Soft & Fluffy Funfetti Cupcakes

Softest fluffiest from scratch homemade funfetti cupcakes! Moist and flavorful with creamy vanilla buttercream! Recipe on

There’s a unicorn craze happening right now. Everything colorful, rainbow, sparkly, and exploding with happiness is labeled “unicorn.” Have you tried the new Starbucks unicorn frappe? I’m weird and don’t like drinking blue or purple colored concoctions. I don’t know why! I’ve always been like that! No blue raspberry kool aid, no purple slushies, nada. Even if those flavors are natural.

I told you, I’m weird.

So I haven’t tried the new Starbucks frappe, BUT I have been noshing on purple frosting. I made these soft & fluffy funfetti cupcakes last month for our friend’s birthday and I can’t help but smile when I look back at the pictures. That’s the thing about colorful, rainbow, sparkly unicorn treats– they tug at your heartstrings in just the right way. And always bring a smile to your face.

Softest fluffiest from scratch homemade funfetti cupcakes! Moist and flavorful with creamy vanilla buttercream! Recipe on

This unicorn moment the world is having… I hope it stays.    

Nerd Alert!

The base recipe for these homemade funfetti should look familiar to you. We’ve visited it many times in the past 8-9 months:

And, of course, where it all began: simply perfect vanilla cupcakes. The reason I love it so? These are the softest, fluffiest cupcakes to ever come out of my kitchen. They’re as soft and moist as box mix cupcakes, but have that distinct flavor you only get from homemade. If you take a look back on that post, I go into hefty detail about how that cupcake recipe came to life– and why I use certain ingredients and ratios. Cake flour, you’ll read, is a must. (If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, you can make this homemade cake flour substitute.)

Sour cream is important too and you can read why I prefer it over yogurt. There’s also creamed butter + sugar and egg whites. No joke, zero yolks. 🙂

Today’s funfetti cupcake recipe differs from my older 2012 recipe for the same cupcake. To be honest, I love that recipe because it’s unbelievably simple. You don’t even need a mixer. They’re soft and fluffy cupcakes, for sure, but they’re not quite as cakey and light as today’s version.

Homemade funfetti cupcakes on

Homemade funfetti cupcakes on

So what’s the difference between the vanilla cupcakes and today’s funfetti version? Rainbow sprinkles, for starters. But I also add a little something special. This is completely optional, but I highly recommend it if you can spot it in the baking aisle: butter extract. WOW! That extra oomph of buttery goodness paired with a little sweetness from sprinkles separates these cupcakes completely from the plain vanilla version.

I like adding vanilla bean to these cupcakes, just like how we add it in the vanilla cupcake– but that’s optional. Oh! I almost forgot… if you leave out the butter extract, no need to add anything in its place. Although a splash of almond extract would be sooooo good. I’ll add that as an option in the recipe notes below.

Softest fluffiest from scratch homemade funfetti cupcakes! Moist and flavorful with creamy vanilla buttercream! Recipe on

Here’s what I love most about these cupcakes: they’re so moist that they’re almost creamy. In a good way!

Delicious purple vanilla buttercream on

Let’s discuss the vanilla frosting.

Of course you don’t have to tint it purple, but isn’t it such a gorgeous shade? I used 2-3 drops of “violet” gel color by Americolor. Speaking of, I have this gel color set and swear by it. You use SO LITTLE color at a time that this kit will last forever. I’m really happy I bought it and especially love it for its gorgeous colors, two-toned roses!! and for using in royal icing with sugar cookies. (That’s not an ad, I’m just a fangirl!)

Other than that it’s just my basic vanilla frosting. Light, creamy, and perfect for piping. Sprinkles on top are a must.

Softest fluffiest from scratch homemade funfetti cupcakes! Moist and flavorful with creamy vanilla buttercream! Recipe on

Happy Friday! PS: I got this ↑ sprinkle plate ↑ off Etsy but it looks like no more are available!


Soft & Fluffy Funfetti Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 14 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


These are the softest, fluffiest from scratch homemade funfetti cupcakes. They’re moist and flavorful topped with creamy vanilla buttercream!


  • 1 and 3/4 cups (200g) cake flour* (spoon & leveled)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract*
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter extract*
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 of a vanilla bean*
  • 1/2 cup (120g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk, at room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles*

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 45 cups (480-600g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste
  • optional: 2-3 drops purple food coloring, sprinkles


