Ditch the box mix and make this super moist, from scratch, Homemade Funfetti Cake recipe (also known as confetti cake) for the next birthday or festive occasion in your life!

An image of a slice of homemade funfetti cake on a plate with a fork.

Three years ago today I published my very first post here on House of Nash Eats for a blackberry nectarine crumble.  Which means it’s time to celebrate my blogiversary!  

And what is more fitting for a celebration that a funfetti birthday cake?

Before I get into the details of this funfetti cake recipe, I need to say a huge thank you! 

Thank you for following along, reading my posts, and trying my recipes.  I read every comment and email, and I really appreciate the encouragement and support that have been shown to me by so many of you in so many ways. 

This blog started out as a fun hobby and has turned into an amazing job for me that I absolutely love.  But it wouldn’t be what it is without you, whether you have been a longtime reader or just found me recently through Pinterest or Google.  Thanks for being here and sticking with me.

An image of a confetti birthday cake with a sparkler in it.

Homemade Funfetti Cake

I love confetti cake or funfetti cake or sprinkle cake or whatever you want to call it.  It’s been a favorite since childhood. 

I’ve been on a quest for a few years now to recreate all my favorite box mix flavors with from-scratch recipes.  I’ve never really had anything against cake mixes and still use them from time to time, but I happened to make a batch of chocolate cupcakes from scratch the same weekend that I made chocolate cupcakes from a box cake mix and was so shocked by the difference in flavor in the side-by-side comparison that I hardly use cake mixes anymore because they taste so artificial and one-note. 

This funfetti cake starts with a vanilla base with rainbow jimmies mixed in right at the end.  It’s so moist and fluffy with butter and vanilla notes, a nice sturdy crumb, and that unmistakable funfetti flavor that everybody loves because not only is it delicious but it reminds us of our childhoods.

Just to be clear, jimmies are the sprinkles that are like little sticks rather than little beads or balls.  The little balls are called nonpareils, and I do not recommend using them for this recipe because they bleed in the batter and they tend to not show up as well.  Plus, I almost always opt for jimmies because I like their softer texture better than nonpareils, which are kind of crunchy or gritty.

An image of a sprinkle cake with a slice being lifted out of it from the cake stand. An image of a partially sliced funfetti cake with a slice sitting on a white plate next to the cake.

What kind of frosting do you use for Funfetti Cake?

I paired the moist cake layers with a classic American buttercream frosting, then decorated the base of the cake with more sprinkles that I pressed on by hand.  It’s easier to do than it seems, although just know in advance that you almost always have to sweep after decorating a cake this way, even when you do it over a large baking sheet like I did.  They just tend to go flying.  

But you could also decorate this cake with funfetti frosting by just stirring 1/2 cup of rainbow jimmies into the frosting because using it on the cake. 

Or opt for my other favorite frosting pairing with funfetti cake by making or buying rainbow chip frosting.  It’s the only frosting in a tub that I really love but it was discontinued for a few years so I learned to make it at home since it’s my favorite.

Tips for the Best “Confetti” Cake

  • Parchment paper:  One of my best tips for baking any layer cake recipes is to line the bottom of each cake pan with a circle of parchment paper.  It’s a little annoying to trace the pans and cut out the circles every time, but totally worth it because the cake layers always come right out of the pans perfectly every time.
  • Room temperature ingredients:  I know it’s a pain to remember to do this, but it does actually make a difference in the texture and whether you cake falls in the center.  Since I always forget, I cheat by sticking the eggs in a bowl of hot tap water for 5 minutes and microwaving the butter for 10 seconds (no more!) to soften it without melting it.  You can microwave the buttermilk for 30 seconds too to take off the chill and help it incorporate better into the cake batter.
  • Cupcakes:  You can make funfetti cupcakes with this recipe as well!  Just fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full and decrease the baking time to around 20-22 minutes at 325 degrees °F.  It makes around 36 cupcakes.
  • Even layers:  If you want to ensure perfectly even cake layers, I recommend using a kitchen scale to divide the batter between the three 9-inch cake pans.  But honestly, I always just eyeball it because I don’t care enough about perfection.
  • Homemade is better than perfect:  You don’t have to be a professional cake baker to make a wonderful birthday cake.  In fact, homemade cakes are my favorite anyway, even the ones with crumbs in the frosting and everything.  What matters is how it tastes and that you cared enough to bake it for someone important to you.
  • Crumb coating:  If you have trouble with crumbs in your frosting though, try spreading a thin coating of frosting around the outside of the cake and then sticking the whole thing in the freezer for 15 minutes before frosting it with the rest of the frosting.  It will help “set” the crumbs so they don’t show up in the finished product.

