This Small Birthday Cake with buttercream frosting and rainbow sprinkles is a homemade 6 inch funfetti cake recipe made from scratch without cake mix! Make this birthday cake for two to celebrate.

Small birthday cake with slices cut on a white plate

This upcoming Saturday will mark my 17 (!) year blog anniversary. It also marks my cat’s 8th birthday. Guess which one will be celebrated more? Hint – not me.

That’s why I made this Small Birthday Cake with small batch buttercream frosting because how can you celebrate without lots of sprinkles?!

Hard to believe my blog turns 17. So much has changed since I first started. I don’t think I was even on social media for the blog back then.

I’ve definitely evolved since I started. Now I focus more on recipe information and education than story telling.

Truth is I’m not a good story teller. I don’t have any heartwarming memories of cooking with my grandparents because they passed away when I was young.

My parents aren’t good cooks, so I taught myself everything. In fact I teach them more than they teach me.

My current life is boring. It’s just me and my ridiculous (and adorable) cat J who doesn’t know how to cat. I also call him Drama Llama because it’s always something new with him.

And when I do have a story to tell, it’s 0 percent related to the recipe. Then I struggle trying to connect the two:

“Last weekend I went to Kennywood for opening weekend. It was so cold, I couldn’t feel my fingers so I Ieft. Enjoy this 6 inch funfetti cake recipe!”

Maybe I’m compromising on personality, but it’s so much easier for me to write a 1,000 word essay on how to make strawberry buttercream frosting than to tell you about my day.

But maybe I’m not compromising on who I am. I don’t have a big personality. I’m an introvert who has trouble connecting to large crowds. I’m that girl everyone forgets because I don’t stick out.

I don’t want to be on camera. I try to push myself to do on-camera Instagram stories so you can see my face, but it’s definitely out of my comfort zone.

I actually have a lot of emotion about this, but I’m not ready to share that, if ever. Which is another mark against me – you’re supposed to overshare in blogging, yet I want to keep stuff private.

I want to post pretty photos about desserts for two and tell you how to make them, not tell you about how lonely some nights get or how I don’t know how to write a 5 year plan because I don’t know where I want to be in 5 years.

And before I finally get to the funfetti cake recipe, I want to say thank you. I feel like I never say it enough.

You have such a huge impact on my life. With every click, like, and comment, you help me out in a big way. I wouldn’t be here if you weren’t making my recipes.

So yea, here I am 17 years into blogging and figured the best way to celebrate is with birthday cake and sprinkles.

And when you think cake and sprinkles, you think about this small birthday cake recipe.

I grew up with the Funfetti box mix, so naturally I had to make funfetti cake from scratch without cake mix.

Whether you’re looking for a birthday cake for two, a birthday smash cake, or just having a really rough week and need some cake to cheer you up, this homemade funfetti cake is the perfect size for small households.

Close up of frosted 6 inch funfetti cake

What is funfetti cake?

Let’s talk about what funfetti cake is! Sometimes called confetti cake, funfetti cake is a small vanilla cake with sprinkles stirred into the cake batter and tastes like butter and vanilla.

Sometimes a funfetti cake is a white cake with sprinkles. Sometimes it’s a yellow cake with sprinkles. It really depends on what you want to eat.

A white cake is made with all egg whites. Some recipes even use a mixture of butter and shortening because using all butter can tint the batter yellow.

A yellow cake is made with whole eggs and all butter. I prefer yellow funfetti cake because of the richness the yolks add compared to white cake.

This recipe is adapted from my small yellow cake.

I added more vanilla flavor and adjusted the leavenings since I was using whole milk and not buttermilk (which contains acid to react with baking soda).

Birthday cake for two with slices cut out and served on white plates

Ingredients For Small Birthday Cake

To get started on your 6 inch birthday cake, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • All-Purpose Flour: I used a combination of all purpose flour and cornstarch instead of cake flour because not everyone has cake flour.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch makes up for the gluten difference since we’re not using cake flour. If you’re using cake flour, swap this for additional cake flour.
  • Baking powder: Leavening agent so your cake rises. Make sure it’s fresh and not expired.
  • Salt: Used to flavor your batter so it’s not bland.
  • Butter: Helps the cake rise from its steam when it melts, trapping carbon dioxide in the batter as it bakes as well as adds flavor. This creates a tender crumb texture. Never substitute margarine.
  • Granulated sugar: Sweetens the cake.
  • Egg: Use a standard large egg at room temperature.
  • Vanilla: Because this is a funfetti cake, I went heavy on the vanilla flavor. Make sure you’re using high quality vanilla and not imitation extract.
  • Milk: Make sure you’re using whole milk and not 2% or skim. You’ll need that fat for a moist birthday cake.
  • Sprinkles: It’s not a funfetti cake without sprinkles! I love using confetti sprinkles, but you can use what you have on hand EXCEPT nonpareils. Nonpareils are so tiny, they’ll melt and bleed into an ugly mess.

