This funfetti cake is moist and delicious, and the perfect cake for any birthday! Full of colorful sprinkles, and topped with a smooth and creamy vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.
It’s February! Do you know what that means? It’s my birthday!
I love keeping it low-key with friends and family, a good meal, and lots of laughs.
But one thing I never skimp out on is the birthday cake.
This funfetti birthday cake is true happiness on a plate, with a tender vanilla cake loaded with bright rainbow sprinkles, and topped with a rich and creamy vanilla swiss meringue buttercream frosting.
Don’t be intimidated by making a homemade birthday cake, it’s easy!
This recipe is totally manageable for any level of baker.
I know it’s easy to reach for the boxed cake mix, but trust me, this confetti birthday cake is so easy, and tastes so much better than boxed, you’ll never go back to boxed cake mixes again!
Ingredients for funfetti birthday layer cake
For the cake:
- Butter – This is the fat of choice for our cake to help keep it moist and delicious.
- Granulated sugar – Granulated sugar will add sweetness to the cake.
- Flour – A common baking ingredient needed to make the structure of the cake.
- Milk and yogurt – Milk and yogurt will help add moisture to the cake.
- Egg whites – Egg whites will make the cake fluffy and light.
- Vanilla extract – This will add a subtle sweet vanilla flavor.
- Baking powder and baking soda – These will help the cake rise and keep it from becoming dense.
- Kosher salt – Even in baked goods, you need a little salt to help enhance all of the delicious flavors!
- Colored sprinkles – This is what makes it funfetti! Use your favorite colors!
For swiss meringue buttercream:
- Egg whites – These will help create the meringue.
- Sugar – Sugar will add sweetness to the frosting.
- Unsalted butter – Unsalted butter will help keep the frosting creamy and smooth.
- Vanilla extract – This will add a subtle sweet vanilla flavor.
Types of sprinkles
For traditional funfetti layer cake, I like to use rainbow sprinkles, but you could easily switch them out for your favorite color or to fit the cake you’re making!
Valentine funfetti? Use pink and red sprinkles.
St Patrick’s Day funfetti? Use different shades of green and white!
What is swiss meringue buttercream?
Swiss meringue buttercream is smoother and less sweet than traditional American buttercream.
Traditional American buttercream is made by creaming together softened butter and powdered sugar. It’s very easy but is often too sweet, or too buttery for some people.
Swiss meringue buttercream is made by making meringue from cooking egg whites and sugar together, cooling it down slightly, and adding softened butter.
This takes a little more effort than American buttercream, but the result is a smoother, silkier, and less cloyingly sweet frosting.
Storage and leftovers
Any leftover funfetti birthday layer cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.
More cake recipes
- Love all things chocolate? Try my Double Chocolate Kahlua Cake
- Want a super special birthday treat? Try my Birthday Cake Macarons
- Need something tart and moist? Try my Lemon Loaf Cake
- Ready for springtime? Try my Carrot Cake Loaf Cake
- 3-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1-1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt
- 6 egg whites
- 3/4 cup rainbow sprinkles, divided
- 7 large egg whites
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups salted butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare 3 (9-inch) cake pans by lining them with parchment paper and spraying them with non-stick spray. Set aside until ready to use.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk or sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder, kosher salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer add butter and sugar. Cream the ingredients until light and fluffy using the paddle attachment, about 3-5 minutes. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add in the vanilla and almond extract and mix to combine.
- Whisk together the whole milk and plain yogurt. The mixture will be thick but that is ok.
- With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour and the milk/yogurt mixture.
- When all the ingredients are combined mix just until thoroughly combined.
- In another mixing bowl add egg whites and mix (or whisk) on high speed until light and fluffy.
- Fold the fluffy egg whites and sprinkles into the cake batter just until combined. Over-mixing can result in a dry dense cake.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans making sure to add an equal amount to each pan. The easiest way to do this is to weigh each pan to make sure they are equal in weight.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the centers of the cake spring back to the touch.
- Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove them from the baking pans and let them cool on a baking cooling rack.
- We will be using the double boiler technique for our frosting. First, boil some water in a small to a medium pot. Lower the heat and keep the water at a gentle simmer.
- Place the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl that will fit snuggly over the pot on the stove without having the bottom of the bowl touch the water.
- Using a whisk, mix continuously and add the vanilla extract.
- Keep whisking until the sugar is entirely dissolved into the egg whites and the mixture has turned white in color. Using a thermometer the mixture should be around 150 degrees F.
- Once it is heated to temperature and the sugar is dissolved, place the hot mixtures in a standing mixer and whisk for about 5 minutes, until the mixture has thickened, and the meringue has formed using high speed.
- Let the meringue cool to room temperature for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the bowl is completely cooled.
- Once cooled, turn the mixer on low, and begin adding small pieces of the softened butter. Make sure the meringue is cool because it could melt the butter, and you do not want that. Also, make sure the butter isn’t too soft. It should fold in easily if you squeeze it, but should not be close to melting.
- When the mixture looks thick, put it on high for 30 seconds until it finishes mixing in the final butter.
- The frosting is now ready to be used and can be added to a piping bag if desired or spread with a spatula.
- Place your bottom layer onto a turntable if you have one, or if not onto the plate you will be using.
- Pipe some buttercream onto your first layer. Make sure it’s about ½ inch thick. Spread evenly and add your second layer. Start from the center and move towards the outside of the cake.
- Repeat the buttercream with your second layer.
- Place your third layer on top of the meringue from the second layer.
- Cover your cake with the rest of your buttercream, starting from the bottom, then the top, and finally the sides of the top half. Use a spatula to spread the meringue evenly.
- Add your sprinkles on the sides and on top of your cake.
- Serve and enjoy!