Unicorn Cupcakes: Perfect vanilla cupcakes decorated with rainbow swirled frosting. Adorable, and easier than you may think!
Have you ever seen an out-of-this-world cupcake and wondered, “How do they do that?!” Well, here’s your chance to have people ask you the same question! These rainbow unicorn cupcakes are guaranteed to get oohs and ahhs from adults and kids alike. These cupcakes are perfect for birthdays and parties! Looking for more impressive cupcakes for birthday? Be sure to check out my Hi Hat cupcakes too.
Related: Mermaid Cupcake Recipe
How To Make Unicorn Cupcakes
We’re going to start out by going over the items needed to make these unicorn cupcakes. In addition to the cupcake recipe and ingredients for the frosting, you’re also going to need a container of white fondant, a container of pink fondant, a Wilton icing tip 2D, a Wilton icing tip #2, a rolling pin, and a cutting board.
If you’d like you can always make your own fondant.Ordering it online is a good option, too. Some bakeries will even sell it out of their storefront, just ask!
Start by sprinkling powdered sugar onto the cutting board and rolling pin, then rolling out both colors of fondant to be ~⅛ of an inch thick. Cut out 36 white round circles using the 2D icing tip. Then, cut out 36 pink round circles using the #2 icing tip, then go over the circles again with the #2 icing tip and make them a bit smaller. Brush a VERY small amount of water (too much will dissolve the sugar!) onto the white circles using a paint brush, then place the pink circles into the center of the white ones.
Carefully pick up the white circle and pinch the “bottom” of the ears to create a rounded ear shape. The bottom will stick into the cupcake frosting. Repeat with the other 35 ears and set aside for at least two hours before starting the cupcakes.
Unicorn Cupcake Recipe
For the cupcakes, grab a box of French vanilla cake mix from the store. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with white cupcake liners. Rainbow cupcake liners would be cute too! To the cake mix, you’ll want to add butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. Stir until combined. Fill the cupcake liners up about ¾ of the way ,and bake in the oven until done. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
How to Frost and Decorate Rainbow Unicorn Cupcakes
For decorating you’ll need teal, pink, and purple gel food coloring (do NOT use liquid food coloring), a piping bag with a star tip, a piping bag with a Wilton tip #195, a package of royal icing mini flowers, and a package of unicorn horn royal icing transfers.
First, combine butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and heavy whipping cream, until you reach your desired consistency.
Then, split the frosting into three bowls. To one bowl, add 2-4 drops of teal food dye, to another add 2-4 drops of purple, and to the third add 2-4 drops of pink food coloring. Mix each bowl separately until the color is your desired shade. Put a piping bag into a large glass and fold the sides over so the frosting can be inserted. Scoop a spoonful of teal onto one side of the bag, and repeat with the pink and purple, each on different sides of the bag. Do the same with the other piping bag. Cut off the tips of the piping bags and attach each tip. With the star tip, pipe a medium sized amount in the center of the cupcake. With the #195 tip, pipe small amounts on the star frosting to give dimension.
Place a unicorn horn into the center (these can be found at Hobby Lobby), and an ear on both sides of the horn. Place a royal icing flower anywhere (can be found at Michaels). So cute!
Why Do You Add Different Ingredients Than Called for on the Cake Box?
This helps your box cupcakes taste like something fresh out of a bakery! Adding milk instead of water adds moistness and extra flavor. Similarly, butter adds richness and depth. Finally, adding vanilla extract will also help these taste ah-mazing. Some cake mixes contain vanilla already, but they tend to lose flavor the longer they sit on store shelves.
Why Is It Important To Let Fondant Dry First?
When you work with fondant, the heat from your hands and whatever tools you are using can make the fondant flexible and sticky. Letting it dry ensures the bond forms between different layers. This makes the fondant harden ,and creates a piece you can work with more easily.
Should You Eat Or Discard the Fondant?
You can absolutely eat fondant! Some people don’t like the sweet, sugary taste, but it’s really up to your personal preference.
Can You Make These Into Mini Cupcakes?
Sure, you can shrink these down. However, all the icing you used on the bigger sizes may not fit. Sticking with the star tip is probably enough frosting for a mini version. Although truth be told, I’ve yet to meet a cupcake with too much frosting for me!
How To Swirl Frosting
If you’re apprehensive about putting all those frostings into one bag to create the swirl effect, there are a few other ways to accomplish the same appearance. One way is to put two piping bags into one larger piping bag. For instance, two 12-inch bags inside a larger 18-inch bag. If you don’t have piping bags, you can also use plastic wrap and a freezer bag. #icinghack But if you really like that subtle ombre transition of colors, putting all the colors into one bag is your best bet.
What If I Can’t Find the Unicorn Horns at Hobby Lobby?
If you don’t have a Hobby Lobby near you, or your Hobby Lobby is out of the transferable unicorn horns, you can always make your own with fondant. Simply get a very small ball of fondant and roll it out into a snake shape, keeping the middle a little fatter than the ends. Then put the two ends together (but don’t fold it by creasing it in the middle) and start twisting from the fatter end. Remember to let it dry! Also, you can do the same thing with edible gum paste.
Finally, if you’re not into making your own, places like Amazon may have something similar in stock too!
For the Cupcakes
- 1 Box French Vanilla Cake Mix
- 3 Eggs
- ½ Cup Unsalted Butter Softened
- 1 Cup Whole Milk
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
For the Frosting
For the Unicorn Ears
- Sprinkle some powdered sugar onto your cutting board ,and rolling pin.
- Roll out half of both colors of fondant to be about ⅛ of an inch thick.
- Using a Wilton 2D icing tip, cut out 36 white round circles.
- Then use a #2 icing tip, cut out 36 pink round circles.
- After that, using the #2 tip again, to cut the pink circle a tad bit smaller.
- Using a paintbrush, brush a really small amount of water onto the white circles.
- Then, place the pink circles into the center of the white circles.
- Next, carefully pick up the white circle and pinch the bottom of the ears.
- Set aside and repeat with remaining 35 circles.
- Allow to dry for about 2 hours.
For the Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, add the cake mix, butter, milk, and vanilla extract.Stir until combined, do not over mix.
- Scoop cupcake batter into the liners, until they are about ¾ of the way full.
- Bake in the oven for about 18-20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
- Cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting/Decorations
- In a large bowl, combine all frosting ingredients adding heavy cream as needed until you reach your desired consistency.
- Once the frosting is made, split it into 3 bowls.
- Add about 2-4 drops of each color:Sky Blue, Purple, and Pink.
- Place the piping bag into a large glass and fold the sides of the bag over.
- Scoop one spoonful of the Sky Blue frosting into one side of piping bag. Then, scoop one spoonful of the Pink frosting into another side of the piping bag. Finally, scoop one spoonful of the Purple frosting onto the other side of the piping bag.
- Repeat steps with a second piping bag.
- Using a star tip, pipe a medium size amount of frosting in the center of the cupcake.
- Using a #195 tip to pipe small dollops of frosting to give added dimension.
- Place the unicorn horn into the center of the frosting.
- Place an ear on both sides of the horn.
- Randomly place a royal icing flower on each cupcake.
Craving more cupcakes?
Cupcakes From Blogs I Love:
Lemon Cupcakes via Crazy For Crust
Strawberry Cupcakes via Celebrating Sweets
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting via Small Town Woman
What do you think of these unicorn cupcakes?