How to Decorate a Unicorn Cake With Buttercream

Have you ever caught a glimpse of those enchanting unicorn cakes that seem to have leaped straight out of a fairytale? The mesmerizing swirls of buttercream forming a magical mane, the shimmering horn standing tall amidst an array of pastel colors – it’s hard not to be captivated by their beauty.

But fear not, aspiring cake decorators. With this comprehensive guide on how to decorate a unicorn cake with buttercream, you too can embark on a magical cake decorating adventure and unleash your inner unicorn cake artist.

Unicorn cakes have quickly become one of the most popular trends in the baking world, captivating both children and adults alike. From birthday parties to baby showers, these whimsical creations add an extra touch of magic and wonder to any special occasion. In this article, we will take you step-by-step through the process of creating your very own unicorn masterpiece using the versatile medium of buttercream.

Before we dive into the captivating details of decorating your unicorn cake, it is crucial to gather all the necessary tools and ingredients. Preparation is key for any artistic journey, and cake decorating is no exception.

We will provide you with a comprehensive list of essential tools and equipment needed for this project, ensuring that you have everything at hand to make your creative vision come alive. Additionally, we will walk you through the ingredients required for our delicious buttercream recipe – the heart and soul of any unicorn cake design.

So get ready to set the stage for your magical cake decorating adventure as we unlock the secrets behind creating a stunning unicorn cake with buttercream. Whether you are new to baking or an experienced decorator looking for fresh inspiration, prepare yourself for an enchanting ride filled with creativity and sweet indulgence.

Let us embark together on this whimsical journey – where dreams come true one slice at a time. Stay tuned for the next section, where we delve into gathering your tools and ingredients to prepare for this artistic endeavor.

Gathering Your Tools and Ingredients

To begin your unicorn cake decorating adventure, it’s important to gather all the necessary tools and ingredients. Having the right equipment and ingredients prepared will set you up for success in creating a truly magical masterpiece. Here is a list of essential tools and equipment needed for your unicorn cake journey:

  1. Mixing bowls: These are necessary for combining your dry ingredients and preparing the buttercream.
  2. Electric mixer: To achieve a smooth and fluffy texture for your buttercream, an electric mixer is essential. It will save you time and effort compared to manual mixing.
  3. Rubber spatula: A rubber spatula is useful for scraping down the sides of your mixing bowl, ensuring that all ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. Piping bags and tips: Piping bags will be used to pipe buttercream onto your cake, while tips come in various shapes and sizes to create different designs.
  5. Offset spatula: An offset spatula is perfect for spreading buttercream evenly on your cake, providing a smooth canvas for decorating.
  6. Cake turntable: This rotating platform allows you to easily access all sides of the cake while decorating, ensuring even coverage of buttercream or icing.
  7. Food coloring: Depending on the color scheme you desire for your unicorn cake, select gel food coloring that is vibrant and suitable for use with buttercream.
  8. Edible decorations: To add extra flair to your unicorn cake, consider edible glitter, edible pearls, or sprinkles that align with the magical theme.

Now that you have gathered all the necessary tools, it’s time to ensure you have all the required ingredients to make a delicious buttercream recipe. Here’s a list of basic ingredients needed:

  • Unsalted butter.
  • Powdered sugar (also known as icing sugar).
  • Pure vanilla extract.
  • Whole milk or heavy cream.

Remember to check the specific recipe you are following as it may include additional ingredients or variations in measurements. Once you have all your tools and ingredients ready, you are fully prepared to embark on your artistic journey of creating a stunning unicorn cake.

The Perfect Cake Canvas

The foundation of any great unicorn cake is a moist and fluffy cake base. In this section, we will guide you through the process of baking and preparing the perfect cake canvas for your unicorn creation.

First, gather all the necessary ingredients for your cake batter. Here is a list to get you started:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour.
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder.
  • ½ teaspoon salt.
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened.
  • 2 cups granulated sugar.
  • 4 large eggs.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • 1 cup whole milk.

Once you have assembled all your ingredients, it’s time to start baking. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and prepare your cake pans by greasing them with butter or lining them with parchment paper.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set this dry mixture aside for later use.

In a separate larger bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. You can use an electric mixer for this step to make it easier. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add in the vanilla extract.

