Rainbow Funfetti Cake Recipe

funfetti cake recipe from scratch

If you’d have asked me what my favorite kind of cake was as a kid, I would reply without hesitation that it was Funfetti (specifically the Pillsbury box mix) with the canned rainbow chip frosting to match. The frosting came with a little pouch of rainbow chips that you could mix in by hand, so it felt like a fun little project. To this day, Funfetti cake remains my most popular flavor request from people of all ages, and for all kinds of events (even weddings!). There’s something about the sprinkles baked right into the cake that gets people jazzed, and for good reason. It’s basically a party waiting to happen!

funfetti cake recipe by sugar and sparrow

funfetti cake by sugar and sparrow

Although I’ve swapped the canned Funfetti frosting for homemade, I’ve never been happier. This cake pairs so well with a variety of frostings since it’s a vanilla-based cake (specifically, my vanilla cake recipe with sprinkles folded in at the end!). In the past, I’ve topped it with buttercream flavors like vanilla, almond, cream cheese, raspberry and chocolate. Basically anything that pairs well with vanilla cake will go perfectly.

funfetti cake from scratch by sugar and sparrow

how to decorate cakes with fancy sprinkles

As far as sprinkles go, you’ll want to stick with very basic rainbow sprinkles called jimmies (the elongated kind, pictured below). I buy mine from the bulk section at the grocery store (such a great discovery!), and although you might be tempted to use fancier sprinkles or nonpareils I would not recommend it because many sprinkles tend to bleed their colors once they’re mixed into the batter. Trust me, I know from experience that some sprinkles can either tye dye your cake or turn it a weird green color. Your cheap-o rainbow jimmy sprinkles will be perfect for adding that pop of color without the colors bleeding, and with the inside of the cake looking so pretty, you can save the fancy ones for the outside. 

Another thing about the sprinkles: I recently learned that coating them with a little all purpose flour keeps them perfectly suspended in the cake batter! You’ll notice 1 1/2 Tbsp of all purpose flour at the end of the recipe below, and that little bit of flour is every bit important for confetti-esque cake layers.

best sprinkles for homemade funfetti cake

funfetti cake from scratch recipe

As far as decorating goes, the sky is the limit! To keep with the funfetti theme, I’ve used some Fancy Sprinkles in the Roller Disco mix on the outside of the cake to give it a fun, celebratory look. I added a few buttercream swirls with my Wilton 1M tip to the top, sprinkled generously, and called it a funfetti masterpiece. However you decide to decorate, slicing into this cake is like getting the party started.

how to decorate a cake with sprinkles

5 from 5 votes
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Funfetti Cake Recipe

The perfect party cake for all ages! Soft and fluffy vanilla cake with rainbow sprinkles baked right in.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3 3/4 cups (398g) cake flour, sifted before measuring*
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/8 cup (254g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cup (513g) granulated white sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (168g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (22ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup (360ml) whole milk, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (142g) rainbow sprinkles (jimmies work best)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp all purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch or four 6-inch cake pans by spraying the sides with a cooking spray (Baker's Joy is my favorite) and a wax paper circle fitted to the bottom of the pan. Alternatively, you can grease and lightly flour the pans. 

  2. Sift the cake flour and then measure by spooning and leveling it in your measuring cup. Add the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. 

  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer (a handheld mixer works fine too!), cream the butter for on high for two minutes until it's light and fluffy. Add in sugar and continue to mix on medium-high for another two minutes, scraping down the bowl and paddle as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix for one minute on high, scraping down the bowl and paddle once more. 

  4. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the milk slowly and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and give it a few stirs to make sure there are no lumps. 

  5. In a small bowl, coat the rainbow sprinkles with 1 1/2 Tbsp of all purpose flour. Then, gently fold the flour-coated rainbow sprinkles into the cake batter by hand. The batter will be slightly thick, but pourable.

