Funfetti Birthday Cake

A super moist and delicious funfetti cake with colorful sprinkles and soft American buttercream. Tastes just like the box mix, but it's even better!
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 1 hr
Serves: 10 cups
Close up of funfetti layer cake

This super moist and fluffy homemade funfetti cake recipe will remind you of all your childhood birthday parties. It’s filled with colorful rainbow sprinkles and topped with a soft American buttercream that makes for a perfect birthday cake for your next celebration. 

Close up of funfetti layer cake

You may remember those Pillsbury funfetti boxed cake mixes that taste so good! This cake resembles those flavors, but tastes even better because it’s from scratch! It uses soy lecithin, and xanthan gum to hold in more moisture than typical cake recipes but is better for layered cakes. This makes it perfect for slicing and cute cake photos at your next birthday party.

Funfetti Cake Ingredients

You might be surprised to see some of these ingredients but I researched all the ingredients on the back of a box of funfetti mix to reverse engineer this recipe. I left out the preservatives since we aren’t making this cake for mass production but you might be surprised to know what some of these ingredients actually do.

Funfetti Ingredients in clear bowls shot from above

Buttermilk: Buttermilk is great to add to cakes because it adds in extra moisture. The acidity breaks down the gluten in the all-purpose flour to keep your cake super soft. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own buttermilk substitute.

Shortening: Did you know shortening is an emulsifier? It helps recipes retain more moisture and keeps them tasting fresher! If you don’t want to use shortening you can use all butter and reduce the buttermilk by 100g.

Xanthan Gum: I know, you think of xanthan gum and get scared because it’s an additive, but trust me, for this recipe you will need this. Xanthan gum is an emulsifier that mimics the form of gluten and will actually help your cake retain even more moisture than typical cake recipes and also strengthens the structure of the cake. You can find xanthan gum in the spice and baking aisle.

Soy Lecithin: Soy lecithin is also an emulsifier that you commonly find in chocolate. It helps fat and water combine easier which they normally don’t do well on their own. Combining this with the xanthan gum will cause the funfetti cake to be rich and add extra moisture while still holding its shape. If you can’t find soy lecithin you can leave it out but reduce your buttermilk by 100g.

Clear Vanilla Extract: This will help our cake and buttercream stay lighter in color. It’s commonly used in white cake to keep it white since regular vanilla has a dark color. If you don’t have clear vanilla you can use any vanilla extract.

What Sprinkles To Use: For this recipe, you need to use the long-shaped sprinkles also known as Jimmies. I used Favorite Day’s rainbow sprinkles. You want to stay away from nonpareils or confetti sprinkles because those tend to bleed too much when baking.

Butter Flavor:  Butter flavor? Does that exist? Yes, it does, and it’s actually commonly used in grocery store cakes and your favorite movie theater popcorn. That buttery popcorn flavor is exactly what we are using to give this cake that traditional funfetti box mix taste! If you can’t find butter extract then you can leave it out, but your cake will not taste exactly like funfetti box mix but it will still be delish.

Funfetti Cake Step By Step

  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with cake goop or another preferred cake release.
  2. In a measuring cup, add in your buttermilk, oil, butter extract, and vanilla extract. Set aside. Hand holding clear bowl over glass measuring cup pouring oil into glass container.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together your egg whites and whole eggs. Set aside. 
  4. In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, add in your cake flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, soy lecithin, shortening, and butter. Hand holding bowl of flour being poured into glass bowl.
  5. Mix on medium speed for 2-4 minutes or until the texture becomes crumbly.Glass bowl filled with cake batter
  6. While mixing on low speed, slowly stream in ⅔ of your buttermilk mixture (you should have about 4oz of liquid leftover).hand holding glass measuring cup pouring liquid into mixing bowl.
  7. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 full minutes to develop the cakes structure.
  8. Reduce the speed to low then stream in your egg mixture and the rest of the buttermilk slowly until incorporated.hand holding bowl of eggs being poured into mixing bowl
  9. Mix everything together for 30 seconds until everything is homogeneous.spatula being held above mixing bowl covered in cake batter.
  10. With a spatula, Fold in your sprinkles.spatula being held above mixing bowl covered in cake batter with sprinkles
  11. Divide your batter evenly into 3 pans. ( if making cupcakes divide evenly into liners, about 1-2 spoonfuls).Glass measuring cup being held above cake pans pouring cake batter into the cake pans
  12.  Bake at 350º F for about 35-40 minutes ( about 18-20 minutes if you are making cupcakes). Hands inside oven mits holding cake pans with baked cake inside 

Buttercream Step By Step

  1. Using the mixing bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk your softened butter until smooth.hand holding whisk covered in whipped butter above mixing bowl.
  2. While mixing at a slow speed. Add in your powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix until smooth.
  3. Add in your butter flavor, clear vanilla extract, and cream.hand holding measuring cup pouring powdered sugar into mixing bowl.
  4. Whip for 2-3 minutes until buttercream is smooth.hand holding whisk covered in buttercream above mixing bowl.