Now it’s time to alternate between adding the dry mixture and the milk into the creamed butter mixture. Start by adding about one-third of the dry mixture into the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Next, add half of the milk and mix again. Repeat this process until all ingredients are incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between your prepared cake pans, smoothing out the tops with a spatula or back of a spoon. Place them in the preheated oven and bake for around 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Once baked, let your cakes cool in their pans on wire racks for about 10 minutes. Then carefully remove them from the pans and allow them to cool completely before decorating.

Preparing your cake base is crucial for achieving a smooth decorating process. Make sure to level the tops of your cakes with a serrated knife or cake leveler if necessary, so they stack evenly. If you want to create multiple layers, now is the time to slice each cake in half horizontally.

By following these steps, you will have a delicious and perfectly baked cake ready to be transformed into a magical unicorn masterpiece.

Building the Unicorn

Once you have baked and prepared your cake base, it’s time to move on to the exciting step of layering and filling your cake. This process not only adds depth and flavor to your unicorn cake but also allows you to get creative with unicorn-themed fillings or surprises.

To begin, carefully level your cake layers using a serrated knife or a cake leveler. This will ensure that each layer is even and provides a stable foundation for the rest of the decorating process. Once leveled, you can start layering your cake by placing a thin layer of buttercream on top of each layer.

When it comes to filling your unicorn cake, there are endless possibilities. You can stick to classic flavors like vanilla or chocolate buttercream, or get adventurous with fruity fillings such as strawberry or lemon curd. For an extra touch of magic, consider adding rainbow sprinkles or crushed candies between the layers for a surprise burst of color and texture when cutting into the cake.

As you stack your cake layers on top of each other, make sure to press down gently to ensure stability while keeping the filling intact. Take care not to overfill the layers as this may cause them to bulge or collapse under the weight. Finally, once all layers are stacked and filled, give the entire cake a crumb coat of buttercream before moving onto the next step in decorating your beautiful unicorn creation.

Overall, building the unicorn by layering and filling your cake is an opportunity to infuse creativity in every bite. Whether it’s through unique flavor combinations or surprising hidden elements within each layer, this step adds another magical dimension to your unicorn cake masterpiece that is sure to impress all who behold it.

Mastering Buttercream

One of the key factors in creating a beautiful unicorn cake is achieving the ideal consistency of buttercream for decorating. The texture and stiffness of the buttercream will determine how well it holds its shape when piping and creating designs on the cake. Here are some detailed instructions and tips for mastering buttercream and achieving the perfect consistency:

  1. Start with the right ingredients: To achieve a smooth and stable buttercream, use room temperature unsalted butter. It’s important that the butter is not too soft or melted, as this can result in a runny consistency. Sift your powdered sugar to avoid any lumps in your buttercream.
  2. Creaming the butter: Begin by beating the softened butter in a mixing bowl until it becomes light and creamy. This process usually takes around 3-5 minutes on medium speed.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar: Slowly add in sifted powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, while continuously mixing on low speed. This helps prevent any clumps and ensures a smooth texture.
  4. Incorporate flavorings and liquid: Once all the powdered sugar is incorporated, add any desired flavorings such as vanilla extract or almond extract. You can also add small amounts of liquid (such as milk or heavy cream) to achieve your desired consistency.
  5. Adjusting consistency: If your buttercream is too stiff, you can gradually add more liquid (a little at a time) until it reaches the desired piping consistency. On the other hand, if your frosting is too runny, gradually add more powdered sugar until it thickens up.
  6. Test before piping: Before you start decorating your cake, it’s important to do a quick test by piping a small amount of buttercream onto parchment paper or a plate to ensure that it holds its shape without spreading or collapsing.
Making Christmas Cake Decorations

By following these steps and adjusting the ingredients accordingly, you will be able to master buttercream and achieve the ideal consistency for decorating your unicorn cake. Remember to practice and experiment with different techniques to bring your creative vision to life on top of the cake canvas.

Covering Your Unicorn in Fluffy Magic

In order to achieve a flawless final result for your unicorn cake, it is essential to cover it in a crumb coat and then apply a smooth layer of icing. The crumb coat will help trap any loose crumbs from the cake, creating a smooth surface to work with. This process will also ensure that your final buttercream layer looks seamless and professional.

To begin the crumb coating process, you will need a small offset spatula or butter knife to apply a thin layer of buttercream all over the cake. This initial layer should be thinly spread and does not need to be perfect. Its purpose is to act as a barrier, trapping any crumbs before the final layer of icing is applied.

