Learn how to make Confetti Cake from scratch that tastes like the beloved boxed cake mix but better. Three layers of light and fluffy white vanilla cake speckled with rainbow-colored sprinkles are frosted with confetti buttercream.
As a pastry chef, I’ve baked quite a few birthday cakes from scratch, so I can confidently say that confetti cakes are most peoples’ favorite! This nostalgic sprinkle cake flavor is rich, buttery, and very vanilla-y, with rainbow sprinkles mixed into the batter.
The reason it’s called confetti cake is because as the cake bakes, the sprinkles melt, making the signature colorful flecked effect that resembles confetti (hence the name).
FUNFETTI VS. CONFETTI
“Funfetti,” aka confetti, is the term trademarked by Pillsbury, which refers to a white cake mix with multicolored sprinkles. If that sounds familiar, this innovative cake mix was introduced in the late eighties and has since evolved into what we know and love as the best birthday cake.
These step-by-step instructions will show you to make a classic confetti cake and confetti buttercream without any store-bought shorts cuts. Instead, you’ll bake a super sweet, moist, and delicious three-layered confetti cake from scratch slathered in homemade sprinkle frosting.
If you’re a fan of throwbacks like funfetti cake, what could be better than chocolate cake with sprinkles or classic vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles?! You can also try these funfetti cookies, they are so delicious!
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Confetti is the BEST birthday cake. Kids love it, and it’s a nostalgic treat if you grew up in the 90s!
- The confetti buttercream is easy to make and better tasting than any store-bought alternative.
- The cake is made with basic baking ingredients you may already have on hand.
- Rainbow sprinkles!!!
Cake INGREDIENTS NEEDED
- Flour – Fine-milled cake flour is perfect for achieving a light and fluffy texture, while all-purpose flour achieves a denser mouth feel. You can use either one.
- Baking powder & baking soda – This pair of leavening agents gives the cake its distinct soft and fluffy texture by creating a reaction in the batter as it bakes, causing the cake to rise.
- Kosher salt – Salt plays a role in activating the leavening agents and also improves sweet flavors.
- Butter – Softened butter is critical for confetti cake. This is how I soften butter quickly when I’m short on time.
- Sugar – Makes the cake extra decadent and sweet.
- Eggs & Egg Whites – The proteins in eggs help strengthen the batter and hold it together. The extra egg whites make the cake extra light and fluffy.
- Vanilla Extract – Intensifies the sweet and creamy flavors.
- Buttermilk – The acid in buttermilk reacts with the leavening agent, so the cake turns out light and fluffy. It also adds a touch to the tang to balance out the sweetness.
- Jimmy Rainbow Sprinkles – Rainbow sprinkles transform this cake into funfetti! These are my favorite.
INGREDIENTS FOR Confetti FROSTING
- Butter – Again, the butter must be room temperature!
- Confectioners Sugar – Sweetens and thickens the butter, turning it into the buttercream.
- Vanilla Extract – Adds smooth, sweet, and indulgent vanilla flavor.
- Cream – You can use half & half, cream, or milk to help the creamed butter and sugar into a spreadable, glossy, buttercream frosting.
- Jimmy Rainbow Sprinkles – You can never have enough!
HOW TO MAKE FUNFETTI CAKE FROM SCRATCH
Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 350F, and spray three 8″ round cake pans with baking spray. Set the pans aside.
Combine dry ingredients: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt until combined. Set the mixture aside.
Cream butter with sugar: In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 1 minute on medium speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the sugar, and continue mixing on medium speed until the butter is light and fluffy.
Mix wet ingredients: Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, then add the eggs, egg whites, and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed for 1 minute.
Mix cake batter: Add 1/3rd of the dry mixture, then half of the buttermilk. Add another 1/3rd of the mixture, followed by the remaining buttermilk. Finish with the last 1/3rd of dry ingredients. Mix the ingredients until a smooth, cohesive batter forms (do not overmix!). Finally, mix in the sprinkles by hand (again, do not overmix!).
Bake & cool: Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans. Transfer to the oven and bake until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan (35 minutes). Set the pans on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cakes and finish cooling completely on a wire rack.