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners – this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside.
  2. Make the cupcakes: Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. 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 2 minutes until creamed together. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg whites, vanilla + butter extracts, and vanilla bean. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in the sour cream. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk until combined. Do not overmix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick. Fold in the sprinkles– careful! Do not overmix as this could cause them to bleed color.
  4. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners – fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 19-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  5. Make the frosting: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Add 4 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, the heavy cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes, then beat in the food coloring. Add up to 1/2 cup more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  6. Frost cooled cupcakes. I used the Ateco #849 closed star tip.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly in the refrigerator for 3 days. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Special Tools: 5qt Tilt-Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Colorful Mixing BowlsRainbow Whisk | Cupcake Pan | Cupcake Liners | Americolor GelFrosting Bag | Ateco Tip #849
  3. Cake Flour: If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, you can make this homemade cake flour substitute. I suggest doing this twice, mixing it all up in 1 bowl then removing 1/4 cup since you need 1 and 3/4 cups in this recipe.
  4. Vanilla: For best flavor, pure vanilla extract is strongly recommended. If using imitation, increase to 1 Tablespoon (3 teaspoons). You can leave out the vanilla bean if you can’t get your hands on it.
  5. Butter Extract: You can find butter extract with the other extracts in the baking/spice aisle. If you can’t get your hands on it, you can simply leave it out. But the flavor is outstanding here! In its place, you can use almond extract.
  6. Whole Milk + Sour Cream: I strongly recommend using both for the best taste and texture. A full fat plain yogurt would work instead, though the cupcakes may not be as light. Same goes with a lower fat milk.
  7. Sprinkles: Avoid using nonpareils (the little balls) as they bleed color in the batter. I used Rainbow Sprinkles and Pastel Star Quins from Sweetapolita.
  8. Mini Cupcakes: For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
These are the BEST homemade funfetti cupcakes! From scratch soft and fluffy funfetti cupcakes with creamy vanilla buttercream and birthday sprinkles! Recipe on


  1. Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says:

    I’m too scared to try the unicorn frappuccino–I don’t love weird colored beverages either.   But these cupcakes on the other hand?  I’ll take one (or five) any time!  They’re so fun!

  2. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    These funfetti cupcakes are so pretty and festive! They’re perfect for taking to parties. I actually wanted to try the unicorn frap at Starbucks just because it sounded interesting. But there’s mixed reviews about it. Some people loved it and others didn’t. And I wasn’t sure if I wanted to order since I read somewhere that baristas hated making them. By the time I tried to order, they were all out of stock! lol.

    1. I was reading mixed reviews too. It doesn’t sound that appealing to me!

  3. These cupcakes are so gorgeous! I love the sprinkles and the color of that frosting! The graphic designer in me is freaking out about how beautiful the shade is. I really need to get my hands on some of those Americolor gels. 

    1. thanks so much Emy!

  4. I have learned that almond extract makes cake taste like boxed cake mix, which is for some reason an excellent thing.

    1. It’s a VERY good thing. I love adding almond extract to sugar cookies!

  5. These look so pretty! I only (really) wish that you posted a picture of the inside of the cupcake 🙁

  6. Jenny from says:

    I hear you, I don’t understand the craziness with unicorns. Your cupcake is sooo much better! Colorful and bright, let’s be children again!

  7. Yeah… well, somehow purple (or blue) frosting is “too much” for me, don’t know why – I don’t have this issue with pink or green frosting. Weird. I’ll however stick with the Hummingbird Cake for this weekend 🙂 looking at ripening bananas right now.
    Wishing you a wonderful and relaxed weekend, Sally!

  8. So cute! I love purple 🙂 Really I like all colors, even for frosting, haha! These are such fun photographs 😀

  9. Brasserie Louis says:

    Cupcakes look too cute.. I love everything in colors. So this weekend, I’ll try this one out. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  10. Patricia @Sweet and Strong says:

    I am a firm believer that sprinkles make everything better and so does a nice pop of color.  Love the unicorn phase but definitely wouldn’t try the frap either.  These cupcakes are beautiful and I’d much rather have one of them 😉

  11. You didn’t miss much with the unicorn frappuccino! It didn’t taste very good. It was a creme based mango syrup frappuccino with a pink powder that made the drink turn purple. The blue stuff surrounding the cup was a sour blue flavor made from white mocha sauce, our classic syrup, and a blue sour powder mix. Then it got two shades of topping, one pink and another blue (the blue was sour). It was kind of a pain to make to be honest 😛 My store sold out in two days! Some stores sold out in ONE day because of how popular it was. Unicorns aren’t my thing, but I may give your cupcakes a try! 🙂

    1. sour and mango? Am I odd saying that doesn’t even sound tasty? 

      1. Nope, you are not odd at all! I am with you on that. It was the weirdest concoction I ever made in my three years with Starbucks!

  12. Sally – I bought those rainbow whisks and LOVE them!! I love the 2 different sizes and the happy rainbow color makes wisking all that much more enjoyable 🙂

    1. I really love them. My friend just got a set that’s just pink and purple (not rainbow) and I want those too!

  13. Hi Sally – Do you have a good suggestion for sprinkles that are made with natural coloring? I’d love to make these for my daughter’s upcoming birthday (she’ll be 4!!), but she has a sensitivity to artificial dyes. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    1. I believe Whole Foods and other natural food stores *may* have an option for you!

