This funfetti layer cake is made from scratch and is super moist, soft, has fun rainbow sprinkles to give it that confetti cake look and is covered in fluffy buttercream frosting.
Funfetti cake is easily one of the most beloved and fun cake flavors. If you’ve never made one from a scratch recipe, this two-layered cake is the place to start with because it’s such a pretty cake and it’s much easier to make a scratch cake than you might think.
Funfetti cakes (sometimes called confetti cakes) are generally fluffy and soft white cake layers with added rainbow sprinkles. I’ve found the best way to make them is by using rainbow jimmies instead of the round sprinkles which tend to bleed color into the batter.
The sprinkles soften up during baking so they’re neither hard nor crunchy when you take a bite. Once you cover the cake layers in rich and creamy vanilla buttercream and add some sprinkles on top, you’ve got the perfect birthday cake.
No need to use a box mix when you can make your own homemade version from scratch that tastes so much better than a box mix ever could.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
Now let’s talk a little about some of the ingredients that are in this confetti cake. (The printable list of all ingredients are in the recipe card below.)
All-purpose flour: You don’t have to use a special type of flour for this cake. There are instructions on how to use cake flour if you really want to use that, but for this cake, I really prefer the texture of the all-purpose flour.
Sugar: Yes there are two cups of sugar in this recipe. It’s cake…and most likely birthday cake…so it’s meant to be sweet. When you don’t add enough sugar to cakes, the cake can actually become dryer, not just less sweet, so be careful if lowering the amount.
Vegetable shortening: This is used in place of butter because you want a funfetti cake to be whiter in color to make the sprinkles stand out and using butter can make it come out a little more yellow.
Using vegetable shortening also makes cake very soft and moist. (Make sure to check out the FAQ section below where I go into using vegetable shortening and an alternative.)
Sour cream: This is one of my favorite ingredients to use in cakes. It makes them moist and adds flavor. (For substitutions, check out the FAQ section below in this post.)
Clear vanilla extract: Clear works a little better than regular vanilla extract. To me, it gives a little more of a candy vanilla flavor than regular vanilla.
It’s hard to describe, but mainly it doesn’t add any color to the cake. If getting a white cake isn’t important to you, you can always use regular vanilla extract.
Butter extract: Since this cake recipe doesn’t include butter, I like to add in a little buttery flavor if I can. It’s not vital, but it’s a nice touch.
Egg whites: This recipe calls for all egg whites instead of whole eggs because the egg yolks tend to make the cake a little yellow and funfetti cake is generally a white cake.
Rainbow jimmies: Jimmies are better than sprinkles for confetti cakes. When you use those small round rainbow sprinkles, the color dissolves quickly and then marbles the cake batter. Jimmies don’t seem to do that nearly as bad.
Shortening and butter for the frosting: The buttercream recipe calls for both vegetable shortening and butter. The reason is that using all butter will give it a more yellow look and this is funfetti cake, so we’re trying to keep everything as white in color as we can.
It’s okay if you’d rather use all butter though. (Make sure to check out the FAQ section below to see more about that.)
How to make this cake and buttercream:
Let’s talk about how to make a funfetti cake with buttercream.(The printable instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease and flour two 8-inch round (2-inch deep) cake pans. I really love Wilton pans or Magic Line pans.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the sour cream, milk, extracts and egg whites and mix well with a whisk.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Now, add the shortening to the dry mixture in chunks at a time. Turn the mixer on medium and add the shortening in chunks until all is added. Once added, mix on medium-high until the flour is coated with the shortening and the mixture is crumbly and resembles a sand-like texture.
Make sure not to mix too long or it will turn into a paste.
Add in half the liquid mixture and mix only until it’s just combined, then add the second half of the liquid mixture and mix until well combined.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix again, only for about 10-15 seconds.
Add the rainbow jimmies and stir them in with a large spoon or a silicone spatula.
Add the batter evenly to the two greased and floured cake pans. Bake at 325 degrees F for 40-45 minutes.
Once baked, cool the cake layers on a wire rack, in the pans, for about 10 minutes.
Next, remove the cake layers from the pans and let cool completely on the wire racks before adding the frosting.
Make the buttercream while the cake layers are cooling. Instructions are in the printable recipe below. Make sure to whip it for a couple of minutes to make it fluffy.
Add a cake layer to a cake plate or cake stand and add buttercream to that layer.
Add the second layer and smooth buttercream on the top.
Add buttercream to the sides, then decorate with piped borders and sprinkles if desired.
Tips & FAQs:
Sort of, but it’s more like a white cake with rainbow sprinkles. The cake is a little lighter and whiter along with the icing.
Funfetti (or confetti) cake is traditionally made with a white cake which has a slight vanilla flavor and added rainbow sprinkles.
Yes, you absolutely can. If you’d rather use a box mix, that will work too. Of course, I try to convince people to give scratch cakes a try as they really do taste wonderful, but do what makes you comfortable.
These terms are basically the same. Funfetti is what Pillsbury calls it and confetti cake is just another term for it, but essentially they just mean a white cake with rainbow sprinkles.
The best sprinkles for a funfetti or confetti cake are rainbow jimmies. If you use those tiny round rainbow sprinkles, the color dissolves off of them very quickly and then just bleeds into the cake batter.
The rainbow jimmies are much better at not doing that. Jimmies are the longer sprinkles. You can usually find those at a grocery store or on Amazon.
Using nonpareils is not a good idea. Those are the small round bead-like sprinkles and the color almost immediately comes off of them and marbles the cake batter. It’s better to use rainbow jimmies.
There are measurements for both in the printable recipe card. You can use either, but personally, I prefer the taste and texture of the all-purpose flour for this cake.