Once the crumb coat has been applied, place the cake in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes. This will allow the buttercream to firm up and make it easier to apply the final layer of icing without disturbing the crumbs.

For achieving a smooth and even buttercream coat on your unicorn cake, prepare a batch of fresh buttercream frosting. Using an offset spatula or a bench scraper, spread a generous amount of buttercream onto the chilled cake. Start by applying it on top and gradually work your way down the sides, making sure every inch of the cake is covered evenly.

Smooth out the icing using long strokes with an offset spatula or bench scraper held parallel to the cake’s surface. Keep rotating the turntable as you go along for better control and coverage. If needed, you can dip your utensil into hot water and dry it off before continuing to create an even smoother finish.

Crumb CoatingSmooth Icing
The first step in covering your unicorn cakeCreating a seamless and professional look
Traps loose crumbs with a thin layer of buttercreamApplies a generous amount of buttercream smoothly and evenly
Firms up the buttercream in the refrigerator before applying final layerSmooths out icing using long, parallel strokes with an offset spatula or bench scraper

Bringing the Unicorn to Life

Piping Techniques: Creating the Unicorn’s Features

Once you have achieved a smooth and even buttercream coat on your unicorn cake, it’s time to bring it to life with piping techniques. Piping allows you to create the magical features that make a unicorn cake truly enchanting. Here are some techniques you can use:

  1. Mane: Use a star tip to pipe buttercream in various colors along the top of the cake, creating the unicorn’s mane. Start by piping one color at a time, making sure to vary the lengths and thicknesses of the “hair” for a realistic look. Gradually transition between colors to create an ombre effect.
  2. Horn: To pipe the unicorn’s horn, use a small round tip or a cone-shaped tip. Start at the base of where you want the horn to be and pipe gradually upwards, making it thinner towards the top. Add details such as swirls or lines using a thin round tip.
  3. Eyes and Nose: Use small round tips or writing tips to pipe the eyes and nose of the unicorn onto the cake. You can pipe simple circles for eyes, or get creative with eyelash details or colored irises by mixing colored buttercream into white.
  4. Ears: Pipe two triangular shapes onto either side of the top of the cake for ears, using either large drop flower tips or petal tips depending on your desired ear shape. You can add more detail by piping smaller petals inside each ear.

Decorative Elements: Adding Extra Magic

To elevate your unicorn cake from beautiful to truly magical, consider incorporating decorative elements such as edible glitter, edible pearls, or other edible accents. These elements will add sparkle and shine to your creation.

  1. Edible Glitter: Sprinkle some edible glitter over your unicorn’s mane or horn to give them an extra touch of magic. You can find edible glitter in various colors and sizes at specialty baking stores or online. Simply sprinkle it over the desired areas once you have finished piping.
  2. Edible Pearls: Place edible pearls along the unicorn’s mane to create a stunning effect. You can use pearls in one color or opt for a mix of colors for a more vibrant look. Gently press them into the buttercream after piping the mane.
  3. Fondant Details: If you want to add more intricate details to your unicorn cake, consider using fondant to create elements such as flowers, stars, or bows. Roll out fondant and cut out your desired shapes, then place them onto the cake once the buttercream has slightly hardened.

Remember, decorating a unicorn cake is all about embracing your creativity and letting your imagination run wild. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different piping techniques and decorative elements to make your unicorn truly unique and magical.

Stay tuned for the next section where we will explore techniques on adding shimmer or iridescent effects to elevate the magical appearance of your unicorn cake.

Adding the Final Sparkle

When it comes to decorating a unicorn cake, adding vibrant colors and shimmering effects is essential to truly bring the magical creature to life. In this section, we will explore different techniques for coloring buttercream and incorporating shimmer or iridescent effects that will elevate the appearance of your unicorn cake.

Techniques for Coloring Buttercream

Coloring the buttercream is an important step in creating a visually stunning unicorn cake. To achieve vibrant colors, it is best to use gel food coloring rather than liquid food coloring. Gel food coloring is highly concentrated and does not affect the consistency of the buttercream as much as liquid food coloring does.

Begin by adding a small amount of gel food coloring to your buttercream icing. Use a toothpick or a small spatula to mix the color in thoroughly. If you desire a more intense shade, gradually add more gel food coloring until you reach your desired hue. Remember, it’s easier to add more color than it is to lighten the shade once it becomes too dark.

