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!
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.
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.
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.
Funfetti Cake Recipe
The perfect party cake for all ages! Soft and fluffy vanilla cake with rainbow sprinkles baked right in.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*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.