When I was a little kid, Funfetti cake was where it was at. I’ve always been more of a pie person than a cake person, even as a kid, but I’ll never turn down anything with rainbow sprinkles. And Funfetti cake not only had sprinkles on top, it had them inside. It’s a sprinkle-lover’s dream! As I grew older, I learned that I loved to bake. Bakery goodies and boxed cake mixes just wouldn’t cut it anymore. I moved on to brownies baked from memory, complicated Italian cookies, and competition pies and never looked back.
Well, almost never.
For as tasty as the from-scratch stuff tasted and as much fun as I had making them, I missed the sprinkley goodness of a Funfetti cake. So when I stumbled across this recipe for Funfetti-inspired white cake at home, I knew I had to try it. When my coworker was lamenting the lack of time she had to make cupcakes for her son’s class for his birthday, I had just the right opportunity to give it a go. And so, with a roomful of eleven-year-olds as guinea pigs, I was able to have Funfetti again at last.
4 egg whites from large eggs
1 cup milk, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups flour (cake flour preferable, but you can also use sifted all purpose, unbleached flour)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 tablespoons non-hydrogenated shortening
1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles*
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Prepare your cupcake tins with paper and give them a faint splash of cooking spray. (I find if you skip the cooking spray, the paper sticks to the cake and there is DOOM! Nobody likes papery cake, not even Team Cake adherents.)
Separate the eggs; put the whites into a small bowl and get rid of the yolks however you so choose. (I put mine in the fridge for making some quick cheesy eggs for breakfast. They’re richer than having a whole egg, but a splash of 1% milk helps thin them out a little bit.) Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, and 1/4 cup milk to the egg whites, and mix it all together.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and shortening, preferably well-softened. Mix it together until it’s well combined. This is easier if you have a stand mixer,** but you can get by with a hand mixer or a wooden spoon and some elbow grease. Slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup of milk and continue mixing until it’s good and batter-y looking.*** If you’re using a stand mixer, it’s about three minutes. Add the egg white mixture a little bit at a time, and mix it until everything is smooth. With a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the rainbow sprinkles.
Pour the cake into the cupcake tin. I say “pour,” but the batter is incredibly sticky. I find an ice cream scooper to be helpful when making cupcakes with a sticky batter. One scoop should fill up a regular size cupcake about 3/4 of the way, which is just about right. And it ensures that all of the cupcakes are the same size, a crucial factor when you’re making treats to bring to a classroom full of middle schoolers.
Bake the cupcakes for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Mine did not spring up very nicely; I suspect I may have mixed the batter a little too vigorously. The recipe made 16 regular-sized cupcakes, which generally translates to 35-40 of the mini cupcakes (depending on how many innocent tastes you sneak while you’re scooping it out).
Let the cupcakes cool completely (completely!) before frosting with your favorite frosting. You can use store-bought, but honestly, if you’re already making your Funfetti from scratch, you may as well whip up an easy buttercream while you’re at it. You can incorporate the sprinkles into the frosting or add them on top. Or, if you’re me, both! They’re not quite the same as the proper old style Funfetti buttons, but they get the job done.
*The original recipe calls them “multi-colored jimmies.” BLASPHEMY! Rainbow sprinkles forever!
**Thanks, Mom and Dad! I knew getting married was a good idea for something.
***Not related to battery, battery, or battery. Or batter-y.