PROJECT: How To Make A Unicorn Cake, The Sugar and Sponge Way

The influx of unicorn paraphernalia in recent years has become a little overkill. It seems like overnight the whole of the country just became unicorn mad. The craze actually began in around 2016, but for me personally it just seems like yesterday. This mythical creature has adorned the cover of most of the items in my daughters bedroom. From duvet covers to night lights, pencil cases, lip balms, cuddly toys, stickers, pencils notebooks, hairbands … I could go on, but you get the drift don’t you? Basically, it is everywhere! I’m not being a grump about it all because I actually think they are super cute.

At the weekend, I had the pleasure of making a special unicorn cake for a little girl’s 5th birthday. This was a two tier unicorn cake with all the bells and whistles. It was over the top and glamourous but still had a girly vibe to it.

Here’s how I did it …

To start off, I baked my cake sponges – rainbow sponges. I set these aside before preparing all the other bits and pieces for the cake. I prepared the chocolate ganache and also the Swiss meringue buttercream, not to mention the meringue kisses and the unicorn horn, ears and eyes … don’t forget the edible glue and covering the cake board. A lot of preparation goes into making a cake like this.

One of the first things I did was to make the unicorn horn. I rolled out two pieces of white fondant into a long “rope“, narrowing one end to make it a little pointy.

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I tapered the end of each “rope” and with a small knife trimmed of the ends.

I then carefully twisted each fondant rope around each other. By using my fingers I pinched the top of the horn so that it forms a point. To ensure the twist stays taut, I kept twisting the two fondant ropes together. The more you twist the more tighter the twist will become.

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Using a small flat paintbriush dipped in water, I applied this to the joins of the horn. The water makes the fondant stick together.

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I trimmed the end of the horn so that it has a flat base. The horn is approximately 20cm long. You can make the horn as long or as short as you want. I then stuck a couple of skewer sticks through the end of the horn. The fondant horn itself took a few days to harden, so I left it on a lined baking tray and lightly covered it with clingfilm. I set this aside in a safe place until I needed it.

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I also covered my cake board a few days before I needed it. This was just to allow time for the fondant to harden. I never use to cover my cakeboards, but now I just cannot miss this step. The cakeboard really finishes off the cake and becomes part of the cake, part of the whole design.

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I coloured two separate pieces of fondant in purple and pink. I then added some white fondant and twisted the fondants together to form a ball. I then flattened it and rolled it to about 2mm thickness.

I sprayed my cake board with a little water and gently covered the cakeboard with the fondant.

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I used a fondant smoother to smoothen out any air bubbles. Then with a sharp knife, I trimmed the excess fondant off.

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With the fondant still soft, I used my AmyCake Sweet Stamp to emboss the birthday girls name onto the cakeboard.

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I placed the letters onto the fondant then lightly pressed it down so that it leaves an imprint. The acrylic letters are removed and I then lightly covered the whole board with some clingfilm and set it aside.

To make the unicorn ears I rolled out some white and pink fondant. With a sharp knife I cut out some ear shapes. The white ears are a little larger than the pinks shapes. This is so that the pink can fit snuggly on top of the white fondant.

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To secure them with some cocktail sticks, I cut out some smaller white fondant in the same shape as the ears.

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I stuck on the cocktail sticks with some edible glue, then stuck this on to the back of the main ears. I pressed them down firmly.

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The ears were then left to set. I wanted them to have a natural curved shape to them so I placed them on a large rolling pin. I moulded the ears into a curve around the rolling pin and left it to harden.

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With all the preparations done and drying I was able to relax for a couple of days before the big bake.

The sponges of choice for this cake is rainbow. I love making rainbow cakes because I love the vibrancy of the colours. Here I’ve made 10 different vanilla sponges. Four of them are 8″ size sponges and 6 are smaller 6″ size sponges.

For both sponges I crumb coated the cakes to lock in the sponges. They are chilled for 20 minutes.

For the 8″ sponge which wll be the bottom tier of the cake, I had to ganache the cake before covering with fondant. Once covered in fondant, I placed it on to the cake board.

The top tier is quite tall because of the 6 layers of sponge. I filled and stacked these using Swiss meringue buttercream. I covered the cake in a generous layer of buttercream and used a cake smoother to smoothen it, then I set is aside.

For the bottom tier, I wanted to give the cake a lovely elegant look, so I bought some plaque cutters off eBay. I used one of the cutters to cut out some white fondant.

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I imprinted the number 5 using my AmyCake Sweet Stamp letter and number set. I stuck this on to the front of the cake and in the centre. This was painted later.

Now the fun part … well not quite. This is the most tedious part of the whole cake. I wanted the bottom tier to have ruffles … but not just any old ruffles. Ombre ruffles.

I coloured four large pieces  of fondant with pink. Each pink lighter in colour than the last. I put them in a plastic bag so that they didn’t dry out.

I started the ruffles with the darkest pink colour …

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I used a small circle cutter to stamp out lots of little circles. These circles were about 2.5cm in diameter. Each circle is then pinched to form a small flower shape then stuck onto the cake. I had to do this one row at a time.

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By doing one row at a time, I am able to control the ombre effect easier. I prepared my cake by covering it roughly with some white fondant. This will allow the ruffles to stick better to the cake. I did two rows of the darkest pink, then two rows of the next shade and so forth until the ruffles reach the top of the cake.

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Once the ruffles are done, I stacked the cakes. I placed a wooden dowel through the centre of the bottom tier, then slid the 6″ cake through it. I forgot to mention that I made a hole through the cakeboard of the 6″ cake before I stacked and filled it. This made it easy for the cake to sit securely on top.

Once secured, it’s time to bring this unicorn to life.

I made some eyes for the unicorn.

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The eyes are cut out using large round cutters. I cut out a large circle, then a smaller cutter to make a hole in the circle. The hollow circle is then cut in half to make the eye “lids”. Small squared pieces of fondant were cut and then used to make the eye lashes.

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The unicorn horn is then stuck onto the top of the cake with the ears on either side of the cake. I made different shades of meringues and stuck them onto the cake to make the unicorn mane.

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I also made a small quantity of buttercream and coloured it a deep pink. I used the buttercream to fill in the gaps where the meringues touch each other.

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I also sprinkled some white chocolate stars around the unicorn mane for a little magical sparkle.

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Finally, I painted the name and the number 5 with some scarlet coloured food paint. It’s quite tricky to paint these letters. I had to used a number “00” paintbrush to do this. A steady hand and a whole lot of patience later, the cake was completed!

The unicorn horn and ears were painted using edible metallic pink paint. I just love this colour. It’s so shiny and such a beautiful shade.

I thoroughly enjoyed making this cake. It was fun, girly and I think the ombre ruffles looked amazing. All that hard work and patience really paid off.

I was invited to the party of little April-Rae … and everyone was blown away by this beautiful cake. I think my cake was the star of the show … what was the birthday girl’s name again?

Here is the cake in all it’s wonderful glory …

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The front of the cake. I love the colours!

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How pretty is the unicorn mane?

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The ombre effect on the bottow tier with the plaque in the middle is so effective. It was worth all that effort.

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And what about that quiff!?
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Pretty in pink!

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Happy Birthday to Miss April-Rae!

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And what did the rainbow layers look like?

Perfect vanilla sponge layers with luscious Swiss meringue buttercream and sprinkled with lots of unicorn magic.

Hope you enjoyed this weeks blog … more fun next week. See you then!

Love to you all …

~ The Cake Lady xx

2 thoughts on “PROJECT: How To Make A Unicorn Cake, The Sugar and Sponge Way

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