Tummy Thursday Special: Dreaming Unicorn Cake

As promised, this Tummy Thursday will be a big one.

#1 finally decided to celebrate her birthday and wanted a unicorn cake. I’m always happy to oblige. One of the nicer aspects of having kids is having an excuse for fancy caks.

This time I’ll actually walk you through all the steps and recipes, which means a ton of pics, so be warned when you click below the fold.

Finished cake

Dreaming Unicorn Cake
©Giliell, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

First step, bake a cake. For all recipes here I use Yolanda’s from How to cake it. Her videos are fun and instructive and her stuff generally works as said. I used a simple vanilla cake recipe, but added some lavender flowers for a truly magical taste.

First problem: I only have a 12″ pan or a 6″ pan when I would need a 9″ pan, that’s why the whole cake is a bit flat. I didn’t want to bake a double recipe because who’s going to eat all that?

Baked cake in a pan

You can still see the lavender on top.
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Another thing I made was “ice cream cones”. they’re really easy to make alongside such a cake and the kids loved them. Simply fill some ice cream waffles with a bit of cake batter and bake them, though I would add an extra spoon full of flour the next time, because the batter ran over the edges instead of creating a nice dome.

Ice cream cones with baked batter

Baked cones
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The cones, or better said cups are fairly small and made ideal snacks.

Next I needed to level the cakes and soak them with lemon syrup, which is one part lemon juice, 1 part water, 2 parts sugar boiled. The syrup keeps the cake moist and the lemon sets off the flavours nicely while taking some sweetness out of the whole thing.

Cut cakes

My kitchen is messy. that’s why my life is not on Instagram.
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Then it came to the buttercream. I love Italian meringue buttercream, but to make it, you need the right equipment like a good stand mixer and a candy thermometer. Next problem: my candy thermometer needs at least an inch of liquid in the pot and I underestimated my induction stove top, so my sugar became slightly too hot.

But look at this beautiful meringue.

Meringue in a stand mixer

Fluffy fluffy fluff fluff
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I needed to make more during the course of this and found out that half a recipe works better, even though I have a pretty big bowl (4.5 l)

Next comes adding the butter and I wished that for once in a video they would show that aweful moment when everything falls down and looks like quite a costly mess to have made before it fluffs back up again. Because Serious Panic.


Are you salivating already?
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I tinted most of it purple and put it between the cake layers. I also used a piping bag to make ice cream scoops and then chilled them thoroughly.

Cake with buttercream filling

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Next comes crumb coating. Crumb coating is one of the steps I always thought I could skip but I learned better. Crumb coating means adding a small amount of buttercream or ganache all around the cake that binds the crumbs and then chilling it. It’s very important to work with two bowls and two spatulas: One is clean and goes into your buttercream, the other one is used for the coating. Never dip your working spatula into the buttercream or put “leftovers” back in there or you can save yourself the work.

Crumb coated cake

Perfectly crumb coated
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After chilling I added a thick layer of buttercream to get some height and iced the sides. I would have preferred less on top, but back to square “9”pan”.

Backe with buttercream

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The ice cream was ready by then. I melted some chocolate and let it cool down again. I poured some on the cones and added sprinkles.

Baked i ce cream

Who needs an ice cream truck now?
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While the cake was chilling again, I made the decoration using my moulds for hearts and flowers and my fingers for ears and horn. For the horn rolled a long conical sausage of white fondant (gum paste would probably work better) and then wrapped it around a wooden dowel. Finally I dissolved some gold glitter in vodka and painted it. Don’t worry, the vodka dries off completely. To stabilize the ears I used cake pop plastic thingies.

Fondant hearts and flowers

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Unicorn horn and ears.

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Finally I needed some more buttercream for the mane. This is where it happened. I tried my German household  brand food colouring and fuck that shit.

Curdled buttercream

Gone, gone, gone.
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I needed to make new one anyway as I didn’t have enough. This time I used my special baking colouring and it was much nicer.

First I covered everything in white fondant, then I piped on the mane, painted the eyes with chocolate, assembled everything and voila. Just a few more dashes of gold.

Finished cake

Cake front
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Finished Unicorn cake

Cake side
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Finished Cake

Cake top
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And the rest is silence, because the mouths are full of cake.

Inside of cake

Beautiful, just beautiful ©Giliell, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Slice of cake

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  1. says

    If you’re not a beaver, you should shy away from the wooden dowel, but the rest is absolutely edible, for a “people under 15” or so value of “edible”.
    I love working with fondant, I just on’t like to eat it.

  2. voyager says

    Gorgeous! I wish I could taste, but it also looks delicious. I have to ask, though, are the unicorn balls hiding?

  3. kestrel says

    Magical! What a wonderful cake, #1 must feel pretty special after that. That purple in the middle of the layers is really cool, I like that part a lot. The idea of the ice cream cones is really creative. The whole thing is a visual treat and I bet it tasted good too!

  4. Ice Swimmer says

    That’s a wonderful cake, indeed, which gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Absolutely cute and the horn is bold and proud.

  5. rq says

    This cake. Is saying something to me.
    You are an artist, Giliell. I would not have the patience, but I see the result is worth it.

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