Ditch the box mix and make this homemade Funfetti Cake recipe from scratch! It's a super moist and fluffy vanilla cake with rainbow sprinkles throughout, topped with creamy vanilla frosting and even more confetti sprinkles!
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I love funfetti cake, confetti cake, sprinkle cake, or whatever you want to call it! It's been a favorite since childhood, and it's so perfect for birthdays and other celebratory occasions. And while I love the over-the-top awesomeness that is the Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake, this is the funfetti cake recipe that we make most often.
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.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Customize this fun cake by decorating it with different colored frosting and sprinkles on top!
- Made with simple but fresh ingredients, it's a great recipe to have on hand.
- This easy Funfetti cake recipe tastes even better than the box mix, but still has the same recognizable flavor!
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
For the Cake:
- Butter AND shortening - We're using both for a truly superior taste and texture. Make sure your butter is at room temperature before you begin.
- Flour - Cake flour is best for this recipe in order to get that super light, fluffy texture but you can use all-purpose flour or the cake flour substitute in the recipe notes in a pinch.
- Sugar - Use white granulated sugar to ensure your cake is white.
- Vanilla Extract - Use clear vanilla extract if you have it for more of a box mix taste, but regular vanilla extract is fine too.
- Sprinkles - Funfetti means rainbow sprinkles! You can use other types of sprinkles though to create a holiday version.
- Eggs - Use large eggs that are at room temperature.
- Buttermilk - This will ensure your cake is super moist!
- Baking powder & baking soda - Use both for an extra fluffy cake.
- Salt - Enhances all the flavors.
For the Frosting:
- Butter - Make sure the butter is softened to make mixing it easier.
- Powdered sugar - Also known as confectioner's sugar.
- Heavy cream - Use heavy cream for the creamiest frosting, you can use low-fat cream or whole milk if you prefer.
- Vanilla - Use clear vanilla extract for the whitest frosting.
- Salt - Enhances the flavors of the frosting.
- Rainbow sprinkles - For decorating.
How to Make Funfetti Cake
Prep. Firstly, preheat your oven to 350°F and line three 9-inch cake pans with circles of parchment paper on the bottom, and spray the sides with baking spray.
Mix dry ingredients. To make the cake batter, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Add butter and shortening. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and shortening on high speed for 1 minute until smooth and creamy. If you're using a stand mixer, keep it running on low speed, add in the sugar, then beat together on high speed for 5 minutes until light.
Add eggs. Next, mix in the 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 to make sure you're using all the ingredients.
Combine mixes. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture in the stand mixer. Alternate between the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, adding ½-⅓ of each, each time, and mixing between additions until it's just incorporated. Do not overmix.
Add sprinkles. Next, use a spatula to gently fold the sprinkles into the batter. Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans.
Bake. 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.
Cool. Let the cakes cool for 5-10 minutes in the pans before turning them each out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Do not try to assemble and frost the layer cake before the layers are completely cool.
You can wrap cake layers in plastic wrap and freeze them for up to 2 months! Just thaw and decorate to serve.
Make the Frosting
Beat butter. Beat the butter in a stand mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and creamy using the whisk or paddle attachment.
Add other ingredients. Add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt to the butter with the mixer running on low, then increase the speed to high and beat for 3 minutes.
Thin or thicken. Add more powdered sugar or heavy cream to the mix to get the desired consistency you desire for frosting the cake.
Layer and frost. Wait until the cake has completely cooled. Assemble the cake by placing 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate then cover it generously with an even layer of frosting. Repeat with the second and third layers, then finish by frosting the sides.
Add decorative frosting. You might want to reserve a small amount of frosting and use a decorative tip (I used a Wilton 1M tip) to pipe swirls around the edges of the cake.
Add sprinkles. Decorate the sides and top of the cake with sprinkles, if desired. Slice, serve, enjoy!
I paired the moist cake layers with a classic American vanilla 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 as I did. They just tend to go flying! Alternatively, use a Rainbow Chip Frosting.
Essentially, yes. Funfetti Cake is traditionally a white vanilla cake with rainbow sprinkles throughout it, covered with a buttercream frosting and topped with even more sprinkles!
Frosted Cake: Frosted cake should be covered and kept at room temperature for up to 12 hours. After this, store your frosted cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Let the cake come to room temperature for 30 minutes before enjoying it again.
Unfrosted Cake: Keep unfrosted cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 4 days.
You can freeze the unfrosted cake layers for up to 2 months. Let them cool completely, then cover them in plastic wrap and leave them at room temperature overnight. Put each of the layers in a Ziploc bag or in an airtight container and in the freezer.
Tips for Success
- Parchment paper. One of my best tips for baking any layer cake 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. Having your ingredients at room temperature before you begin will help your cake have the best texture, and also help it not fall in the middle. If you forget, you can cheat. Stick the eggs in a bowl of hot tap water for 5 minutes, microwave the butter for 10 seconds, and microwave the buttermilk for 30 seconds.
- Cupcakes. You can make Funfetti Cupcakes with this recipe as well! Just fill cupcake liners about ⅔ full and decrease the baking time to around 20-22 minutes at 325 degrees °F. This recipe will make 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, 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.
The signature of any great Funfetti Cake is the rainbow sprinkles adding pops of color to a fabulous white cake.
Be careful to buy the right type of sprinkles to ensure minimal color running while baking the cake.
In my experience, the best type of sprinkles to use in a funfetti cake are Rainbow Jimmies, Betty Crocker's Rainbow Sprinkles, or Rainbow Confetti Quins. Their color is intense and won't bleed into the cake batter. Other kinds of sprinkles may be ok for topping the frosting.
Substitutions and Variations
- Flour: 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 ¾ 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.
- Buttermilk: Also, if you don't have buttermilk, my favorite substitutes are to use 1 cup of whole milk and ½ cup of sour cream in place of the buttermilk OR to add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 ½ cups of whole milk and let that sit for 5 minutes to curdle.
- Frosting: Reserve some frosting to decorate the top with swirls or other decorative shapes. Use a couple of drops of food coloring to change the color of the decorative frosting. Alternatively, make a different type of frosting for the top of the cake like pink Strawberry Frosting or Guava Frosting, or add even more rainbow magic with this Rainbow Chip Frosting.
More Classic Birthday Cake Recipes
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Best Homemade Funfetti Cake
- 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature (227g)
- ½ cup shortening
- 2 cups granulated sugar (400g)
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, clear if you have it
- 3 ¾ cups cake flour (469g)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup rainbow sprinkles
- 1 ½ cups butter, softened to room temperature (341g)
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 5-6 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, clear if you have it for the whitest frosting
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Additional sprinkles for decorating
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.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening 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.
- 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.
- Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk in 2-3 additions, mixing just until incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Add the sprinkles and use a spatula to gently fold the sprinkles into the batter. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Slice, serve, enjoy!
This post was originally published in June, 2019. The content was updated in November, 2022.