Homemade vanilla birthday cupcakes, filled with chocolate, topped with yummy buttercream frosting and decorated with rainbow candy strips.
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If you are like me and have a young daughter at home then your house might also be covered in glitter, rainbows, unicorns, and fairytale-inspired magic. I like to bring some of that magical inspiration into my kitchen and make fancy treats for my daughter that could make any princess swoon. So as her 5th birthday approached I got busy planning and cooking up an all-out unicorn-themed birthday party! I wanted to bake up a truly magical experience for my daughter, her friends, and party guests so I took my time to make sure I could completely go all out with our theme. I made an enchanting Unicorn Cake, some adorable Unicorn Sugar Cookies, and these charming Unicorn Rainbow Cupcakes.
Not only are these fancy cupcakes perfect for a kids’ birthday party, they only take 35 minutes to make and bake! To make it easier on you during party prep week, I recommend preparing the other birthday desserts ahead of time and save these for the last minute party baking. A key factor in whipping these birthday cupcakes up so fast is to use store-bought buttercream frosting and chocolate cream like I did for this particular recipe. Usually, I prefer to make my own homemade buttercream frosting and chocolate ganache, and I would still suggest that for a more gourmet taste, but I wanted to save some time in this recipe for other party preparations. Whichever you decide to go with, these unicorn rainbow cupcakes are sure to add an enchanting flair to any kids’ birthday party!
Magical Cupcake Equipment
To create some birthday magic in your kitchen you need to first break out your magic-making equipment. No, I’m not talking about a magic wand, just some kitchen tools for successfully making, baking, and decorating fairytale birthday cupcakes. For this baking project, you need to round up these cupcake materials:
- Hand mixer
- Glass mixing bowl
- Dough scoop
- Cupcake pan (full-size or mini cupcake pans)
- Piping bags
- Piping bag ties
- Piping tip 2A
- Cake spatula
- Cooling rack
- Gold foil cupcake liners – I prefer foil cupcake liners to the paper ones because they do not get soggy or tear up after baking the cupcakes.
Colorful Rainbow Cupcake Ingredients
After you have all of your magic-making tools ready, it’s time to gather the cupcake ingredients. For this particular recipe I opted for store-bought vanilla buttercream frosting and chocolate cream because I was in a bit of a time crunch. However, if you have the extra time I highly recommend making your own homemade buttercream frosting and homemade chocolate ganache, it is so worth it! I cannot express just how much tastier it is when the whole recipe is made from scratch. But if you need to go with the quicker route then I recommend a chocolate Bavarian cream because it is yummy and, in my opinion, the best to use for a rich and tasty cupcake filling.
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ¾ cup Cake flour – I use cake flour instead of all-purpose because it makes the final texture and moisture of the cupcakes way closer to bakery-style birthday cupcakes.
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¾ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup sour cream or buttermilk
- 1 pack Sweet Sour Rainbow Belts candy
For vanilla buttercream frosting:
For chocolate filling:
1 pack chocolate Bavarian cream or (make a homemade chocolate ganache)
Making and Baking Homemade Unicorn Rainbow Cupcakes
I love everything about this easy cupcake recipe! It is simple, quick, and still turns out to be absolutely delicious! Even though the frosting and filling are store-bought, the cupcakes are made deliciously from scratch, giving these birthday cupcakes a touch of homemade deliciousness. This recipe makes 12 full-size birthday party cupcakes or 36 mini cupcakes for ultimate party-pleasing.
To make homemade Unicorn Rainbow Cupcakes:
- First, set and preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Then, line a cupcake pan (or muffin pan) with the gold foil cupcake liners.
- Next, grab a medium-size glass mixing bowl and drop in the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk them together.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together both sugars and the vegetable oil.
- Then, add in the sour cream and mix again.
- In another medium-size mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Next, slowly pour the egg mixture into the sugar mixture and mix all together with an electric mixer on a low speed.
- Then, pour half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk together still using the electric mixer. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and combine one more time.
- After your batter is properly mixed, use a large (2.4 inch) batter scoop to transfer the cupcake batter into the lined-cupcake pans.
- Bake the full-size cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- For mini cupcakes, bake for 10-12 minutes and check with a toothpick.
- Finally, transfer the cooked cupcakes to a cooling rack and let them cool completely.
How to fill cupcakes with chocolate cream:
- First, transfer the store-bought (or homemade) chocolate Bavarian cream into a pastry piping bag, make sure there are no air bubbles in the bag then tie it off with a piping bag tie. Use a pair of scissors to cut about ¾ of an inch from the tip of the bag.
- After the cupcakes are completely cooled, use a size 2A metal tip to scoop out a hole in the center of each cupcake.
- Lastly, pipe the chocolate cream into the cupcake holes, then cover them back up and start on the vanilla frosting.
