Funfetti cupcakes are the perfect birthday cupcakes! These fun cupcakes have rainbow sprinkles both inside the fluffy vanilla cupcakes and on top of the vanilla buttercream frosting.
✏️ Recipe creation
Let’s be honest, nothing says fun birthday party like colorful sprinkles! I wanted to create an easy funfetti cupcake recipe from scratch, that’s super simple and tastes like pure joy.
I love using confetti sprinkles for these cupcakes as they’re so bright and colourful! It's happiness in cupcake form.
I started with my favourite basic vanilla cupcake recipe (yellow cupcake) and then experimented with adding sprinkles – the not-so-secret secret ingredient to funfetti cupcakes. They look so joyful with sprinkles inside the cake batter as well as on top of the frosting.
To make sure these sprinkle cupcakes are fluffy and moist, I add oil (such as vegetable oil or canola oil) to the cupcake batter.
They're the best funfetti cupcakes because they’re soft, colourful and full of delicious vanilla flavour! It’s also quick and easy to whip up a batch at home.
🥘 Ingredients notes
- It’s best to start this recipe with room temperature ingredients. This will improve the consistency and ease at which your ingredients will mix together, reducing the chance you’ll overmix the batter so you can have lovely fluffy cupcakes!
- I recommend sieving your flour, powdered sugar (also called icing sugar) and baking powder for this recipe.
- When measuring your ingredients, using weights rather than cups will give you more accuracy. This is especially important for the amount of flour.
- I like to use vanilla extract rather than vanilla essence. It has a purer vanilla flavor as it’s less processed.
The best sprinkles to use for these funfetti cupcakes are rainbow confetti sprinkles. I usually use the 3mm size funfetti sprinkles (round quins / sequins), but you can also use the sugar strands such as rainbow jimmies.
It’s important not to use hundreds and thousands (also called nonpareils). These tiny balls tend to bleed the colour when you stir them into the cake batter so won’t look quite as pretty.
🔪 Equipment notes
- I like using digital scales for weighing ingredients - it's easy and accurate! I'm a fan of the KitchenAid or Salter scales.
- It’s good to use measuring spoons for your teaspoon and tablespoon amounts. A regular cutlery teaspoon or tablespoon used for eating won't actually be the right volume. It's also a good tip to level off any heaped scoops before adding your ingredients.
Pans and liners
- I like to use a simple metal 12-hole muffin pan, such as this Wilton muffin pan, when using paper cupcake liners.
- If you are using baking cups instead of regular paper cupcake liners, you don’t actually need a cupcake tin and you can instead just place the cups on a baking sheet.
- Once your cupcakes have baked, it's best to remove them from the muffin tin and move them to a wire rack to cool. Using a cooling rack prevents moisture from gathering on the outside of your cupcake cases, which I've found can cause them to peel away from the cupcakes as they cool.
It’s best to store your cupcakes in an airtight container. These colorful cupcakes should keep for up to 3 days stored at room temperature.
If it’s hot where you live (I’m very jealous!), you might prefer to store your cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge. These should also keep for up to 3 days stored this way, but they will start to dry out so it’s best to eat them fresh where possible!
If you want to freeze your cupcakes, you can wrap the unfrosted cupcakes in plastic wrap / cling film and freeze them.
Your buttercream frosting can also be frozen in an airtight container.
Both should keep for up to 2 months in the freezer. Defrost and use as normal per recipe. The buttercream may need to be beaten again to whip up to nice and fluffy before use.
💭 Top tips
- I find that the best way to mix your ingredients is to slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. This helps to reduce the lumps in your mixture giving you a smooth batter as it’s beaten together gradually.
- When spooning your batter into your cupcake cases, only fill them up to ⅔ full. Any more than this and your cupcakes may spill over as they rise – just like a muffin!
- I always position my cupcake pan in the centre of the oven on the middle shelf when possible. This usually gives a more even bake and my baking temperatures specified in the recipe are based on using this part of the oven.
- Don’t open the oven mid-bake. You may have heard this before, but it’s such an important factor that it bears repeating. It’s super sad when you’ve gone to all that effort to bake and you end up with sinkhole cupcakes!
- You’ll know your funfetti cupcakes are cooked once they’re slightly golden, risen, springy to touch and an inserted toothpick or skewer comes out clean from the center.
- For a creamy and light vanilla buttercream frosting, start by beating your butter until it’s pale and fluffy. It could just be me, but this always seems to take longer than I think. It should be several minutes of beating the butter if using an electric mixer.
🎂 Decorating ideas
I think these cute funfetti cupcakes look delicious just with a big helping of vanilla buttercream on top and lots and lots of sprinkles. In the pictures here, I’ve used a Wilton 1M piping tip and pastry bag to pipe large swirls of vanilla frosting.
There are loads of different ways you can pipe your frosting onto your cupcakes for different styles. This 3-piece set from Wilton has the piping nozzles I use most often to ice my cupcakes. For more piping ideas, check out this great tutorial by Cupcake Jemma - she's amazing!
