Classic Birthday Cake Recipe

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This is the best Birthday Cake recipe! It’s the classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting recipe that just screams birthday – and it’s my favorite one.

I’ve been making this cake for years – and I know you’re going to love it too. Especially with those sprinkles!

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Funfetti birthday cake on a cake stand with one slice missing

I am a huge sucker for a yellow cake with sprinkles and chocolate frosting. I have to admit: chocolate cake isn’t really my thing but yellow cake with chocolate frosting? Now THAT is a cake I can get behind.

I’ve made this cake for my birthday a few times and it’s always a huge hit. Everyone loves a Funfetti Cake and this is even better topped with my best chocolate frosting.

If you’re looking for a bright and cheerful way to make the BEST birthday cake recipe – look no further.

Chocolate frosting birthday cake with rainbow sprinkles on white cake stand

Ingredients you’ll need

This is a classic yellow cake recipe but instead of making it plain I add sprinkles to the batter.

You need all the regular cake making ingredients: eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla, and baking powder. I also use two ingredients a bit different than some other cake recipes:

  • Melted Butter – I find that using melted butter keeps the cake more moist than if you cream softened butter with the sugar. Using melted butter also means that you can easily substitute oil.
  • Buttermilk – I use buttermilk in my cakes because I find it makes them airy and moist. If you don’t have buttermilk you can make your own!

I made my yellow cake recipe into birthday cake by adding SPRINKLES! You can use any colors you like, but I love basic rainbow jimmies. Be sure to use a quality sprinkle (a name brand, like Cake Mate or Wilton) instead of cheap ones. Cheaper sprinkles have more of a tendency to melt when mixed into batter (so skip those dollar store sprinkles for baked goods!)

How to bake the perfect Birthday Cake

Here are a few tips for mixing up your cake:

  • Whisk the dry ingredients separately so you can add them together to the wet ingredients.
  • Make sure your eggs are room temperature.
  • Mix in the eggs one at at time, and mix in the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk.
  • Only mix until the flour just disappears – don’t over mix!
  • Fold in the sprinkles so they don’t fall to the bottom of the cake.
One slice of layered funfetti birthday cake with chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles on a white plate with fork

Baking Pans

Traditional “birthday cakes” are layer cakes, made with 8-inch or 9-inch pans. This recipe can be baked in either two 9-inch pans OR three 8-inch pans.

I like using the 8-inch pans better because it makes a taller cake, but use what you have.

You can also make this as a 9×13-inch sheet cake or 24 cupcakes!

Do you know how to prepare your pans properly? Learn how to grease your cake pans here.

How to frost a layer cake

Now any frosting goes great with birthday cake, but especially chocolate frosting! This is my favorite chocolate buttercream that’s super simple. I have a whole post detailing how to make that frosting if you need tips, but the recipe is also in this post.

For simple layer cake frosting, here is what I do:

  1. I chill the cakes before frosting them, to help them hold up and not crumble.
  2. Level the cakes as needed with a large serrated knife.
  3. Place the first layer on your cake plate and top with a thin layer of frosting. Add the second layer and repeat, then top with the third layer.
  4. Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake – that is called a “crumb coat”. Let it set, then use the remaining frosting to make a pretty crumb-free layer.
  5. Top with sprinkles!

If you want to do some pretty piping, I suggest a 1M tip for stars or rosettes.

One slice of layered funfetti birthday cake with chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles on a white plate with one bite missing

Substitutions and Variations

Gluten-Free Cake: substitute Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free All Purpose Flour for the flour in the recipe.

Dairy-Free Cake: substitute oil for the butter and non-dairy milk for the buttermilk, adding 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice to the wet ingredients. I also like adding some butter extract if you can, because it’ll give that buttery cake taste.

You can also frost this cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, Cream Cheese Frosting, Peanut Butter Frosting or Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting!

Make this for ANY celebration or holiday by mixing up the sprinkles with other colors!

However you serve it, this is my favorite CLASSIC Birthday Cake Recipe and I know it will become a family favorite.

Have you made this recipe?

Tag @crazyforcrust on Instagram or hashtag it #crazyforcrust

Classic Birthday Cake Recipe

This Birthday Cake is a homemade Funfetti Layer Cake with chocolate frosting! This is the perfect easy from scratch cake for anyone who loves sprinkles! Everyone loves this easy cake recipe and it's so good as a layer cake, sheet cake or cupcakes.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Assembling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield 24 servings
Serving Size 1 serving

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 ½ cups (310g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups (297g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups (296) ml buttermilk
  • 1 cup rainbow sprinkles

For the frosting:

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened (3 sticks)
  • ¾ cup unsweeteend cocoa powder
  • 4 ⅓ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • More sprinkles for decorating

Instructions

For the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cupcake pans with liners or grease and flour cake pan(s).
  • Whisk salt, baking powder, and flour in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  • Using a hand mixer, cream sugar into melted butter until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then mix in vanilla extract.
  • Add dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour, mixing gently between each addition. Mix until just combined. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans and bake as directed. Cool completely before removing and frosting.
  • Bake Time: 24 cupcakes: 14-17 minutes // Two 9-inch round pans: 24-27 minutes // Two 8-inch round pans: 25-33 minutes // 9×13-inch pan: 30-40 minutes

For the frosting:

  • Beat butter until smooth with a hand or a stand mixer. Note: if you’re using a hand mixer be sure to use a very large bowl to avoid wearing the powdered sugar.
  • Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and beat on medium speed until crumbly. Mix in salt and vanilla.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream at a time, mixing between each addition, until the frosting is smooth and the desirable consistency.
  • Frost cake or cupcakes as desired and add lots of sprinkles.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

You can use a 9×13-inch pan, two 8-inch or 9-inch rounds, or make 24 cupcakes.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 262mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 771IU | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake
Chocolate frosting birthday cake with rainbow sprinkles and recipe title on image

This Birthday Cake is a homemade Funfetti Layer Cake with chocolate frosting! This is the perfect easy from scratch cake for anyone who loves sprinkles! Everyone loves this easy cake recipe and it’s so good as a layer cake, sheet cake or cupcakes.

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