A light and fluffy, made from scratch funfetti cake (sometimes also called confetti cake)! This soft, snow-white cake is speckled with brightly colored sprinkles and iced with a sweet buttercream frosting — it’s the perfect homemade birthday cake!
If this funfetti cake looks familiar, you caught me, I shared it exactly one year ago in celebration of the first unofficial birthday of Sugar Spun Run.
Well, it’s been two years now since I almost completely deleted this whole website. Instead, I dug in full-force and have spent almost every spare second of my time developing and photographing (and now videoing) recipes to share with you.
As a brief review before we get to this favorite layered funfetti cake of mine, I originally bought the name, Sugar Spun Run, in 2012 and published a few posts super casually, photographed via iPhone-only, and focused on… whatever caught my attention that particular day. It was maintained sporadically, sloppily, and definitely without intention.
So in April of 2015 when I got the bill to renew my website, I almost canceled everything. I was literally one button-click away from doing so… and then decided maybe I’d give it one more shot.
Well, here we are, nearly 250 recipes later with a bright cheerful funfetti cake to show for it.
It’s now been two years of late, powdered-sugar filled nights, of re-making recipes over and over again (often only to decide that they really were just right the first time), of website code-induced headaches, and of desperately attempting to solve the Rubik’s cube that is my camera. Well over 200 lbs of butter have made their way through my kitchen, and my KitchenAid has become my near-constant companion.
And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
So, while today can’t rightly be called my blog’s “birthday”, I wanted to commemorate this two year anniversary anyway. Today I’m celebrating Sugar Spun Run’s Unbirthday, and slicing up this confetti-colored, sprinkle stuffed, 3-layer, from-scratch Funfetti cake just for the occasion. So let’s get down to it.
How do you make Funfetti cake?
Funfetti cake is typically a fluffy white cake with sprinkles mixed into the batter.
Light and fluffy, this cake is made with a combination of butter (for flavor) and oil (for texture and moisture). Developing this recipe took weeks, and the ingredients and their ratios were calculated very precisely and carefully.
For maximum fluffy softness, this recipe calls for plenty of egg whites (no egg yolks). You’ll whip these separately with an electric hand mixer until they reach stiff peaks (that just means that when you lift a whisk straight out of the whites, the peaks stay and don’t recede back into themselves) and then fold them with a spatula into the cake batter. This is easy to do– it takes only about 5 minutes– and is critical for a light and fluffy white cake (don’t get me started on yellow funfetti cakes — there should be no such thing).
I used a buttercream that I flavored with a new emulsion that I found at my local cake shop (see notes in recipe), which accented the frosting with notes of citrus and almond. This kept the buttercream from being overbearingly sweet, but didn’t go over as well with Zach, who loathes lemon.
Vanilla extract (or any other that you prefer) can also be used, of course, and I included notes in the recipe.
Today, I’m cutting up this carefully-crafted funfetti cake into thick slices in an Unbirthday celebration, and I’m so glad that you are here to join me.
Thank you so much for following along, for taking the time to read my posts (or just look at the pictures, that’s OK too), comment, e-mail, and follow me on social media (your support as I tackle video on Facebook has been so helpful).
This space would be nothing without you coming back day after day, and I know I wouldn’t have made it this far without so many kind, encouraging comments (when I get a comment telling me that you tried a recipe and loved it, it makes my whole day).
Sugar Spun Run is here to stay.
Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. –Earl Nightingale
Funfetti Cake from Scratch (and an UnBirthday)
- 9 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 3 cups granulated sugar (600g)
- 1 cup canola oil vegetable oil would also work (236ml)
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups+ 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (all of the flour goes into the cake batter, you will also need additional flour for preparing the cake pan) (516g)
- 4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ cup milk (355ml)
- 9 egg whites room temperature preferred
- ½ cup sprinkles* (80g)
- 1 lb unsalted butter softened to room temperature (453g)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 cups powdered sugar (750g)
- 6 Tbsp heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons LorAnn Princess emulsion or vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and prepare 3 8-inch round cake pans by generously greasing and flouring. Be sure to shake out excess flour.
- In stand mixer, beat butter on medium-low speed until creamy.
- Add sugar and oil and beat until all ingredients are well-combined and creamy.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and then stir in your vanilla.
- In separate bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Measure out your milk.
- With mixer on medium speed, gradually alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk to the butter mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Stir until each one is almost completely combined before adding the next.
- Pause occasionally to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.
- In separate bowl, combine your egg whites and, with a hand-mixer on high-speed, beat until stiff peaks form.
- Using a spatula, gently fold your egg whites and sprinkles into your batter. Take care to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl so that ingredients are well-combined, and take care not to over-mix.
- Evenly divide cake batter into prepared pans.
- Bake on 350F (175C) for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake layer comes out clean or with few crumbs (should not be wet). For best results, rotate your cake pans halfway through baking to ensure even baking.
- Cakes will be a light golden brown when done baking.
- Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Run a butterknife around the inside rim of each pan and invert each onto a cooling rack.
- Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- I used this technique from I Am Baker to frost my cake. If you intend to use this technique as well it requires a lot of icing for the top and I recommend increasing this recipe by 50%. If you are just doing a plain covering that will not be needed.
- In stand mixer, beat butter on medium-speed until creamy.
- Add salt and beat again for about 20 seconds.
- Gradually, about 1 cup at a time, add powdered sugar, waiting until each cup is completely mixed before adding the next cup.
- Tbsp at a time, add the heavy cream on medium-high speed, waiting until each addition is well-combined before adding the next 2 Tbsp.
- Add flavoring (vanilla extract or emulsion). and stir on medium-high for 30 seconds.
- Transfer one layer of your cooled cake to serving platter. Use frosting to ice the top. Add the next layer, ice the top of that. Add your third layer on top and ice the top, and then do a thin "crumb coating" around the entire cake.
- Transfer to freezer for 10-15 minutes, then remove and apply a clean, thick coat of frosting around the entire cake.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
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Recipe originally published 4/13/16 — text updated 4/13/17
I have made this cake four times now. The first two times they turned put absolutely fabulous! The past two times, I haved noticed that the flavor is bland and eggs (even smells eggy). I have followed the recipe to a “t” each time, with no deviations. Any thoughts on what might be causing the bland/eggy taste?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Laura! It sounds like the cake might have been over-baked. That can cause the flavor you’re describing 🙁
Have you ever made cupcakes with this recipe. Any idea how long to bake and would it be the same temp? Thanks in advance.
Hi Christine! Many other people have done so with success. The temperature would remain the same. The bake time would probably be about 17 minutes. 🙂
Is the primary reason for using Egg Whites only, just because of color OR does it affect the texture/taste of the cake as opposed to using whole eggs?
If I weren’t too concerned about making this cake a nice white, could I use whole eggs for this cake, instead?
If using whole eggs can work for this, how many could one use & will any other change need made to the recipe – baking time/milk?
Additionally, if I use Cake Flour for this cake, can I do a 1:1 substitution (4c + 2 tbsp) OR change the flour quantity?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Neha! The egg whites are used here for texture and color. We whip them to stiff peaks, which gives the cake a light and fluffy texture. Using whole eggs wouldn’t allow for this. If you’re looking for a cake that uses whole eggs, we’d recommend our vanilla cake instead. Hope that helps!
I tried making this cake (3 8″ layers) and it ran over the sides of the cake pans. I made myself a note “Use (9″ x 3″ DEEP pans next time. Why did my first attempt run over the 8” pans. I’m hesitant to try it again as the last attempt was a flop. Help please
Hi Julie! How frustrating! How deep are your cake pans? The pans I use are pretty standard (you can see in the video, if that’s helpful) and I have never had them run over before.
Hi Sam, is it possible to use a 13×9 for this recipe?
Also, have you ever tried your cream cheese frosting with this?
Hi Andrea! It will make a bit too much batter for a 9 x 13, but you can just bake the extras into cupcakes. The cream cheese frosting will certainly go well with it. 🙂
Thank you for not quitting! I really enjoy your recipes and appreciate the time and effort that must take to do this! It helps me to open up and learn new and different ways of cooking, even though I have been cooking for over 60 years, there is always room for growth and you make it easy! Thank you! The recipes are delicious!
Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe! It was perfect in every way! Light, fluffy, and delicious!
I am wanting to make this for my sons birthday party this weekend however it is a lego party and I am stacking two 9X13 cakes. How should I adjust the recipe and timing?
Hi Gabriella! You’d likely need to increase the recipe by 50% to get enough to fill 2 9 x 13s. I’m not sure on a bake time for those though.
Hi Sam, I’m doing something similar to make 2 x stacked sheet cakes, but I only have one 11 x 14 pan. Is it ok to let the second half of the cake mix sit until the first cake is baked?!
Hi Sarah! You run the risk of the egg whites deflating while it sits, but personally I would probably give it a shot. I think it could work. 🙂
The most flavorful cake!
I have been using this recipe for years. Birthday cakes, wedding cakes & cupcakes. It has been such a hit and everyone that has taken a bite absolutely raves about it. My only question is why o why does it sink when I add a bit of lemon zest.
If I wanted to make this cake into 3 6” pans, should I cut the recipe in half?
Hi Justine! I think cutting it in half will work here. 🙂
I am looking to try this recipe with 3 6 inch pans, too. Would the temperature and bake time remain the same or should I adjust! Thanks!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Kelly! The temperature won’t change, but the cakes will bake for less time. Just be sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t over-bake. We hope you love the cake! 🙂
When baking soda reacts and an acid mix, lemon juice or buttermilk, the reaction releases carbon dioxide as a byproduct contributing to leavening in baked goods. Once zest is added it add extra leavening to the cake causing it to rise too quickly then deflate.