Unicorn Layer Cake

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A fun Unicorn Cake for a special Unicorn Birthday Party (or just a sweet treat for a unicorn fan), this magical Unicorn Layer Cake is super simple to make at home without any fancy cake decorating experience. 

A super simple and fun Unicorn Layer Cake that you can make at home! You won't believe how easy it is to make your own unicorn cake - perfect for birthdays or a special treat for your unicorn-loving kids

Easy Unicorn Cake Tutorial

One of the most popular party themes right now is unicorns – and that’s a theme I can get behind!

We have dozens of unicorn crafts, recipes and activities on Sugar, Spice and Glitter – and even another unicorn cake… but I wanted to add another version with bright, floral-inspired colors and a flower-decorated mane.

This unicorn cake would be perfect for a unicorn birthday party, but it’s so incredibly simple to make that it could just be a fun afternoon activity for you and your unicorn-loving child to make together. (And really, when is a unicorn cake ever a bad idea?)

While you can make the unicorn horn and ears out of fondant or gum paste, I highly recommend just ordering this re-usable set for $7 from Amazon and saving yourself a lot of work (and potential frustration). AND since they are re-usable, you can use them to transform just about any cake into a unicorn cake. (Or you can be like me and turn ANYTHING into unicorn… unicorn pot roast, unicorn loaf of bread…)

I used a combination of Wilton icing flower transfers and frosting swirls to create the unicorn’s mane. You can make the gumpaste flowers yourself or purchase them pre-made.

All of the frosting techniques used for this cake are simple, with the piping tips doing most of the work for you. If you even make two cakes or cupcakes a year, I highly recommend purchasing a basic piping set like this one – you won’t believe how easy it is to pipe gorgeous decorations yourself using the right equipment!

(For just a bit more, this starter cake decorating set is a crazy good deal – basically everything you will ever need for cake or cupcake decorating is in here!)

You’ll notice that I don’t give exact measurements for the vanilla buttercream frosting’s ingredients. That’s because different brands of butter and powdered sugar can vary and depending on how well sifted your powdered sugar is, it will change the texture of the frosting.

What you are looking for is a light, fluffy frosting that holds soft peaks when the electric beaters are lifted but can be smoothed onto your cake effortlessly. If the frosting sticks to itself or rips the cake, it is too stiff and needs additional liquid (the milk or heavy cream). If the frosting is too soft (seems melted, gloopy or too drippy) it needs more powdered icing sugar.

Be sure to whip the frosting for the length of time indicated below – it will change texture considerably from the first 30 seconds to after the 2 minute mark. Do not add additional ingredients to change the texture until the frosting has been whipped for the full amount of time.

Unicorn Layer Cake Ingredients

  • 2 Boxed Cake Mixes
    • Plus ingredients called for on the boxes
    • Pink, Yellow and Orange Food Coloring

Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients:

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.

Tip: swap out the boxed cake mix for any favorite white cake recipe.

Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful

How to Make a Unicorn Layer Cake

Cake Directions:

Prepare the cakes and cake pans according to package directions.

Divide the cake into three bowls and dye one bowl of batter yellow, one orange and one pink. Dye the batter brighter than you want the finished cakes to turn out as they will fade slightly with baking.

Fold each bowl of batter into an individual pan and bake according to package directions until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool completely before proceeding with decorating. 

If the cakes aren’t flat, use a cake leveler or the floss trick to remove the domed tops from the cakes to make them all flat and even.

Vanilla Buttercream Directions:

Use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and 6 cups of the powdered sugar for 2 minutes.

Add the vanilla and 3 Tablespoons of the milk or heavy cream and beat for 1 minute.

Test the texture of the frosting – it should hold its shape when the beaters are lifted, not be too drippy or wet, but should also not be too stiff that it sticks to itself or rips the cake when spread along the top. Adjust the texture of the frosting by adding additional powdered sugar or cream, as needed.

Scoop 1 cup of frosting into 4 individual bowls (for 4 cups of frosting total).

Dye one bowl pink with a few drops of pink food dye, mixing well until combined. Dye the second bowl yellow, third bowl orange and final bowl green.

Scoop the pink, yellow and orange frostings into piping bags fitted with a star tip. Scoop the green frosting into a piping bag fitted with a leaf tip. Scoop 1 cup of the plain white frosting into a piping bag with a star tip.

Cake Assembly Directions:

Place one cake layer on the cake board and scoop 1 cup of the plain white frosting on top.

Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly just past the edges of the cake’s edge.

Place the second layer of cake ontop of the frosted first layer and scoop 1 cup of frosting on top, spreading evenly.

Place the last layer of the cake on top.

Frost the entire cake with the white frosting. Smooth down with an offset spatula. You can go over the cake twice to create a “crumb coat” and final coat, if desired.

Cake Decorating Directions:

Place the unicorn horn in the center of the cake as a guide. 

