Happy birthday to… ME! Is it obnoxious to celebrate one’s own birthday? Would it be narcissistic of me to think you’re all dying to participate in the fun that is this funfetti cake? Maybe, but I don’t even care. I love birthdays, and as a baking blogger, there are very few things that excite me like the chance to make my own birthday cake. This funfetti cake, albeit basic, is just the type of festive dish I want to nosh on for my special day, and I sincerely hope you’ll lend me a hand with blowing out all these candles. Let’s get started.
I refuse to believe there is a single person on this earth who doesn’t love funfetti cake. I mean, does a happier dessert exist? Those sugary sprinkled flavors hold all sorts of fond memories for me, and nothing gets me in the mood for celebrating like a cake that feels like a party. While I’ve featured all sorts of funfetti-flavored treats on this site (I’m looking at you, funfetti cookies, funfetti ice cream cake, and sugar cookie ice cream) I’ve yet to showcase an OG funfetti cake like this. Today is the day.
This funfetti cake is about as basic as it comes. A butter and oil cake made with buttermilk and loads of clear vanilla extract bakes up with cake flour and more than a fair share of rainbow jimmies. The frosting is equally simple, made with softened butte, cream cheese, and just enough salt to balance out the sugary sweetness. I love being able to offer a homemade treat on special occasions, and this one has all the nostalgic flavors of the store-bought varieties with all the pride of a made-from-scratch offering. Now that’s a win-win situation.
Making the Cake
A few notes on this funfetti cake. First, I highly recommend cake flour here without substitutions. This will help keep the cake fluffy and light while adding a bit of that birthday cake flavor. Same goes for clear vanilla extract. While pure vanilla extract or vanilla beans will make for a delightful cake, it will lack that box cake flavor that we all kinda want with a funfetti cake. Don’t skimp here. In a pinch you can use regular milk in place of buttermilk, but do take care to ensure that your ingredients are all room temperature. This is a must.
I’ve had a bunch of you all ask me about the sprinkles I use for my funfetti-flavored treats. I typically look no further than the traditional rainbow jimmies sold at the grocery store, but I’ll link a few other favorites here and here. For the outside of this cake, I opted for a blend of sprinkles that I made with rainbow jimmies and white nonpareils. Easy peasy!
Happy birthday to moi and whoever you happen to be celebrating this week. Because more is merrier when it comes to sprinkles, I’m planning to share a second recipe later this week! Tune in for more funfetti goodness! In the meantime, give this funfetti cake a try and let me know what you think! Happy Tuesday and happy baking!
If you like this cake you should try:
This funfetti cake is loaded with rainbow sprinkles and box cake mix flavor. It’s a made from scratch celebration cake!
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 90
- Yield: 9
- Category: Cake
For the cake:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1–3/4 cup sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
- 3–3/4 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1–1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
- ¾ cup rainbow jimmies
For the frosting:
- 1–1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 cups powdered sugar, plus more as needed
- 1–2 tablespoons milk, as needed
To prepare the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 3-8” pans by spraying them with baking spray and lining the bottoms with parchment paper rounds. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, oil and sugar on medium speed for 4 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla and eggs one at a time, stirring briefly after each addition. In a separate bowl, combine the cake flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed, followed by the buttermilk. Add the remaining dry ingredients and jimmies and stir to combine. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
To prepare the frosting:
- Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat on medium speed just to combine, about 1 minutes. Stir in the clear extract and salt, Add about half of the powdered sugar and stir on low to combine. Add the remaining powdered sugar and scrape the sides of the bowl prior to combining. Once uniform, check the consistency. Add a tablespoon or two of milk to thin out the frosting or ¼ cup or so of powdered sugar to thicken it up. The mixture should be a smooth, soft consistency. Set aside while you get ready to prepare your cake.
