Funfetti Cake with Vanilla Frosting

A soft, fluffy vanilla funfetti cake studded with rainbow sprinkles and topped with a rich vanilla buttercream. 

Every baker should be equipped with several basic recipes including chocolate chip cookie recipe, a chocolate cake recipe and of course, a vanilla cake recipe. Today I’m sharing my go-to vanilla cake recipe with you. It’s easy to throw together, and easy to customize. Want to mix in some chocolate chips? Go ahead. Want to use brown sugar instead of granulated and toss in some cinnamon and nutmeg? Perfect.

Because I celebrated my birthday in November, I wanted to transform the basic vanilla cake recipe into something a little more festive by folding in some rainbow colored sprinkles to create a funfetti cake infused with vanilla. I like to combine an assortment of Wilton’s sprinkles (not non-pareils) because I find that they don’t bleed as much as sugar strands (I unsuccessfully used Dr. Oetker’s sprinkles, and the color washed off resulting a a weird, green-colored cake. No rainbow).

A soft, fluffy vanilla funfetti cake studded with rainbow sprinkles and topped with a rich vanilla buttercream.

To decorate the cake, I used a thick, creamy vanilla frosting. I’ll admit, this resulted in cake on the sweeter side of the cake spectrum. But you really can’t expect anything less from a vanilla buttercream paired with a confetti cake. For a more sublime, less sweet cake, you could pair it with the chocolate buttercream from this recipe or the mocha fudge frosting from this recipe. You could also reduce the sugar listing by as much as 1/2 cup. But if you are looking for a classic birthday cake, follow the recipe as is, and your result will be a soft, fluffy, rainbow-studded cake coated in a velvety vanilla frosting.

A soft, fluffy vanilla funfetti cake studded with rainbow sprinkles and topped with a rich vanilla buttercream.

It’s a perfect cake for a younger audience, but it most likely isn’t the most optimal dessert for a slightly sophisticated, aged palette- in which case you may not be looking for a funfetti recipe. For those cake connoisseurs, go for a traditional vanilla cake sans sprinkles or vanilla buttercream, and pair with with either of the chocolate frostings listed above, or maybe even fold in some berries for a ‘natural’ funfetti cake.

Funfetti Cake with Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients:

For the funfetti cake:

  • ½ cup (110 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar (you can probably get away with using only 1 cup)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 ¼ cups (285 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) milk (or buttermilk)
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) rainbow sprinkles*

For the vanilla frosting:

  • ½ cup (110 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups (480 g) confectioners’ (icing) sugar
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) milk
  • sprinkles for decorating

Directions:

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and butter two 9 inch (or 3 8 inch) cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper and dust the pan with flour.
  2. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and beat well.
  4. Add the baking powder, salt and vanilla and continue to mix.
  5. Alternate with the milk and flour mixture in 2-3 batches, starting with the milk and ending with the flour. The batter may look slightly clumpy but this is normal and nothing to worry about. To make the process easier, you could also add all of the milk first and then the flour- you will get the same results. Alternating the ingredients may be easier to incorporate all of the flour and milk.
  6. Gently stir in the sprinkles, mixing just to combine. Over-mixing will lead to a tougher cake texture and may also result in the sprinkles bleeding through the batter.
  7. Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:

  1. Beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Alternate the sugar with the milk, beginning with the sugar and ending with the sugar. Beat the mixture until completely smooth.
  3. To frost the cake, remove the parchment bottoms. Place one of the cakes top- side down onto a cake stand and spread atop about ½ cup of the frosting. Sandwich with the other cake (bottom side down).
  4. With about ¾ cup of icing, cover the cake entirely in a very thin layer of frosting to seal in the crumbs. This is known as a crumb coat. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes or until the coat is dry to touch.
  5. Cover the cake in the remaining frosting and decorate with sprinkles.
Cake adapted from Betty Crocker's The Big Book of Cakesfrosting adapted from Betty Crocker

A soft, fluffy vanilla funfetti cake studded with rainbow sprinkles and topped with a rich vanilla buttercream.