Use the piping bags fitted with star tips to create the mane of the unicorn out of frosting dollops.

To make a dollop swirl, place the the tip of the star tip right against the the top of the cake and then gently squeezing as you move the tip away from the cake. Gently flick your wrist away to stop the flow of the frosting to finish making the dollop.

Try to alternate frosting colors and sizes of the dollops.

Insert the unicorn’s ears and eyes onto the cake.

Decorate the unicorn mane with the floral icing transfers.

Use the piping bag with the green frosting to pipe leaves randomly through the mane and beside the floral icing transfers. To do this, apply gentle pressure on the piping bag as you wiggle your wrist back and forth and then flick your wrist away quickly to end the leaf and create a pointed leaf edge.

Cover the cake until ready to serve.

The cake can be refrigerated or kept out at room temperature for up to two days.

 

Pin this Easy Unicorn Cake Tutorial:

How to make a super simple unicorn layer cake that looks like it came straight from the bakery! This unicorn layer cake is perfect for a unicorn birthday party or just a special treat for your unicorn-loving kids

Grab your free printable for our unicorn layer cake tutorial:

Yield: 3 Layer Cake, 10 servings

Unicorn Layer Cake

Unicorn Layer Cake

How to make a super simple unicorn layer cake that looks like it came straight from the bakery! This unicorn layer cake is perfect for a unicorn birthday party or just a special treat for your unicorn-loving kids

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Boxed Cake Mixes
  • Plus Ingredients Called for on Boxes

For the Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 3 cups Butter, softened
  • 9-12 cups Powdered Icing Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 4-6 Tablespoon Heavy Cream or Milk

Instructions

Cake Directions:

  1. Prepare the cakes and cake pans according to package directions.
  2. Divide the cake into three bowls and dye one bowl of batter yellow, one orange and one pink. Dye the batter brighter than you want the finished cakes to turn out as they will fade slightly with baking.
  3. Fold each bowl of batter into an individual pan and bake according to package directions until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Allow the cakes to cool completely before proceeding with decorating. 
  5. If the cakes aren't flat, use a cake leveler or the floss trick to remove the domed tops from the cakes to make them all flat and even.

Vanilla Buttercream Directions:

  1. Use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and 6 cups of the powdered sugar for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the vanilla and 3 Tablespoons of the milk or heavy cream and beat for 1 minute.
  3. Test the texture of the frosting - it should hold its shape when the beaters are lifted, not be too drippy or wet, but should also not be too stiff that it sticks to itself or rips the cake when spread along the top. Adjust the texture of the frosting by adding additional powdered sugar or cream, as needed.
  4. Scoop 1 cup of frosting into 4 individual bowls (for 4 cups of frosting total).
  5. Dye one bowl pink with a few drops of pink food dye, mixing well until combined. Dye the second bowl yellow, third bowl orange and final bowl green.
  6. Scoop the pink, yellow and orange frostings into piping bags fitted with a star tip. Scoop the green frosting into a piping bag fitted with a leaf tip. Scoop 1 cup of the plain white frosting into a piping bag with a star tip.

Cake Assembly Directions:

  1. Place one cake layer on the cake board and scoop 1 cup of the plain white frosting on top.
  2. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly just past the edges of the cake's edge.
  3. Place the second layer of cake ontop of the frosted first layer and scoop 1 cup of frosting on top, spreading evenly.
  4. Place the last layer of the cake on top.
  5. Frost the entire cake with the white frosting. Smooth down with an offset spatula. You can go over the cake twice to create a "crumb coat" and final coat, if desired.

Cake Decorating Directions:

  1. Place the unicorn horn in the center of the cake as a guide. 
  2. Use the piping bags fitted with star tips to create the mane of the unicorn out of frosting dollops.
  3. To make a dollop swirl, place the the tip of the star tip right against the the top of the cake and then gently squeezing as you move the tip away from the cake. Gently flick your wrist away to stop the flow of the frosting to finish making the dollop.
  4. Try to alternate frosting colors and sizes of the dollops.
  5. Insert the unicorn's ears and eyes onto the cake.
  6. Decorate the unicorn mane with the floral icing transfers.
  7. Use the piping bag with the green frosting to pipe leaves randomly through the mane and beside the floral icing transfers. To do this, apply gentle pressure on the piping bag as you wiggle your wrist back and forth and then flick your wrist away quickly to end the leaf and create a pointed leaf edge.
  8. Cover the cake until ready to serve.
  9. The cake can be refrigerated or kept out at room temperature for up to two days.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1547Total Fat: 63gSaturated Fat: 39gTrans Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 158mgSodium: 240mgCarbohydrates: 1273gFiber: 1gSugar: 708gProtein: 6g

Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.

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I hope whoever you make this easy unicorn cake for loves it as much as our special birthday girl did!

For more delicious and easy cake recipes, check out our full collection of cake recipes here:

For more dessert inspiration, check out our full dessert collection here:

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