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a vanilla cupcake with homemade sprinkles on top

Birthday Cupcakes with Homemade Sprinkles

  • Author: Jenna Barnard
  • Total Time: 24 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 18 cupcakes


These are the perfect birthday cupcakes with a moist vanilla cake, easy vanilla buttercream, and homemade sprinkles on top!


Homemade Sprinkles

  • 3 cups (350g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Gel food coloring (I used this set)

Birthday Cupcakes

  • 2 cups (270g) all purpose flour *see notes for GF option
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup (55g) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/4 cup (50ml) vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/4 cup (250g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup (130g) 2% Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup (130ml) whole milk
  • 1/3 cup homemade sprinkles

Vanilla Buttercream*

  • 1 cup (220g) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 5 cups (550g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 23 tbsp milk
  • Pinch of salt


Homemade Sprinkles

  1. NOTE: These will need to be made a day ahead
  2. Combine all of the ingredients, minus the food coloring. It should turn to the consistency of glue. If it’s too thick, add another tsp of water. If too thin, add a spoonful of powdered sugar.
  3. Choose your colors and separate the icing into the numbers of colors you have.
  4. Dip a toothpick into the food coloring and mix it into each individual bowl. You only need a small amount.
  5. Keep in mind that the sprinkle colors will fade slightly as they dry, so if you want more vibrant sprinkles add more food coloring.
  6. Add the icing to individual piping bags fitted with a small round no.3 piping tip.
  7. Cover a large sheet tray with parchment paper and pipe long lines of each color down the tray. If you run out of space, add another tray.
  8. Allow the sprinkles to dry out overnight.
  9. Once dry, use a knife to cut the sprinkles. They will break very easily. Shake out the sprinkles in a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any dusty bits. Store at room temp.

Birthday Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line 2 cupcake tins with 18 liners
  2. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the butter, oil and sugar until well combined.
  4. Mix in the eggs one at a time, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
  5. Mix in the Greek yogurt.
  6. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  7. Once smooth, carefully fold in the sprinkles. Only give it a few turns as you don’t want the sprinkles to bleed into the batter.
  8. Evenly distribute the batter between 18 liners 2/3 of the way full.
  9. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean with a few moist crumbs.
  10. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Vanilla Buttercream

  1. Whip the butter using the whisk attachment until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Mix in one cup of powdered sugar at a time, adding the vanilla and milk when the mixture becomes too thick and dry.
  3. Finish with a pinch of salt and an additional tablespoon of milk if the buttercream is still too thick. 
  4. Frost your cupcakes and top with your homemade sprinkles! Make sure to only add the sprinkles on the day you’re ready to serve them. They’ll being to melt into the buttercream if left overnight.


*This recipe is enough to create a single-tier swirl on each cupcake (or cover them like I do with my Guinness cupcakes). If you like more buttercream, double the recipe.

GLUTEN FREE – I haven’t tested it, but I believe this cake would do well with gluten free flour. Swap the flour with a good quality gluten free baking flour. I like Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour. I also suggest weighing the flour, rather than measuring by cups, to ensure accuracy. 

  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: birthday cupcakes, cupcakes, funfetti cupcakes, homemade sprinkles

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