Or, if you don't have a piping bag, you can use a plastic sandwich bag (freezer bag), with the corner cut off. Use this to pipe big round buttercream whirls on top of your cupcakes. I usually find this looks like a big ice cream top!
Alternatively, go for a classic and simple style using a spatula, spoon or knife to spread a generous portion of frosting on your cupcakes.
On top of your frosting, chuck on your sprinkles. I like to sprinkle over roughly ¼ teaspoon per cupcake, but this really varies depending on the type of sprinkles you’re using.
You can get so many different types of sprinkles, so let your imagination run wild!
If you’re baking these cupcakes for a celebration or other party, you can even get themed sprinkles, like unicorns, dinosaurs or mermaids, or opt for a certain colour scheme like red, white and blue for 4th of July celebrations, pure green for St Patricks Day or pink and red for Valentine’s Day.
Another idea for topping your cupcakes is to drizzle them with melted chocolate or even a sweet sauce, such as my favourite salted rum dulce de leche.
♻️ Substitutions and Variations
Instead of making your confetti cupcakes from scratch, you can use a vanilla cupcake box mix. Simply follow the instructions on the packet for the cupcakes, but stir in the confetti sprinkles to your cupcake batter right before you spoon it into cupcake liners and bake.
Once you’ve got your baked cupcakes, follow the buttercream and assembly instructions in the recipe card below. You might need to scale up or down the buttercream amounts depending on how many cupcakes your boxed mix makes.
This recipe typically makes 10 average sized cupcakes, but this will depend on the size of your cupcake cases.
If you’d like to make mini funfetti cupcakes, you can use the same cupcake batter but split this over even more cases (roughly 18 – 25). You’ll only need to bake your mini cupcakes for 8 -15 mins instead, depending on their size.
For extra decadence, why not swap the semi-skimmed or whole milk in the buttercream for heavy cream instead? Your vanilla buttercream will be even more creamy and delicious!
Vanilla buttercream is a classic and delicious frosting for these cupcakes, but you can easily switch up the flavour if you'd prefer something else.
One of my favourite ideas for a children's party is using this cute pink buttercream instead.
Definitely add your sprinkles on top of the cupcake still!
I usually use plain (all-purpose) flour for these sprinkles cupcakes, but instead you can swap this for self-raising flour. Use the same quantity (115g for 10 cupcakes) of flour and reduce the baking powder by 1 tsp.
To make your fluffy funfetti cupcakes gluten-free, you can do an equal swap of the plain (all-purpose) flour for a gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose flour. I usually recommend a pre-mixed blend such as King Arthur's measure for measure flour or Freee from Doves Farm.
The other ingredients in this cupcake recipe should be gluten-free, but please be sure to check the label on your ingredients. Be especially careful to get gluten-free sprinkles, as not all varieties are gluten-free.
🧁 Other goodies
These easy funfetti cupcakes are the perfect birthday cupcake, but if you're looking for more goodies perfect for birthday celebrations, then you’ll also love these chocolate and pink cupcakes or these Biscoff cakesicles – try adding any extra sprinkles to decorate!
Other Related Recipes:
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- 110 g (½ cups) unsalted butter (room temp.)
- 115 g (⅔ cups) caster sugar (granulated sugar)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (or canola / sunflower)
- 115 g (1 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour (see notes for self-raising flour swap)
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoon milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
- 3 teaspoon sprinkles
- 125 g (½ cups) unsalted butter (room temp.)
- 280 g (2 ⅓ cups) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
- 1 - 2 teaspoon sprinkles
- Preheat oven: 180°C / 160°C (fan) / Gas Mark 4 / 350°F
- For the sponges, cream together the butter and sugar, either using a spatula, electric hand mixer or stand mixer, until light and pale.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the milk, oil and vanilla extract until fully combined.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder into the mixture, gently folding in until just combined.
- Stir in the sprinkles until only just spread throughout the mixture.
- Line your cupcake pan with 10 cupcake cases and divide the batter evenly between them (each case should be no more than ⅔ full).
- Bake in the oven for 15-20mins or until the cupcakes are lightly golden, springy to the touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean from the middle.
- Transfer the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack while you make the frosting.
- Beat the butter (either by hand, using an electric mixer or stand mixer) until pale, light and fluffy. This could take several minutes.
- Sieve half of the icing sugar into the butter and beat until combined, then repeat this with the remaining half of icing sugar.
- Add in the milk and vanilla extract, mixing until only just smooth.
Assembly and decoration:
- Once your cupcakes have fully cooled, add your buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of your choice (e.g. large open star) and pipe large swirls onto each cupcake.
- Sprinkle the sprinkles over your frosted cupcakes and enjoy!
- You can swap the plain flour for self-raising flour of the same amount and reduce the baking powder by 1 tsp.
Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online nutritional calculator, actual values may vary.