Every birthday calls for a homemade funfetti cake! This light and fluffy vanilla cake is packed with colorful sprinkles and topped with delicious buttercream frosting. It’s super easy to make from scratch too!

homemade funfetti cake frosted with buttercream and decorated with rainbow sprinkles.


 

Birthday cakes are nothing without sprinkles which is why funfetti cakes are the best for such special occasions! This three layered cake is soft, moist and full of vanilla flavor and sprinkles. The buttercream frosting adds a rich flavor inside and out.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Strong vanilla flavor: This recipe is an adaptation of my popular vanilla cupcake recipe so you can count on tons of vanilla as well as buttery taste.
  • Perfect texture: There is a balance of moist and fluffy texture thanks to the sour cream and buttermilk.
  • Adaptable to different pans: This recipe works for two 8-inch rounds for a double layer cake too!
  • The best birthday dessert: This goes without saying, but funfetti cakes are meant for celebrations! Everyone loves them.

Ingredient notes

funfetti cake ingredients in bowls labeled with text.
  • Flour: All purpose flour provides the best structure. I suggest fluffing it up with a fork or sifting it to remove any large clumps.
  • Baking soda and baking powder: These leavening agents will help the cakes rise. Make sure they are not expired.
  • Sour cream: For a super moist texture, use full-fat sour cream. Plain yogurt works too!
  • Buttermilk: The acidity in buttermilk offsets and sweetness while providing a tender texture.
  • Butter: Use unsalted room temperature butter for best results. Not only is it easier to mix, but it gives funfetti cake its characteristic buttery flavor.
  • Vanilla extract: Another key flavor ingredient, pure vanilla extract (not imitation) is a must for this recipe.
  • Confectioners’ sugar: Also known as powdered sugar, this is used for the vanilla buttercream frosting. Sift before using for a lump-free frosting.

Recipe variations

Use different baking pans! Make a double layer funfetti cake by using two 8-inch round pans. Baking time will be about 30 to 35 minutes. A bundt pan will also work and baking time will be 45 to 55 minutes. For a sheet cake, transfer batter to a 9×13 pan and bake at 350 F for 30 to 35 minutes.

Make cupcakes: Transfer batter into a standard 12-cup muffin tin and fill each cup about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 F for 18 to 20 minutes. This will yield about 18 to 20 servings.

Try a different frosting. My go-to is a classic vanilla buttercream. For more color, tint the frosting with food dye. Alternatively, you can make chocolate buttercream or cream cheese frosting instead.

Decorating ideas: For sprinkles, stick to jimmies or confetti sprinkles in the batter because they don’t bleed. For decoration, you can experiment with different styles of sprinkles, such as nonpareils or assorted shapes.

Filling ideas: Add a layer of lemon curd, strawberry filling or chocolate ganache between the layers. You can also make an ice cream cake and put a layer of ice cream inside!

How to make homemade funfetti cake

photo collage demondtrating how to make funfetti cake in a mixing bowl and 6-inch round pans.
  1. Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. Combine wet ingredients: Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then mix in the sour cream and vanilla.
  3. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk. Start and end with the dry ingredients. Avoid over-mixing. Stir in sprinkles by hand.
  4. Divide batter evenly between three 6-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Allow cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
photo collage demonstrating how to make buttercream frosting and frost a funfetti cake.
  1. Make the buttercream frosting. Beat butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until combined.
  2. Mix in vanilla and milk, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Add a pinch of salt and mix.
  3. Assemble. If the cakes domed in the oven, level them with a serrated knife. Place one cake on a plate and top with frosting. Add next layer and repeat. Add third cake on top.
  4. Frost the layered cake with a crumb coat (thin layer of frosting). Chill for 30 minutes to set. Spread remaining frosting over the entire cake. If desired, add piped frosting as well and decorate with sprinkles.

Expert tips

Weigh your ingredients for accurate measuring. If you don’t have a scale, be sure to spoon your flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife. Also, use room temperature ingredients. They mix together more easily and create a better textured cake. High quality ingredients, particularly the butter and vanilla, will result in a better flavored cake.

Don’t over-mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Mix just until combined and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Fold in the sprinkles right before transferring the batter to the pans so they don’t bleed.

Grease your pans with my magic cake pan release. The cakes will come right out of the pan without breaking!

Let the cakes cool completely before frosting (otherwise the frosting will melt). Level the cakes if they domed in the center. Use a serrated knife to make a nice flat top to provide better structure.

Add a crumb coat. This is a thin layer of frosting on the cake before the final layer of frosting goes on. It will catch the crumbs and set them in place so the final layer of frosting is flawless. It helps to chill the crumb coat layer for 30 minutes before the final layer of frosting goes on.

cake server pulling slice of cake out of three layer funfetti cake with frosting and sprinkles.

Make ahead and storage tips

To store, loosely wrap the frosted cake with plastic wrap and store at room temperature. If you are in a warm environment, store it in the refrigerator. Funfetti cake is best when eaten the day it is baked, but will keep for about 3 to 4 days.

