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These easy Unicorn Cupcakes are a great way to treat the special unicorn lover in your life. Boxed cake mix makes the baking a breeze, but it’s really the decorations that make this recipe shine. With pastel rainbow frosting swirls and adorable gold unicorn horns, this adorable dessert looks as magical as it tastes!
These fun and whimsical rainbow unicorn cupcakes may look super impressive, but don’t be intimidated by their fancy appearance – it doesn’t take any actual magic to create these beautiful treats.
This cupcake recipe uses boxed cake mix and bubble gum flavoring to create the perfect cupcakes, then a super easy pastry bag trick to create the colorful frosting swirls (more on that in the recipe instructions).
An easy alternative to a unicorn cake, these are perfect for a children’s birthday party, a baby shower, or a bake sale, these simple unicorn cupcakes also make a great gift. Wherever you take them, you’re sure to see smiles.
Table of Contents
Why We Love This Recipe
Your Kids Will Love It – Kids are fascinated with unicorns, and you’ll be Mom of the Year when you turn your child’s party into a unicorn party with these sparkly, colorful, and delicious unicorn treats.
It’s Adorable – With their beautiful multicolored pastel frosting and confetti candy center, these easy homemade unicorn themed cupcakes are some of the prettiest we’ve ever seen. They’re guaranteed to be a showstopper at your next party or bake sale.
It’s Versatile – The bubble gum flavor does tend to be popular with kids, but almost any flavor will work, so go ahead and substitute a different extract if you’re not a fan of bubble gum (cotton candy or even raspberry extract would be great choices).
For the cupcakes:
- 1 ¼ cups water
- 1 (15.25 oz) white cake mix
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 4 egg whites
- LorAnn Bubble Gum Flavoring
- Pastel mini baking chips
- Cupcake liners
For the frosting:
- 2 sticks salted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons half and half
- LorAnn bubble gum flavor
- Yellow, teal, and pink gel food coloring
- Wilton royal sugar unicorn ears and horn decorations
- White sanding sugar (optional)
- 3 small piping bags
- 1 large piping bag
- 1 large star frosting tip
How to Make Unicorn Cupcakes
To make the cupcakes:
Step 1: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a standard muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or line with cupcake liners.
Step 2: To prepare the cupcakes, add the cake mix to a large mixing bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, mix the oil, water, and egg whites on medium speed until well incorporated.
Step 3: Slowly mix in the bubble gum flavoring. (Note: This flavoring is strong, so start with 1-2 drops, then taste before adding more.)
Step 4: Spoon the cake batter into the muffin cups until each is about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Place the cupcakes on a wire rack and allow them to cool completely to room temperature before adding the candy filling and frosting.
To make the frosting:
Step 1: In a large bowl, use a hand or stand mixer on low speed to cream the butter for about 2 minutes. It should be light and fluffy.
Step 2: Add the vanilla extract, bubble gum flavoring, and salt.
Step 3: Slowly mix in 1 cup of the powdered sugar followed by 1 tablespoon of the half and half. Continue to alternate mixing in the powdered sugar and half and half until the frosting is creamy and stiff peaks have formed.
Step 4: Divide the frosting into 3 separate bowls. Add one color of food coloring to each container, 1 drop at a time, and mix until the desired color is achieved.
Step 5: Add each color of buttercream color to its own small piping or pastry bag. Be sure you leave enough room at the top of the frosting bag to squeeze it.
Step 6: Insert all three of the 3 smaller bags into a large piping bag fitted with a star tip.
Step 7: Use a cupcake corer or sharp knife to hollow out the center of each cupcake and fill it with about half a tablespoon of the mini baking chips. Replace the top of the cupcake.
Step 8: Before frosting your cupcakes, squeeze out a bit from the piping tip onto a plate until you see all three different colors come out. Frost cupcakes, then sprinkle with the white sanding sugar.