Slice of small birthday cake on white plate

6 Inch Cake Pan For Small Birthday Cake

In order to make this small birthday cake recipe, you need to buy a 6 inch cake pan. And with my long list of 6 inch cake recipes (16 cakes and counting!), you’ll be getting plenty of use out of your pan.

A 6 x 2 inch round cake pan has a volume of 3 cups and holds about 2 cups batter (leaving room at the top for the cake rising). You can buy one online from Amazon (affiliate link) or from your local craft store in the cake decorating aisle.

Close up of small birthday cake with slices cut

How To Make A Small Birthday Cake

Here’s how to make your 6 inch birthday cake from scratch without a cake mix:

  1. Sift together your flour and cornstarch then stir in your baking powder and salt.
  2. Beat together your butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. This builds air and help your cake rise.
  3. Beat in your egg and vanilla, scraping down your bowl if necessary.
  4. Alternate the dry ingredients with the milk, adding the flour in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions (begin and end with dry ingredients).
  5. Pour the batter into your 6 inch cake pan lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 350F for 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs (but not wet batter).

Your small funfetti cake can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. Store leftovers for up to 5 days.

Homemade funfetti cake made from scratch on white serving platter

How To Decorate Your Small Birthday Cake

No cake is complete without frosting! I paired it with my small batch buttercream frosting, which covers a 6 inch cake without leftovers.

You can also make it chocolate with small batch chocolate frosting or chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Want to make it pretty in pink? Check out my strawberry cream cheese frosting, strawberry buttercream, and raspberry cream cheese frosting.

Looking for something else? I wrote a guide on Small Batch Frosting recipes where you can mix and match flavors.

Slice of funfetti cake recipe on white plate

Do you have to refrigerate homemade funfetti cake after frosting it?

The biggest question I get about frosted cakes is do you have to refrigerate a cake with buttercream frosting?

The answer is no. Because it uses a good amount of powdered sugar, buttercream frosting is safe to leave out at room temperature for 2-3 days.

That means your 6 inch birthday cake can sit out overnight for up to 2-3 days.

However, buttercream frosting does tend to melt if it’s too warm because of the butter’s melting point. In the winter I can leave my cake out, but in the summer I refrigerate my cakes.

Wide shot of small birthday cake on white serving platter

How To Refrigerate A Frosted Cake

To refrigerate a cake with buttercream frosting, first put it in the fridge uncovered for about 15 minutes. This will harden the frosting just enough so it won’t smear if accidentally touched.

Next, you want to cover the cake so it doesn’t dry out in the refrigerator.

You can either loosely wrap with plastic wrap (you can use toothpicks if you don’t want it touching the frosting) or store in an airtight cake container (affiliate link).

I highly recommend using a cake container because it won’t actually touch your cake and you can store other items on top in the fridge.

Small Birthday Cake FAQ

How long to bake a 6 inch cake?

Bake your 6 inch cake at 350F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

How many servings does a 6 inch cake make?

6 inch cakes can be sliced into 4-6 slices, making it about 4-6 servings per 6 inch cake. However, if you slice your cake small enough, you can push for 8 slices, equaling 8 servings.

Can I double this recipe to make a 2 layer cake?

Yes! Double the ingredients and use two 6 inch pans.

More Small Cake Recipes

Loved this funfetti cake recipe? Here are more small cake recipes you can make:

Homemade funfetti cake made from scratch on white serving platter

Small Birthday Cake

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This Small Birthday Cake with buttercream frosting and rainbow sprinkles is a homemade 6 inch funfetti cake recipe made from scratch without cake mix! Make this birthday cake for two to celebrate.


  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (when measuring, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off)*
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature (do not substitute low fat or fat free)
  • 2 tablespoons sprinkles (not nonpareils) plus more for garnish

Frosting Options (Pick One)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease one 6-inch wide x 2-inch deep round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and cornstarch then stir in the baking powder and salt.
  3. In another large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed (using paddle attachment for stand mixer), beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Scrape down the bowl then beat in the egg and vanilla.
  5. Turn the mixer down to the lowest speed possible then add the flour mixture alternating with the milk, adding the flour in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions (begin and end with dry ingredients). Stir in the sprinkles.

    When you add the final addition of flour, switch to a rubber spatula and gently fold in by hand. You do not want to overmix this part or you'll have a dense, cornbread-like texture.
  6. Transfer the batter to the pan then bake 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  7. Decorate with frosting of choice. Cover and store the frosted cake at room temperature for up to 2 days (buttercream only) or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (buttercream and cream cheese).

    For best results, let the refrigerated cake sit at room temperature 15-30 minutes before serving.


  • *To substitute cake flour, omit the cornstarch and use 3/4 cup cake flour.
  • Love this recipe? Check out my full list of 6 Inch Cake recipes including chocolate cake, yellow cake, and more.
  • Don't have a 6 inch pan? Check out my recipe for Small Batch Yellow Cupcakes, adding sprinkles to the batter.

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First published April 30, 2019