Do you ever wonder how the professional bakers make the beautiful unicorn cake? It is so much easier than you think! Any newbie baker can make a unicorn cake!
Cake is a blank canvas and new trends are appearing all the time. Sometimes it might be a color everyone is using or a certain pattern but every once in awhile it’s a theme and those are my favorite.
Just like Mickey and Minnie Mouse cakes will never go out of style, I think the Unicorn cakes will be around for a very long time.
To achieve the magical unicorn cake it doesn’t take much, just a little creativity and a lot glitter! Edible glitter that is!
Throughout this post I’ll be showing you how you can easily make your own unicorn. Ill also have to links to tools I use while I’m decorating and products that I love to use to get this look right!
Here are the steps to make your own unicorn cake…
What’s your flavor?
Bake your favorite cake flavor (I used an 8 in. round cake pan for this cake). I choose to make a funfetti cake to keep the rainbow theme throughout.
This is the cake recipe I used. I made the batter and then added the sprinkles. Gently fold the sprinkles in before placing it into your prepared pan.
To cool down the cake quickly wrap the bake cake in plastic wrap and place into the freezer. (You can also bake the cake ahead of time and just remove the cake from the freezer when you want to decorate it.)
Updated NOTE: This cake in the picture is a 6″ round cake and you are correct it’s 4 layers. I made 4 layers because I love the unicorn cakes to be tall so the hair can stand out. For a 6″ with 3 layers I used a single batch of the cake batter as per the foolproof vanilla cake I have linked in this post. For 4 layers I used 1.5 batches of cake.
The Fondant Details
Next, make the fondant ears and horn. This needs to be done and start to dry before the filling and stacking off the cake.
Start by taking 2 small balls of white fondant or gumpaste about a 1 inch rounds. Then form into a triangle shape. By pressing the fondant form a pointy end at the top and 2 sides. It should be slightly thicker on the sides then the top.
Now gently press your thumb into the center to create concave effect. Repeat this process with the other ball of fondant.
For added support, place a wire inside or a thin lollipop stick, the fondant ear to help stand it up on top of the cake. Place on a sheet of parchment paper to let dry.
For the horn, take 2 balls of fondant like above for the ears. This time roll each ball into 2 ropes of equal lengths and size. Twist the 2 ropes together, gently roll them together.
Next press on to one side to thin out the horn, this where you want to create the pointy end. When you are happy with the size, place a wire or a thin lollipop stick in the center of the horn.
This is important to have the horn stand up on the cake. Place the horn onto the parchment paper to dry.
While the cake is cooling, it’s time to make the buttercream. The easiest and most tasty frosting is the Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It sounds fancy but it’s so easy to make. Here is the recipe!
Building the Cake
Once the cake has cooled completed or even slightly frozen works as well, slice the tops off to create a flat surface. Place a small amount of buttercream on the bottom of the cake to attach onto the cake board.
Pile on the buttercream in the center of the cake, using the turntable spin the cake around while using your off set spatula to flatten the buttercream. Repeat the process until all the cake is stacked.
Now crumb coat, this is an important step to insure the crumbs do go into the finished layer of the buttercream. Use a small amount of buttercream, gently pressing into the cake and smoothing out the buttercream. Once covered in a light layer. Place into the refrigerator to cool down the buttercream preventing it from sliding around.
*Make sure the cake is fully covered in buttercream before placing it into the fridge or else it will dry out the cake.
After 15 to 30 minutes in the fridge pull out the cake, it should be nice and cools.
Add More buttercream onto the sides and top of the cake. Add more than you need, I know it sounds weird but when you and more buttercream it makes sure the crumbs won’t show through.
Then when you use a bench scraper to smooth out the frosting it will be much easier. You will be removing some of the buttercream to make the sides and the top even and straight.
Place back into the fridge to set up before decorating for another 15 minutes.
Updated NOTE: For the buttercream I used a single batch of buttercream for a 6″ cake. If you do any size larger make a 2 SINGLE batches of the Swiss Meringue Butterecream. (Note a double batch can fit in a 5qt. Stand mixer but it does take longer so keep that in mind).
Now this cake in the pictures above will only be covered in buttercream. The only fondant on the cake was the horn, ears, and eyes. I make my own fondant and it’s so easy.
A good question I received lately about getting the buttercream smooth, the Swiss Meringue Buttercream has a lot to do with it! That’s why I suggest it because it’s so much easier to get smooth.
now I’m going to reiterate something i said before and it’s so important, I’ll explain it again. First when you are crumb coating the cake (meaning the first thin coat of buttercream is to prevent cake crumbs from surfacing to the top when you are trying to decorate). The crumb coat is super important. Then after that’s done I put the cake in the fridge to set up for 15 minutes give or take.
After chilling for that time then start putting a thicker nicer coat of buttercream. Then once the whole cake has been covered in that thicker coat, you will then take a bench scraper ( a straight edge tool) and place it on the side of the cake holding it straight while turning the cake on the turntable. By carefully placing pressing on the cake with the bench scraper it will smooth out pretty easily. I also make the sides smooth first then clean up the top to get that crisp clean edge. It’s just a lot of practice.
The key is the buttercream and keeping the cake cold. Then you will succeed!
Gold, Glitter and Color
While the cake is in the fridge chilling, paint the horn and the inside of the ears gold. I use edible gold highlighter and then I slightly thin it out in a little cup/container with a clear alcohol like vodka. You want to use a clear alcohol or lemon extract because it will dry smooth and not sticky like what you get with water. Let those dry fully.
When you are ready to make the unicorn’s hair, pick whatever color combination you like. I used gel based food color it’s more concentrated and a little goes a long way.
Before I added the color to the piping bag I used a coupler and a star tip inside the bag. This will pipe the buttercream in those fun swirls.
This is all up to you what colors you want to use like a pink, purple and light blue combination or the rainbow. Whatever finds your theme and occasion best. You can color the buttercream itself or you can do what I did.
I used a long skewer to apply the food color I wanted to use to the inside of the bag. I kept them separate so when you pipe out the colors its stripes with the white buttercream splitting it. I used 6 rainbow colors in one bag for a full swirl.
Once I had the colors in my star tip piping bag added the extra buttercream inside. When the ears and horn are fully dried, place the horn in the center of the cake but more towards the front so the hair in the back has lots of room. Then place the ears on either side.
Next take a small amount (like ¼ of the amount you needed for the ears) of fondant, or gumpaste, to create the eyes and eyelashes. Form a thin rope thinner on both sides it’s approximately a 1 ½ in. x 1/16th in. Cut little pieces for the eyelashes part. Slightly curl up the end for a little flick.
Place the eye lines directly onto the cake on the side above the halfway line. Next when you are happy with the placement, paint the eyes gold to match the horn and ears.
Okay here you go… Swirl and decorate the unicorn’s hair!
Go all down the back of the cake and almost make a small v of the hair in the front of the cake. Pipe a small border with the different colors to add to the cake.
To complete the design I splattered some of the gold paint onto the hair. I also added edible pearls and edible pixie dust glitter.
The best part of cake decorating is that cake is a blank canvas and there is no right or wrong way. Cake trends are constantly changing but this is personally one of my favorites I’ll never get tired of. Just have fun with it!
Now I can’t wait to see your magical unicorn cake!
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