  14. Sally, I didn’t see anything in the frosting instructions about adding the food coloring. Cupcakes look terrific by the way. I am considering making the freeze dried strawberry frosting this weekend. Have you ever used the freeze dried blueberries in the same way? I wonder how the color would come out.

    1. I personally haven’t, but readers have!

      1. I have used the blueberry and it was yummy! In fact, I thought Sally had done that when I saw the color! The color I got was a little more blue than purple.
        BTW-I have used freezer dried raspberries, blueberries and pineapple and all were yummy. Thanks to Sally for the recipe and idea! 

  15. I would love to make these ahead of time and freeze them (frosted) for my daughters bday party.  Would it work to freeze with sprinkles on top or better to wait until they are thawed?  Wasn’t sure if after thawing the frosting would be softened enough for them to stick properly.

    1. You can do it either way, but I’d sprinkle after just in case the thawing process causes them to bleed.

  16. I’m incredibly envious of all your kitchen supplies and dishes. I badly want that sprinkle plate! It looks like something I could DIY pretty easily though – and I love DIYing. I love your vanilla cupcake recipe & I can’t wait for the next birthday around here to make funfetti cake again. That purple colour looks way prettier than the Starbucks Frappuccino (btw – tried those – AWFUL). Can’t wait for warmer weather and a (hopefully) very Spring inspired May Baking Challenge. Have an awesome weekend Sally 🙂

    1. Thanks Hayley! It’s a collection I’ve been working on for 9-10 years. And probably something I should stop because I have too much! Thank you though 🙂

  17. OMG – that sprinkle plate is just PERFECT for you! And these look so delicious and pretty at the same time. Perfect for a baby shower . . . maybe ~smile~

  18. averie @ averie cooks says:

    The cupcakes are beautiful and on Sunday last weekend when we got home from Cancun, I drove to four Starbucks in San Diego for the Uni Frap for Skylar. It sold out in most stores within a few days and Sunday was the last day. I actually thought it was…okay…from the few sips I had. Super sweet, tasted like a strawberry milkshake to me, you have to be 10 to really enjoy it I think 🙂 The cupcakes would be way better!

    1. Haha I was going to say– I think you need to be Skylar’s age to appreciate the flavor!!

  19. I want to make a half batch. My dilemma is the 3 egg whites. How should I handle that? Can I use two or should I weigh one egg white and try to divide it in half? I’m pregnant and can’t be trusted with the entire 14 cupcake sitting on my counter or freezer

    1. Hahaha…I know that feeling all too well of having too many of these on the counter! 🙂 You can separate the second egg and just use half of the white.

  20. Sally, these photos are gorgeous!! So tempted to make one my wallpaper on my phone! I can’t wait to make these!

  21. Dalya Rubin says:

    Your cupcakes look so cute and absolutely delicious! I’ve baked a bunch of your recipes, and I can’t wait to try these out one day! 

  22. Hi Sally!
    You said your cupcakes would be worth the wait and you were right! These look delicious and gorgeous, and the next time I need to bring a dish, I will try these! I don’t usually color my frosting, but I love the pop of color and I think I’ll start doing this. Totally agree about the Unicorn Frapp – um, gross?!!! I’d so rather eat your fab cupcakes!!! By the way, I found a bowl that matches your sprinkle plate at Etsy and purchased it and contacted the seller. She said she may have more plates or could make more. I love this pattern, as when it comes to sprinkles, I believe you and I are soul sisters!

    1. I’m so glad the seller may be able to make you a plate! 🙂

  23. Sara @ Last Night's Feast says:

    These are the cutest ever!

  24. Kelly @ Kelly Lynns Sweets and Treats says:

    Funfetti cupcakes are the best!!!! Loving your recipe! Xoxo

  25. OMG!! Looks so delicious. I can’t wait to bake this.

  26. jess larson | plays well with butter says:

    i could not help but smile as i read this post…these cupcakes are EVERYTHING. so cute, so fun, & yes to unicorn everything! (i secretly think that everyone who loves this trend was OBSESSED with lisa frank in the 90s *raises hand*)

    1. I was totally a lisa frank girl!!

  27. Angelina | Baked Ambrosia says:

    YES to butter extract, sprinkles, and purple! These cupcakes are the cutest 🙂

  28. Hi Sally! Can you share where you get your beautiful sprinkles? It seems a shame to bake these lovely cupcakes and use plain old Jimmies from the grocery store.

    1. They’re linked in my recipe notes 🙂

  29. I was wondering if you have ever used vanilla bean paste in place of scraping actual vanilla beans?  I saw some at the store the other day and was thinking of giving it a try.

    1. I personally don’t use it that often, but you absolutely can in place of the beans.

  30. Cori Pullin says:

    I have been so into sprinkles lately and this purple icing and sprinkle combination is so pretty! I’m not really a cold coffee/frap kinda girl. I have to be in a serious craving mood to drink cold coffee, which is weird because I live in an extremely hot and humid part of Texas and I live off of raspas. Anyway, I love the look and feel to these cupcakes. I’d horde them. For real 🙂

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