  6. Pour batter into prepared cake pans (no more than 2/3 of the way full) and bake for 35-40 minutes. They're done when they spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for five minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack for an additional few hours of cooling. Make sure they're entirely room temperature before applying any frosting.

Recipe Notes

*DIY Cake Flour Recipe: To make your own cake flour, spoon and level one cup of all-purpose flour and remove 2 Tbsp. Add 2 Tbsp of cornstarch. Repeat per the amount of cake flour you need, then sift the flour and cornstarch mixture 4 times (don't skip that step!)After sifting, spoon and level to re-measure the amount of cake flour you need. 

Make ahead tip: These cakes can be baked, cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap, and left out at room temperature up to two days ahead of decorating. Unfrosted cake layers can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer for up to two months before thawing and frosting. 

71 Comments

    • Hi Aya! I have never substituted anything for the sour cream before. My hunch is that buttercream will be too much liquid since sour cream is more the consistency of yogurt. If you don’t have access to sour cream, I’d recommend substituting it for a full fat yogurt or omitting the sour cream and using buttermilk in place of the whole milk instead. Let me know if that helps!

  1. Hi Whitney! I am making a 4 layer 8″ cake for halloween and I wanted to ask if this recipe is ok for 2 8″ pans? Or should I stick with the basic recipe that you have for your vanilla cake? Thank you!

    • Hi Jasmine! This funfetti recipe will make enough for two 8″ layers (plus a little left over). If you want to be more exact, you could double the basic vanilla cake recipe to make four 8 inch layers and fold in 1 cup of rainbow sprinkles total at the end. The funfetti cake is my basic vanilla cake recipe with added sprinkles 🙂 I hope your Halloween cake turns out amazing!

  2. Hi
    Just wondering if you can tell me what 1 cup is equalavent to in grams?
    Would appreciate this very much
    Thanks

    • Hi Diana! Knowing the weight of 1 cup in grams depends on the ingredient (1 cup of cake flour will weigh less in grams than sugar, for instance). I just bought my first kitchen scale and am currently working on converting all of my recipes to grams this week! I’ll make an announcement as soon as they’ve all been converted. Sorry for any inconvenience and make sure you’re signed up for my email list to catch the announcement first thing!

  3. Julianna Macari

    I tried to make this cake twice and had the same problem each time…it is hard to describe. The cake has a good rise, is completely cooked on the outside, but from the middle bubbles out cake batter that is raw and seeps onto the top of the cake without cooking. I’m sure I’ve done something wrong, but I have no idea what it is. I thought I followed the directions exactly!

    • Hi Julianna! I’m so sorry that’s happening! Usually when the cake is raw or gummy on the inside, it can mean two things: you need to bake it a few minutes longer (until a toothpick inserted comes out completely clean), or something went wrong while creaming the butter and sugar together. Make sure your butter is room temp and soft before starting the creaming process, and try creaming the butter and sugar on medium-high (instead of full blast) for only two minutes. I hear that creaming for too long can lead to too much air incorporation, leading to gummy streaks inside the cake even though its baked.

  4. I’m making a three layer 10 inch cake for a birthday. Should I just double the recipe or do you have another suggestion?

  5. What’s the best grocery store cake flour to buy? I have found unbleached cake flour..so many options.

    • Hi Cindy! I have only ever used Softasilk and Swans Down, which are both enriched bleached cake flours, but I am sure that unbleached is great! Sounds healthier 🙂

  6. Hi Whitney

    So glad I stumbled across your blog, it’s amazing! I’m planning to make a 3 layer 6 inch cake using this recipe (minus the jimmies) and I’m wondering since I only have 2 tins if the third lot of batter can sit while the first 2 cakes are baking? If so, do I leave it at room temp or refrigerate it?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Kirsten! Thanks so much for the kind words! The batter can definitely sit at room temperature while the first two layers are baking. Just cover the top of the mixing bowl with saran wrap and then when you’re ready to bake the third layer, give the batter a stir before pouring it into the tin.

