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Homemade “Funfetti” Layer Cake

By Chef Megan Joy / July 19, 2012

One thing I have learned in my experiences as a pastry chef is that any time you create a dessert that brings up “food memory”, you’ve got yourself a winner.

Warm peach pie. Sugar cookies with pink icing. Freshly baked cinnamon rolls. All the things you ate as a kid, or at your grandmother’s house.

They transport us back to a simpler, more care-free time. When I was young, my mom used to take us to a teeny hole-in-the-wall cookie shop. I always got the sugar cookie, slathered in about a half-inch of frosting and covered in sprinkles. Do you know what I would do first? I’d eat the frosting off of the top of the cookie, with my non-sensitive child teeth.

But I still get excited when I see sweets decked out with sprinkles. They remind me of eating my heart’s content of sugar, of birthday parties, and of being a kid.

A few weeks ago, my friend Dane was quizzing me on cake baking from scratch. He’s a huge fan of the my high altitude-friendly chocolate stout cake. I mentioned making homemade “funfetti” cakes before. His eyes got a little big as I explained it to him. I think it was the sprinkles.

Yesterday we celebrated his birthday and a homemade “funfetti” cake made a splashy appearance. I am proud to say it was the first taste of cake for our friends Andrea and Lane’s adorable daughter, Taylor.

While this is the homemade, honest version of the popular cake mix cake we grew up adoring, it is still a sweet cake. The buttermilk adds a much needed bit of tang, but use a light hand on whatever frosting you choose to deck it out with. Lightly sweetened whipped cream would be delicious. But if you are serving this to children, I suppose you could go as heavy on the frosting as you wanted. They’ll eat it all off anyways.

How to make this high altitude adjusted recipe:

White Layer Cake (adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather)

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade "Funfetti" Layer Cake
  • 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cake flour
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup sprinkles
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease and line three 9" round baking pans with parchment paper.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Follow with the vanilla extract.
  5. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. Add about one-third of the flour mixture to the batter and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
  7. Add about half of the buttermilk and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
  8. Continue adding dry and wet ingredients alternately, scraping the bowl down and beating until incorporated after each addition.
  9. End with the dry ingredients. Fold in the sprinkles. The batter will be thick and glossy.
  10. Portion the batter between the three cake pans.
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Set the cake pans on racks to cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes and cool completely.
  13. The cakes can then be layered and assembled with your choice of frosting.
Note: This recipe was adjusted for high altitude baking. To make a sea level, increase sugar to 2 1/3 cups, substitute cake flour for all of the flour, increase baking soda to 3/4 teaspoon, and increase the baking powder to 1 1/2 teaspoons. The baking time will be longer.

About the author

Chef Megan Joy

Deb - July 22, 2012

Growing up, if time was short on Sunday’s my mom would have me make a cake mix with the “tub” frosting. I do recall the sprinkles of Funfetti, but never, ever liked the stuff in the “tub”! My Mom’s homemade frosting of margarine, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla was much better. Yes, margarine, butter was too expensive; but she would only use “real” vanilla extract! After all this time I have yet to make a cake with a nod to the Funfetti of my youth, but when I do I will certainly try your fabulous recipe with butter and buttermilk!

    Chef Megan Joy - July 24, 2012

    I love that, Deb!

Emily Rothschild - November 8, 2012

Thanks so much for this recipe! We live at 7,000 feet and I made it for my daughters 9th birthday this week– it was not only spectacular looking, but really one of the best tasting cakes ever! Yum!

Ashlee - November 9, 2012

Love your website! We are in living salt lake for a whole an I am having the hardest time baking anything. Can I ask what type of frosting this is? It looks great! I want to make it for my son’s birthday. Thanks!!

    Chef Megan Joy - November 11, 2012

    Hi Ashlee- This frosting was my own little creation. I made Italian meringue then folded it into a confectioner’s sugar frosting to lighten it up. Make the meringue recipe for Lemon-Pineapple Meringue Pie then fold it into a frosting made from 2 sticks of unsalted butter, 2-3 cups confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla extract. Have fun celebrating!

Rachel Erickson - December 23, 2012

Hello! I love you website.. and am excited to try a few more recipes. I tried making these into cupcakes and they fell. I have only ever made one successful cupcake up here (i am in Silverthorne) and it was somewhat dense. I cut the recipe in half. I was an avid baker until i moved here. Now all my cupcakes come from a box :(. I don’t know if a cupcake makes a difference or not. Thanks.

    Chef Megan Joy - December 24, 2012

    Hi Rachel. Sorry to hear they fell! Sometimes the size of pan that you bake batter in can affect whether it falls or not, especially in a recipe that calls for cake flour. Cake flour can be very difficult to bake with at altitude. For something like these, baked in a deeper pan, that’s not surprising. If you want to try them again I would suggest using only 1/4 cup cake flour and 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour.

      MeganZ - April 13, 2013

      I would like to make these as cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday. I tried them today with that suggestion (less cake flour) and they didn’t sink in, but they didn’t rise too much either. They taste good, but are quite dense and are shiny/dough-y/sugary on top, and I’ve had that problem with cupcakes before. Maybe I should cut back on the sugar a bit? And I committed a “no-no” of using margarine instead of butter, so I will definitely use real butter for the b-day ones. 🙂

        MeganZ - April 13, 2013

        Oh oops! I just read your blog about the sparkling white cupcakes and you comment on exactly this same problem. So I will try those instead! Just wondering, since they’re for a b-day party, I wanted to make them fun. Do you think it would change anything if I add the funfetti sprinkles to the white cupcake recipe?

LynnV - February 12, 2013

The listed ingredients do not include baking soda but it is listed in the paragraph where the dry ingredients are mixed together. My question is: if baking soda is an ingredient, how much is to be added?
Thank you.

Sofie - April 17, 2014

What a Great Funfetti night I had with my four granddaughters making this recipe. Two twin 3 1/2 year olds, 8, and 10 1/2. The cake went into the freezer for Sunday’s Easter dinner (Cut in a bunny shape after
it thaws) They did take home some cupcakes. The cake batter was delicious, can’t wait to try it. I’m at over
6,000 ft. It’s the first cake I’ve made that didn’t sink in the middle. I followed the recipe to the letter, well
almost, till one twin saw a little cake flour left over and threw it in. Ha ha. Oh, Happy Day!

Molly - July 9, 2014

I made this cake for my husband’s birthday and it was wonderful! My son’s 6th birthday is coming up and he requested this cake withou the sprinkles in the cake and in a rectangular shape….more room for his decorations! Do I need to make any adjustments if the sprinkles are not added? Should I double the recipe to make the larger cake? Thank you!

    Chef Megan Joy - July 17, 2014

    Hi Molly, I’m glad to hear it came out great! I think you’re good on adjustments- nothing necessary. I would double the recipe for a larger cake, and just take note that the baking time may vary slightly. When it is springy and firm in the center, it’s done 🙂

Michi - September 25, 2014

Hi Chef Megan,

Michi here again. So I’m thinking of making this cake for my son’s birthday party. He wants a 9x13x2 cake. Well, he didn’t specify it that way but you get the idea 😉 Will this work for this size pan? I really want to make your sponge/ chiffon cake but afraid to make it in a square pan. what do you think?

    Chef Megan Joy - September 28, 2014

    Hi Michi, you can definitely bake the cake in a 9 x 13″ pan. The sponge cake should work fine in a square pan. Happy baking!

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