Pin It!

Unicorn Cupcakes

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details

These easy unicorn cupcakes are a unicorn lovers dream dessert! Learn how to make unicorn cupcakes using just a few piping tips, colorful frosting and sprinkles!

If you like these decorating techniques you can also use them to make a buttercream flower cake

Top of a unicorn cupcake showing the rosettes, ribbons and frosting swirls

Easy Unicorn Cupcakes

Life is brighter with these colorful Unicorn Cupcakes! No Unicorn horns required, because unicorns come in all shapes, sizes and colors. You don’t need a cupcake kit either. You can make these unicorn cupcakes yourself with these few easy decorating tricks!

Have you ever seen a prettier cupcake? I loooove how these turned out, especially with those gold sprinkle accents on top!  These unicorn cupcakes are a great way to take a classic vanilla cupcake and make it even more fun. I used this same decorating technique for sugar cookies.

Decorated unicorn cupcakes with colorful frosting

However, I wanted to provide you with a quick tutorial for how to make these Unicorn Cupcakes so you can do it at home.  I believe anyone can make beautiful desserts, you just need the right tools and a little bit of practice. So, let’s break these cupcakes down step by step.

Recipe Ingredients

For the Cupcakes

For these Unicorn Cupcakes, I started with my Moist Vanilla Cupcake recipe, but you could easily use a chocolate cupcake as well. Feel free to add some sprinkles to your batter for an extra pop of color!

  • Wet ingredients: Vegetable oil, eggs,  vanilla extract and sour cream and milk
  • For the Sour Cream: I call for light sour cream, but any type of sour cream can be used and if you don’t have it. then you can use nonfat Greek yogurt.
  • Dry ingredients: granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, salt 

For the Frosting

Then I used my perfect vanilla frosting and dyed in it these gorgeous colors and I used a variety of piping tips to decorate these bakery-style cupcakes. 

  • Unsalted butter (COLD): trust me, it’s my secret to the perfect frosting. You can learn more about how to make buttercream if you need some additional tips. 
  • Powder Sugar: I don’t usually sift my powdered sugar unless it’s really clumpy because we spend a lot of time beating the frosting  
  • Heavy whipping cream: helps to achieve a smooth and creamy filling
  • Vanilla extract: Using a high quality pure vanilla extract is best

Colorfully frosted cupcakes on a white cake plate

How to Make Unicorn Cupcakes

Make the Cupcakes

  • Combine the wet ingredients: Prepare the cupcake better by beating the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until well combined. Next beat in the sour cream.
  • Mix dry ingredients: Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl 
  • Add milk & dry ingredients: Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk half at a time and beat until well combined
  • Scoop cupcake batter: Use a large cookie scoop to divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners. 
  • Bake at  350°F for 14-16 minutes. 

Make the Frosting

  • Beat the butter: Prepare the frosting by beating the cold butter for several minutes until it’s super fluffy
  • Add remaining ingredients:  Add 2-3 cups powdered sugar at a time and alternate adding in the heavy cream and vanilla with each addition of powdered sugar. 
  • Beat: Each time you add the powdered sugar, beat the frosting for 2-3 minutes before adding any more powdered sugar for the best results. 
  • Decorate! See my tips for decorating these cupcakes below.

A white cake stand filled with gorgeous buttercream frosted Unicorncupcakes

Tools You Need to Make Unicorn Cupcakes

  • Piping bags: Since we are working with lots of different colors, I suggest using 12-inch piping bags
  • Couplers: these will it really easy for you to change out your frosting colors
  • 1M Piping tips: this is what we’re using for the rose
  • Size 18 or 21 open star tip for rosettes and swirls
  • French tip 199 also for rosettes and swirls
  • Open round tip (optional) I didn’t use on these cupcakes but have used before
  • Petal piping tip 104 to create the ribbon 
  • Gel colors: Such as Wilton Color Right or Americolor gels
  • Sprinkles: This is where you can go a little crazy, I love the Sprinkle Medleys from Sweetapolita and the Karat Cake Sprinkles for that touch of gold. There’s also a store locator if you are looking to see if your local shop carries them.

3 piping bags filled with colorful frosting: teal, link and purple

How to Decorate Unicorn Cupcakes

First you need to know how to use a piping bag. In this post I go into great detail about how to use piping bag with or without couplers, how to fill piping bags and allll the things.