  7. How did you get the sprinkles to attach to the sides of the cake in such a perfect pattern? Especially the upper part where they are sparse…did you toss them onto the frosting one at a time? And the bottom part where they are thicker…?

    • Hi Donna! To add sprinkles to the cake finish, I make sure the buttercream is still slightly wet for the sprinkles to adhere. I place them by the handful around the base of the cake, then place them one by one on the upper part of the cake by pressing the sprinkle onto my finger and touching it to the cake finish. Here’s a video of the process with a different cake, but the same technique: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hWwaFvcYHY

  8. Adriane Potilechio

    Do you have a go to butter cream recipe? I usually make either a whipped cream frosting, or a cream cheese frosting. But I think these would be too soft and the sprinkles would just get absorbed into them…..thoughts?

  9. Mackenzie

    I made this cake in two 8in round pans and at the end I found that all my jimmies went to the bottom of my cake! How can I prevent that?

    • Hi Mackenzie! Sorry to hear your jimmies sunk to the bottom of the cake. That doesn’t usually happen with the jimmies I use, but I did read a tip recently about preventing the sprinkles from sinking in a funfetti cake: add the sprinkles to a bowl and coat them with 1.5 tbsp of flour before gently folding them into the batter. You can use cake flour or all purpose flour for that part. Apparently it keeps them from sinking!

  10. Hey! I want to use this recipe to make an ombre cake with a dark, milk and white chocolate layer! Do you think it will work if I divide the batter in three and add a 1/2 cup of melted milk, dark, or white chocolate to each to obtain three different layers? or would that ruin the baking?

    • Hi Ali! I’ve never tried adding melted chocolate to the cake batter, so I can’t say whether or not it will work. You can certainly try it and let me know! Otherwise I’d recommend finding and following a recipe for a flavor ombre cake. Let me know what you end up doing!

  11. Any chance I can just use all purpose flour instead of cake flour? Having toddlers, I tend to like shortcuts! Lol. Really want to try this recipe!

    • Hi Jenny! So the reason I use cake flour in the recipe is that it produces a much fluffier cake than all-purpose flour. Fortunately, you can easily make your own cake flour to use in a pinch. To make your own cake flour, spoon and level one cup of all-purpose flour and remove 2 Tbsp. Add 2 Tbsp of cornstarch. Repeat per the amount of cake flour you need, then sift the flour and cornstarch mixture 4 times (don’t skip that step!). After sifting, spoon and level to re-measure the amount of cake flour you need.

      Hope that helps!

  12. Hi Whitney,
    I have made your matcha cake and it was really lovely. I notice this recipe is exactly the same (without the sprinkles and the added matcha powder for the matcha flavour of course), but the sour cream is alot more in this recipe, is this correct? Will there be any difference if i used 112g sour cream instead of the 168g listed?

  13. Hi Amy! You’re right – this recipe is almost identical to the matcha cake. I added more sour cream to this recipe to make it a little more moist, but you can totally go with the 112g instead of 168g of sour cream.

  14. Hi Whitney!

    I am making a 3 layer 9 inch cake for my son’s birthday and I’m trying to figure out how to increase this recipe. (It looks AMAZING!) You say this is the same as your vanilla cake, just with jimmies, but your vanilla cake, with 2 1/2 cups of flour, is for 2 8-inch rounds. This has 3 3/4 cups of flour and is for 3 6-inch rounds. My confusion stems from the fact that 3 6-inch rounds should require 12 cups in volume, the exact same as 2 8-inch rounds. Where is the discrepancy in the recipe? Or in my calculations? What am I missing?!

    Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Tori! I always like to bake tall layers (at least 2 inches tall), so that’s why this recipe creates a little more batter than the vanilla cake recipe for the double layer 8 inch. To make a 3 layer 9 inch cake, I would double the vanilla cake recipe and add 1 Cup of rainbow sprinkles. You’ll probably have some extra batter, but in my opinion it’s better to have a little more batter and have taller layers that you can trim down instead of having three shorter layers.

