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Make the ultimate vegan birthday cake/party cake with this easy funfetti cake recipe – it’s tender, moist, fluffy, loaded with sprinkles, and finished with creamy vegan vanilla buttercream! + several flavor and topping variations!

completed vegan birthday cake on a white surface
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Light and Fluffy Vegan Birthday Funfetti Cake

If you’re looking for the ultimate vegan cake for birthdays, this whimsical, vegan funfetti cake is our top contender! Combining a tender, fluffy vanilla cake made with vanilla extract, rainbow sprinkles, and creamy vanilla buttercream (homemade or store-bought), this treat triggers all our childhood nostalgia in the best way.

It’s even simpler than the dairy version, too. There’s no creaming of butter and sugar; just mix the vegan buttermilk, combine the wet and dry ingredients, bake, frost, and get ready for ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs.’ It’s the combination of vegan butter and oil that provides the perfect blend of buttery flavor and delicious moistness.

Plus, you only need 11 ingredients (+ frosting), most of which are inexpensive pantry staples, and there are several ways to adapt the recipe with add-ins, filling, and topping changes (as well as to your dietary preferences – like gluten-free and low-sugar).

Once baked, let this vegan sprinkle cake whisk you down memory lane as it becomes the new favorite vegan vanilla cake for future birthdays and parties loved by vegans and non-vegans alike. You might like our vegan funfetti cupcakes, too!

The Ingredients

ingredients for Vegan Birthday Cake [Funfetti Cake] on a white surface
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour, cake flour, or a 50/50 combination of AP and whole wheat.
  • Sugar: We used white granulated sugar (use organic sugar to ensure it’s vegan). However, you could experiment with unrefined sugars like raw cane sugar or coconut sugar (the cake color will vary).
  • Vanilla extract: Use pure, natural vanilla extract (or paste) for the best flavor.
  • Leavening agents: You’ll need a combination of baking powder and baking soda for a light and fluffy textured homemade funfetti cake.
  • Vegan buttermilk: Combine plant-based milk (we’ve found that soy milk works best) and vinegar (like apple cider vinegar or white vinegar).
  • Oil: Use neutral vegetable/canola oil for a moist cake with a tender crumb.
  • Applesauce: This egg-free funfetti cake relies on unsweetened applesauce as a binder and egg replacer. It also adds a subtle sweetness.
  • Vegan sprinkles: We prefer to use regular rainbow sprinkles (‘jimmies’- make sure they’re vegan like the ones from Sweetapolita/ Fancy Sprinkles) or confetti disks rather than the little balls (nonpareils), which bleed more.
  • Salt: A pinch of salt balances sweetness and enhances the overall flavor of the cake.
  • Vegan frosting: We used a batch of our simple vegan vanilla frosting, but use a store-bought version if preferred.

You can also experiment with other types of vegan frosting, like lemon buttercream, vegan cream cheese frosting, berry frosting, vegan chocolate ganache, marshmallow frosting, etc. Coconut whipped cream (optionally lightly sweetened) works for a less sweet option.

Optional Add-ins and Flavor Variations

With a vegan vanilla cake base, there are plenty of ways to adapt this cake recipe with different add-ins, fillings, and decorations to suit any mood and occasion.

  • Orange zest: This will add a subtle yet bright and citrusy flavor to the cake.
  • Flavored extracts: Almond extract and coconut extract are our favorite ways to add subtle flavor depth to the vegan vanilla cake recipe.
  • Vegan chocolate: Sprinkle your favorite dairy-free chocolate chips or chunks (white, milk, or dark chocolate) into the vanilla funfetti cake batter.
  • Chopped nuts: Like pecans, almonds, or walnuts – to add crunch to the cake.
  • Crushed vegan cookies: Like Biscoff, Oreos, or vanilla cookies – between or over the cake layers.
  • Fruit preserves: Optionally add strawberry or raspberry preserves/ jam between the cake layers for a fruitier vegan funfetti cake recipe.
  • Fresh fruit: To enjoy between the layers or as a garnish over the vegan funfetti cake (i.e., berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, kiwi, peaches, etc.).
  • Drizzles: Create a beautiful vegan birthday cake with a drip frosting using vegan ganache, caramel sauce, or a fruity sauce/coulis.

How to Make Vegan Birthday Cake (Funfetti Cake)

  • 1) First, preheat the oven to 350F/175C, line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper (or grease them with oil/vegan butter), and set aside.
  • 2) Then, in a small bowl, mix the plant-based milk and vinegar and set aside for 5 minutes to curdle and become like buttermilk.
  • 3) Meanwhile, combine all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • 4) Add the wet ingredients (the prepared buttermilk, vanilla, applesauce, and oil) and mix until fully incorporated.

Be careful not to over-mix the batter, though, or the gluten in the flour can become overworked and lead to a dense and/or sunken cake.

