These unicorn cupcakes are amazing for a kid’s birthday party. Made with multicolored layers of vanilla cake, rainbow frosting, and unicorn cake toppers, they are a fairytale come true!
Unicorns are real, or at least that’s what we’ll let the kids believe when they see these unicorn theme cupcakes. They are truly magical – an explosion of colors and realistic-looking unicorn horn and ears.
As far as unicorn cupcake ideas go, I was delighted when I found these unicorn cake toppers on Etsy. They are the perfect size for cupcakes and the gold stands out wonderfully against bright colors.
That took care of a lot of the cupcake decorating work. This left me with plenty of time to experiment with different colors for the frosting and cupcake batter.
The final result is beyond exciting! They are almost too beautiful to bite into. If you are still looking for ideas for cute kids cupcakes, this is the one!
Check out my cupcake baking guide that answers all of your questions about baking, ingredient substitutes, and decorating the perfect cupcakes!
Ingredients for Unicorn Cupcakes
- Butter, room temperature
- White Granulated Sugar
- Pure Vanilla Extract
- Large Eggs
- Baking Powder
- All-Purpose Flour
- Pink, Yellow, Magenta, and Teal Food Color or Icing Gel
Ingredients for Unicorn Frosting
- Butter, room temperature
- Confectioners’ Sugar
- Pure Vanilla Extract
- Pink, Blue, and Purple Icing Gel
- Unicorn Horn and Ear Cupcake Toppers
- Rainbow Sprinkles
How to Make Unicorn Cupcakes
Since unicorns are mythical creatures, I felt that I could be as creative as I wanted to be in the final presentation. I decided that I wanted something blindingly colorful and incredibly fun to look at. Honestly, they could almost stand in as party decorations!
The basic recipe is vanilla cupcakes with pink frosting and white frosting. Yes, 2 layers of frosting! It not only builds more height but also gives a better illusion of a unicorn head.
As you can see in the photos, I used 4 different colors for the batter so that it pops, even more, when you peel back the paper. I also made an extra batch of blue and purple frosting to create the unicorn mane.
Then, I went wild with the sprinkles. I found this neon-colored sprinkles mix of jimmy sprinkles, confetti sprinkles, balls, and stars on Etsy, too. They stand out against any frosting color.
Where I cut myself some slack is the unicorn horn and ears. Making these yourself is quite some delicate work so I was very grateful for the cake toppers. However, if you do want to DIY them, I have a few ideas for you.
How To Make Abstract Multicolor Cupcake Layers
I wanted to do something a little more special for the vanilla cupcake because this fabulous unicorn cupcake icing deserves that. Don’t worry, the steps are easy to follow.
As you can read in the cupcake recipe, I separated the batter into 4 batches and then added yellow, teal, magenta, and pink icing gel. I’ve discovered that 2 tablespoons is the perfect amount of batter for a cupcake liner so for each color I plop in a ½ tablespoon.
The trick to getting this abstract layering (that is borderline artwork), is to rotate where you place the colorful cupcake batter between each addition. No need to be precise here. Rotate 180 degrees then 90 degrees, plop a little towards the side or some right in the middle. Feel free!
How to Decorate Unicorn Cupcakes
To decorate the cupcakes like in the photos, first, allow the cupcakes to fully cool after baking. Then, divide out the large batch of frosting. I know it seems like a lot, but it does get used to make a tall stack of frosting on cupcakes.
I’ve made a diagram so you can visually see how the frosting gets divided. Begin by dividing the whole batch of frosting in half and color one half of that bright neon pink. The other half gets divided into two and one half of that remains white. The other half is divided into blue and purple frosting for the unicorn mane.
After making the frosting it’s time to decorate the cupcakes. Top each cupcake with a dollop of pink frosting. I used Wilton’s 2A tip to create the pink dome of frosting.
In a shallow dish, add the rainbow sprinkles and carefully dip the pink frosting into the sprinkles. I rotated the cupcake at a 45-degree angle to get mostly the sides of the frosting covered in sprinkles. The top does not need them because it won’t be visible.
Next, add a smaller dollop of white icing on top of the pink frosting for each cupcake. Use a butter knife or an icing spatula to flatten the top.
Then add your unicorn cupcake toppers and carefully press them into the white icing. I placed the unicorn horn in the front center so that it was ahead of the ears just like a unicorn has.
How to Make a Unicorn Mane for Cupcakes
I used a single piping bag for the unicorn mane hair. So, how did I manage to get two streaks of color?