    • Hi Bea! This recipe works wonderfully as cupcakes! Just fill the cupcake tins about 2/3 full and bake for 17 minutes at 350.

  15. Sara Young

    Hi Whitney, your cakes are beautiful! Can I ask, in this photo the cake looks taller then most cakes. In the photo is it a 5 layer cake?

    • Hi Sara! Thanks for the kind words! It’s a three layer 6-inch cake. Ends up being about 5.5 inches tall with the frosting.

  16. Ashley N

    5 stars
    Seriously delish! I was doubtful of the 5 eggs – but it was amazing! It’s a lot of cake batter though, much more than the normal cake box amount.
    I’ve got a bag of it and the vanilla buttercream frosting sitting in my fridge. Wondering how long it’ll keep and/or if I can put it in the freezer. Do you know?

    • Thanks Ashley! What size cake pan and how many layers did you make? I usually make this recipe in three 6-inch pans and only have a little bit of batter left over – enough for a few cupcakes. The sad news is that cake batter won’t keep. The fridge/freezer alters the chemistry of the cake so it’s no good after you first make it.

  17. Hi!
    With the cake flour, I’m purchasing it and there is the option for plain flour or self raising flour type, which one should I purchase?
    Thank you

    • Hi Sally! For cake flour, use the plain flour version (not the self rising). The self rising has baking powder added to it, so it will end up adding too much rising agent to cake recipes. The brands I love are Swans Down, Pillsbury Softasilk, and Bob’s Red Mill.

      • Thank you so much. Can’t wait to make this. Im following the vanilla cake recipe and adding the cup of sprinkles to make a three layer 9inch cake. So excited for my nearly 2 year old little girl to blow out her candles on this cake. I’m

  18. Hi Whitney,
    Thanks so much for your blog! I’m wondering how long your cakes keep in the fridge once frosted? Wondering how far I can make ahead of my daughter’s birthday party!!
    Also do you have any tutorials on cutting a cake of this size?
    Many thanks!!
    Jess

    • Hi Jess! So happy to hear you’re loving the blog 🙂 Once a cake is frosted, you can store it in the refrigerator for a day or two and it’ll be fresh for the birthday party! I usually frost and decorate my cakes the night before a party, but you could definitely do two nights before and still have a fresh cake. Just make sure you bring it to room temp by taking it out at least an hour before serving. I don’t have tutorials on cutting a cake (that’s a great idea for the future!), but this video is super helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_6MbvKpBuc

  19. 5 stars
    Hi Whitney!

    Love this recipe! I made it a few times now! Wondering if you could provide a link for the great cake stand? It’s so hard to find in smaller diameter and height. Thx!

    Courtney

    • Hi Courtney! So happy you love this recipe as much as I do! The cake stand was a gift from my sis in law years ago and I can’t find the exact one online anymore, but this one on Amazon is super similar and the same size: https://amzn.to/2Ry1dQ6

  20. Hi Whitney

    I had made the vanilla cake smash recipe from your blog and it worked perfectly. I doubled the recipe as i needed to fill two 6-inch x 3 inch springform pans.

    I now wanted to make a tiered cake. I was thinking of using double the vanilla cake smash recipe for the top tier with sprinkles and then this recipe for the bottom tier. My pan for the bottom tier is 8 inch x 3 inch springform pan. Do i double this recipe to make 2, 8 inch pans?

    Thanks!

    • So happy you love the vanilla smash cake recipe, Nili! This funfetti cake recipe is essentially the same as the vanilla smash cake recipe, and will make enough for two 8-inch pans as-is. If you double it, you’ll have enough for all the layers you need (top tier included)!

  21. Desiree Justice

    I am so confused, even after reading the recipe and comments multiple times. Does this recipe, minus the jimmies, make enough batter for 3/ 8″ round pans?