Make the Frosting

  1. Prepare a batch of perfect vanilla frosting, then you need to pick your color palette to color your buttercream. This is the hardest part of me! Stick to 3 colors, and then white. I love to mix one of the colors with white to create the swirled color effect.
    1. The primary color is the rose (1M tip), so dye at least 2 cups of frosting this color
    2. The secondary color is the ribbon (using the pedel tip), so dye at least 1 ½ cups of frosting this color
    3. The accent color (French tip, open star or round tip) is use to make the mini rosettes, and this is the color I like to use both as a solid and swirled with white. Dye at least 1 ½ cups of frosting this color

Pro Tip: I always recommend practicing on a piece of parchment paper before you start. You can always put that frosting back in your piping bag

Decorate Your Unicorn Cupcakes

  1. First, pipe the large rose using a 1M tip, starting from the inside of the rose and pipe in a circular motion towards the outside edge
    A vanilla cupcake with a pink rose
  2. Next, use the petal to make the ribbon. Hold the piping bag with the skinny side of the tip facing up on the cupcake and move your hard back and forth
    A vanilla cupcake with a pink rose and green ribbon of frosting
  3. Lastly, fill in your empty space making small rosettes and swirls with the open star tip, the french tip or and open round tip. Each cupcake can be unique!
  4. Pick your sprinkles and go to town!

How to Store Homemade Unicorn Cupcakes

These are best when stored in an airtight container at room temperature unless you live in a hot and humid environment, then I would recommend storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature. 

Prepare these up to 2 days in advance, and add the sprinkles before serving for best results. Note that the buttercream will form a light crust which will make it harder for the sprinkles to adhere to the frosting. However, this is best for the integrity of the sprinkles. 

a close up of an unwrapped vanilla cupcake with gorgeous, colorful buttercream swirls

This technique for decorating cupcakes can also be used on cakes and cookies, and you can pick a color theme to match just about any party or holiday! These would be great for baby showers, bridal showers or any dessert table. 

Follow Beyond Frosting:

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram 

A close up shot of the top of a unicorn cupcake showing the rosettes, ribbons and buttercream frosting swirls

Unicorn Cupcakes

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 24L: cupcakes


In this step-by-step tutorial, I show you how to create easy Unicorn Cupcakes for your next birthday party! Just a few piping tips, some colorful frosting and sprinkles are all you need to make these Unicorn Cupcakes!


For the cupcakes

  • 2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (14.8 ml) vanilla extract
  • ½ cup(118 ml) light sour cream
  • 2 ½ cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons (11.2 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (296 ml) milk (I use nonfat)

For the frosting

  • 1 1/2 cup (339 g) (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cold.
  • 5 cups (650 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (12 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) heavy whipping cream (or milk)


For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  3. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  4. Add half the flour followed by the baking powder and salt, and beat on low speed while pouring in half of the milk and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.
  5. Finally add the remaining flour, mixing on low speed while pouring in the remaining milk and beating until all of the ingredients are well combined.
  6. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  7. Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full. Careful not to overfill.
  8. Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.

For the frosting:

  1. Cut the butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally, beating until the butter look light in color.
  2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated into the butter then add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Beat for about 60 seconds.
  3. Next, add an additional 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes.
  4. Add last 1 cup powdered sugar along with the heavy whipping cream. Beat on low until the ingredients start to mix together. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 3-5 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting.


  • The batter will be quite thin. It’s important that you stir the batter after mixing, to ensure everything on the bottom of the bowl is well mixed.
  • Sour Cream substitute :You can substitute the light sour cream for Greek yogurt
  • To make 12-14 cupcakes, halve all the dry and wet ingredients, but use 2 whole eggs, 2/3 cups milk
Nutrition Information:
1 cupcake
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cupcake decorating, unicorn cupcakes, unicorn cupcake ideas, unicorn birthday party, unicorn party ideas



Leave a Comment

Recipe rating

2 Responses
  1. linda of

    OMGosh… I have to try THE Unicorn Cupcakes… soooooo
    Pretty… almost tooooooo pretty to eat !!?

    ?ThaNk. YoU ? ~linda of

    p.s. my bestie makes MANY of your recipes !!! The choc poke cake that has chocolate that has chocolate? is my FAV !!!!!!!

  2. Erin

    Cutest. Cupcakes. Ever!!! LOVE the colours Julianne 🙂 These are SO fun! What sprinkles did you use on these? They’re so pretty.

Subscribe to my newsletter and get my fav tips to take your cakes & cupcakes to the next level.