How to make Unicorn Cake without Fondant

January 01, 2017

unicorn cake

unicorn cake

Happy 2017! Many food trends came and went in 2016, but the trend that I simply couldn't resist and had to join the bandwagon is... the magical UNICORN CAKE. Thank you to the baker who first created this design - simple, but equally enchanting. 

Most of the unicorn cake recipes requires the use of fondant for the decoration. While I'm not a fan of fondant, I really wanted to try my hand at making it. Thus, here's my version of a unicorn cake without fondant. In replacement of fondant, the horn is made with a banana covered in buttercream. Ears are cookies covered with cream. 

I went the extra mile and made buttercream roses and meringue kisses for decoration, as they add a delicate and whimsical touch. You can leave this out and pipe swirls using a star tip and buttercream. 

This cake requires a bit of effort, but it's totally worth the magic. ♥

by Sumopocky

5 layer, 6 inch cake

2 x 6" cake pan
1 wooden stick
(for adhering unicorn horn, about chopstick thickness)
Piping bags and piping tips

P.S. Double the recipe for sponge cake or chocolate sponge cake if you only want one flavour of sponge

[For Vanilla  Sponge Cake]
2 Eggs
80g of Caster sugar
6ml of Condensed milk
70g of Cake flour
20ml of Unsalted Butter (melted)
20ml of Milk

[For Chocolate Sponge Cake]
2 Egg yolks 
50g of Caster sugar
60g of Self-raising flour
1/4 tsp of Baking powder
1/4 tsp of Baking soda
25ml of Vegetable oil
1/2 tsp of Vanilla essence
A pinch of Salt
2 Egg whites 
30g of Caster sugar
15g Cocoa powder + 60g of Hot water – combine and stir till smooth

[For Chocolate Buttercream]
180g of Unsalted butter (softened)
150g of Icing sugar
1 tsp of Vanilla essence
80g of Bittersweet chocolate chips

[For Cream]
150ml of Heavy cream
2 tbsp of Caster sugar
1 tsp of Vanilla essence

[For Buttercream Decoration]
80g of Unsalted butter (softened)
50g of Icing sugar
1/4 tsp of Vanilla essence
Red food colouring

[For Buttercream Rose]

[To Assemble]
1 Banana
Cookies, trimmed to shape of ears
Melted chocolate in piping bag with small tip

[For Vanilla Sponge Cake]
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F). Then, in a metal bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and condensed milk over a pot of simmering water until the sugar has completed dissolved.
2. Remove the bowl from heat and use an electric mixer on high speed. Beat till the mixture becomes whitish and foamy.
3. Sieve in the cake flour and fold in with a spatula.
4. Pour in the melted butter and milk, and fold till combined.
5. Line a 6" baking pan with parchment paper and pour in batter. Tap the cake pan against the table to remove air bubbles.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for around 40 - 45 minutes. Use a toothpick to check if it's done (it should come out clean after piercing the cake). Once baked, remove from oven and tap against the table a few times to prevent shrinking. Let it cool before slicing into 2 layers.

[For Chocolate Sponge Cake]
1. Preheat oven to 176°C (349°F)
2. Mix egg yolks, sugar, oil, self-raising flour, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla essence into a mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon.
3. Add in cocoa mixture and stir together till smooth.
4. Beat egg white for 2 min, then pour in sugar gradually till egg white becomes fluffy but not too stiff.
5. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture. Do not over mix otherwise the egg white will be deflated and the cake will sink. Pour mixture into a cake tin and bake for about 50 minutes or till cake tester comes out clean.
6. Cool the cake on wire rack and then slice into 3 layers.

[For Chocolate Buttercream]
1. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave over a water bath or in a microwave (30 second bursts, stirring between each time).
2. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and icing sugar till white and fluffy.
3. Add the vanilla essence, followed by melted chocolate, and combine well. Set aside. 

[For Cream]
1. In an mixer, beat heavy cream, sugar and vanilla essence on high speed till medium peaks form. Set aside.

[For Buttercream Decoration]
1. With the electric mixer on high speed, beat the butter till it is white and fluffy.
2. Sift in the icing sugar, and mix well.
3. Add the vanilla essence.
4. Split the buttercream in half, and add red food colouring to one of the halves to get pink.
5. Transfer some of the pink buttercream to a piping bag with a small tip, set aside.
6. Place a star tip in the piping bag. Then, using a spatula, gradually build up the buttercream with pink on the left of the piping bag, and white on the right. The piping bag should be filled with 2 colours longitudinally. Set aside.

[To Assemble]
1. On a cake board, spread a bit of chocolate buttercream and place the first cake layer. Spread a layer of chocolate buttercream, and add the next cake layer, alternating between the vanilla and chocolate sponge cake.
2. Crumb coat the cake with cream by covering the cake with just a thin layer of cream, scraping off any excess. Then, let it set in the freezer for 10 minutes.
3. Remove the cake from the freezer, and cover with cream.
4. Trim some cookies to the shape of the unicorn's ears (I used macaron cookie shells for mine). Insert into the top of the cake, and cover with cream. Use pink buttercream to decorate the inner ears.
5. Peel the banana and cut it in half (adjust the length based on the size of your banana). Trim the banana to get a cone-like shape. Make sure not to over-do it, as the banana might break when you insert the wooden stick. It does not have to be a perfect cone, and can still be a bit squarish on top. This is fine, as it can be covered with buttercream later on.
6. Insert the wooden stick into the cake (The portion protruding out should not be longer than the banana. Cut the stick if needed). Then, insert the banana. This is the horn.
7. Cover the horn with pink buttercream and use a small knife or butterknife to make swirl patterns.
8. Create the unicorn's mane with buttercream roses. With the star tip piping bag, make swirls and other designs as desired. You can choose to add meringue kisses too!
9. Draw the eyes of the unicorn using melted chocolate in a piping bag with a small tip.
10. Enjoy the unicorn magic!

unicorn cake

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