    • Hi Desiree! Yes, this recipe makes enough for three 8-inch rounds as specified in the recipe directions. I originally wrote it for three 6-inch rounds, but it truly makes enough batter for three 8-inch rounds, which is why I added that size to the directions.

  22. Hi Whitney!

    I have three 9″ pans, will this recipe work ok for this size or do I need to 8″ pans? BTW I am making a cake for boy/girl twins birthday cake.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Meleia, it should work fine to divide this recipe equally between three 9 inch pans. I usually fill my 8-inch pans about 2/3 full, which yields baked cake layers that are about 2 inches tall. So with 9 inch pans, your cakes will be somewhere around 1.5 inches tall once baked, but it will totally work. Let me know how it goes!

  23. Ashley

    Hi Whitney,

    We love using our bundt cake pans for making cakes. My little one loves all of the curves that our pan creates. Can this recipe be adapted for a bundt cake pan?

    • Hi Ashley! I’ve never tried baking a layer cake recipe in a bundt pan before, so I can’t say for sure how it will turn out. After some Googling it seems like a layer cake recipe like this one will work in a bundt pan if you bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Be sure to fill the pan no more than 1/2 to 2/3 full. Let me know how it goes if you try it!

  24. Hi!
    Could you please tell me the minimum depth the 8” pans will need to be?
    I have some but they are only about 1 and 1/2” deep, will they work?
    Thanks so much can’t wait to bake this cake

    • Hi Jasmin! My 8-inch pans are 2 inches deep. Your shallower 8-inch pans will work fine as long as you fill them no more than 1/2 full (instead of 2/3 full as the recipe instructs).

  25. Hi Whitney,

    I have tried this recipe about 10 times now and I absolutely love it. Here’s my question, do you recommend using cake baking strips with this cake and if so would I need to increase the baking time? I have used them before but my cake always comes out sticky. Thanks

    • Hi Joi! I’ve actually never used baking strips before. I would do a little research to see if the ones you have require altering the oven temp/baking time and go from there!

  26. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe twice and it’s delicious! I had the same issue both times. The sides, after being cooked, are super crunchy. The first time I simply overcooked the cakes because my oven (convection gas) must run hotter than expected even though I baked it 30 min. The second time I watched it carefully starting around 20 minutes and ended up only baking a few minutes longer than that. The middle was perfect, but all three pans had crunchy and dark top, sides, and bottoms that I ended up removing because another blogger recommended it when using light icing colors. Either way I think it would have to be done because they tasted burnt. Anyway, I assumed the first time was because I overcooked the cakes, but I can’t figure out how to avoid this disparity between the interior and exterior of the cake next time. Any ideas or thoughts? Also, how many batches of your vanilla buttercream do you need for the 3 layer 8”? I doubled it and that was enough to ice the whole cake but nothing left to pipe. I had to run out and buy buttercream from the grocery store bakery (life saver in a pinch) to pipe and design. I still ran out of icing mainly because I am new to piping and had to practice some.

    • Hi Julie! Since you have a gas convection oven, the temperature needs to be altered to accommodate it. This recipe is written for a conventional oven. Next time, try lowering the oven temp by 25ºF (so bake at 325ºF). This is most definitely why your edges burned. You’ll also need to keep an eye on the baking time, since convection ovens tend to cook food faster even at the lower temp. Here’s everything you need to know about convection ovens vs. conventional: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/what-is-a-convection-oven/

      As for the buttercream, next time make 2.5x the recipe so you’ll have enough for piping after filling and frosting. Simply multiply each recipe by 2.5 and you’ll be good to go!

  27. Yvonne Kane

    I just made this cake and it turned out delicious! Thank you so much for sharing!

  28. Yvonne Kane

    5 stars
    I just made this cake for my daughter and it was absolutely delicious. Worked perfect!
    Thank you!

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