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Funfetti Cake vs. Vanilla Cake: Differences & Baking Tips

funfetti cake vs vanilla cake
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For any kid celebrating their birthday, just one Funfetti cake is enough to light up the entire occasion. Since this dessert has colorful sprinkles included, no wonder it is such a popular choice for a kid’s party. But every time I eat it, I can’t stop wondering how is Funfetti cake different from the standard vanilla cake.

So in this article, we look at the wonderful and colorful world of Funfetti cakes, their origin and making process, as well as how it stands out from other cakes. I will also share with you my tricks on how make this cake even better!

Comparing Funfetti Cake and Vanilla Cake

Funfetti cake is one kind of vanilla cake that incorporates rainbow sprinkles into the batter. The sprinkles are the key ingredient that gives this cake its signature identity. Otherwise, there is very little that separates a Funfetti cake from a white vanilla cake.

Let’s see what are those distinctions that separate these two types of confectionaries.


Cakes have been around since ancient times, though in a much different form. The precursor to modern cakes can be traced to Europe in the seventeen hundreds. So, vanilla cakes have been a staple of bakeries and confectionaries for a long time.

When you trace the origin of the Funfetti cake, you will find yourself in 1989 in Minneapolis. It is here that the Pillsbury company introduced the rainbow-colored version of a vanilla cake to the world. So, even though both vanilla cakes and sprinkles have existed for much longer, their revolutionary combination is a fairly recent invention.

The name vanilla cake is due to the presence of vanilla extract and/or vanilla-flavored frosting, which is the standout taste in the cake. On the other hand, Funfetti gets its name from the amalgamation of two words: fun and confetti (no wonder this cake is so popular with the kids). This is referencing the colorful sprinkles in the final product.


If you take one recipe for each dish and compare them side by side, you will invariably see the same ingredients in both. This is because they are essentially the same cake in concept.

When people talk about vanilla cake, they typically refer to either a white vanilla cake or a yellow vanilla cake. Both these cakes are identical except for one detail: white cakes use more egg whites than egg yolks, while yellow cakes utilize the entire eggs. Hence, yellow cakes have a yellowish complexion.

Well, Funfetti cake is basically a white vanilla cake. There is, however, that one special ingredient: sprinkles. Not just any type of sprinkles will do. You need to add long, cylindrical sprinkles to make a proper Funfetti batter. Because of these sprinkles, Funfetti cake is commonly called confetti cake.


8 Funfetti Cake Filling Ideas You Need to Try!

Besides that, you can have a Funfetti cake that is exactly similar to a standard vanilla cake recipe. Traditionally, Funfetti cake utilizes more egg whites than egg yolks. As such, when you cut them open, they have a white base. But you can just as easily make a yellow Funfetti cake by putting the entire eggs into the batter.

funfetti cake vs vanilla cake


Here is another notable difference. Sprinkles have been a common choice for topping ice creams and cupcakes for decades. So, you can have a normal vanilla cake with sprinkles on top. That will not make it a Funfetti cake though.

In a Funfetti recipe, you integrate the sprinkles into the actual batter. So, it is not just there as a decoration; it is a part of the cake mix. So, when you cut open one, you are immediately greeted with a multi-colored smile in the form of a delicious cake. 

Of course, you can still decorate the top of the cake or the entire body with sprinkles. But it is the inside that counts.


Both vanilla and its more flamboyant sibling are incredibly popular at birthday parties in many parts of the world. But in terms of reach, the concept of vanilla cake is more widespread. If there is a bakery in your area that sells cakes, it is a safe bet that one of their options is vanilla (the other safe bet is chocolate!). But outside of places like America, Canada, and parts of Europe, Funfetti is not as common in the baking industry.


White Cake with Cheesecake Filling [Recipe]

Which Is Better, Funfetti Cake or Vanilla Cake?

Well, it depends on who the cake is for. If you are throwing a party for kids, then Funfetti cakes are the undisputed champion. No other cake elicits as much joy and excitement as this colorful concoction. 

However, if you are looking for a more elegant and subtle pick for your sweet tooth, then you cannot go wrong with a simple vanilla cake. They are a fine pick to accompany your afternoon tea or to have on a lazy evening; or basically, anytime you feel like having cake. Vanilla cake is not a wrong option regardless of time and place.

What Are the Best Funfetti Cake Mixes?

Since its inception, many companies have adopted the Funfetti cake trend and made their own variations of it. So, let’s look at some of the best ones available on the market currently:

Pillsbury Funfetti Cake Mix

And what place better to start than the company that started it all. Pillsbury’s original Funfetti Cake Mix still holds up as one of the ultimate birthday cake mixes.

The cake is soft, spongy, and sweet, and it has a generous amount of sprinkles in the mix. And the taste becomes even more pleasant when you top it off with some frosting.

Duncan Hines Rainbow Confetti Cake Mix

You do not expect a box cake to be as light, soft, and moist as this cake mix. But Duncan Hines has found that secret combination that makes their cake a true champion in the industry. The taste of the vanilla is sweet without being overbearing. In fact, its taste is sure to spark memories of childhood, blissfully eating a yellow vanilla cake, and forgetting all the stress of the world.

Annie’s Organic Confetti Cake Baking Mix

Here is a choice especially for people who are put off by artificial flavoring. Annie’s Confetti Cake Mix is devoid of such chemicals, which extends to its taste and appearance. This may surprise you but even the sprinkles are colored by using organic items such as turmeric, carrot juice, red radish, etc. 

But the cake still hits that sweet spot of light yet moist, sweet but not overpowering. Despite its name and choice of ingredients, this cake mix is sure to delight kids and adults in any celebration.

Betty Crocker’s Rainbow Chip Party Cake Mix

It is already known that Betty Crocker cake mixes are simple to make since they come with detailed instructions on the packaging. Party Rainbow Chip Cake Mix is not an exception. This can be a solution for everyone that hates baking.

If you are looking for a spongy, yet a moist cake, this is it. You can also play with the ingredients and improve the taste as you like.

How to Make Funfetti Cake Better?

Box cakes are easy, convenient without compromising on the taste too much. but, no matter how good the cake tastes, there is always room for improvement. And if you find that box cakes are a bit too bland for your palate, try some of these tricks to make the experience even richer.

Replace Water With Buttermilk

Here is the thing: water will get the job done. But buttermilk will make your cake so much more moist and richer. The addition of buttermilk will make your cake slightly more sweet and milky.

Use Butter

If you want your cake to taste creamier and richer, use melted butter instead of adding oil to the batter.

Splash of Pure Vanilla Extract

Yes, we are telling you to add vanilla extract to a vanilla cake. This is because the vanilla flavor in the cake pales in comparison to pure vanilla extract. Just a couple of drops, perhaps ½ to 1 tsp, and you will realize a significant difference in the end product.

Top It Off With Homemade Buttercream

The frosting makes any cake taste better. But do you know what is even better than canned frosting? The answer is homemade buttercream. And this cream is easy and quick to make. Yet it does wonders for the taste and texture.

For making homemade buttercream frosting, you will need 4 cups of powdered sugar, 1 cup of butter, ½ of cream cheese, 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and one tablespoon of buttermilk. Mix all the ingredients until you get soft and even batter. The mixture should be thick enough to stay on the cake.

funfetti cake vs vanilla cake

Make It Vegan

Making funfetti cake vegan can be very easy, especially if you are making a homemade one. This may be a very convenient option for birthday parties when you don’t know if some of your guests are vegan. You can simply add more sweetness by opting for a banana instead of eggs, and coconut milk instead of regular milk. Or just choose among many different vegan birthday cake recipes and be surprised by their delicious taste.

To sum up, whether you are throwing a party for kids or looking to evoke the sweet memories of childhood, a Funfetti cake is an ideal candidate for getting the job done. And you can add your variations to it to make it a unique experience.

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