The only finicky part of this is filling the piping bag. Place the piping bag in something that can keep it open. Then, using a cake spatula or offset spatula, fill up one side with the purple frosting and the other side with the blue frosting. I used a Wilton 1M icing tip for the mane.
Do your best to keep the fillings separate. This will give the more beautiful stripes for the mane. We’re not going for a balayage!
A great alternative is leaving the blue and purple icing in two separate icing bags and still using a 1M star tip to make the mane out of simple stars all around the ears.
What Can I Use for Unicorn Horn on Cupcakes?
Unicorn color cupcakes are cute but they become spectacular when you add a unicorn horn. There are many things you can fashion an edible unicorn horn out of, some are easier than others.
- Bugles If you don’t mind a savory crunchy topping on your cupcakes, bugles are a relatively quick and easy stand-in for a unicorn horn. The orange dust goes everywhere so you might want to cover them with frosting. Also, carefully think about the flavor profile of these cupcakes.
- Mini Cones Mini ice cream cones have a similar shape to bugles but have a more ‘appropriate’ sweet taste. If you can’t find any that are small enough, cut off the ends of the smallest cone size you can find. Dip them in white chocolate or colored frosting and you are good to go.
- Spiral Candies You might have to do some searching but there are spiral-shaped candies and lollipops out there. Search for unicorn-themed candy and see what you stumble upon.
- Fruit Roll-Ups Kids love fruit roll-ups and they’ll love them even more on unicorn cupcakes. First, roll it out completely, and then taking one corner, start rolling it diagonally using the tips of your fingers. Keep rolling until you get the desired length.
What Can I Use for Unicorn Ears on Cupcakes?
For DIY horns on unicorn cupcakes, you can use anything that is easy to cut and color. If I hadn’t found the ready-made cake toppers, I would have used one of these two methods.
- Marshmallows How do you make unicorn ears out of marshmallows? Use mini marshmallows for a more proportionate size on cupcakes. Lay them down horizontally and flatten them slightly. Then, cut diagonally to create 2 triangles. You can leave them as is, paint them with frosting or add colorful sprinkles.
- Fondant Like the marshmallows, you can cut small triangles out of white fondant. These are a little easier to decorate than the marshmallows. If you want, you can use the same fondant to make your own unicorn horn, too.
I cannot wait for the next kids’ party so I can show off these unicorn cupcakes. I had so much fun decorating unicorn cupcakes and I hope you will too. Seeing these cupcakes instantly puts you in a good mood.
- ½ cup Butter, room temperature
- 2 cups White Granulated Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 ¼ cup Milk
- 2 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 ¾ cups All-Purpose Flour
- Pink, Yellow, Magenta, and Teal Food Color or Icing Gel, (both work in cupcake batter)
- 2 ¼ cups Butter, room temperature
- 11 cups or about 48.5 ounces Confectioners' Sugar, (Yes it looks like a lot! But you will use all of it if you decorate the layers of frosting as shown in the photos.)
- 2 tablespoons Milk
- 2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
- Pink, Blue, and Purple Icing Gel
- Unicorn Cupcake Toppers
- Rainbow Sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin pan with 24 cupcake liners.
- In an electric mixer or a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs, mix well. Whisk or sift together dry ingredients to break up any lumps. Begin alternating as you add the dry ingredients and milk to the bowl on low speed until well blended.
- Separate the cupcake batter into bowls (about 1 cup + 1 tablespoon of batter to each bowl for even distribution.) Add pink food coloring/icing gel to one bowl, yellow to another, and teal and magenta to the last two. Add enough coloring until it is bright and not pastel.
- Add ½ tablespoon of each cupcake batter color to each cupcake liner. I rotated where I pour the batter as I added them to give it a more abstract look as shown in the photos above. Tap the muffin pan against the countertop to allow any bubbles to rise to the surface.
- Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly touched or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.
- Add butter, milk, and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Slowly add confectioners' sugar to the bowl until well blended.
- For the colors, separate the frosting evening in two bowls. Add pink icing gel to one half. Then, divide the other bowl of frosting in half again, setting one aside to leave it white. Divide the other in two again to create a purple and a blue frosting for the unicorn hair.
- Add a dollop of pink icing the cupcake with a 2A icing tip. Add sprinkles to a shallow dish and carefully roll the pink icing on the cupcake in the sprinkles.
- Next, add a smaller dallop of white icing on top of the pink and use a knife or spatula to flatten the top of it.
- Add the unicorn horns and ears.
- Then carefully add purple frosting to one side of an icing bag with a small spatula and add blue icing to the other side of the bag so they come out together, but not mixed. Use a 1M tip for the unicorn mane hair behind the ears.
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