This bright and happy funfetti cake makes the perfect dessert for celebrations. With layers of soft and moist sour cream vanilla cake speckled with rainbow sprinkles, it really is a party in cake form! 3 whopping teaspoons of vanilla extract adds an extra level of delicious bakery flavor.
I'm celebrating because a) this is my 300th post on Eats Delightful! and b) it's almost Eats Delightful's birthdaaaaay!!! This cute little blog is turning 4 this October, so to celebrate, we have one of my favorite cakes to make and eat: funfetti sprinkle cake!
It's fun, it's bright, it's colorful, and it's a party in cake form!
what is funfetti cake?
Funfetti cake (also called Confetti Cake) is essentially a layered vanilla cake - but what sets it apart from classic vanilla cake is the addition of sprinkles in the batter to give it little pops of color and sweetness.
the secret for how to make funfetti cake better...
3 GENEROUS teaspoons of vanilla extract in the batter and an additional 2 for the buttercream! The simple addition of extra vanilla makes this cake taste authentically nostalgic - almost like a box of cake mix, but made entirely from scratch with natural ingredients!
Good quality vanilla is especially important in a recipe like this because you're actually meant to taste it. You most definitely do NOT need to buy the most expensive bottle on the shelf, but shop for vanilla labeled pure (not artificial). My personal favorite is Watkins or Nielsen-Massey brand. They're both relatively affordable considering what you're getting.
how to make funfetti cake from scratch
Make the funfetti cake layers:
1. Whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.
2. Cream together butter, sugar, and oil.
3. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla and sour cream.
4. Alternate adding in dry ingredients and milk. Start with half the dry ingredients, followed by all the buttermilk, and ending with the dry ingredients.
5. Fold in sprinkles.
6. Bake cakes until a skewer comes out clean.
7. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then on a wire rack completely before frosting.
Make the buttercream frosting:
1. Mix butter, sugar, and salt to dissolve. Whip for about a minute to fluff up slightly.
2. Add milk and vanilla.
3. Whip together until light and fluffy! If needed, whip in more milk until you reach your desired consistency.
4. Frost and decorate your cake!
best sprinkles for funfetti cake
Funfetti cake is about as good as the sprinkles you use, so it's important to pick the right ones! The most commonly used and classic funfetti sprinkles are American-style rainbow sprinkles (also called "Jimmies"). They're the little sprinkles shaped like sticks. It's what I use in my funfetti cupcake recipe and you can see I decorated the outside of this cake with a small handful I had lying around.
Another great option for funfetti cake sprinkles are rainbow quins (also called "sequin sprinkles" - which is what I used here because for some reason Jimmies are sold out everywhere??!) Either one of these two types of sprinkles offer a bright pop of color without bleeding into your cake batter!
how to decorate funfetti cake
You can have a lot of fun with decorating your cake! Most homemade funfetti cakes I see are decorated with a simple spreading of buttercream frosting and some sprinkles scattered around. It's easy, quick, and you don't need industrial amounts of sprinkles to decorate 🥴
All you need to do to achieve the little pops of sprinkles is quite literally throw little handfuls of sprinkles at your cake while the frosting is still fresh and soft. I recommend putting something underneath the cake to catch any runaway sprinkles like a tea towel or rimmed baking sheet.
Funfetti cakes you find in bakeries are usually entirely coated with sprinkles - like this one from Martha Stewart. If you have some leftover frosting, you can also pipe some frosting on top of the cake like in my white cake recipe.
- Measuring flour. The best ways to measure flour are either by weight or by using the spoon and level method. Simply scooping your measuring cup into a bag of flour can cause extra weight worth of flour to pack into your cup, which ultimately causes the cake to end up dense, heavy, and dry!
- Room temperature ingredients. The temperature of your ingredients is especially important to make sure everything gets incorporated properly. Set out the ingredients 30 minutes before you plan on making your cake (or up to 60 minutes if it's an especially cold day).
- Don't overmix. This is most important once you start incorporating flour into the batter. Mix until you just lose sight of any streaks, otherwise you run the risk of deflating the air in the batter.
- Cool cakes COMPLETELY before frosting. If the cake is even slightly warm, you'll have melting, slipping, and sliding if you try to frost the cake.
- Freeze the layers to frost. This is a MOIST cake. So it's very helpful to freeze the cake until firmed up. It doesn't have to be frozen solid, but even a slightly cool layer of cake makes it easier to stack and eliminates the need for adding a crumb coat! This isn't a deal breaker though, and you could definitely decorate the cake as soon as it's cooled to room temperature if you prefer.
check out these other recipes!
Funfetti Cake Recipe
For the funfetti cake layers:
- 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons (150g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ⅓ cup (80mL) vegetable oil, or any other neutral flavored oil
- 1 & ¾ cups (350g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240g) sour cream, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (180 mL) buttermilk at room temperature
- ¾ cup (120g) American-style rainbow sprinkles or rainbow quins
For the vanilla butter cream frosting:
- 1 & ½ cups (340g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 cups (780g) powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 to 6 tablespoons milk
Make the cake layers
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter 3 (8 inch) cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Lightly dust flour to coat the sides of the pans and tap out any excess. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine. Set aside.3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour,, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, cream together butter, oil, and sugar until lightened in color and fluffy. You can do this by hand with a whisk or with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at medium speed.10 tablespoons (150g) unsalted butter,, ⅓ cup (80mL) vegetable oil,, 1 & ¾ cups (350g) granulated sugar
- Add eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, whisking well after each egg to combine well. Mix in vanilla and sour cream.3 large eggs,, 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, 1 cup (240g) sour cream,
- Alternate whisking in your dry ingredients and buttermilk. Start by mixing in about half of the dry mix followed by all of the buttermilk. Finish off with the remaining dry ingredients. Take care not to over mix! A few streaks of flour are fine because there's still one more mix coming.¾ cup (180 mL) buttermilk
- Add the sprinkles and fold into the cake batter until well distributed. Again, take care not to over mix or the cake will end up dense and tough!¾ cup (120g) American-style rainbow sprinkles or rainbow quins
- Divide the cake batter into your prepared cake pans. Bake in the center of your preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes for 5 to 10 minutes in the pans, then flip onto wire racks and set aside to cool completely before decorating.
Make the buttercream frosting
- In a large bowl, combine butter, powdered sugar and salt. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle or whip attachment, mix together on low until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the mixer speed to medium high and whip for 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth and lightened in color.1 & ½ cups (340g) unsalted butter,, 6 cups (780g) powdered sugar,, ½ teaspoon salt
- Add vanilla and 4 tablespoons of milk. Whip the frosting again on medium high speed for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until airy and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, gradually beat in more milk until it reaches your desired consistency.4 to 6 tablespoons milk, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Assemble and decorate!
- Layer your cakes with about ¾ cup of frosting between each cake. Frost the outside of the cake, and if desired, decorate with some more sprinkles.
- You can serve the cake right away (although the slices will be a bit messier). Chill for 30 to 60 minutes or until firmed up for cleaner slices!