To freeze, place the frosted cake in the freezer for 1 hour to set. Wrap it securely in a few layers of plastic wrap. Store on a flat surface in the freezer for 3 months. Alternatively, you can wrap individual slices too! Defrost in the refrigerator before serving.

To make ahead, bake the cake layers and cool completely. Wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 2 days or in the freezer for 3 months. Make the frosting and store it in an airtight in the refrigerator for 1 week or the freezer for 3 months. Defrost the cake and frosting in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and assembling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which sprinkles are best for funfetti cake?

Rainbow jimmies (Betty Crocker brand or Sweetapolita) work best. Confetti sprinkles (aka circle quins) are a great option too. Do not use nonpareils as they will bleed their color. Naturally colored sprinkles may also bleed.

How do I make sure my funfetti cake turns out moist?

Use full-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt for extra moisture. Do not over-bake the cakes. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Can I use cake flour?

Yes, but be sure to weigh it for the same gram measurements. If you don’t have a scale, add 2 extra tablespoons of cake flour for every 1 cup all purpose flour.

Can I substitute the buttermilk?

Yes. Add 1 Tablespoon of distilled white vinegar (or fresh lemon juice) to a liquid measuring cup. Add whole milk and fill to the 1 cup measure. Stir and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.

slice of layered funfetti cake on plate with two forks.

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homemade funfetti cake frosted with buttercream and decorated with rainbow sprinkles.

Get the Recipe: Homemade Funfetti Cake

Every birthday calls for a homemade funfetti cake! This fluffy vanilla cake is packed with colorful sprinkles and frosted with buttercream.
5 (14 ratings)

Ingredients

Funfetti Cake

  • 2 ½ cups (312 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick or 113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • cup (75 g) full-fat sour cream (or plain yogurt), room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 mL) buttermilk, room temperature
  • ½ cup rainbow sprinkles/jimmies, plus more for decorating

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks or 339 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 ¾ cups (450 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tablespoons milk
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions 

Funfetti Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease three 6-inch round cake pans and set aside. Pro tip: use my magic cake pan release for flawless cakes.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Add the sour cream and vanilla, and mix just until combined. Scrape bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour and buttermilk. Gradually add about one third of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk. Repeat. Add remaining flour mixture and mix just until combined (avoid over mixing).
  • Using a silicone spatula, stir in the sprinkles by hand making sure to scrape the bottoms and sides of the bowl.
  • Divide batter among prepared pans (each of my pans had about 410 g of batter). Tap pans gently against the countertop to remove any air bubbles. Bake cakes at 350° F for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with little to no crumbs. Allow cakes to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing them and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Prepare frosting.

Buttercream Frosting

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium high speed until fluffy (about 5 minutes). With the mixer on low, gradually add confectioners’ sugar and beat until incorporated.
  • Increase speed to medium and add the vanilla and 1 Tablespoon milk. Check consistency. If the frosting is too thick to spread, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk. Taste and add salt if needed to offset sweetness.

Assembly

  • Level the cakes if necessary by cutting off the domed top with a serrated knife. Place one round cake on a cake stand or plate. Evenly spread a thick layer of frosting on top. Place another cake round on top and add another layer of frosting. Top with the third layer.
  • Frost a crumb layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting around the sides and top of the cake. This will catch all the crumbs to they won't spread on the final layer of frosting. Place cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or the freezer for 10).
  • Frost the cake with remaining frosting. An offset spatula works best for this. If desired, pipe more frosting on top for decoration and add additional sprinkles. Slice and serve!

Notes

Buttermilk substitute: Add 1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Add whole milk and fill to the 1 cup measure. Stir and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
Greasing the pans: Try my magic cake release paste for guaranteed clean release from the pans!
Double layer: Use two 8-inch rounds. Baking time will be 30 to 35 minutes.
Note on frosting: This recipe makes just enough frosting for the cake. If you’d like extra for decorating, increase amounts to the following: 2 cups butter, 5 cups confectioner’s sugar, 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Store at room temperature for up to three days. Loosely wrap the cake in plastic wrap. If in a warmer climate, store in the refrigerator.
Freeze for up to 3 months. If frosted, flash freeze the cake for 1 hour to set, then wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap. Defrost in the refrigerator before serving.
High altitude adjustments : The recipe above was written for sea level. To make adjustments for high altitude (Denver, CO; 5,280 ft): Decrease baking powder by 1/2 teaspoon. Decrease granulated sugar by 2 Tablespoons. Add an extra 2 teaspoons buttermilk. Increase oven temperature to 360 F. Check cakes at 25 minutes.
Serving: 1slice, Calories: 514kcal, Carbohydrates: 68g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 96mg, Sodium: 141mg, Potassium: 109mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 52g, Vitamin A: 811IU, Vitamin C: 0.04mg, Calcium: 56mg, Iron: 1mg

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