  • 5) Carefully fold in the sprinkles, then divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans.
  • 6) Transfer the pans to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean (a few moist crumbs are fine).
  • 7) Then, remove the cakes from the oven and leave them to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing them from the pans and leaving to cool on a wire cooling rack.
  • 8) Once completely cool, frost and layer the cakes, add more sprinkles to the top, and enjoy!

You can sprinkle the sprinkles all over or create more of a designed pattern by pressing them into the frosting (i.e., all around the base or the outside of the top of the cake).

FAQs

What is funfetti cake?

Funfetti cake, also called sprinkle cake, is a rich vanilla cake made with colorful sprinkles mixed into the batter. The resulting flavor and bursts of color make this cake the ideal vegan birthday cake.

How do you prevent the sprinkles from bleeding or sinking in cake?

The sprinkle color bleeding can come down to the type of sprinkles you use (avoid nonpareils – the little balls) and ensure you carefully fold them into the batter. We’ve also read that coating them in a little flour before adding them to the batter can prevent bleeding AND stop them from sinking to the bottom of the cake.

Can I make a gluten-free vegan funfetti cake?

Yes – to do so, it’s best to use an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend like King Arthur’s or Bob’s Red Mill and double check the sprinkles are gluten-free. The cake will likely be denser, but this should work fine.

Can I make this into a sheet cake?

You could bake it into a 9×13-inch sheet pan instead, using a toothpick to test for doneness.

Pro Recipe Tips

  • Use room temperature ingredients: Like the vegan milk and dairy-free butter, so they mix easier into the batter without overworking the gluten.
  • Measure the flour correctly: Fluff it up in its bag, spoon it into the measuring cup, and level it with a knife (rather than scooping the cup into the flour bag). This way, you avoid using too much and ending up with dense, dry vegan funfetti cake.  
  • Don’t over-mix the batter: Otherwise, gluten becomes overworked and affects the density/ rise of the vegan birthday cake. Mix the batter just enough to incorporate the ingredients– a few small lumps are fine.
  • Fold in the sprinkles carefully: To avoid colors bleeding and overworking the batter.
  • Experiment with flavor variations: E.g., different frosting, fillings, and decoration ideas.   
  • Adjust the sweetness: It’s possible to reduce the amount used. Just note that it may make a drier cake. We haven’t experimented with using a sugar alternative (like erythritol) yet.
completed vegan birthday cake on a white surface

Storage Instructions

Store this dairy-free funfetti cake in a cake container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

You can also freeze the vegan funfetti cake frosted or unfrosted, whole or slices, though we prefer to do so without the frosting. Wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in a Ziplock/Stasher bag for up to 3 months.

Then leave it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature, frost, and enjoy.

More Easy Vegan Cake and Cupcake Recipes

Vegan Birthday Cake [Funfetti Cake]

5 from 31 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Make the ultimate vegan birthday cake/party cake with this easy funfetti cake recipe – it’s tender, moist, fluffy, loaded with sprinkles, and finished with creamy vegan vanilla buttercream! + several flavor and topping variations!

Ingredients 

  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups of plant-based milk (soy works best for buttermilk)
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • cup of oil
  • ½ cup vegan birthday sprinkles
  • 1 batch of vegan vanilla frosting (or storebought)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottoms of two 8-inch pans with oil and parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, add the plant-based milk and apple cider vinegar. Mix well and set aside for 5 minutes until it curdles and becomes like buttermilk.
  • In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and mix well. Add the buttermilk, vanilla, applesauce, and oil. Mix until fully incorporated. Fold the sprinkles, but do not overmix.
  • Evenly distribute the batter into the two prepared cake pans.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick comes out just clean.
  • When ready, remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes. Carefully remove them from the pans and place them on a cooling rack.
  • Once completely cool, frost, and layer the cakes. Add more sprinkles on the top to decorate and serve!

Notes

  • Use room temperature ingredients: Like the vegan milk and dairy-free butter, so they mix easier into the batter without overworking the gluten.
  • Measure the flour correctly: Fluff it up in its bag, spoon it into the measuring cup, and level it with a knife (rather than scooping the cup into the flour bag). This way, you avoid using too much and ending up with dense, dry vegan funfetti cake.  
  • Don’t over-mix the batter: Otherwise, gluten becomes overworked and affects the density/ rise of the vegan birthday cake. Mix the batter just enough to incorporate the ingredients– a few small lumps are fine.

Nutrition

Calories: 3568kcalCarbohydrates: 503gProtein: 41gFat: 156gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 24gMonounsaturated Fat: 106gSodium: 5601mgPotassium: 516mgFiber: 13gSugar: 214gVitamin A: 35IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 901mgIron: 18mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Toni Okamoto
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Method: Oven
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Toni Okamoto

“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
‘Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways…
we got to start taking better care of ourselves ” – Dead Prez

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  1. 5 stars
    This vegan funfetti birthday cake is so easy and so good! This was a perfect cake to make for my friend’s birthday, she loved it!