Rainbow Vanilla Cupcakes


I spent most of yesterday morning cleaning the bathroom and scrubbing the kitchen floor. Suddenly I felt incredibly old. Surely at the grand old age of 26 I should be spending my Sunday mornings hanging post night out onto the edge of a toilet bowl rather than bleaching it? So to reassure myself I’m not that old yet, I made something frivolous and playful. Cut open these little cupcakes and you’ll find sponge dotted with rainbow colours. These are silly, fun little cupcakes, crying out for birthday parties.



While I was making them, I started thinking, what do you call these little sugary sprinkles? Back home in England we’d call them hundreds and thousands, although perhaps that name that name technically refers to long sugar strands, rather than these little round ones. So perhaps we should just call them sprinkles. I used to think they were called hundreds and thousands the world over, It’s only recently come to my knowledge that in America (and perhaps elsewhere to?) they’re called funfetti. Then again the tub that I bought these particular sprinkles in has non-pareils written on the top. So are these something different again? So perhaps you can help me sort this out! My question for you today is, what do you call these delicious little sugary decorations? Hundreds and thousands? Sprinkles? Funfetti? Or something else entirely?



One final thing, I realized to my instant regret that attempting to pipe butter cream in 33 degree heat was perhaps a mistake. As soon as the icing left the piping bag it began to melt into a gooey puddle all over the cakes. So, i apologize for the slightly squishy nature of my piping. There was no hope of making big, delicious mounds of butter cream, and sadly these were the best out of a very bad bunch!

Rainbow Vanilla Cupcakes 

(Makes six)



for the cupcakes

115g lightly salted butter

115g caster sugar

2 large eggs

115g self raising flour

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp hundreds and thousands/sprinkles/funfetti

for the butter cream 

50g butter

150g icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

more hundreds and thousands to decorate


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, flour and vanilla extract and mix together until well combined.

Add in the hundreds and thousands and fold them in as gently as you can. You don’t want the colours to run into the sponge and mix together to much.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the tops feel firm and springy.

Cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the butter cream. Sift the icing sugar into the butter. Beat together until well combined and smooth. Pipe on top of the cupcakes and cover with more sprinkles.


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  1. Haha, you’re not alone in the sprinkles dilemma! We call the little round ones ‘hundreds and thousands’ here in Australia, whereas the slightly bigger ‘silver cachous’ are also interchangeably called ‘nonpareils’ (though I think in France,
    nonpareils are just any type of little ball-like confectionery). As far as I know, the little coloured lines are called ‘funfetti’ in America (we call them ‘sprinkles’ in Australia) whereas Americans call ‘hundreds and thousands’ by the name ‘sprinkles’. Does that make sense? Argh! I’m doing my own head in! Anyway, these gorgeously bright and happy cupcakes are just beautiful. Thanks for the lovely recipe! xx

    • Now i’m even more confused! There are so many names and they all seemed to be used by different people to mean different things! Thank you for such a brilliant answer! I laughed aloud reading it. Who knew something as simple as sprinkles could be so confusing! x

  2. My first job was an ice cream scooper. Once customer asked for “johnnies” or “jimmies” and I was totally lost! They were very put off that I didn’t know that nickname for sprinkles!

  3. Even I’m confused now after reading the comments. I say stick with sprinkles – I think it’s fairly universal!!

  4. Hi, I know this is an old post but Google has just pointed me to this post!!!! In the UK we call the round ones hundreds and thousands but in my childhood they had limited colours in them. The long ones (I think) we used to call Sprinkles. In the middle of baking a raspberry flavoured cake covered with icing but when I have used H&T recently they tend to bleed into the icing (hence the search for when to add H&T to icing which brought me to your blog).


  1. […] Friday night I took this cake for Becca to help celebrate her finishing work. It’s essentially a Victoria sponge, but its jazzed up to make it extra special. Its covered in that most celebratory of decorations, sprinkles. Lots and lots of sprinkles. The inside is a confetti, or funfetti cake. Hundreds and thousands sprinkles are stirred into the batter creating little splashes of colour right through the cake. I used the same technique to make cupcakes here. […]

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