Confetti Gooey Butter Cake

published Jun 25, 2023
Confetti Gooey Butter Cake Recipe

This playful mashup of gooey butter cake and confetti cake is guaranteed to spark child-like giddiness


Prep20 minutes

Cook35 minutes to 40 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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overhead shot of gooey butter cake with sprinkles and powder cut in squared pieces on a baking sheet
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

I don’t know if I’ve ever had as much fun developing a recipe as I did with this confetti gooey butter cake, which is inspired by the classic Midwestern dessert. The abundance of rainbow sprinkles largely contributes to the fun factor, but I have to say that eating the cake and researching this recipe were really fun as well.   

Just like the classic version of gooey butter cake, my confetti gooey butter cake has a crisp yet chewy cake base and a gooey, buttery cake layer on top that develops a crackly texture as it cools. To finish it off, I like to use my favorite dusting wand to sprinkle powdered sugar on top of the cooled gooey butter cake. The final result turned out to be my inner child’s dream — bursting with color and texture, and easy to eat on the go. Be warned that this cake may lead to excessive, child-like giddiness. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

Where Is Gooey Butter Cake From?

The first ever gooey butter cake was made in St. Louis. It was born out of a bakery mistake during World War II. In an attempt to make a traditional German yeasted coffee cake, a baker mistakenly used the wrong ratios and added way too much butter to the topping. It must have felt almost criminal to throw a cake full of rationed goods away during war times, so the bakery went ahead and sold the “mistake cake.” Much to their surprise, it was a total hit!

Does Gooey Butter Cake Use Boxed Cake Mix?

Most modern recipes call for the use of yellow cake mix, which made me wonder how another cake mix, like Funfetti, would taste in a gooey butter cake. However, after learning that the original gooey butter cake didn’t use cake mix at all, I decided to skip using premade mix altogether and make mine from scratch. 

To replicate the taste of Funfetti cake without the cake mix, I used almond extract and, of course, plenty of rainbow sprinkles. I considered using yeast for the bottom layer, but I didn’t want to wait for the cake to rise. Instead, I used cornstarch because I knew it would help me replicate the ideal taste and texture of the bottom layer. Plus, it gives the cake a tight crumb while simultaneously making it super tender. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

Confetti Gooey Butter Cake Recipe

This playful mashup of gooey butter cake and confetti cake is guaranteed to spark child-like giddiness

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes to 40 minutes

Serves 16

Nutritional Info


  • 2 1/2 sticks

    (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided

  • 1/3 cup


  • 3

    large eggs, divided

  • 8 ounces

    cream cheese

  • Cooking spray

  • 2 3/4 cups

    all-purpose flour, divided

  • 2 cups

    granulated sugar, divided

  • 1/4 cup


  • 2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 cup

    vegetable oil

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    almond extract

  • 1 cup

    rainbow sprinkles, divided

  • 1/2 cup

    powdered sugar, plus more for dusting


  1. Place 1 1/2 sticks of the unsalted butter, 1/3 cup buttermilk, 3 large eggs, and 8 ounces cream cheese on the counter. Let everything sit at room temperature until the butter and cream cheese are softened, about 1 1/2 hours.

  2. About 30 minutes before the butter and cream cheese are ready, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 8x11-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray and line the bottom and two long sides with a sheet of parchment paper to form a sling.

  3. Prepare the bottom layer: Place 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, 1 cup of the granulated sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Whisk to combine.

  4. Melt the remaining 1 stick unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add the melted butter, buttermilk, and 1/2 cup vegetable oil to the flour mixture. Beat with the whisk attachment on low speed until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula as needed, about 2 minutes total.

  5. Beat in 2 of the eggs on medium speed one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, and beat on medium speed until combined. Add 1/2 cup of the rainbow sprinkles and fold in by hand with the spatula. Transfer the batter to the baking dish and spread into an even layer.

  6. Prepare the top layer: Wash and dry the mixer bowl. Place the 1 1/2 sticks room temperature unsalted butter, cream cheese, remaining 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup powdered sugar in the bowl, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl.

  7. Beat with the whisk attachment on medium speed until lightened in color and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula as needed, 4 to 5 minutes total. Add the remaining egg and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and beat until combined.

  8. Turn off the mixer. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Fold in the remaining 3/4 cup all-purpose flour with a flexible spatula, then fold in the remaining 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles until well distributed. Dollop over the bottom layer and use an offset spatula to spread into an even layer.

  9. Bake until the edges are set and the cake is golden brown but still quite loose in the center, 35 to 40 minutes (it will appear almost liquid under the surface in spots, but will quickly set upon cooling). Place on a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes.

  10. Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake to loosen. Grasping the parchment, lift the cake out of the baking dish and place on the wire rack. Let cool completely, about 2 1/2 hours. Place some powdered sugar in a fine-mesh strainer and dust it over the top of the cake before slicing and serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store covered or in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.