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

465 Comments

  1. Hi, would there be any way to adapt this to a gluten free cake? Could I just switch out the flour for gluten free flour?
    Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Toni, we haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour but let us know if you give it a try!

  2. Hi, if I choose to use cake flour instead, does it still need to be sifted? Also, will I still add the baking powder and soda as well? I’m new to baking.

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mari! We recommend sifting the cake flour, yes. You’ll still add the baking powder and baking soda!

  3. Hi, this sounds great, but I only have 8inch pans. What is the baking time of I want to use 8inch pans?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jen! The layers will be thicker if using 8 inch pans, so increase the bake time. We’re 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. Happy baking!

      1. Hi! Would I do the same with a 6 inch pan? I’m trying to get thicker layers.

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Alex! For a 6 inch funfetti cake, we would follow this cake recipe instead! It’s best to not fill cake pans more than 2/3 of the way full for best results.

  4. Could I use cotton candy essence or bubble gum essence instead of vanilla essence

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Chaitra! We wouldn’t replace the vanilla extract completely – try reducing the vanilla extract to 2 tsp and adding your flavor of choice in addition to that. Those types of essences tend to be very strong so we would start with a little (like 1/2 tsp) and add more if needed. Let us know how it goes!

  5. Is there enough batter for this recipe to be made into a Bundt cake?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michelle, this cake batter will fit nicely in a Bundt pan — we’re unsure of the exact bake time. Let us know how it turns out for you!

  6. Hi! Thank you so much for you quick response times. You saved me on my last cake Can this funfetti cake be frozen?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Chrissy, absolutely! Frosted cake can be frozen up to 2 months. See more on how to freeze cakes in this post.

      1. Thank you! What about unfrosted funfetti cake?

      2. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Unfrosted cake can be frozen for about 3 months.

  7. Love this cake! It’s so great!! Could I make this into a 2 layer 10 inch cake? If so, how would I adjust the ingredients? Also how many would that feed? Thank you so much!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Carrie, for different cake pans, we recommend checking out our Cake Pan Sizes and Conversions page to help you determine how to alter this recipe. We’re unsure how many servings that would yield (it depends on how you cut the slices) but there are lots of helpful resources online for cake cutting guides!

  8. Any suggestions on how to use this recipe to make a 2 tiered cake with 9 inch cake on the bottom and a 6 inch cake on the top? Preferably 4 layers each? Making it for a baby shower and want to make sure it is enough. I just know this recipe is awesome and want to use it. I always use it for birthday cakes and it is so good!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katy, our cake pan sizes & conversions guide will be helpful for scaling this recipe for your needs. Keep in mind that it is best still to make separate batches rather than doubling. Hope this helps!

  9. Would this cake be suitable to be cut into the shape of a dinosaur or is it too fluffy/soft?

  10. Absolutely Delicious!
    My grown daughter requested a “funfetti” birthday cake this year. She has a dairy-free diet, so we did some substitutions, which worked great in this cake recipe. We used Smart Balance Original in place of the butter and Silk Half n Half for the the buttermilk.
    Thank you for a great recipe!

  11. If I used your two layer white cake recipe, how much jimmies/sprinkles do I use in the recipe? Thanks

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elaine! You can fold in 1/2 -2/3 cup of sprinkles (jimmies, not nonpareils) to our White Cake batter for a funfetti cake.

  12. Cheryl Brunkow says:

    Is this too much batter for a 9×12 pan?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cheryl! Yes, this cake is too large for a 9×12 inch pan. We recommend using our 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.

  13. Can this batter be used for cupcakes? I made the cake and it’s absolutely delicious, but I want to make it into cupcakes for a block party if possible!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Diana, absolutely! You can use a cupcake pan to make about 3 dozen cupcakes, more or less. Fill halfway, bake for about 20 minutes. Or, you can use our Confetti Cupcakes recipe instead. So glad the cake was a hit!

  14. Hi Sally, I only have one very deep 9-inch pan, how can I bake this cake? Wait between each cake to make 3 layers, make it two thicker layers instead ? Thank you

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ramya, it would be best to wait between layers in order to make three layers of the cake (leave the batter lightly covered with a towel at room temperature while waiting for the other layers to bake). Hope this helps!

  15. Hi Sally, I was wondering what adjustments I would need to make to the recipe to make 12 cupcakes?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ray, for a smaller batch of funfetti cupcakes, we recommend using this recipe instead.

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