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. Sally, what would you recommend for me to make for a weekly meet-up of 5 guys? We’ll be playing DnD and fingery food would be nice, we usually play for ~4 hours.

    I’ve made your cookies and adapted your brookie pie into brookie cupcakes already.

  2. The other day at Starbucks I asked what was in the unicorn frap, and the answer….”nothing but sugar”.   I cringed and my 8 year old son jumped with joy. Sadly/gladly they were sold out!

    I have to make a surprise treat for the staff at my son’s school, and I really think a dash of unicorn happiness is in order for them this time of year. However, there are a few gluten sensitivities that I need to work around. Having never made a gluten free cake, would simply substituting gluten free flour for the cake flour in this recipe result in the same level of deliciousness? 

    1. Hi Kimberly! I wish I could help, but I am sorely under-experienced working with gluten free flour. I’m not the best person to ask and would hate to give wrong advice. But I assume if you have a GF flour blend you trust, you could try it.

  3. These are beautiful! I bet they would be beautiful with a bit of disco dust or edible glitter. And honestly, I just wanted to try like a few sips of the unicorn frappe but didn’t :(. It sounds pretty gross though with all that dye and sugar though.

    1. Is the unicorn frappe made with natural colors though? I have no idea!

  4. OMG Good! Just finished frosting and taste-testing these. They are really for a friend’s birthday, but what kind of person who I be if I didn’t sample…LOL. I found the butter extract and you are right – it adds a nice taste. They are light and super moist. My frosting (I made it pink) may have suffered a little as I forgot to buy heavy cream, so I had to use 1/2 and 1/2. It was good but not as rich as the heavy cream would have made it. I may have to save a few in my freezer – shhh…don’t tell. Thanks Sally!

    1. Sampling is absolutely part of the baking process! Glad you like them 🙂

  5. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) says:

    SOOO pretty! That purple frosting seriously is gorgeous!!!

  6. Beautiful cupcakes! I love the purple color. For the frosting using that tip, did you apply pressure and held at the middle of the cupcake? Also, do you get your sprinkles from anywhere special? I was wondering if you get yours from like Fancy Sprinkles or Sweetapolita.

    1. Hi Lari! 1) Yep, that’s exactly how I pipe this frosting. And 2) Yep, see recipe note!

  7. Hi, Sally! I’d love to make these for my daughter’s bake sale, but I’ll need more than 14. Can I just double the recipe, or do you recommend I make 2 separate batches? 

    1. I’d make 2 separate batches. 🙂

      1. Alicyn Komine says:

        @Sally: Is there a reason why it’s better to make two separate batches vs. just doubling the recipe?

      2. I find that working with more batter easily leads to over-mixing.

  8. Hi! I love your site! I’m throwing a paint party for my kids and wanted to know if this cupcake recipe can be used as a cake or can I just add sprinkles to your vanilla recipe and serve with your funfetti frosting recipe?

    1. Sounds like a fun theme for a party! Either would probably work but I do have two recipes specifically for funfetti cakes (depending on how big of a cake you need):

  9. Emily @ Love, Pasta and a Tool Belt says:

    These look delicious. My husbands birthday is this weekend and funfetti is his favorite, saving this recipe and going to try them out!

    1. Happy birthday to him! Hope you all love these cupcakes!

  10. Just wanted to thank you for so many recipes that have become staples at our house! We get requests for your oatmeal, yogurt pancakes (I keep them in the freezer), my favorite ever raspberry lemon cupcakes, and last night we made the chocolate sugar cookies in the shape of moose for my daughter’s baby shower. Now we’ll do these cupcakes in blue as well! We can always count on you for easy, beautiful and delicious!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Elaine! 🙂

  11. Sure can!

  12. Hi Sally, thanks for the recipe! I’m going to make these for a coworker’s birthday. I could only find butter flavor, not butter extract, in the baking aisle. Can I use that instead? If so, would I use the same amount? Thank you!! 🙂

    1. Yep you can use that and I would use the same amount.

  13. Hi Sally! Would these work like most of your other cupcake recipes for mini cupcakes? Just reducing the bake time?

    1. Sure would!

  14. Sheila Roldan says:

    Hello! For all my high-altitude bakers: I made this recipe and, not only did it work, it was DELICIOUS! I didn’t change anything. It yielded 24 cupcakes, but that’s because I filled the pan with very little batter to prevent the overflow I experience in this altitude (5,280).  The frosting is also delicious, but I already knew that. 
    Sally, do you use the same ratios on the Funfetti Layer Cake? That’s next on my list!

    1. Hi Sheila! So happy you enjoyed the cupcakes and reported back about them, thank you! The frosting for the funfetti layer cake is essentially the same, just a much higher yield. Is that what you’re asking?

