When it comes to baking celebration cakes, there’s nothing quite like a funfetti vanilla cake which rises to the occasion with rainbow-hued aplomb.
For the uninitiated, a funfetti cake is essentially the fluffiest vanilla cake you can find, speckled with sprinkles and layered with swirls of buttercream. While classic vanilla is typically the go-to choice for piping funfetti cakes, I’m particularly partial to a rich chocolate fudge frosting which elevates this cake to a status befitting the most special of celebrations. Case-in-point: I recently baked this for Junior’s 9 month birthday, marking the milestone that he’s been out and about in the real world for as long as it took for him to be born!
As far as funfetti cakes go, this one really is is as perfect as can be. Fluffy and light, buttery and moist with a soft, tender crumb. Here’s why this Classic Funfetti Vanilla Cake ticks all the right boxes:
Star Ingredients in This Classic Funfetti Vanilla Cake
- Real Vanilla Pods: This recipe draws much richness from vanilla bean seeds, scraped from the pod. Resembling vanilla bean “caviar”, these delicate seeds elevate the flavours of the cake, not to mention speckling it with a delicate aesthetic (see below on a detailed guide on how to extract the vanilla seeds from the pod). If you don’t have vanilla pods, make sure to use a high-quality vanilla extract which will bring out the flavours (I use vanilla pods and natural Madagascan vanilla extract from Sprig).
- Yogurt: Just 1½ tbsp of yogurt (or sour cream) is all you need to bake the softest cake with a moist texture.
- Good quality sprinkles: As with everything, quality is key. Poor-quality sprinkles can “bleed” into the batter instead of baking uniformly and holding up in the final cake.
More Tips for Baking The Best Cake
- Use room temperature butter, as this makes it easier to cream the butter and sugar, ensuring a light and fluffy cake.
- Use caster sugar, as the finer texture makes it easier to dissolve in the batter, baking uniformly and well.
- Make sure the egg is at room temperature, as this will help the ingredients to evenly mix (preventing any curdling).
- Gently fold in the sprinkles using a rubber spatula and make sure you don’t over-mix, as this will prevent a dense chewy cake (not desirable!).
Classic Vanilla Funfetti Cake With Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Makes a mini 6″ inch cake
For the Vanilla Funfetti Cake
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter *
- 7 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean (alternatively use 1 tbsp high quality vanilla extract) **
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/3 cup milk (for best results, use full-fat milk)
- 1½ tbsp yogurt
- 2½ – 3 tbsp good-quality sprinkles + more for decorating
For the Chocolate Fudge Frosting ***
- 4 tbsp / ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1½ cups icing sugar
- 5 tbsp cocoa powder
- ¾ tsp vanilla extract **
- 2 tbsp milk
* If using salted butter, simply omit using salt separately
** I get my vanilla bean pods and Natural Extract of Bourbon Vanilla from Sprig.
Extract the vanilla bean seeds
- Place the vanilla bean on a cutting board. Use the tip of a paring knife to cut the bean lengthwise, starting from the centre of the bean – that is, split the bean from between. This way, the seeds will be visible.
- Holding the bean from one end, use the point/ edge of the knife to scrape the vanilla seeds loose from the pod. Make sure to scrape the seeds from both sides of the split bean. Set the scraped vanilla bean seeds aside.
- Pro tip: instead of discarding the vanilla pod, add it to a jar of brown sugar to infuse it with a natural vanilla flavour and elevate your next cup of coffee!
For the Vanilla Funfetti Cake
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C; prepare a 6 inch baking pan with parchment paper, lining and greasing the baking tin well.
- Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and beat again until the mixture is creamy. Now beat in the scraped vanilla bean.
- Sift the all-purpose flour into a separate bowl. Add the baking powder and salt and give it a good whisk to make sure that the dry ingredients are evenly combined.
- Add half of the dry ingredients and all of the milk to the wet mixture. Beat on a low speed (with your hand mixer) until evenly combined.
- Then add the remaining flour along with the yogurt; beat again on a low speed until just combined and the batter is thick and creamy.
- Add the sprinkles, gently folding them in using a rubber spatula. Don’t over-mix at this stage, as if you do the cake will be more dense and less fluffy.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking tin and smoothen the top. Bake for around 25 – 30 minutes or so until the cake is golden and a toothpick/ knife plunged in the centre will emerge clean. While the cake is cooling down, make the frosting:
For the Chocolate Fudge Frosting
- Beat the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
- Then add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and a splash of milk, beating until the frosting is shiny with a pipe-able/desired consistency. You can add more icing sugar if the frosting is too thin or a pinch more salt if you want to cut the sweetness of the frosting.
- Once the cake has cooled down slightly, use a large serrated knife to slice the cake into two layers.
- Place the bottom layer on a serving plate and generously spread the frosting over the top. Now, cover this with the 2nd layer, and evenly spread the remaining frosting over the top and around the sides. Decorate the top with more sprinkles as desired. Pop the cake in the fridge until the frosting sets.
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