Ah, funfetti.  For many people out there, this cake or cupcake is a favorite dating back to childhood.  Though I can’t say I recall experiencing funfetti many times as a kid, I am certainly fond of it now.  I mean, come on – a fluffy, tender white cake dotted with bright spots of color?  I’m basically a little kid who looks like an adult, so I can totally appreciate the appeal.

Since funfetti is essentially just white cake with sprinkles folded into the batter, one might think that finding the right homemade version would be easy.  However, I have been testing and trying different recipes over the past couple of months and finally I can say I am fully satisfied with the results.  Traditional white cake often has a strong almond flavor and though I love almond extract, it can quickly overpower.  Many white cakes can be dry or flavorless and that certainly won’t do.  Some white cake recipes use special mixing methods such as folding in whipped egg whites and though I don’t shy away from that technique, I prefer a simpler method if it is available.

So, after much trial and error, this is my preferred version.  The cake is fluffy and moist with plenty of vanilla flavor, and the pretty white background is the perfect canvas for the bursts of color within.  A note about the sprinkles that you mix into the batter – really you can use just about anything you like, but I find quins or jimmies to give the best result.  Consider funfetti a great opportunity to use up random sprinkles that may be lurking in the recesses of your pantry.  For example, if you are like me and frequently fall prey to those cute but impractical containers with six varieties of sprinkles, only two of which you will actually end up using.  The batch you see above actually used random neon colored dinosaur sprinkles because believe it or not, I don’t often get requests for neon dinosaur cupcakes ;)  And remember, vanilla frosting is just my preference but you can dress these up with whatever you like.  I’m thinking this strawberry frosting would be a fabulous pairing as well.  Enjoy!

  • Yield about 2 dozen cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup whole milk, divided
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract
  • 2¾ cups (11 oz.) cake flour, sifted
  • 1½ cups (10.5 oz) sugar
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 12 tbsp. (¾ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup multi-colored sprinkles (I like quins best for funfetti)

For the frosting:
One batch whipped vanilla buttercream

Additional sprinkles, for decorating


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine ¼ cup of the whole milk, egg whites, vanilla and almond extracts.  Whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix briefly on low speed to combine, about 30 seconds.  Add in the butter and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles wet sand, about 30 seconds.  Mix in the remaining ¾ cup of milk, then increase the speed to medium and beat for about 90 seconds more.  With the mixture on low speed, add the egg white mixture in three additions, mixing for about 20 seconds after each addition.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.  Gently fold in the sprinkles with a spatula.

  • 02

    Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about two-thirds of the way full.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes.  Let cool in the pan briefly, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

  • 03

    Prepare the vanilla buttercream.  Add the buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip (I used Ateco #829 here.)  Frost as desired.  Garnish with additional sprinkles.