Decorating with vanilla buttercream frosting:
- Start by scooping the store-bought (or homemade) buttercream frosting into a large mixing bowl, then beat it with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes using a medium speed .
- Transfer ⅓ of the whipped vanilla buttercream frosting into a piping bag lined with a metal piping tip.
- Then, use a toothpick to add the blue food coloring into the bowl of remaining icing, then use a rubber spatula to mix until buttercream frosting has an even color.
- Next, use a small batter scoop (1.6 inch) to drop one scoop of blue buttercream frosting onto the top of each cupcake. Then spread the frosting scoops evenly over the tops with a cake spatula or butter knife.
- Use the bag of white buttercream frosting to pipe 2 fluffy clouds, opposite sides of each other, on top of each cupcake.
- Finally, one at a time, bend the Sweet and Sour Rainbow Candy Strips and insert one end into each of the 2 frosting clouds on each of the cupcakes. Enjoy!
Safely Transporting Unicorn Rainbow Cupcakes
Let’s go over how to keep cupcakes in good shape during travel. Safely transporting these fancy birthday cupcakes from the kitchen to the birthday party location can be just as simple, easy, and hassle-free as making these delightful cupcakes. Don’t accidentally ruin your charming unicorn rainbow cupcakes by stuffing them all together in your biggest casserole dish. Try this instead:
- Just carefully transfer the decorated cupcakes to these paper cupcake boxes that have individual slots for each cupcake.
- This will keep the cupcakes from crashing into each other and messing up the rainbow decorations.
- Plus these boxes have little windows for a fancy display.
- Set the boxes of birthday cupcakes in a secure spot inside the vehicle, somewhere they won’t be jostled or tip over, and you should be good to go!
- This is also a great option if you want to deliver these unique cupcakes to friends or family that can not make it in person to the party.
- Or if your little one’s special day lands on a school day then box these up to send some tasty birthday magic to share with the class.
Baking Up An Enchanting Unicorn Birthday Party
Now let’s talk about baking up the ultimate fairytale birthday party! To create a truly magical experience (and to make sure everyone leaves with full bellies) you want to make sure to have plenty of snacks cooked up. For the most charming and adorable unicorn-themed birthday party, pair these rainbow birthday cupcakes with:
- A magical Unicorn Cake
- Delectable Unicorn Sugar Cookies
- Melt-in-your-mouth Unicorn Meringue Cookies
- Homemade Unicorn Meringue Pops
- Delightful Unicorn Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe for fancy cupcakes doesn’t have to be saved just for unicorn-themed birthday parties though! Here are a few other fun ideas for baking up a little magic whenever you want:
- For a sleepover party
- Family movie night
- To celebrate awards day for school or kid’s sports’ teams
- For family cookouts or gatherings
- School bake sales
- Because of the fun, vibrant colors of these charming cupcakes, they also make adorable spring and Easter kids’ desserts.
If you’re trying to plan a magical fairytale kid’s birthday party for your little princess then consider making it a truly enchanting experience by throwing an all-out, unicorn-themed party! Whether your daughter has her heart set on a spend-the-night party with her gal pals or she wants a fairytale-themed skating party, these Unicorn Rainbow Cupcakes are the perfect way to add that extra magical flair. Plus these fancy birthday cupcakes are quick and simple to make and easily satisfy a crowd of hungry birthday party guests.
Unicorn Rainbow Cupcakes
Vanilla buttercream frosting
- 1 pack Chocolate Bavarian cream or make a homemade chocolate ganache
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together sugars and vegetable oil.
- Combine in sourcream.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add egg mixture into the sugar mixture. Mix well with an electric mixer at a low speed.
- Pour half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Whisk between each addition using a kitchen hand mixer. Add the rest of the dry ingredients.
- Spoon cupcake batter with a large (2.4 inch) batter scoop onto the liners.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Transfer store-bought chocolate Bavarian cream into the piping bag. Cut 3/4 inch with scissors from the tip of the bag. If you have more time, then make a homemade chocolate ganache.
- After cupcakes are completely cooled, hole each cupcake with a size 2A metal tip.
- Pipe chocolate cream into cupcake holes and cover-up.
Vanilla buttercream frosting
- Scoop store-bought buttercream frosting into a large bowl. Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes. If you have more time, then prepare the homemade buttercream frosting.
- Transfer 1/3 of buttercream frosting into a piping bag lined with a metal tip.
- Add blue food coloring with a toothpick into the rest of the icing. With rubber spatular mix until frosting has even color.
- With a small batter scoop (1.6 inch), scoop blue buttercream frosting on top of each cupcake. Spread frosting evenly with a cake spatula or butter knife.
- Pipe clouds with a white buttercream frosting. Insert sweet and sour rainbow candy into the clouds.
- This recipe makes 12 full-size cupcakes and 36 mini cupcakes. Bake mini cupcakes for 10-12 minutes.