Assembling The Funfetti Cake

  1. Optional: Trim the brown layer of the top and sides of your cake layers. I usually trim my cakes because it gives them a cleaner look.hand on top of cake layer holding knife while cutting cake
  2. Place your cake on a cake board, or you can use a flat plate. 
  3. Take a few scoops of buttercream onto your first cake layer and spread a thin even layer about 1/2  inch thick using an offset spatula.hand holding spatula while icing a cake layer
  4. Stack your second cake layer on top and repeat the process.hand holding a spatula icing another cake layer on top of the first cake layer.
  5. Stack your third cake layer on top of the second and spread a thin layer of buttercream around the whole cake. Scrape off any access buttercream to where you can almost see your cake layers through your buttercream with your offset spatula or a bench scraper. This is called a crumb coat.picture of cake covered in icing
  6. Once you frosted your crumb coat, place your cake in the fridge or freezer for at least 15 minutes, or until your buttercream is firm to the touch. This allows the buttercream to harden, so when you go to decorate, your layers won’t move around and your first layer of buttercream will act as a base coat for your next layer. 
  7. Place your final coat of buttercream around your cake with your offset spatula, and smooth it out as much as best as you can.
  8. Now, using your bench scraper, scrape away the excess frosting until it becomes as smooth as you can make it. Hold the scraper straight up and down, and slowly turn the cake until you’ve removed all of the excess buttercream This will give your cake straight edges.hand holding scraper while smoothing out cake
  9. Smooth out the top of your cake and remove any excess buttercream with an offset spatula. You can now decorate your cake!picture of frosted cake

Decorating The Funfetti Cake

  1.  Start by placing the sprinkles of your choice into a small bowl. ( for decoration it does not matter what kind of sprinkles you use)
  2. Pick up your cake from the bottom of the cake board and scoop sprinkles with your hand and brush them around the bottom sides of your cake. (Make sure to have a sheet pan underneath to collect the escapees).hand covering bottom of a cake with sprinkles
  3. Once you have your desired look, place your cake back onto your plate or turntable.
  4. Prepare a piping bag with the piping tip of your choice ( I used a Wilton 2F ). Fill your piping bag with some buttercream. 
  5. I’m piping a simple shell border but you can decorate any way you like.  hand holding piping bag piping decoration on top of cake.
  6. Top with more sprinkles and some birthday candles. hand placing sprinkles on top of decorated cake.

Now your cake looks delicious and ready to eat before it even makes it to the party!Decorated Birthday cake with candles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between funfetti and confetti cake?

Pillsbury owns the trademark to “Funfetti” which is basically confetti cake but branded.

Can I use gluten-free flour instead of AP flour?

You can use gluten-free baking mixes such cup4cup or bobs red mill gluten-free baking mix.

Can I add sprinkles to any cake recipe?

For the most part, yes. You want to add them to white cake, vanilla cake, or any light-colored cake so you can see them.

Difference between nonpareils and jimmies? Confetti quins?

Nonpareils are tiny circular sprinkles while jimmies are longer in shape, softer in texture, and usually come in rainbow colors. Confetti quins are small, flat, and circular and usually come in pastel colors. 

What filling goes well with funfetti cake?

Some flavors that pair well with funfetti cake are strawberry, lemon curd, berry, coconut, even chocolate if you want to get crazy, but usually, funfetti is just white cake and vanilla buttercream.

How do I stop my sprinkles from bleeding?

If you struggle with sprinkles starting to bleed on your frosting you want to make sure you don’t have a lot of moisture in your frosting and that the sprinkles are always at room temperature or below.

Would this recipe work for cupcakes?

Yes! It makes about 24 cupcakes.

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Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
Close up of funfetti layer cake

Funfetti Birthday Cake

A super moist and delicious funfetti cake with colorful sprinkles and soft American buttercream. Tastes just like the box mix, but it's even better!
4.80 from 39 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Serves: 10 cups
Calories: 1294kcal

Ingredients

Funfetti Cake

  • 200 grams (7 ounces) Buttermilk
  • 120 grams (4 ounces) Canola Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Butter Extract
  • 5 teaspoons Clear Vanilla Extract
  • 520 grams (18 ounces) Cake Flour
  • 600 grams (21 ounces) Sugar
  • 5 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Soy Lecithin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 120 grams (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
  • 120 grams (4 ounces) Shortening
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) Egg Whites
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 4 ounces Rainbow Sprinkles Jimmies or Confetti work best

American Buttercream

  • 680 grams (24 ounces) Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
  • 1,143 grams (40 ounces) Powdered Sugar
  • 147 grams (5 ounces) Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 teaspoons Clear Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 teaspoons Butter Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

Equipment

  • 2 8" cake pans (2" tall)
  • 1 2F Wilton Piping Tip
  • 1 Piping Bag

Instructions

Funfetti Cake

  • In a measuring cup, add in your warm buttermilk, oil, butter extract, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  • In a seperate bowl, mix together your egg whites and whole eggs. Set aside.
  • In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, add in your cake flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, soy lecithin, shortening and butter.
  • Mix on medium speed for 2-4 minutes or until the texture becomes crumbly.
  • While mixing on low speed, slowly stream in 2/3 of your buttermilk mixture (you should have about 4 oz of liquid leftover).
  • Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 full minutes to develop the cakes structure.
  • Reduce the speed to low, add in the rest of buttermilk and the egg whites and egg yolks.
  • Mix everything together for 30 seconds until everything is homogenious.
  • With a spatula, Fold in your sprinkles.
  • Divide your batter evenly into 3 pans ( if making cupcakes, divide evenly into liners, about 1 -2 spoonfuls).
  • Bake at 350° F for about 35-40 minutes( about 18-20 minutes if you are making cupcakes).

