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Unicorn Cake
AMIRAH KASSEM: Unicorn Cake + Cup Cakes + Push Pops
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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Rating:
4.0 (11 rated)

This cake is as cute, colorful and magical as a real unicorn! It is sure to elicit squeals of joy from party guests of all ages. It may look too adorable to eat, but you won't regret cutting the first slice once the rainbow wave of sprinkles comes rushing out to everyone's surprise.

Ingredients

  • Cake

    • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
    • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1½ cups granulated white sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 1⅓ cups milk
    • Food coloring, rainbow colors
    • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Frosting

    • 8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 16 ounces cream cheese, cold
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 32 ounces powdered sugar
    • Food coloring: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, pink and black
  • To Assemble

    • 1¼ cups (3/4 pound) rainbow sprinkle mix
    • 1/2 cup (1/4 pound) star-shaped sprinkles
    • 1 sugar ice cream cone, for the horn
    • 1 tablespoon edible gold paint
    • 1 ounce white chocolate, for the ears
    • White nonpareils, for the coat (optional)

Preparation

For the frosting:

1. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to blend the butter until it is smooth. Add the cream cheese and blend it together until there are no lumps. Then add the vanilla. Stop the mixer and use a spatula to push down anything sticking to the sides of the bowl, making sure it's all mixed in from the sides and everything is smooth.

2. Mix in the powdered sugar a little bit at a time on the lowest speed — otherwise it will fly everywhere! Use the spatula to push down anything sticking to the sides of the bowl, making sure it's all mixed in from the sides and everything is smooth.

3. Dye about 1/2 cup of frosting each pink, purple, blue, green, yellow and orange (for the mane), and 1/4 cup of it black for the face. (You'll want at least 2 cups of colored frostings for her mane. You don't have to use all the colors suggested.) Remember, when coloring frosting, start with a drop of color and add more until it is as bright as you want it to be.

4. For the mane colors, it's easiest to fill several different piping bags with the colored frostings, so that you can easily have them all on hand to pipe swirls in the pattern you like. The rest of the frosting will stay white, for frosting the cake and filling the layers.

For the cake:

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and put the oven rack in the middle of the oven (if you are using a convection oven, set it to 325°F).

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until they are really mixed together. You have to mix all the dry ingredients together first, so that there are no clumps in your batter, which will create white spots. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to blend the butter and sugar together, until they become fluffy. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula so it's all mixed in from the sides.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter-sugar mixture, with the mixer on medium speed. Again, make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.

5. Add the vanilla to the milk and set it aside.

6. Mix about one-third of your dry ingredients into the butter-sugar-egg mixture, then blend in half of the milk, always mixing on medium speed.

7. Mix in the second third of the dry ingredients, then the remaining milk mixture.

8. Stop the mixer for a few seconds and use a spatula to push down anything sticking to the sides of the bowl as you go, then mix in the last of the flour mixture. Make sure it's all mixed in from the sides and everything is smooth. You don't want any lumps, but don't overmix it — stop the mixer as soon as the batter is smooth.

9. Divide the batter evenly into six portions. They don't have to be exactly identical, but you want them to be close: You can use any small bowls that are all the same size: Just slowly pour the batter into each of the bowls a little at a time until they are all at the same height (it's about 1 cup of batter per bowl).

10. Color the batter individually in rainbow colors: We use purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and pink for our six-layer cakes. Start with a tiny drop of food coloring, stir it in completely, then add more until it is your desired color (the baked cake will come out pretty close to what you see — the outside will be a little brown, but that gets covered with frosting).

11. Spray six 6-inch round baking pans with cooking spray, then pour the colored batter into the greased pans.

12. Bake the cakes two at a time for 8 minutes without opening the oven door. Then rotate each pan so the front faces the back. Bake for another 8 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when you insert it into the middle of the cake (cakes are very sensitive. The less you open your oven, the better your cake will come out!).

13. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes (when they're warm, they're really fragile, and that's when they tend to break.) Then flip them over onto a baking sheet or cooling rack and let them cool completely before you frost them.

To assemble:

1. Paint the ice cream cone gold using your edible gold paint.

2. Next make the white chocolate ears. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave in a microwave-safe piping bag and let cool slightly. Pipe two ear shapes onto parchment paper and let cool completely. Once the ears have cooled, flip them over so you have a flat surface and paint a little oval in the center of the round part of the ear with the edible gold paint.

3. Cut holes in the center of 5 of the cakes. Stack the cakes with the holes in the center, frosting between each layer. Fill the hole in the middle with sprinkles and top with the solid cake layer. Frost the entire cake with remaining white frosting. Press white nonpareils onto the sides of the cake (if using).

4. Pipe the different colored frosting to create a rainbow mane. Start with a large frosting swirl in the middle of the "forehead" right where the side meets the top of the cake. Cover the "head with a triangle of multicolored swirls and pipe more down the side of the cake to create a colorful mane.

5. Position the horn, then gently place the ears on top of the cake, with the pointed side up and the gold paint facing forward. Pipe on the black frosting to create the eyes.

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Make Amirah Kassem's colorful unicorn cake

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