How to make confetti buttercream frosting
Make the buttercream: Add softened butter and confectioners sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed, gradually increasing to medium as the mixture combines. Mix for 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low, and add in vanilla extract and cream. Mix on low-medium speed for 1 minute. Finally, add the sprinkles and mix by hand.
Assemble confetti cake: Spread a layer of frosting over top of 2 of the three cakes. Stack one on top of the other, and then place the third cake on top. Generously frost the exterior of the stacked cake, and garnish with -you guessed it, more sprinkles!
TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS
- To measure flour correctly, fluff it up, spoon it from the container and into your measuring cup, and level it off with a knife. Otherwise, you’ll end up with too much flour. For the most accurate results, use a kitchen scale!
- For the batter to mix and bake properly, everything must be at room temperature (butter, eggs, and buttermilk).
- For precision, the cake pans should weigh between 672-674 grams each after dividing the batter evenly. I used these 8″ round cake pans.
- Classic confetti cake must be made with classic jimmies! Other types of sprinkles will bleed color into the batter. This will not work with nonpareils or glitter sprinkles.
- Let the cakes cool completely on a wire rack before frosting, or else the frosting will destabilize and side right off.
- If you want to pipe the frosting, make sure to use a large tip, otherwise the sprinkles will get stuck inside. Alternatively you can leave out the sprinkles from the frosting and then add them on after the cake is frosted.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
Storing: To store this 3-layer confetti cake, place it in a tall airtight cake carrier and keep it at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the fridge for up to one week.
Making Ahead & Freezing: The cakes themselves freeze well without frosting. Wrap each cake in a tight layer of plastic wrap, then place them in a freezer-safe bag or wrap securely in a couple of layers of foil. Keep frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw on the countertop, and then decorate.
This is a large cake and can feed about 16 people. The cake is tall so you don’t need to cut huge slices!
What frosting goes with funfetti cake?
Vanilla buttercream frosting is perfect for any birthday cake, but when it comes to funfetti cake, the best frosting is vanilla buttercream dotted with rainbow jimmies!
Can I bake funfetti cake batter in a bundt pan?
Sure! Spray a bundt pan with baking spray, and bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes or until the cake is set and the sides pull away from the pan.
How do you make funfetti mix better?
Put back the box of Funfetti cake mix, and make it from scratch! This guarantees the quality of the ingredients, and you’ll know exactly what you’re baking with. Boxed cake mixes are convenient but come with a long list of preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and dyes.
WAYS TO ENJOY
Reinvent this childhood favorite by switching up the funfetti frostings with another whimsical flavor. The options listed below pair perfectly with confetti cake, and this post will show you how to apply frosting like the pros.
More fun cake recipes
Light and Fluffy Confetti Cake (Better than a Box!)
- 3 ¼ cup flour (390g)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup butter 227g
- 2 cup sugar 400g
- 2 eggs large
- 4 egg whites
- 1 ½ tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup jimmy rainbow sprinkles
For the Buttercream
- 1 cup butter softened (227g)
- 3 cups confectioners sugar 360g
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons half and half cream, or milk
- ½ cup classic jimmy rainbow sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 350F and spray 3 8” round cake pans with baking spray and set aside.
- In a medium size bowl combine the 3 1/4 cup cake flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Whisk until combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the 1 cup butter for 1 minute on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl and add the 2 cups of sugar. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Scrape down the bowl and add the 2 eggs, 4 egg whites and 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract. Mix for 1 minute on medium speed.
- Add in 1/3rd of the dry ingredients, then half of the buttermilk and alternate, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix only until combined. Do not overmix.
- Add in 1 cup of the sprinkles and mix by hand until combined.
- Evenly divide the batter into the 3 pans and bake for 35 minutes or until the cake edges break away from the pan.
Cool and make the buttercream.
- Add the 1 cup butter and 3 cups powdered sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed working up to medium as the mixture combines. Mix on medium for 1 minute.
- Change the speed to low and add in the 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tsp cream. Mix on low-medium speed for 1 minute.
- Add in the ½ cup sprinkles and mix by hand until combined.
- Assemble the cake- fill and stack the cake with the frosting, then frost the outside of the cake. Add more sprinkles for garnish if desired!