American Buttercream

  • Using the mixing bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk your softened butter until smooth.
  • While mixing at a slow speed. Add in your powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix until smooth.
  • Add in your butter flavor, clear vanilla extract, and cream.
  • Whip for 2-3 minutes until buttercream is smooth.

Assembling the Funfetti Cake

  • Optional: Trim the brown layer of the top and sides of your cake layers. I usually trim my cakes because it gives them a cleaner look.
  • Place your cake on a cake board, or you can use a flat plate.
  • Take a few scoops of buttercream onto your first cake layer and spread a thin even layer about 1/2  inch thick using an offset spatula.
  • Stack your second cake layer on top and repeat the process.
  • Stack your third cake layer on top of the second and spread a thin layer of buttercream around the whole cake. Scrape off any access buttercream to where you can almost see your cake layers through your buttercream with your offset spatula or a bench scraper. This is called a crumb coat.
  • Once you frosted your crumb coat, place your cake in the fridge or freezer for at least 15 minutes, or until your buttercream is firm to the touch. This allows your buttercream to harden so when you go to decorate your layers won't move around and your first layer of buttercream will act as a base coat for your next layer.
  •  Place your final coat of buttercream around your cake with your offset spatula, and smooth it out as much as best as you can.
  • Now, using your bench scraper, scrape away the excess frosting until it becomes as smooth as you can make it. Hold the scraper straight up and down, and slowly turn the cake until you’ve removed all of the excess buttercream. This will give your cake straight edges.
  • Smooth out the top of your cake and remove any excess buttercream with an offset spatula. You can now decorate your cake!

Decorating The Funfetti Cake

  • Start by placing the sprinkles of your choice into a small bowl ( for decoration it does not matter what kind of sprinkles you use ).
  • Pick up your cake from the bottom of the cake board and scoop sprinkles with your hand and brush them around the bottom sides of your cake ( Make sure to have a sheet pan underneath to collect the escapees ).
  • Once you have your desired look, place your cake back onto your plate or turntable. Prepare a piping bag with the piping tip of your choice ( I used a Wilton 2F ).
  • Fill your piping bag with some buttercream. I’m piping a simple shell border but you can decorate any way you like. 
  •  Top with more sprinkles and some birthday candles. 

Notes

Important Things To Note Before You Start
  1. The best investment you can make when you’re getting started with baking is a digital kitchen scale! Weighing your ingredients will help you avoid cake failure. Using a kitchen scale for baking is super easy and gives you the best results every single time. 
  2. Practice Mise en Place (everything in its place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready before you start mixing to reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.
  3. Need more help with making your first cake? Check out my how to decorate your first cake blog post. 
  4. Make sure all of your cold ingredients (e.g. butter, eggs, milk) are at room temperature or a little warm. Why? Because we want to create an emulsion and allow the ingredients to fully mix together. 
  5. Make your own pan release (cake goop!) The best pan release ever! 
  6. Chill your cakes before frosting and filling. You can cover a frosted and chilled cake in fondant if you wish. This cake is also great for stacking!
  7. I suggest you use the long sprinkles also known as jimmies to make this cake because they create the cleanest look, and they don’t bleed as much as other sprinkles. 
  8. You don’t need to use soy lecithin and xanthan gum if you don’t want to. If you decide to take it out, make sure you reduce your buttermilk by 100g.
  9. If you want to add food coloring to this frosting, then you will add in any food coloring while you are mixing the egg whites with the powdered sugar (before you add in the butter). PRO TIP: Use a toothpick to transfer 1-2 drops of food coloring to your frosting to avoid putting too much color in your buttercream. 
  10. You can use whichever food coloring you have, but if you want a recommendation I would suggest the Chef Master gel food coloring. Use code “SUGARGEEKTEN” to get 10% off your order!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 1294kcal (65%) | Carbohydrates: 100g (33%) | Protein: 11g (22%) | Fat: 97g (149%) | Saturated Fat: 49g (245%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 31g | Trans Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 228mg (76%) | Sodium: 555mg (23%) | Potassium: 362mg (10%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 62g (69%) | Vitamin A: 2303IU (46%) | Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) | Calcium: 154mg (15%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)
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One comment on “Funfetti Birthday Cake

  1. Hi Liz!

    I’m a big fan! I have baked a Funfetti cake with your recipe from 2021. What’s the difference between that Funfetti cake and this one? I read the ingredients and definitely a lot more on this one….soy lecithin and xanthum gum.

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    Thanks

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