• Confetti layer cake (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson

I first made a version of this cake for my daughter’s fifth birthday. At the time I thought it was completely original, very clever idea I had dreamed up with colourful sprinkles decorating not only the outside but also the inside of the cake.






Skill level

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Since then I have discovered that it wasn’t so original after all and that the Pillsbury Company had already packaged the concept into a cake mix some 15 years earlier and called it a ‘Funfetti’ cake! This version is a slightly more mature one - still just as fun and frivolous as the first but with a touch of elegance thrown in!

Don't be afraid to attempt this cake - the construction is very simple. Here are my pro tips:

Decorating the sides of a cake with sprinkles

There are various ways to get sprinkles to stick to the side of a cake to decorate it, but I find the easiest, and often the one that gives you the best results when you are after a slightly sparse, ‘confetti’ look, is to almost gently ‘toss’ them on. To do this, firstly make sure your buttercream is still ‘wet’ and a crust hasn’t formed so that the sprinkles will stick. Take a small handful of sprinkles cupped in your hand, hold the palm close to, and angled towards, the side of the cake. Then gently move your hand in short sharp motions towards the cake so that the confetti are tossed onto the side and stick. Move the hands up and down, and around, the side of the cake depending on where you want the sprinkles and how thick you want them in certain places (I quite like more of them at the base of the cake and then thin them out towards the top). You can leave any excess sprinkles that have fallen onto the plate or remove them carefully with a pastry brush and/or a pair of tweezers.

Piping buttercream

When piping buttercream the best way to hold the piping bag is to sit it in the palm of your right hand (or left if you're left-handed) with the twisted part held between your thumb and index finger so that it is held closed and the buttercream won’t be able to escape.

Hold the piping tip approximately 1 cm above the cake (the closer you hold it, the squatter the rosettes will be; the further away, the more elongated they will be) and perpendicular to the cake. Then use the palm of your hand to squeeze the bag gently while gently holding the bag steady with your other hand. When the rosette has formed, stop squeezing the bag before lifting it upwards.


  • melted butter, to grease
  • 225 g (1½ cups) self-raising flour
  • 150 g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 300 g (1⅓ cups) caster sugar
  • 250 g butter, diced, at room temperature
  • 160 ml (⅔ cup) buttermilk
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 tsp natural vanilla extract or essence
  • 80 g (½ cup) hundreds and thousands or rainbow confetti sprinkles (see Baker’s Tips)
  • 1 quantity Swiss meringue buttercream
  • food colouring of your choice (see Baker’s tips)
  • extra confetti sprinkles, to decorate

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cooling time: 1 hour

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease three round 18 cm cake tins well with melted butter and line the bases with non-stick baking paper.

2. Place the self-raising and plain flours, sugar, butter, milk, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes or until the mixture is well combined and very pale in colour. Use a large metal spoon or spatula to gently fold in the sprinkles until evenly combined (don’t over mix or the colour form the sprinkles may start to bled). Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins, dividing evenly, and smooth the surfaces with the back of a spoon.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, swapping the cake tins around halfway through baking, or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely (this will take about 1 hour).

4. Meanwhile make the Swiss meringue buttercream. Tint about 2½ cups of the buttercream with colouring of your choice and leave the remaining buttercream plain.

5. To assemble the cake, trim the tops of the cakes if necessary to even them. Place one cake layer, top side down on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread evenly with about ⅔ cup of the plain Swiss meringue buttercream. Repeat with the remaining cake layers with another ⅔ cup of the plain buttercream between them. Place the remaining plain buttercream in a large piping bag fitted with a star nozzle (I used a Wilton #4B open star nozzle). Spread about 2 cups of the tinted buttercream over the top and sides of the cake, using a large palette knife to smooth. Place the remaining tinted buttercream in a large piping bag fitted with a piping nozzle of your choice (I used a Wilton #2D drop flower nozzle).

6. Pipe rosettes around the edge on top of the cake with the plain buttercream and then pipe rosettes around the inside of the plain rosettes. Decorate the sides and top of the cake with confetti sprinkles as desired.


Baker’s tips 

• Some sprinkles, can bleed when folding them through, resulting in a dirty-coloured batter. I have found that the best solution is to make sure you only gently and briefly fold them though to prevent this and make sure you don’t over mix which will cause the colours to start running.
• Artificially coloured sprinkles will give you a more vibrant ‘confetti’ look than the natural coloured ones.
• I used Wilton Sky Blue gel food colour to tint the buttercream for this cake.
• This cake will keep either iced or uniced in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool spot for up to 2 days.
• You can freeze the uniced cakes for up to 1 month. Wrap well in plastic wrap and then seal in a freezer bag or airtight container before freezing. Thaw at room temperature.


Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Kerrie Ray. Creative concept by Belinda So.


This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: We're celebrating our 50th column!. Read  her tips on how to cut and decorate celebration cakes.


View previous Bakeproof columns and recipes here.


Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook,TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.