Vibrant colors, whimsical designs, and a magical horn is the name of the game for this beautiful cake creation. Unicorn Cakes have captured the hearts and imaginations of bakers and dessert lovers alike. Why, you may ask? To understand what makes these magical treats great, you must look a little into what a Unicorn Cake is and how you make it.
Unicorn cakes are whimsical creations inspired by the mythical creature. They consist of a light, fluffy sponge cake made with all-purpose flour and topped with smooth buttercream frosting. Fondant decorations and a touch of magic complete these enchanting treats.
Sound great, don’t they? So without further delay, let’s delve into what makes this delicious cake, the type of flour best used to bake it, and lastly, we will look at a great recipe for this magical treat that will surely bring a touch of wonder to your next baking venture!
What Type Of Cake Is A Unicorn Cake?
Unicorn cakes are a whimsical twist on traditional cakes, often featuring vibrant colors, swirling pastel hues, and a touch of glitter or shimmer. Their inspiration comes from the mythical creature known as the unicorn, with its legendary beauty and grace. These cakes are a delightful way to celebrate birthdays and special occasions or add a sprinkle of magic to any day!
The main components of a unicorn cake include:
- Sponge Cake: A light and fluffy base is vital to a unicorn cake. It provides a canvas for colorful decorations and ensures a moist and delicious bite.
- Buttercream Frosting: Smooth, creamy, and often tinted in pastel shades, the buttercream frosting adds flavor and a visually appealing element to the unicorn cake.
- Fondant or Decorative Elements: Unicorn cakes are often adorned with fondant decorations, such as unicorn horns, ears, and flowers, to create that iconic unicorn look. Edible glitters, sprinkles, and edible pearls are often included to add a touch of sparkle and magic.
What Type Of Flour Do You Use When Making A Unicorn Cake?
When choosing the perfect flour for your unicorn cake, you’ll want a versatile option with a tender and light texture. For this, all-purpose flour is an excellent choice. It balances cake flour and bread flour, making it suitable for most cake recipes, including unicorn cakes.
All-purpose flour ensures your cake has the proper structure while maintaining a soft and delicate crumb. It is a blend of hard and soft wheat varieties, which gives it a balanced protein content, typically around 10-12%.
This protein content is crucial because it provides enough protein to give baked goods structure and strength, allowing them to rise while maintaining a tender and delicate crumb.
The Best Unicorn Cake Recipe
Now, it’s time to unleash your inner magical baker and create your unicorn cake! This recipe will direct you through the steps to create a stunning masterpiece that will make hearts flutter and taste buds dance.
Unicorn Cake Ingredients
For the sponge cake:
- 2 ¾ cups (340 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ⅔ cups (340 g) granulated sugar
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- 1 teaspoon baking powder
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- 5 egg whites – room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup (295 ml) buttermilk
- ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Gel food coloring (assorted pastel shades) or colorful sprinkles
- 2 cups (453.6 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups (460 g) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Gel food coloring (assorted pastel shades)
Fondant and Decoration:
- Store-bought or homemade fondant
- Edible glitter, pearls, or sprinkles for decoration
- Preheat the oven to 335º F/168º C – 350º F/177º C. Use the lower setting to prevent the cakes from browning too much on the outside.
- Prepare three 6 “x2” cake pans by greasing them with cake goop or preferred pan spray. Fill the pans about ¾ full with batter, reserving any leftover batter for cupcakes if desired.
- Place the paddle attachment onto the stand mixer, and combine the cake flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, salt, and baking soda, whisking for about 10 seconds.
- Combine ½ cup of milk with the vegetable oil in a separate bowl and set aside.
- Combine the remaining milk, egg whites, and vanilla extract in another bowl, whisking to break up the eggs before setting them aside.
- Add the butter (softened) to the dry ingredients in the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix on low speed until the mixture takes on a sandy texture, resembling coarse sand, for approximately 30 seconds.
- Pour in the milk/oil mixture and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened. Once achieved, increase the speed to medium, mixing for 2 minutes to develop the cake’s structure. This step is essential for preventing the cake from collapsing.
- Scrape the bowl and reduce the mixer speed to low, gradually adding the egg white mixture in three batches, mixing for 15 seconds between additions.
- Divide the cake batter into four bowls. Add 1-2 teaspoons of food coloring to each bowl and stir until just combined. Alternatively, add colorful sprinkles to each bowl.
- Divide the colored batter evenly into the prepared cake pans, baking them for 30 to 35 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick into the center and it emerges clean, without the cake shrinking from the sides.
- Immediately tap the pans firmly on the countertop once to release steam and prevent the cake from shrinking.
- Let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes before flipping them onto a cooling rack to cool completely. You can chill the cakes in the freezer for one hour, wrap them in plastic wrap, and chill them in the refrigerator overnight before use.
- Take a large mixing bowl and beat the softened butter until it turns creamy and smooth.
- Gradually incorporate the powdered sugar into the bowl, adding one cup at a time and making sure to beat well after each addition.
- Stir in the vanilla extract and continue beating until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
- Separate the frosting into individual bowls and add different shades of gel food coloring to each bowl, giving each batch its own unique and vibrant color.
Fondant and Decoration:
- Roll out the fondant on a clean, lightly powdered surface to a thickness of about ¼ inch.
- Use fondant cutters or templates to cut out unicorn horn shapes, ear shapes, and flowers.
- Allow the fondant decorations to dry and harden for a few hours or as per the instructions provided with the fondant.
- Once dry, add details and color using edible glitter, pearls, or sprinkles.
- Place the first layer of the sponge cake on your chosen cake stand or serving plate.
- Spread a thin layer of the colored buttercream frosting on top of the cake layer.
- Repeat with the remaining layers.
- Apply a crumb coat of the colored buttercream frosting around the entire cake.
- Refrigerate the cake for approximately 15 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set.
- Once the crumb coat is set, you can now frost the cake with a final layer of buttercream, smoothing it with an offset spatula.
- Decorate the cake with the fondant unicorn horns, ears, flowers, and additional edible glitter, pearls, or sprinkles as desired.
- Slice, serve, and enjoy the magical masterpiece you’ve created!
Don’t forget to enjoy the process, and let your creativity shine as you decorate your unicorn cake. Each component plays a crucial role in bringing this magical creation to life. Happy baking, and may your unicorn cake be a delightful masterpiece!
Unicorn cakes are a delightful fusion of creativity, whimsy, and deliciousness. Their colorful designs and magical decorations bring joy to any occasion. By using high-quality all-purpose flour, you can ensure that your unicorn cake looks stunning and tastes exceptional. So, roll up your sleeves, grab your baking tools, and embark on a magical baking adventure with the enchanting unicorn cake!