Step 9: Place the unicorn decorations on the top of the cupcakes and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
- Use a mason jar to fill your piping bags with frosting quickly and easily with no mess. Put the piping bag in a mason jar, fold the top of the bag over the jar, and scoop the frosting in with a spatula.
- Be sure the cupcakes have cooled completely before you fill with the mini baking chips. If the cake is still warm, the chips may melt and stick together.
- To add to the magical and fun presentation, replace the plain white cupcake liners with sparkly or gold metallic liners. There are lots of fun options on Amazon.
- You can try out different piping tips for the frosting, but we think the star tip works best to get the prettiest frosting swirls. You can also try different color combinations for the frosting or use your child’s favorite color scheme. Whatever way you choose to do it, you’re going to end up with beautiful unicorn cupcakes.
- Feel free to use any kind of cake mix you like. Make pink cupcakes with strawberry cake mix or turn them into funfetti cupcakes. You could even make chocolate cupcakes if you have chocolate lovers in your house.
- If you can’t find the colored chips, you can add sprinkles or even frosting in the center.
You can easily substitute a different flavor. You could also omit the extract entirely and make orange, lemon or strawberry cupcakes using those cake mixes. You could even make classic vanilla cupcakes, since the decorations are what really make these treats stand out.
Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge, and they should keep for about three days.
Can I Make These Ahead Of Time?
Yes! Both the frosting and the cupcakes can be made the day before.
Making the buttercream frosting and preparing the three pastry bags will save a lot of extra time. Be sure to store in the refrigerator overnight. Once the cupcakes have cool completely, fill them, wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
Then on the day of the party, all you have to do is add the frostings and unicorn decorations.
Unicorn Cupcakes Recipe
For The Cupcakes
For The Frosting
- 16 tbsp salted butter softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 drop Bubble Gum Flavoring
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tbsp Half & Half
- yellow food coloring gel
- pink food coloring gel
- teal food coloring gel
- Wilton unicorn decoration
- Sweetshop unicorn decoration if Wilton decorations are out of stock
- White sanding sugar optional
For The Cupcakes
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a standard muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or line with cupcake liners.
- Add the cake mix to a large mixing bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, mix the oil, water, and egg whites on medium speed until well incorporated.1 box white cake mix, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 1/4 cups water, 4 egg whites
- Slowly mix in the bubble gum flavoring. (Note: The flavoring is strong and a little goes a long way. Start with 1-2 drops, then taste before adding more.)1 drop Bubble Gum flavoring
- Spoon the cake batter into the muffin tin until each is about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place the cupcakes on a wire rack and allow them to cool completely to room temperature before adding the candy filling and frosting.
For The Frosting
- In a large mixing bowl, use a hand or stand mixer to cream the butter for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.16 tbsp salted butter
- Add the vanilla extract and bubble gum flavoring.1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 drop Bubble Gum Flavoring
- Slowly mix in 1 cup of the powdered sugar followed by 1 tablespoon of the half and half. Continue to alternate mixing in the powdered sugar and half and half until the frosting is creamy and stiff peaks have formed.3-4 cups powdered sugar, 3 tbsp Half & Half
- Divide the frosting into 3 separate bowls. Add one color of food coloring to each container, 1 drop at a time, and mix until the desired color is achieved.yellow food coloring gel, pink food coloring gel, teal food coloring gel
- Add each frosting color to its own small piping or pastry bag.
- Insert all three of the 3 smaller piping bags into the large piping bag.
- Hollow out the center of each cupcake and fill it with about half a tablespoon of the mini baking chips. Replace the top of the cupcake.1 bag Pastel mini baking chips
- Before frosting your cupcakes, squeeze out a bit onto a plate until you see all three different colors come out. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes, then sprinkle with the white sanding sugar.White sanding sugar
- Place the unicorn decorations on the top of the cupcakes and enjoy!Wilton unicorn decoration
- If you can’t find the pastel chips (they seem to be in and out of stock on Amazon) you can use pastel confetti or frosting instead.
- If you’re in a hurry, save time by making the frosting with store bought white icing and food coloring.