To assemble the cake:
- Use a serrated knife to trim the domes off your cakes. I like to briefly freeze my cakes in plastic wrap to make assembly easier. You can do this is you’d like. Otherwise, spread a little frosting on the bottom of an 8” cake board and place the first layer on top. Place a big dollop of frosting on top and use an offset spatula to smooth it on. Repeat this process while stacking the remaining two layers of cake. Use your offset spatula to smooth on a thin layer all over the cake. You can place your cake in the fridge briefly to allow the frosting to firm up. Continue decorating the cake as desired and enjoy! Serve at room temperature.
27 thoughts on “Funfetti Cake”
Hi! This looks delightful! I always use your recipes for my daughter’s birthday cakes! I’m wanting to make 3 6-inch layers… how would that change the recipe and baking time? Thank you so much!
Can I use all purpose flour instead of cake flour?
Sure! The texture and taste of the cake will vary slightly.
Really yummy cake! It was a hit for my niece’s birthday today! It’s very soft and buttery, and I was able to make it into a 4 layer cake! However, I personally found it a tad too sweet, but maybe it was just me. I also added the full 8oz of cream cheese + 2tbsp of heavy cream to the frosting and it turned out perfect!
hooray! I’m so glad you liked. yes- definitely sweet! 🙂
For the ingredients, does the 1-3/4 cup sugar mean 1 AND 3/4 cups or one 3/4 cup?
one AND a 3/4 cup.
Has anyone used this recipe for a baby’s first birthday smash cake? I’m wondering if the sprinkles would dye their hands…
I’m wondering if there is a way you could update the provided scale of recipes (1x, 2x, 3x) to include half recipe. I’d love to make this as cupcakes, we just don’t need that much cake.
I can’t wait to try this! One quick question- I am probably just missing it but the clear vanilla extract is listed in the cake ingredients but I do not see it in the instructions for preparing the cake. Do I put it in with the butter, oil and sugar? Thank you!
With the eggs! 🙂
I just made this cake for my son’s 3rd birthday party and it was perfect! He loved it and was so excited to see “a rainbow” inside. I am wondering, though, if you have some advice on how to get those sprinkles so delicately and perfectly on the sides of the cake? The best method I could think of was to do the same thing I do when I coat the side of a cake in chopped nuts or coconut but ended up with way more sprinkles than the pretty-looking amount you’ve got pictured (no complaints from the 3 year old department though!). Thanks so much!
Oh I’m so glad you were able to make it!!! Happy birthday to him! For the sprinkles, I love to hold the cake over a large sheet pan (Or put the cake board directly on it!) and “spill” the sprinkles from my hand onto the side of the cake. That way, the extra sprinkles are caught on the sheet pan. It’s little tedious but works pretty well. 🙂
This cake looks great! Is it possible to make this a day in advance?
Absolutely! Bake the layers and then frost prior to serving! You can freeze the cake whole and frosted as well, just know that the defrosting is sometimes tricky. If it’s just a day in advance you can definitely have it made and frosted!
This cake looks great! Is it possible to make a day in advance?
This cake looks delicious! Is it possible to make a day ahead?
Not at all surprised you would choose a funfetti cake to celebrate your birthday! It’s perfectly you…colorful, sweet and super-fun! Love!
it’s a fave!
Can you make this recipe in advance?
Absolutely! Bake the layers and then frost prior to serving! You can freeze the cake whole and frosted as well, just know that the defrosting is sometimes tricky. 🙂
Did you end up with jimmies all over the kitchen floor trying to get the ones on the side of the cake?
Curoius about the clear vanilla extract . . . every single brand is artifical flavor or imitation flavor. How does this affect the cake’s flavor? Sure, the idea is to have a white cake, but does the cake then taste artifical?
it’s what gives it that box cake mix flavor!!!
This cake looks like fun. I am going to make it for a church group. However, the sliced cake shows two layers, but the frosted cake and instructions are three layers. Do you have instructions for making it a two layer cake? Thanks…
Yes! I made the cake a few different ways. half the recipe and bake in a 9″ pan. cut the baked, cooled cake in half and stack those pieces!