I’ve been asked a lot recently for a gluten free birthday cake recipe – and I think my gluten free funfetti cake is perfect! It’s a light gluten free vanilla cake, with a sweet and smooth buttercream frosting and the most important ingredient of all: all of the gluten free sprinkles.
The beauty of this gluten free funfetti cake is that it takes a classic, vanilla birthday cake to a whole new level. The vibrant sprinkles add both colour and a sugary crunch to the sponge, and make the prettiest topping too!
What is a gluten free funfetti cake?
For those who haven’t heard of a funfetti cake before, allow me to explain. A funfetti cake is actually a vanilla cake packed with sprinkles – it’s as simple as that!
Funfetti cakes are big news in America, but over this side of the pond we seemed to have missed the memo. I’d love to see more vibrant, fun cakes like this at birthday parties – especially when they’re gluten free too.
This gluten free funfetti cake is basically a classic, gluten free vanilla cake, but with bursts of colour from the brightest sprinkles I could find. It’s topped with a vanilla buttercream – it’s basically my gluten free vanilla cupcakes recipe but in giant cake form!
Are sprinkles gluten free?
When it comes to buying sprinkles in the supermarket in the UK, you’ll have to double check the ingredients. A lot of cake sprinkles and decorations nowadays are gluten free. More so than used to be!
However, quite a few sprinkles contain wheat starch and are not gluten free. Any allergens will be highlighted in bold on EU labelling, so it should be easy to spot which ones are gluten free.
For this recipe I used the Dr Oetker Confetti Sprinkle Mix which you can get in Asda and Waitrose. I chose these sprinkles because A) they’re gluten free and B) they are the most vibrant, gluten free sprinkles I could find!
Sprinkles in the UK can lose their colour a bit when you bake them into a cake, so you want the brightest ones you can find – and these are definitely the ones I would recommend!
NOTE: Please make sure you double check – these sprinkles were gluten free at the time of writing but obviously recipes change over time so always check the ingredients.
Top tips for making this gluten free birthday cake
If you want to absolutely nail this gluten free birthday cake recipe then I have a couple of tips or you to get the best results!
For starters, when baking this gluten free funfetti cake, you’ll need three 20cm/8-inch cake tins. If you don’t have that many then you’ll have to bake the cakes in batches.
A top tip when adding the sprinkles is to add it right at the very end, before pouring it into the cake tins.
If you add the sprinkles too soon, their colour will start to leach into the cake batter as you mix it up and you’ll end up with some very interesting colours!
Once the batter is ready, fold in the sprinkles with a few turns and then pour it straight into the tins. Sorted.
When baking the cakes, do not be tempted to open the oven door before the timer is up! This will cause them to sink when you eventually get them out – not a good look!
My gluten free funfetti cake recipe
So here they are, my gluten free funfetti cake recipe! The perfect answer to the gluten free birthday cake of your dreams!
This recipe makes a three-tier, 20cm/8-inch diameter cake, with enough for approximately 16 slices. You can make the sponge ahead of time and freeze it, defrosting thoroughly before assembling it.
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- 375g caster sugar
- 375g unsalted butter
- 6 eggs
- 375g gluten free self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 tbsp milk
- 150g sprinkles (I used Dr.Oetker Unicorn Confetti)
For the frosting:
- 700g icing sugar
- 350g unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 4 tbsp milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Extra sprinkles for decorating
- Preheat the oven to 180'C (170'C fan) / Gas 4. Grease and line three 20cm/8-inch diameter round baking tins.
- Add the butter, sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until pale and creamy. (TIP: If the butter is hard, zap it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds before adding it to the mixing bowl to make it easier!
- Crack the eggs into the mixing bowl and beat again for 30 seconds to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula.
- Sift in the self-raising gluten free flour and xantham gum, add the milk, and then beat together with the electric whisk until everything is fully combined. You want a fairly thick batter which looks light and fluffy.
- Add the sprinkles to the mixture and fold in with a spatula - just enough to ensure they're evenly distributed. Don't over-mix as you don't want them to start leaching their colour into the cake batter.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the three cake tins and smooth out with a spatula so they are level. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and well-risen. To test, a skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
To make the frosting:
- Add the butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk on a low speed until it becomes a smooth, pale buttercream. (TIP: To avoid an icing-sugar dust cloud I tend to 'mash' the mixture with a fork until it starts to come together, then use the electric whisk).
- Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a large round tip.
- Turn the cakes carefully out of the baking tins and remove any baking paper. Place the first sponge onto your chosen cake stand. Pipe the frosting onto the cakes - I like to do this in 'blobs' as pictured as it looks really effective!
- Once the first layer is all piped on, place the second tier on top and repeat. Repeat again with the third tier and decorate with sprinkles before serving.
This cake will keep for around 5 days in a sealed container. If making ahead of time, the sponges can be frozen and defrosted thoroughly before icing and assembling the cake.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 756Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 168mgSodium: 318mgCarbohydrates: 92gFiber: 1gSugar: 72gProtein: 5g
Need some more gluten free baking inspiration?
If you want to have a go at some of the other gluten free cake recipes on the blog, why not give some of these a try? They’re perfect to satisfy any cake cravings!
- The ultimate gluten free chocolate cake recipe
- My gluten free coffee and walnut cake
- Easy gluten free vanilla cupcakes recipe
- For something special: my hidden heart cake recipe
If you do make this recipe please let me know! I’d love to see your photos using #theglutenfreeblogger, share them in my Facebook group or tag me on Instagram. And if you have any recipe suggestions, please let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next! Oh – and don’t forget to sign up for my e-newsletter where you’ll know about all my latest posts and competitions first!