      1. Sheila Roldan says:

        I wanted to know if the ratio for the cakes were similar, since this recipe worked.  The frosting is my new go-to recipe!

  15. I made these for a birthday party and they were the hit of the party! I used about 3 cups of powdered sugar for the frosting and they were sweet enougg. I will probably actually use only two and a half next time but that’s just my preference. Very good recipe!

    1. Sounds wonderful! Thanks so much for reporting back.

  16. Hi Sally I love all ur recipes & photos very inspiring. I wanted to make my son a large smash funfetti cupcake for his 1st birthday was wondering if this batter would be enough to fill the large cupcake tin? It calls for 6 cups of batter. I would love to make it from scratch & not use a boxed cake mix. Thank u keep up the deliciousness!

    1. It should be enough!

  17. hi sally i just tried the lemon cupcakes for the first time they came out amazing thank you i was thinking can u make normal vanilla cupcakes and put rainbow sprinkles and make this kind of a cupcake 🙂

    1. This recipe started with my Simply Perfect Vanilla cupcakes to which I added rainbow sprinkles 🙂 The link to those is in the post above!

  18. Is it possible to use a cupcake recipe such as this, but bake it in a cake pan ( adjusting the time accordingly, of course)?

    I am making cake pops and the cake recipes result in too much cake !

    1. I can’t see why not!

  19. This recipe is off the charts!! The texture and taste rivals the popular cupcake shop in my town! I no longer need to keep trying vanilla/funfetti cake recipes. The search is over. Awesome job sally! Keep em comin’! 

  20. Hi Sally,

    First of all, I adore your blog and recipes! I post your goods quite often on my IG and it’s so awesome to see you take the time to appreciate and like your fans’ recreations of your recipes. Onto my question, I’m thinking of using this recipe and frosting to make kitten cupcakes… Would this frosting work with the Wilton 233 for the grass/for effect?

    Thank You!

    1. Yes! This is a wonderfully sturdy buttercream. Thanks Vanessa! Good luck with the kitten cupcakes!

  21. Hi! Do you think cream cheese frosting would work on these? If so, do you have a cream cheese frosting recipe? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Mari! Yes and yes. Here is my cream cheese frosting recipe:

  22. Could I just put blackberry purée in this frosting like your lemon blackberry cupcakes instead of food coloring?

    1. Yes! You can top these with the blackberry frosting from the lemon blackberry cupcakes!

  23. I am making the cupcakes for a friend’s son’s graduation party. I have to get them to her on Thursday but she isn’t going to serve them until the party on Sunday. Would you recommend she put them in the freezer then take them out a day in advance or should she just store them in the fridge from Thursday to Sunday?

    1. Hi Sarah! I recommend refrigerating during that time and setting out at room temperature a few hours before serving.

  24. Just looking back to this recipe since it’s my sons “birthday cake” recipe! Your chocolate cupcake recipe is my other sons 🙂 thank you for having delicious, reliable recipes that always look so put together (makes me look like I got my sh$t together too ;-).

    1. Ha!! You’re welcome!

  25. Hi Sally! I love your recipes! I was wondering if you have ever tried making cupcakes with ice cream cones before? My son is turning 2 and I thought it would be fun (and less clean up) to bake in cones. Thanks!

    1. Hi Eileen! I actually haven’t made cupcakes in ice cream cones so I don’t have much helpful advice. Let me know if you make them though! I’ve always wanted to try.

  26. Thank you Sally! I baked the funfetti cupcakes for my sons birthday and everyone loved them! My grandson asked me to bake some more for him tomorrow

    1. You are welcome, Mayda! I hope your son had a great birthday!

  27. Hi Sally! Loving your recipes! I am making a 6 inch funfetti cake for a wedding and so I am using this recipe as you had suggested. My question is: do I need to whip the egg whites first? You mentioned this in your cake recipe but not here? Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Vicki, I don’t whip the egg whites in the 6 inch funfetti cake 🙂

  28. Jacinta Jamison says:

    Is it ok to use butter milk instead of whole milk

    1. Sure can!

      1. Jacinta Jamison says:

        Thank You! Im just starting out baking and would like to practice using 6 inch cakes. How do I take recipes I find that are meant for larger cakes but reduce them to fit inch cakes?

  29. Can I leave out the whole milk and replace it with more sour cream? If so how much do you recommend putting in?

    1. Hi Nicole! No, I don’t suggest it. This batter needs liquid.

  30. Hello Sally! I’m super excited to try this for my family. I managed to find lactose free ingredients for everything but the heavy cream. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. How about canned coconut milk?

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally