In the last few years we’ve had some new additions to our family: Jack, Wolfie, and Marlowe, my little cousins. Thomas family birthday cakes have always been my Aunt Tina’s expertise, and while we usually do devil’s food or mango cake for the adults, for the little ones Tina has gone in a much more festive direction. Funfetti cake!

But while she was testing out recipes for her grandchildren’s birthdays, she noticed almost all funfetti recipes were cloyingly sweet. Kids loved it, obviously, but adults would have a bite and wince. So she toyed around with proportions and created this perfect funfetti cake. The cake itself is sweet but more balanced, recognizing that sprinkles are in fact sugar. The filling is simple, not too sweet or rich whipped cream, and the frosting is a delicious cream cheese frosting, with just the right amount of zip.

Adults, especially my sister and I, clamor for this cake now, even for our own birthdays. To make it extra fun, Tina and I whipped up a special combination of sprinkles, using different colored sprinkles, edible pearls, and sanding sugar for a glittering, more grown up effect.


For one jellyroll tray (Enough for two layers of one number. You’ll need to double it for two numbers.)

2 1/4 cups of sifted cake flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup of room temperature butter

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

2/3 cup sprinkles (we did our own blend of several)


Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease 1 jellyroll pan (half sheet size 12×18) and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Add vanilla.

Add a third of the dry ingredients, followed by a third of the buttermilk, beating well. Repeat until the dry ingredients and buttermilk are all in the batter. Mix everything 1 more minute.

Carefully fold in 2/3 cup of sprinkles.

Pour batter into pans and bake for about 20-25 min. Cool the cake completely.

Using homemade stencils, slice out two layers of the birthday number. I print them out on am 11×17 piece of paper, cut them out and lay them on the cooled cakes and use a knife to make the numbers. Lay a piece of wax paper in between until you’re ready to frost.  Place the base layer on a large serving tray.

Spread the base layer with a thick layer of the cake filling, whipped cream. Put the second layer of cake on top.

Coat the entire cake with the frosting, and then finish with an abundance of sprinkles.

Any leftover cake can be mixed with frosting to make delicious cake truffles!


2 cups of whipping cream

3 tablespoons sugar


Whip the cream until very soft peaks form, then add the sugar. Keep beating until stiff and the sugar is dissolved.


3/4 of a package of cream cheese, room temperature

4 ounces (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

pinch of salt

1 box of powdered sugar, sifted

A few tablespoons of cream


With a paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Add the salt and half of the powdered sugar. Beat on a low speed so you don’t get a cloud of powdered sugar. Once it’s relatively incorporated beat on high speed. In this same manner (low then high speed), add the remaining powdered sugar until you get the desired texture and sweetness. If it’s too thick, add a tablespoon or two of cream to smooth it out.