to spread all around the cake?

  4. Good Morning Sally,
    I am interested in making these cupcakes.  Do you have a cake batter filling recipe I could use to put in the cupcakes? 

    Thank You,
    Jacquelyn

  5. Good Morning Sally,

     Would I be able to bake this in a quarter sheet pan? If so how long do I bake the cake for and at what temperature? 

    Thank You!

  6. Hi Sally, I tried to read thru the comments to see if this had been asked but I wasn’t able to find anything, I apologize if it was already asked. Is self raising flour the same as cake flour? Would using self raising flour give a lighter crumb as well? I am planning to make this cake for my son’s 4th birthday and my daughter’s 1st birthday party in couple weeks.

    1. Self raising flour is not the same as cake flour, though they both have low protein content compared to other flours. The problem with using it for cake flour is that it already contains baking powder. So, the leaveners would need to be adjusted in this recipe in some way.

      1. Thank you so much for your reply. I tried to use good old Google but the reading had my head spinning 🙂 I have tried your caramel apple pizza cookie, the honey butter bread, the green bean casserole, the muffin mix, and a few other recipes of yours and all have turned out incredible. Thank you for being so detailed in your recipes. I also want to thank you for being such a badass in the kitchen and for sharing your talents with me! 

  7. Sally, 

     I had two questions, first any recommendations on converting this to 6 inch layers instead of 9 inch.  From what I’ve read online it looks like cutting the recipe in half is the recommendation. 

    Second, any tips on converting to gluten free?

    thanks in advance!

  8. 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!).

  9. Hi Sally,
    Do you have any suggestions on how to adjust this recipe for 2 9″ cake pans (I don’t have a third 9″ cake pan)? I suppose I could do as you suggested in another comment and chill the remaining 1/3 batter and then reuse one of the pans once the cake is done baking, but I’d prefer to stick to just 2 cake layers, if possible (this cake isn’t going to serve a lot of people). Or should I just double the “Easy Homemade Funfetti Cake” recipe? Is there any difference, flavor-wise, between the two?

    1. This batter will not fit into only 2 9-inch pans. There isn’t much of a taste difference between this and the homemade funfetti cake (single layer)– I suggest making that one if the cake will be for a smaller crowd.

      1. And I have one more question:

        In this recipe, you say to whip the egg whites until thick and foamy–are you looking for a soft or stiff peak here?

        (I’ve decided to go ahead with this recipe rather than bake the funfetti single layer cake. I like the use of buttermilk in this recipe, and I do want some layers since it will be a birthday cake. Plus, I don’t think people will complain about extra cake)! 🙂

  10. Hi Sally! I wanted to let you know I made this last weekend and LOVED it! I was asked to make a pink and white cake for a baby shower so I left out the sprinkles and tinted the batter light pink. And called it pink vanilla buttermilk cake

    1. Oops somehow sent it before I was done.. Anyhow just wanted to thank you for sharing such delicious and trustworthy recipes. I have never made something of yours that I didn’t love! 

  11. 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.

  12. Hi Sally, 
    I notice that the Funfetti Cake recipe is similar to the Piña Cake. Can I add the sprinkles to the Piñata Cake recipe?
    Thank you, ☺

  13. Hi Sally, I would like to try making this cake in a smaller version (a 6″ cake).  Can I cut the recipe by half and will the baking time be different?  Thanks a lot! (I have tried making your orange and lemon poppy seed muffins and love the recipe!) 🙂

  14. Hi Sally!
    I made this cake a few days ago and I’m making it again today! Followed the recipe to a T and it came out perfect!! Everyone loved it!! I frosted the in between layers with Betty Crocker  rainbow chip frosting and the outside with your chocolate fudge frosting! Thanks for a great recipe!!

  15. 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. Thanks Sally for your reply. It worked out really well I add white chocolate buttercream too. Thank you.

  16. 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 

  17. Hi Sally, I’ve made this cake before and love it! This time I am going to try buttermilk powder that I already have instead of buying a whole quart of liquid buttermilk. Should I add the powder first and then the water (to make the buttermilk) gradually to the mixture when it calls for the buttermilk?

    Thanks!

  18. 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?

        Thanks!

      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.

    2. I just did 2/3 rds of the recipe – only hard conversion was the eggs, i used 3 whole eggs and a little bit more than 1 egg white. Turned out great.

  19. Could I make and frost this cake one day and then refrigerate it and serve it the next day? I want to take it to work with me one morning.

  20. Dear Sally ..your recipes are so easy to follow and always comes out exactly as it says
    Thank you for sharing .. I was wondering as Mother’s Day is around the corner ( UK ) could I use Gluten free four 
    For this recipe ? Will the sponge be as fluffy as using all purpose flour ? 
    Or do have a gluten free sponge recipe you can share. 
    Thanks 

    1. Hi Suki, I don’t have a GF sponge cake recipe– and for this traditional sprinkle cake recipe, I really do not recommend GF flour. Is there a GF cake recipe you can find online? Sorry I’m not more help! GF cake baking isn’t my forte.

      1. Sally if I may answer Suki’s question…I am a GF baker and caterer. I’ve adapted many of your recipes very easily. The ‘trick’ is the all-purpose flour blend:  1 cup white rice flour, 1/2 cup tapioca flour (starch..same thing),  1/2 cup corn starch and 1 tsp Xanthan gum. Just substitute this flour combination for yours and continue with the rest of the recipe as you listed. Works perfectly. 

  21. Hi Sally!

    Looking to make this for hubby’s birthday 🙂 I read your note on using cake flour..however I was wondering if you would omit any baking soda/powder if you were to decide to use the cake flour? Or would you still follow the recipe as is?

    Thanks!!

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