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closeup of a vanilla cupcake with a polka dot wrapper and toppe with cloud white frosting and unicorn horn and ears

Easy Unicorn Cupcakes

  • Author: Patty McGuire
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 15 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Embrace your child’s birthday party request, and bake them easy unicorn cupcakes. If you can bake cupcakes, you can make this adorable treat your child will love.



For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (200g) cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (which means 6768 degrees)
  • 1 cup (200g) caster or superfine sugar sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120g) full-fat sour cream at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk at room temperature
  • American buttercream and sprinkles for decorating (I use something I found in the craft store)

Birthday Cake Frosting

  • 8 tbsp (115g) room temp butter
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) shortening
  • 2 ounces (55 g) cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp (25 g) glucose
  • 1 tbsp (18 g) corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp (12 g) clear vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (200 g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (2 g) kosher salt
  • Pinch (.25 g) baking powder
  • Pinch (.25 g) citric acid, but I used a 1/4 tsp lemon extract


For the Easy Unicorn Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with a few extra liners – this recipe makes between 15 and 18 cupcakes. Set aside.
  2. Whisk and sieve the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Rain in the sugar and beat on medium high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula at least 2 or 3 times in the mixing process here. Add the vanilla at this stage of mixing.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time and allow each to fully incorporate before adding the next one. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in the sour cream. Remember to scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl during this part of mixing.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and then half the buttermilk. When that is incorporated, repeat the first step. Finally, add the the final addition of the dry ingredients. Do not over-mix. Remember to scrape down the sides and the paddle attachment while adding this last part of the recipe. There should be no lumps or unmixed batter, but if there is, whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
  6. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners – fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 19-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The spring back method is a good tool to use with this recipe as the appearance of the cupcakes can be deceptive. Don’t over bake! Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  7. Frost cooled cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. I simply used a reusable piping bag and a Wilton 1M nozzle. Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly.

Easy Unicorn Cupcakes Frosting

  1. Combine the butter, shortening and cream cheese in a large bowl on a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until fluffy and well combined. About 3 minutes.
  2. Scrape down bowl. Turn mixer to low speed and stream in the glucose, corn syrup, lemon extract and vanilla. Turn mixer to medium high and beat mixture another 3 minutes. It should be a smooth glossy white mixture.
  3. Scrape down bowl, add half the dry ingredients and run mixer on low until combined. Stop mixer, scrape down sides and add remaining dry ingredients. Run mixer on low speed until all the sugar is incorporated and then turn mixer to medium high speed and beat 3 minutes.


This recipe bakes about 15 cupcakes so have two pans ready to go.

I lightly spray my liners with Baker’s Joy and find that helps the papers to peel right off the cupcakes with no sticking. It only takes a little!

The frosting in the pictures for this recipe was swirled using a Wilton 1M tip. I love that tip and use it all the time. It really does make piping frosting incredibly easy. You can use a reusable bag like I show in the video or disposable for ease of use.

One final tip I will make is that while the unicorn horns are darling on the cupcakes they are not great on the teeth. I would suggest not trying to eat them, but instead just have them for looks only. Nobody wants an emergency trip to the dentist from breaking a tooth on a party favor.