Ingredients for Funfetti Cake

  • butter
  • shortening
  • flour   
  • sugar
  • vanilla extract (use clear vanilla if you have it for more of a box mix taste, but it’s not essential)
  • sprinkles
  • eggs
  • buttermilk
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • plus more butter, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt for making the buttercream frosting

I’ve made this with both all-purpose and cake flour.  I recommend cake flour, but it’s great either way.  I’ve also swapped 3/4 cup of the total flour with the same amount of cornstarch when using all-purpose flour to create my own cake flour and it works well.

Also, if you don’t have buttermilk, my favorite substitutes are to use 1 cup of whole milk and 1/2 cup of sour cream in place of the buttermilk OR to add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 1/2 cups of whole milk and let that sit for 5 minutes to curdle.  

An image of a slice of funfetti cake on a plate with a fork next to the sliced cake on a cake stand.  

How to Make Homemade Funfetti Cake from Scratch

  1. First, preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 9-inch cake pans with circles of parchment paper on the bottom and spray the sides with baking spray.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. 
  3. Beat the butter on high speed in a stand mixer for 1 minute until smooth and creamy. With the mixer running on low speed, add the sugar, then increase beat again on high speed for 5 minutes until light. 
  4. Add eggs and egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract and scrape the sides of the bowl.
  5. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk in 2-3 additions, mixing just until incorporated. Do not overmix.
  6. Use a spatula to gently fold the sprinkles into the batter.  Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans.
  7. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick or sharp knife into the center of each layer. It should come out clean or with just a few moist crumbs if the cake is done.
  8. Let the cakes cool for 5-10 minutes in the pans before turning them out onto wire racks to cool completely. Do not try to assemble and frost the layer cake before the layers are completely cool.
  9. Make the frosting by beating the butter in a stand mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and creamy using the whisk or paddle attachment. Add powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low, then increase the speed to high and beat for 3 minutes. Add more powdered sugar or cream to get the consistency you desire for frosting the cake.
  10. Assemble the cake by placing 1 layer on a cake stand or serving plate then covering that generously with an even layer of frosting. Repeat with the second and third layers, then finish the cake by frosting the sides. You might want to reserve a small amount of frosting to tint a different color and using a decorative tip (I used a Wilton 1M tip) to pipe swirls around the edges of the cake. Decorate the sides and top of the cake with sprinkles, if desired.
  11. Slice, serve, enjoy!

Step-by-step images of how to make homemade funfetti cake from scratch. An image of three funfetti cake layers wrapped in plastic wrap. An image of a layer of confetti cake being frosted with buttercream frosting. An image of a sprinkle cake in the middle of being assembled, frosted, and decorated. An image of a hand holding a piping bag, piping swirls onto a frosted funfetti cake. An image of one slice of homemade confetti cake being removed from the cake plate. An image of a slice of birthday cake with a sparkler in it.

More Birthday Cake Recipes

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Funfetti Cake
Yield: 12-14 servings

Funfetti Cake

Ditch the box mix and make this super moist, from scratch, Homemade Funfetti Cake recipe (also known as confetti cake) for the next birthday or festive occasion in your life!
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract (clear if you have it)
  • 3 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened to room temperature
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 5-6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (clear if you have it for the whitest frosting)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Additional sprinkles for decorating

Instructions

  1. Make the cake layers: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 9-inch cake pans with circles of parchment paper on the bottom and spray the sides with baking spray.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. 
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed for 1 minute until smooth and creamy. With the mixer running on low speed, add the sugar, then increase the speed and beat on high speed for 5 minutes until light. Scrape the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula.
  4. Add eggs and egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract and scrape the sides of the bowl again.
  5. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk in 2-3 additions, mixing just until incorporated. Do not overmix.
  6. Add the sprinkles and use a spatula to gently fold the sprinkles into the batter. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
  7. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick or sharp knife into the center of each layer. It should come out clean or with just a few moist crumbs if the cake is done.
  8. Let the cakes cool for 5-10 minutes in the pans before turning them out onto wire racks to cool completely. Do not try to assemble and frost the layer cake before the layers are completely cool.
  9. Make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and creamy using the whisk or paddle attachment. Add powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low, then increase the speed to high and beat for 3 minutes. Add more powdered sugar or cream to get the consistency you desire for frosting the cake.
  10. Assemble the cake by placing 1 layer on a cake stand or serving plate then covering that generously with an even layer of frosting. Repeat with the second and third layers, then finish the cake by frosting the sides. You might want to reserve a small amount of frosting to tint a different color and using a decorative tip (I used a Wilton 1M tip) to pipe swirls around the edges of the cake. Decorate the sides and top of the cake with sprinkles, if desired.
  11. Slice, serve, enjoy!

Notes

You can make this cake in advance by baking the cake layers and cooling them completely, then covering them at room temperature overnight or freezing for up to 2 months, then frosting.

Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16 slices

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1425 Total Fat: 41g Saturated Fat: 23g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 16g Cholesterol: 134mg Sodium: 552mg Carbohydrates: 264g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 233g Protein: 6g

HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?

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