Sam’s Birthday Cake

My wife’s favorite cake combination is funfetti cake with chocolate fudge frosting. Or at least that’s what she says. It hearkens back to her childhood, using box cake mixes and canned frosting. We even used to make these cakes in the days before I started baking seriously. I would challenge you to find one American dessert lover that doesn’t have a soft spot for that kind of cake.

Anyway, I had yet to actually make this cake combination for her on her birthday…until this year. In years’ past, I made an Wellesely Fudge Cake, a cloyingly-sweet Chocolate-Chip Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting (at her request), and an American Mud Cake. Chocolate is a major theme here.

I think funfetti is a lot like s’mores. The idea is better than the reality. People like the idea because of the memories it brings back, but, ultimately, there are better desserts and flavor combinations. This is the fourth funfetti cake on this site. While I didn’t eat any of the third cake (it was sold), I still think the original was the best. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a great cake, but I think funfetti-wise, the first was much better.

The fudge frosting on this cake was a direct request from my wife. She liked my cousin’s third birthday cake so much that she turned to me and said this is what she wanted for her birthday cake! Of course, it was nothing more complicated than the Hershey’s recipe on the back of the box of cocoa powder… which is very good indeed!


Based on recipes found here and here.


Funfetti Cake:
9 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups (600 g) granulated sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups + 2 tbsp. (528 g) all-purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup whole milk
9 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles

Chocolate Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
6 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. For the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 3 8″ round cake pans.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until creamy.
  3. Add sugar and oil, then beat until well combined, scraping sides as needed.
  4. Stir in vanilla, then beat until combined.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. On medium-low speed, alternately add one-third of flour mixture and half of milk (starting and ending with flour, i.e. flour-milk-flour-milk-flour), scraping sides as needed.
  7. In medium bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gently fold into batter.
  8. Divide the cakes evenly between pans, then bake 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  9. Let cakes cool for 15 minutes, run a knife around the edges, and invert onto wire rack to cool completely.
  10. For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine butter and cocoa powder on medium-low speed.
  11. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to desired consistency, adding additional milk as desired, then stir in vanilla, and beat until combined.
  12. Frost cakes as desired.