Unicorn cakes have been all the rage in the past year. There have been so many variations of the cake, from different colours to different flavours, unicorn cake successes & unicorn cake fails. But in all my searching on unicorn cakes, I couldn't find a good allergy friendly one. So my sister and I came up with our own - completely gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, vegetarian/vegan, banana free & coconut free (we have a lot of different food allergies in our family!!).
This is not a quick and easy cake, it took 3 days working on it before the party, so make sure you leave yourself enough time to make it. And I would highly recommend doing a full read through before you start!
Without wasting anymore of your time, here's the recipe -
All the ingredients you'll need -
- Orgran Self Raising Flour
- Orgran No Egg-Egg Replacer (or eggs if you don't need it egg free)
- A Couple of tubs of margarine (or vegetable shortening or butter if it doesn't need to be dairy free)
- A Couple of packs of Ceres Organics Icing Sugar
- Food Colourings
- Vanilla Essence
- 1-2 packs of Royalty Eversoft Icing (depending on how big your cake is, our 5 layers used 1 pack, you can buy this at most supermarkets including New World & Countdown)
- Melting Chocolate (we used Moo Free Chocolate bars)
- 1 Eskal Gluten Free Ice Cream Cone (or an alternate allergy friendly cone for the horn... or if you're game you could make it out of fondant)
- A decent Beater or Mixer
- Some bowls & spoons for mixing different coloured icing
- Cake pan/s
- Piping bags & tips (1 open star tip & 1 flat tip)
- Baking paper/ tin foil
- Icing knife or spatula
- Rolling Pin
For the cake we did 5 layers consisting of 1 cake per layer, so you'll need the following for each cake layer you choose to do:
- 1 Cup Orgran Self Raising Flour
- 3 Eggs or 3 Teaspoons of Orgran No-Egg Egg Replacer mixed with 90ml of water
- 50g of Butter or Dairy Free Margarine
-1 cup of Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Essence
- 2 Teaspoons of food colouring of your choice (we did blue, pink & purple)
- Preheat oven to 180 or 160 fan forced
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl & pour the batter into a cake pan
- Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked all the way through
- Remove cake & leave to fully cool down.
- With a sharp knife, carefully cut the tops off of each cake, to ensure an even surface for icing.
- Margarine (or butter/vegetable shortening)
- Icing Sugar
- Food Colouring
- 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Essence
In a mixer combine margarine, vanilla essence & icing sugar & mix well. This is the part where I have to constantly taste it every few minutes, adding in a little bit more icing sugar each time. You want it balanced so the icing sugar isn't too overpowering but you can't taste the margarine/butter/vegetable shortening. This part all comes down to personal taste.
I mixed up several batches, mainly because my beaters aren't the best & couldn't handle a large load, but also because you need a good amount for icing between the cakes to hold them together, and around the entire cake before putting the fondant on, and then you need another full batch for colouring & piping.
The first batch of icing will just be plain uncoloured icing, and this will be used to hold all the layers of your cake together. I would recommend making the icing & then doing the cake layers first, leaving the cake in the fridge for at least a few hours, if not overnight, before you add your fondant & coloured icing.
A couple of things you need to be aware of if you're working with margarine instead of butter or vegetable shortening. While I was doing the piping, I had to constantly move the cake back & forth between the bench & the fridge, and eventually ended up just icing it inside the freezer, as the margarine tends to slump & then start dripping. Once it had hardened up from being in the freezer for an hour, I moved it to the fridge where it stayed right up until a quarter of an hour before the party (so a good 15 hours or so). In between each piping session, I would also have to store all of my different coloured icing & the piping bag inside the fridge just to keep what I hadn't yet used from going too soft to be pipped.
From what I know working with butter, and what I have heard of with vegetable shortening, this is less of an issue, and the whole cake should be able to be piped in one go & then just left in the fridge until you are ready for it.
Putting the whole thing together
- Once your cakes are sufficiently cooled & have been cut so that they are even, you can start stacking them. With a table knife/spatula/icing knife gently spread your plain icing over the top of the bottom layer of your cake. Gently press your next cake layer on top. Repeat until all of your cake layers are on top of each.
- Spread icing over the top of the cake and with your table knife/spatula/icing knife gently smooth out the icing. A great tip is to have a hot glass of water nearby that you can dip your knife into every few minutes. This will help create a smoother look, though it doesn't need to be perfect as there is still the fondant to go on top.