Adding Shimmer or Iridescent Effects

To create an ethereal shimmer on your unicorn cake, you can use edible lustre dust or pearl dust. These dusts come in various shades and provide an iridescent finish when applied to buttercream.

After finishing your crumb coat and smooth icing, lightly brush the lustre or pearl dust onto certain areas of your cake using a clean dry brush. Focus on areas that require extra sparkle, such as the unicorn horn or any decorative elements like flowers or stars. Gently tap off any excess dust.

For an all-over shimmery effect, mix some lustre or pearl dust with vodka or lemon extract to create a paint-like consistency. Use a clean brush to apply this mixture evenly across the entire surface of your cake.

Remember that these dusts are often tasteless, so they won’t affect the flavor of your cake. However, it’s a good idea to test them on a small sample of buttercream before applying them to your entire cake, as some brands may have a slightly chalky taste.

By incorporating these coloring and shimmering techniques, you can transform your unicorn cake into a dazzling work of art that will impress everyone who lays eyes on it. Now that we’ve covered the final touches, let’s move on to the next section: “Capturing the Moment: Tips for Presenting and Photographing Your Unicorn Cake”.

Capturing the Moment

As you put the finishing touches on your beautifully decorated unicorn cake, it’s time to capture the moment and showcase your masterpiece. Presentation and photography play a significant role in highlighting the cake’s magical appearance and ensuring that every detail is appreciated. Here are some essential tips for presenting and photographing your unicorn cake:

Creating a visually appealing cake display

When it comes to presenting your unicorn cake, a well-thought-out display can enhance its enchanting allure. Consider these tips:

  1. Choose an appropriate backdrop: Set up your cake on a clean and clutter-free surface that complements the colors and theme of the cake. A plain white tablecloth or a light pastel-colored background can provide an excellent contrast.
  2. Use pedestal stands or cake plates: Elevate your unicorn cake by placing it on a decorative pedestal stand or a beautiful cake plate. This adds height to the display and enables guests to fully appreciate the intricate details of the design.
  3. Decorate with accent pieces: To further enhance the magical atmosphere, consider adding small embellishments or decorations around the base of the cake. Fresh flowers, edible flowers, or themed figurines can add an extra touch of whimsy.
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Photography tips for capturing the magic

Taking high-quality photos of your unicorn cake allows you to immortalize its beauty and share it with others. Here are some tips to help you achieve stunning photographs:

  1. Lighting is key: Natural lighting is ideal for capturing the true colors and details of your cake. Set up your shoot near a large window or in an area with ample natural light. Avoid direct sunlight as it can cast harsh shadows.
  2. Find the perfect angle: Experiment with different angles to find the one that best showcases your unicorn cake’s design elements. Try shooting from different heights, such as eye level or slightly above, to capture various perspectives.
  3. Focus on the details: Zoom in and capture close-up shots of the cake’s distinctive features, such as the unicorn’s horn or intricate piping. These shots allow viewers to appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship that went into creating your cake.
  4. Use props sparingly: While props can add interest to your photos, avoid overwhelming the focus on your unicorn cake. Choose minimal and complementary props such as sprinkle-filled bowls, a glittery tablecloth, or a pastel-colored backdrop.

Remember, capturing the moment is not just about taking stunning photographs; it’s also about savoring the experience of creating and sharing your unicorn cake masterpiece. So take your time, enjoy the process, and let your creativity shine through with every click of the camera shutter.

Sharing the Magic

One of the most exciting parts of decorating a unicorn cake is finally getting to share and enjoy your creation. Whether it’s for a birthday party, a baby shower, or just a special treat for yourself, serving the unicorn cake adds to the overall experience. Here are some ideas and tips on how to make the serving and enjoyment of your unicorn cake truly magical:

Presentation is key when it comes to serving a unicorn cake. Consider setting up a themed dessert table with decorations that match the whimsical nature of the cake. Use pastel colors, glittery accents, and maybe even some unicorn-themed props or figurines to create an enchanting display. It’s all about creating an immersive experience for everyone who gets to indulge in your unicorn masterpiece.

When it comes time to slice and serve the cake, keep in mind that each slice should be as impressive as the whole cake itself. Make sure you have a sharp, clean knife to ensure smooth cuts through the buttercream frosting without causing any damage to the design. You can also use a small offset spatula or palette knife to help lift each slice onto individual plates.

