Unicorn Cake

Thanks to the idea from my classmate Steph and our sudden whimsical liking for unicorns (“it’s so fluffy!”), we transformed one of the evenings after Capstone classes post-finals to make this Unicorn Cake. Thanks Stephanie and Stella (2/5 of the 5 S’s) for keeping good company with Poke bowl food delivery, good fun with the art sticker book and making this cake.
Why the reverse creaming method? Most butter cakes are mixed by the creaming method, or the reverse-creaming method. The first involves creaming butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then alternating with eggs, dry ingredients and liquids. In the reverse creaming method (as seen in many Tastymade videos such as from The Scran Line), the dry ingredients and sugar are mixed directly into the butter. The Cake Blog convinced me to give it a try. Theoretically this method minimized gluten formation by insures that flour particles are well coated with fat, is easier to make, and produces a very refined cake crumb.
For decoration, we went for Rosanna Pansino’s Unicorn Cake. Somehow she must makes things look so easy! She used an American Buttercream but for Singapore purposes, Swiss Meringue Buttercream is much more stable and smooth to pipe. It’s also less sweet and avoids the powdery taste we may get from the usual icing sugar since it is meringue based. I’ve also been loving the Vanillin powder and Vanilla Bean Paste I brought back from Switzerland- I’m not a fan of overly buttery frosting, and fresh vanilla always makes it more fragrant.
And ta da… the end product! Brought it to class, and had our classmate SS eat the fondant horn as an unlucky/lucky initiation just for fun. Celebrating our inner kids at heart as 20-30 year olds (shh). But oh well, our final stretch before going into the workforce soon 🙂
Unicorn Cake
makes one 7-inch 3 layer cake
Ingredients

Vanilla Cake Recipe adapted from Kawaii Sweet World

3 cups cake flour
2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
½ cup butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
½ cup oil
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
4 tsp vanilla

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

7 large (210 grams) egg whites
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
340 grams unsalted butter, softened*
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Additional Decorating Ingredients

White fondant
Edible gold dust
Small paint brushes
Rainbow sprinkles
Food coloring

To make Vanilla Cake (Reverse Cream method):

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter the bottom of three 7-inch round pans and line with baking paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low speed with the paddle attachment for 1 minute.

Keeping the mixer on low speed, add the cubed butter and combine until the mixture resembles coarse sand (about 4 minutes).

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the wet ingredients and mix just until combined.

Weigh out equal amounts into 3 7-inch cake pans. Tint the cakes with food coloring (I used Wilton’s blue, pink and violet). Bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely before decorating.

To make Swiss Meringue buttercream:

In a large saucepan, place mixing bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Add egg whites and cups sugar and whisk together until frothy. Whisk constantly until mixture reaches 160˚F (takes about 3 min). Sugar should be fully dissolved (no granules when rubbing mixture between finger tips). Mixture will feel hot to the touch (or like the temperature of warm milk).

Once bowl is at room temperature, switch to paddle attachment, and whip together until soft peaks form. Add butter 1 Tbsp at a time. Once all butter is in, scrape down the bowl and continue beating until it reaches a thick whipped consistency. It may look lumpy – it’s a good sign, keep beating until it changes consistency to become smooth, thick and whipped. Add vanilla extract and salt and mix on med-high until incorporated and silky.

To Assemble and Decorate:

Trim off excess of the layers (freeze before hand helps). Place first first layer on cake board, making sure to frost between each layer and crumb coat. Use a cake turntable to smooth white frosting over entire cake.

Use white fondant to make a unicorn horn ears. Create edible gold dust and then brush it onto the horn. Pipe rosettes on the top and along side of the cake using the pink, blue and light purple frostings. Pipe eyes onto the front center of cake.

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