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Small Batch Funfetti Cake

I’m in the midst of sharing small batch recipes of all my top cake recipes. So far I’ve shared my small batch chocolate cake recipe, and my small batch vanilla cake recipe. It was only a matter of time until I got around to making a small batch version of my funfetti cake recipe.

One batch of my funfetti cake recipe makes a layer cake large enough to feed about 24 people.

You can use it to make three, 8 inch cake layers. It can also be used to make four, 7 inch cake layers (my usual MO).

This is all great and dandy if you’re making a cake for a party, or a big group of people.

But sometimes you don’t need to make that big of a cake. You might just want to make a cute little six-inch layer cake.

image of funfetti cake slice made from 6 inch cake layers

Maybe you simply don’t need to feed that many people. Or maybe you want to make a smaller cake to create a certain look.

More often, people don’t have bigger pans. A lot of people start off with 6 inch cake pans, which may be the only size they have on hand.

If that’s you, then today is your lucky day.

How Many Cake Layers Does This Recipe Make?

This small batch of my funfetti layer cake recipe bakes three, perfect little 6 inch cake layers.

It may seem like you’re filling your pans pretty full, but this batter doesn’t rise a ton as it bakes.

image of funfetti cake batter in 6 inch cake pans, ready to be baked

That’s part of what makes my funfetti cake recipe so great though.

It bakes flat, so leveling your cake layers is optional. With that in mind, you should end up with cake layers that are just a bit taller than 1 inch.

What Does Small Batch Mean?

In this case, it just means I’ve updated the amount of ingredients you use to make this batter, to make a smaller cake.

Initially I thought I could just cut the recipe in half, and make three cake layers. You can do this, but the cake layers turn out quite a bit thinner than I’m used to.

image of small batch funfetti cake slices, placed on small plates surrounded by rainbow sprinkles

I wanted each cake layer to be at least an inch tall, so I knew I’d have to play around the with ratios.

In the end, it turned out that making 2/3 of a batch is the ideal amount of batter for 6 inch cake layers.

What Types Of Sprinkles Should I Use To Make Funfetti Cake?

While you might think all sprinkles are created equal, sadly you’re wrong.

When making a funfetti cake, you have to be sure you use the right type of rainbow sprinkle.

The best sprinkles for making a funfetti cake are rainbow jimmies.

image of adding the right type of rainbow sprinkles into funfetti cake batter

They are the longer sprinkles, that you used to (and may still) put on your ice cream.

These sprinkles keep their color, and won’t immediately bleed into your batter.

This is important, because it will help your batter say white while you add it to your pans.

image of pouring funfetti cake batter in three, 6-inch cake pans

This will allow the color of the sprinkles to really shine through once the layers are baked.

If you really want to be picky about your sprinkles, I also recommend getting a rainbow sprinkle blend that doesn’t have any chocolate/brown sprinkles in it.

Funfetti cake layers look so much better without any brown sprinkles!

The type of sprinkle you should NOT use are the tiny, round, rainbow sprinkles. They’re called nonpareils, and they are the true enemy of funfetti cake layers.

Nonpareils are awesome for decorating cakes, and I used them to create some sprinkle hearts on the outside of this Valentine’s day cake.

image of finished sprinkle heart cake for valentine's day

But that’s the only place they should go, on the outside of a cake!!

Nonpareils will start to bleed their colors the second they’re stirred into your cake batter, resulting in a creepy, pink/grayish batter.

This can also happen if you let you rainbow jimmies sit in your batter for an extended period of time, and then try to stir it.

The key takeaways? Only use rainbow jimmies in this funfetti cake recipe, gently fold them into your batter, and immediately pour into your 6 inch cake pans.

image of funfetti cake slices, cut and surrounded by pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles

Tips for Making the Best Small Batch Funfetti Cake:

  • USE RAINBOW JIMMIE (Jimmy?? IDK) SPRINKLES!! I repeat RAINBOW JIMMIES!!
  • Go wild with the cake decoration, and use some pretty sprinkles to take your cake design to the next level (like my pink sprinkle heart cake below!!)
  • Chill your cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake, to make it easier to stack and frost.
  • Mix your cake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated; this will ensure your cake layers are tender and fluffy
  • Use a serrated knife to level your cake layers once they’re fully cooled, to make it easier to assemble and frost your cake
  • I do NOT recommend using this recipe to make cupcakes! Instead, I highly recommend trying my funfetti cupcake recipe (I like the texture better for cupcakes)
  • Use my full size funfetti cake recipe to make a 7 or 8-inch layer cake

Making These Cake Layers in Advance and Storage Tips:

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them: It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.
image of pink valentine's day cake made with funfetti cake layers and decorated with sprinkle hearts

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this small batch funfetti cake recipe, please tag me @chelsweets.