To really wow your guests, consider adding some extra flair when presenting each slice of unicorn cake. This could include sprinkling edible glitter or shimmering sugar over each slice, using edible pearl decorations as toppings, or even adding a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream on the side. The goal is to make every bite feel magical and memorable.

Finally, remember to enjoy every moment of sharing your unicorn cake with others. Seeing their faces light up with delight as they take their first bites will be incredibly rewarding. Take pride in your artistic achievement and savor each taste alongside those you love.

Presentation IdeaDescription
Pastel-colored tableclothSet the cake on a pastel-colored tablecloth to create a dreamy atmosphere.
Unicorn cake topperAdd a unicorn cake topper or figurine as a decorative centerpiece.
Decorative dessert standsUse decorative dessert stands or cake pedestals to elevate the cake and create visual interest.
Edible glitterSprinkle edible glitter over each slice for an extra touch of magic.
Edible pearl decorationsAdd edible pearl decorations on top of each slice to make it look more elegant and enchanting.

Serving and enjoying your unicorn cake is the perfect culmination of all your hard work and creativity. It’s a moment to be celebrated and cherished, so make sure to go all out in creating an enchanting presentation and adding those special finishing touches that will truly make your unicorn cake shine.


Decorating a unicorn cake with buttercream is a truly magical journey that allows you to unleash your creativity and inner artist. Throughout this article, we have covered everything from gathering the necessary tools and ingredients to achieving the ideal consistency of buttercream. We have explored techniques for covering the cake in smooth icing, creating decorative elements, adding color and shimmering effects, and even capturing the moment through photography.

Now that you have all the knowledge and skills needed to create a stunning unicorn cake, it’s time to let your imagination run wild. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different piping techniques, try out unique fillings or surprises, and incorporate edible decorations that make your creation truly stand out. The possibilities are endless when it comes to designing a unicorn cake that reflects your own artistic style.

Remember, this journey is not just about the end result but also about the joy of creating something magical from scratch. Embrace any imperfections along the way as they add charm and character to your creation. Whether you are making a unicorn cake for a special occasion or simply as an expression of your creativity, enjoy every step of the process and take pride in your masterpiece.

So go ahead and let your unicorn cake decorating creativity soar. With these tips and techniques, there’s no limit to what you can create.

Bring joy and enchantment to those around you by sharing the magic of a homemade unicorn cake made with love. Now it’s time to gather your tools, whip up some buttercream frosting, and start creating your very own whimsical masterpiece – may it be filled with sweetness, sparkle, and most importantly, a touch of pure magic.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to frost unicorn cake?

To frost a unicorn cake, start by preparing the cake with a crumb coat. This involves applying a thin layer of frosting to seal in any loose crumbs. Once the crumb coat has set, you can apply a thicker layer of buttercream frosting over the entire cake using an offset spatula or a cake scraper to create a smooth surface.

For a unicorn-inspired design, you can play around with various colors of buttercream and use different piping techniques, such as rosettes or swirls, to create a mane-like effect on top of the cake. You can also add edible decorations like edible pearls, sprinkles, or fondant shapes to enhance the unicorn theme.

How do you decorate a cake with buttercream for beginners?

Decorating a cake with buttercream for beginners involves a few essential steps. First, ensure that your cake has cooled down completely before starting any decorations. Using an offset spatula or piping bag fitted with a round tip, apply an even layer of buttercream onto the top and sides of your cake.

Start by adding more frosting towards the center and gently work your way outwards while rotating the cake on a turntable for smoother coverage. Afterward, you can experiment with different piping techniques like rosettes or basic dots around the edges of your cake to add texture and visual interest. Remember that practice makes perfect when it comes to working with buttercream, so don’t be discouraged if your first attempts are not flawless.

What tips to use for unicorn cake?

When it comes to creating a unicorn cake, there are several tips that can help achieve desired results. Firstly, using gel food coloring is recommended as it provides vibrant and consistent colors without altering the consistency of your buttercream too much. Additionally, having various piping tips at hand allows for versatility in creating different textures and shapes on your unicorn design—tips such as star tips for fur-like effects or closed star tips for creating borders or roses work well here.

It’s important to consider practicing different piping techniques beforehand to get comfortable with your piping bags and incorporate different elements into your unicorn cake design. Finally, using edible decorations like gold or silver luster dust, edible glitter, or even edible sequins can add a touch of magic and sparkle to your creation.

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