Two things that are magical: Unicorns, and me working with fondant and not cursing (much).
Sure, there may have been a little bit of cursing, but you guys! I WORKED WITH FONDANT AND WASN'T (overly) ANGRY!!! Maybe it was because I had a little better idea of what to do this time, so there wasn't a repeat of the infamous Harley Quinn Incident of 2016. Or maybe it was because this time I was making a unicorn cake for an adorable 6 year old girl.
That's probably it.
Avery is my coworker's daughter, and she is wonderful. And seriously - who could be homicidal whilst making a unicorn cake for a girl that cute?! Look at her little unicorn dress and everything!
Even my 'Never-Fondant' self ended up thoroughly enjoying making this cake for her.
So here's how it went down.
I did a lot of online research (mainly YouTube and the Google) to see how people formed their unicorn horns and ears, how they decorated the cakes, how they did the eyes, etc. I ended up kinda taking bits and pieces of several cakes and melding them together.
Most importantly: I started the fondant process DAYS early. Like the-birthday-party-was-on-a-Saturday-and-I-made-the-stuff-on-Tuesday early. I was not going to risk it being soft and falling over. No one likes a limp unicorn horn, after all.
Pretty much every cake I found online had a different method of how to make the horn. I wasn't sure going in how I was going to do it - I just knew I wanted it uncomplicated. And, to put it delicately, a lot of the horns I saw online ended up looking.... inappropriate. Kind of like something your Aunt Karen might order from a late night infomercial, if you know what I mean. And that's not an exaggeration. Just trust me when I say that a unicorn horn on a child's cake is one of those things you really really need to shape correctly. I ended up using the simplest-looking technique, made sure the shape was right, and ended up pretty happy with the results. And there was no mistaking it for anything untoward.
I used boxed white fondant and took a chunk off, then kneaded it in my hands for a bit to soften it up. I rolled it into a long, skinny log thing, making it thinner on one end and thicker on the other .
I didn't do a very good job of the gradual thin-to-thick thing, but it still ended up working well.
Starting with the skinnier end, I began wrapping it around a wooden skewer. I put a little bit of water on the skewer because I heard that would help the fondant stick. I also put a bit on the parts where the fondant came into contact with itself. It definitely didn't help it stick in the immediate, but it may have helped in the end. Its hard to know.
I wrapped it around until it was the right size, then secured it at the bottom with some clippies I had on hand. With the fondant not sticking to itself right away, it was wanting to unravel and come apart. Putting the clippies on the bottom kept everything squished up where it needed to be.
Speaking of size, be mindful of the cake size you're making. This was a 6" cake so I didn't want a ginormous horn and ears. Not only would it look terrible, but it would probably fall over. I flipped the empty cake pan upside down and used it to gauge how big I was going to go with it. That really helped.
For the ears, I saw lots of ideas - one of the more common ones used rolled-out fondant and a heart shaped cookie cutter. While they looked super cute, I couldn't get the skewer in them and didn't know how else to get them to stand up on the cake. I got frustrated pretty quickly and gave up on it. I opted to just shape my own ears - basically thick rounded triangles with an indentation in the middle. It was actually pretty quick and easy to do. So I stuck the skewers in and let everything dry for about 2 days before I started the painting process.
Again - not perfect. But they ended up looking pretty good at the end.
Once Thursday rolled around, I mixed some gold lustre dust with vodka to make a metallic gold "paint" and put a good coat on the horn and in the middle of the ears. I put on a 2nd coat the next day to make sure the color was nice and vibrant.
My little clippie & mug system worked really well for the paint drying process, too. Made me feel kinda MacGyver-ish.
This is the point where the timing got difficult for me. I work graveyard shift starting Thursday nights, so I had to figure out when to make the cake and cupcakes, when to make the frosting, and when to decorate everything. I won't bore you with the details, I'll just say that I had to get a bit creative with my time management.
Thursday was spent making the cakes, cupcakes and 3 huge batches of frosting. Like 12 sticks of butter and 3 2-lb bags of powdered sugar huge. I stacked and frosted the cake and got all of my frosting tinted and sealed tightly in bags. So, once Friday came along, I was ready to decorate.
I used 16" decorating bags and varied my decorating tips. I started by piping a big rose right up front, with 2 slightly smaller ones on either side. That gave me my center point. I then continued piping roses, swirlies, dollops and stars on the top and back, and brought it around the side a bit like a mane.
For the eyes, I was worried that they would end up uneven or differently sized, so I made a little guide with some foil and my fondant roller.
I used heavy duty foil, folded over a few times, then kinda stamped it into the frosting. This ensured that the eyes would be the same size. Then all I had to do was pipe a little bit of black frosting on there and add a couple of eyelashes. My hands were a little shaky during the black frosting part, so that definitely could have turned out better. And no, I wasn't sipping the vodka. I was just tired.
One thing I wish I'd done was do the eyes AFTER starting the mane - I felt like the eyes should have been a bit lower. It was just really hard to gauge that on a blank cake. I purposely wrote these instructions in the order I wish I had done it, just to emphasize that point. Lesson learned.
Another thing I wish I'd done was put the horn and ears on before piping on the flowers. I had to fix a few spots because they squished some of the ones I'd done.
Imperfections aside, I was really happy with how it turned out.
The cupcakes were easy peasy because of these adorable cupcake papers & toppers that Avery's mom found on Amazon. I decided to keep the frosting white and just do a simple dollop of frosting, since there was already so much going on with the decorations. Tinted frosting would have been overkill. Keeping the frosting white also tied them in with the cake, which I liked. There were 2 styles of cupcake paper, and each one was reversible. There were also 2 styles of horn decoration included. I alternated between 2 combinations - I felt like using all 4 would look too disjointed.
As if that isn't unicorn-fabulous enough, her mom even managed to find matching goodie bags. She's a lucky little girl with a pretty awesome mom.
Seeing Avery's face when I brought the cake in was absolutely priceless! Its honestly one of the best feelings in the world, making a kiddo happy like that. Especially when its such a sweet and polite little girl.
I knew she liked it, but I had to laugh that night when I saw her mom at work. Apparently Avery wouldn't let her cut into the cake - she liked it too much and wanted to keep it intact. She told her mom that she needed to sleep on it that night to "figure out her options." By the next night, little Avery reluctantly gave in and had a slice.
Pretty stinkin cute.
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Here are links to some of the stuff you've seen on here, just in case you want your own unicorn-fabulous party.
Avery's mom said she got the plates, napkins, balloons, horns, tablecloth and other accessories from Party America.
DISCLAIMER: These are Amazon affiliate links, so there's a chance I could make $ if you buy stuff after clicking on them. A slim chance, but a chance nonetheless.