Also use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations!

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 16

Small Batch Funfetti Layer Cake

image of funfetti cake slice made from 6 inch cake layers

This funfetti layer cake recipe makes the perfect six inch layer cake! It makes three, moist cake layers that are perfect for stacking.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

Funfetti Cake

  • 2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (276 grams)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (6 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (150 grams) - 1 and 1/3 sticks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (4 grams)
  • 2/3 cup egg whites (or about 5 egg whites) (155 grams)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature (228 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (14 grams)
  • 1/2 cup rainbow jimmie sprinkles (90 grams)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (434 grams)
  • 7 cups powdered sugar (907 grams) - or a 2 lb bag
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (30 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (12 grams)

Instructions

Vanilla Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 6 inch pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick baking spray.
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
  3. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  4. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed.
  5. Add in vanilla extract and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. 
  6. Gently fold in the rainbow sprinkles with a rubber spatula.
  7. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, and ensure they all have the same amount of batter. This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.
  8. Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the pans to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.
  9. Place cake layers into the freezer for 30 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers.
  10. Use a serrated knife to level the tops of the layers, and then frost as desired.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  1. While the cake layers bake and cool, make the vanilla buttercream frosting.
  2. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
  3. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 
  4. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  5. If you plan to color the buttercream, add in the gel food coloring once the frosting is fully made, and beat on low until it reaches the desired color

To Assemble The Cake:

  1. Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board, using a dab of frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  2. Add an even layer of buttercream between each cake layer.
  3. Spread a thin coat of frosting around the the cake, to fully cover the cake layers.
  4. Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (10 minutes) or freezer (5 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  5. Add a second, thicker layer of frosting to the cake, and smooth using a bench scraper. Then decorate as desired!

Notes

Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them: It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.

Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!

If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Yield

16

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 650Total Fat 34gSaturated Fat 20gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 84mgSodium 243mgCarbohydrates 87gFiber 0gSugar 84gProtein 2g
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Elaine

Friday 5th of March 2021

Such a cute cake! What tip did you use to frost the swirls on top?

Kristi Banks

Saturday 6th of February 2021

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I’m doing a funfetti kitten cake for a customer this week, and this recipe looks awesome! Quick question: where do you find the best tall cake boxes!? I have a few orders this month that are 6 inch round 3 layer cakes, with decorative icing on top.

Kristi

Anna

Sunday 3rd of January 2021

I've baked a lot of cakes over the years and most recipes are pretty similar. When I first read the instructions I thought "there's no way this is right", but I followed the mixing instructions exactly and I found this to be a perfect recipe! I've never seen a recipe that calls for egg whites to be added but not whipped, so I thought it would come out dense. Boy was I wrong! The cake was light and fluffy with a crisp exterior and not too sweet.

I only had two extra-tall 6 inch pans, so I baked them at 325 degrees around 45-50 minutes instead since mine were so full and I didn't want them to burn. I used a toothpick to check the center until it was barely coming out clean, and then let the pans sit and cool on the stove for about 10 minutes before turning out. I made sure to let them cool fully before leveling (they barely needed it) and used a plain buttercream frosting which was delicious.

Thank you so much for this recipe, it's really delicious and great for small celebrations!

Floortje

Friday 25th of December 2020

Hi Chels! I want to make a cake jar with your vanilla funfetti cake recipe, what do you recommend? to use this recipe or to use the cupcake funfetti recipe? it is for sale from my bakery in the Netherlands. and one last question .. Should I leave the cake whole in the cake jar or crumble it? I really hope you can help me with this! after all, you have the best vanilla cake recipes yet! Love Floortje

Giselle

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

Can you recommend an alternative to buttercream frosting for this cake?