Make sure not to pack the flour down into the measuring cup when you’re measuring. Spoon the flour into the cup and level it off, then add it to the mixing bowl. Scooping the flour with the measuring cup can pack the flour down and add too much giving you a dense cake.
You can a little bit, but don’t go too drastic as sugar isn’t just for making cakes sweet, it also adds moistness, so if it’s lowered too much, the texture of the cake can be off.
Vegetable shortening is not lard and is not made from animal fat. It’s basically a solid vegetable oil. The brand name in the U.S. is called Crisco.
This recipe calls for vegetable shortening in place of butter because it makes a really fluffy and moist cake and it helps keep the color of the cake closer to white, since funfetti/confetti cakes are traditionally white cakes.
If you want a whiter cake that is soft, you’ll want to use vegetable shortening. Remember, it’s not lard and not made of animal fat. Now days, it’s made without any trans fats.
Butter and shortening may not substitute evenly for each other. If you’re looking for a butter cake, you might want to check out this cake here which was specifically written and tested to be a butter cake: Favorite Vanilla Bean Cake
Generally, funfetti/confetti cakes are more white to show off the sprinkles, but if that’s not something you are particular about, it’s perfectly okay to add sprinkles to a butter vanilla cake.
Sour cream is best because it helps to make a very moist cake and gives a little flavor. If you don’t have access to it, you can use plain yogurt, but use the full-fat yogurt instead of the low-fat or fat-free type.
Don’t replace sour cream with milk though as that won’t have enough fat in it to add enough moisture.
Yes. The clear extract is used because regular vanilla extract will add a little color to the cake batter and the buttercream and this cake is traditionally a white cake with white frosting.
This cake is finished baking when a toothpick inserted into the center of each layer comes out with a few moist crumbs on it or clean, but no raw batter.
This cake will keep for a couple of days covered out of the fridge. (As long as it’s not covered in perishable frosting or filling and isn’t stored in a warm environment). Place in the fridge after a couple of days to prolong its freshness.
This cake is best served close to room temperature. If the cake is cold, set it out to come closer to room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before serving.
Yes, as long as proper doweling is added, this cake can be stacked.
These cake layers can be frozen if desired. Let the baked cake layers cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and foil and place in the freezer for up to a month.
To thaw, place the wrapped cake layers on the counter at room temperature and let them thaw completely, then remove the wrapping. Once defrosted, add frosting.
I have not tested this recipe out as cupcakes, but it should work just fine. Fill 2 cupcake pans (24 cupcakes) with cupcake liners and fill with batter about ⅔ of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees F and start checking for doneness at around 15-25 minutes.
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***I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are used to seeing and using. For weight in metric measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s a best guess. Please note that because I develop recipes using ‘cups’ I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results.
Best Funfetti (Confetti) Layer Cake from Scratch
For the cake:
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (or 2 ¾ cups cake flour for a whiter cake-see notes)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable shortening (see FAQ section in post for questions)
- 1 cup sour cream (see FAQ section in post for questions)
- ½ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (or regular vanilla extract)
- ½ teaspoon butter extract or emulsion (optional)
- 6 large egg whites
- ¾ cup rainbow jimmies (jimmies work better than sprinkles as sprinkles often bleed off color and it smears the batter)
For the frosting:
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (or regular vanilla extract)
- ¼ teaspoon butter extract or emulsion (optional)
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- rainbow jimmies for decorating
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Grease and flour two 8-inch round (2-inch deep) cake pans.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the sour cream, milk, extracts and egg whites with a whisk until smooth and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk together.
- Add the shortening, in chunks at a time, to the flour mixture, mixing with an electric mixer on medium speed between additions. Once all the shortening has been added, mix on medium-high until the flour is coated with the shortening and the mixture is crumbly and resembles a sand-like texture. Do not continue mixing past this point, or the mixture will turn into a paste and that will change the final outcome.
- Add in half the liquid mixture and mix on medium just until combined, no more than 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add in the last half of the liquid mixture and mix on medium until well combined, about 15 seconds or so. Be careful not to overmix the batter at this point. Stop mixing once it's well combined. Mixing too long can cause a dense, rubbery and dry cake.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again on medium, only for about 10-15 seconds.
- Add the rainbow jimmies and fold in by hand with a large spoon or a silicone spatula.
- Pour the batter into the greased and floured cake pans and bake at 325 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. Cake layers are done baking when a toothpick inserted into the center of each layer comes out with a few moist crumbs on it or clean, but no raw batter. Do not overbake as that will cause a dry cake.
- Cool on a wire rack, in the pans, for about 10 minutes, then remove the cake layers from the pans and let cool completely on the wire racks before adding the frosting.
For the frosting:
- Mix the shortening and butter well with an electric mixer on medium to medium-high speed until very smooth.
- Add 1 tablespoon milk and three cups of confectioner’s sugar. Add the salt and mix on low until incorporated and then on medium until well mixed.
- Add another tablespoon of milk and the last three cups of confectioner’s sugar, along with the extracts and mix on low until combined, then on medium to medium-high until well mixed.
- Check the consistency. If it’s too thick, add another tablespoon of milk and mix well. If it's too thin, add another ½ cup of confectioner's sugar and mix well.
- Once the desired consistency is reached, mix on medium-high to high speed for about two minutes. The icing will become fluffy and lighten a bit in color.
- Add frosting to the cooled cake layers and decorate as desired.
*This recipe card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
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I really want to make this cake but I want to use grated apples. Would I use the same amount? Thanks.
Hi Josephine, I think shredded apples could work. I’d just use the same amount and see how it goes. I’m thinking it should be fine though.
Is there a dairy/coconut/nut free alternative that could be subbed for the sour cream?
You could try coconut yogurt instead. I haven’t personally tried it, but I think it should work okay.