Unicorn Cupcakes

Unicorn Cupcakes

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yields: 12 cupcakes

Unicorn desserts are all the rage, but it can seem daunting to create an elaborate, whimsical treat without a pastry degree from culinary school. Luckily, these unicorn cupcakes can be prepared without advanced skills or special tools. In fact, you can transform a classic vanilla cupcake into an impressive mythical creature with just a couple of marshmallows, a dash of sprinkles, and a perfectly placed candle.

The trick is making the unicorn ears. Simply slice a mini marshmallow on the diagonal, then dip the cut side into pink sanding sugar. The sugar will adhere to the sticky side of the marshmallow and these little triangles can be strategically placed on a frosted cupcake as adorable unicorn ears. Also, there's no need to fuss with fondant to make the unicorn horn. Simply place a gold spiral candle between the ears and you are all set.

Kids will flip for these unicorn treats and you'll love how easy and quick they are to decorate. The result is a party win for kids and adults alike. In fact, these unicorn cupcakes are easy enough for kids to decorate themselves at a unicorn-themed celebration. 

Ingredients

  • For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • For the Buttercream Frosting:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 3 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the Unicorn Decorations:
  • Pastel-colored sprinkles
  • Pink sanding sugar
  • 12 mini marshmallows
  • 12 gold spiral candles

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line one 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners.

    Unicorn Cupcake ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. Make the cupcakes. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

    Dry ingredients for cupcakes in a bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. In another bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until light and foamy, about 2 minutes. While beating, gradually pour in the melted butter followed by the vanilla.

    Eggs and sugar in a bowl with melted butter and vanilla in small bowls

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Working in batches, alternately add the flour mixture and the milk to the egg mixture. Do not overmix. 

    Batter ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. Divide the batter evenly into each cup of the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. 

    Unbaked cupcakes in a muffin tin

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. Cool the cupcakes in the tin on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on the rack completely. 

    Cupcakes cooling on a wire rack

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  7. To prepare the frosting, beat the softened butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until no lumps remain. 

    Powdered sugar and butter in bowls

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  8. Add the heavy cream, vanilla, and salt. Beat until combined. 

    Butter and sugar mixture in a bowl with other ingredients on the side

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  9. Place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe a few swirls of frosting on each cupcake. 

    Decorating cupcakes with piping bag

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  10. Decorate the cupcakes with pastel colored sprinkles.

    Adding sprinkles to the frosted cupcakes

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  11. Place a few tablespoons of pink sanding sugar on a plate. Halve each marshmallow on the diagonal, then press the cut side in the sugar to coat.

    Cut mini marshmallows pressed into pink sugar

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  12. Press two marshmallow unicorn ears in place on each cupcake. Place a gold spiral candle between the marshmallow ears on each cupcake to become the unicorn horn.  Serve.

    Decorating Unicorn Cupcakes

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

How to Store

  • Refrigerate until ready to serve. These can be prepared and decorated up to 8 hours before serving.
  • Leftover cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. They keep best without the decorations.

How Do I Make My Cupcakes Look Professional?

It's easier to make professional looking cupcakes with the right tools and a little practice. A piping set makes the icing look much more even and attractive than slathering it on with a knife. Fancy sprinkles and high-quality liners also create a nice, polished look.