- Once the top of the cake is done, you can start on the sides. Gently add icing to the side of the cake & smooth around all the layers from top to bottom, working your way around the cake. The icing will help keep the fondant on the cake.
- Pop the cake into the fridge for a few hours to help the margarine icing stay on the cake.
- While the cake is in the fridge, I recommend making up your second batch of icing. This is the batch that will be coloured. You can do as many or as little colours as you like, I went with 5 for the cake, 1 bowl with plain uncoloured icing, 1 with green, 1 with pink, 1 with purple & 1 with blue as I mixed the 5 colours in 1 piping bag, but you can use as many piping bags & tips as you want. Put the finished icing in the fridge to harden for a couple of hours (if using margarine).
- On a smooth clean surface sprinkle a fine dusting of icing sugar for rolling your fondant on. Set aside a little bit of fondant for the ears & then using your rolling pin gently start rolling out your fondant into a large circle. Try not to roll it too thin as it needs to be picked up to go on top of the cake (I rolled mine out with baking paper underneath so all I had to do was pick the paper up and flip it down on top of the cake - the icing sugar made a bit of a mess, it got all over my phone which is why there are no photo's of this stage :) ).
- Once the fondant is rolled out, carefully lay it on top of the cake, as centred as you can, and then gently smooth the top and sides around the cake, making sure to tuck the bottom of the fondant as far as you can underneath the bottom layer. Put the eskal icecream cone in place, and press down firmly to make a small indent in the fondant for it to sit. Once you've added the icing, this will help secure it in place (small tip, you can fill the bottom of the cone with some crunched up moo free bars & then fill the rest of the cone up with icing before putting it on the cake).
- Making the ears was a bit tricky. Split the remaining fondant in to 3. 2 of these will make the outer ears & the 3rd part can be split again to make the inner ear. For the outer ear roll the fondant until it is soft & pliable, and then using a knife start shaping it into a triangle, using the hard flat edge of the knife to push the fondant against to create the straight edges. You don't want to go too thin with the ears, as they need to be able to stand alone. Once you've got 2 ears roughly the same size, pop them into the fridge to harden up.
- For the inner ear you only need one drop of food colouring & then just knead the fondant until it is fully covered (you may want to use gloves during this part so you don't get food colouring all over your hands.) Now cut the remaining fondant into 2 smaller triangles & pop them in the fridge for a little bit.
- With the larger ears, at the base of the triangle cut out a small triangle in the middle, and then fold the two bottom peices together to form a small base which can be gently pressed into your cake. The more you handle the fondant, the softer it will become so try not to press it together for too long. Once the outer ears are shaped, stick the coloured fondant triangles in the middle of each ear & press gently together until they stick to each other. Then gently press each ear to the top of the cake, either side of the icecream cone.
- Now comes the fun part. Using a knife/icing knife, carefully start putting colours in your piping bag. I started with my plain icing down the bottom, then added each colour down the sides of the bag. Here's a great video tutorial so you can see how it's done (and it really is surprisingly easy!! I ended up doing a bunch of cupcakes for my nieces birthday party using this same technique).
- Now that the icing is ready, start piping! I started with the base so it gave each colour a chance to blend, and then I moved to the top of the cake & just piped until I felt it was done. Remember if you are working with the margarine icing, you may need to do this inside the fridge to keep the margarine from dripping.
- The eyes are the last thing left!! For the eyes, I gently melted my chocolate in a bowl on top of a pot of boiling water until it was smooth. I put the melted chocolate into a piping bag & then on a sheet of tin foil (on top of a tray) I gently piped the chocolate with a flat tip nozzle until I was happy with the results. The tray then went into the freezer for about 25 minutes to harden it. Once the eyes were hardened, I remelted the remaing chocolate still inside the bowl, and then using a knife blade, very gently added another layer of chocolate to the back of the eyes to help them stick to the cake.
And that's it! It took us 3 days to make the cake fully (one day making the cakes, the second day doing the first batch of icing, and then leaving it in the fridge to harden overnight, and the third day doing the fondant, icing & eyes) but it was so worth it to see my nieces eyes light up & hear her little two year old voice say "wow" with such wonder. I hope you guys enjoy it, and now that I've finally worked with fondant, I'm so excited to try even more things! The next recipe I share however will be our rainbow unicorn cupcakes, so keep an eye out for that coming soon!