This dark rainbow unicorn cake is the perfect centrepiece for a unicorn themed party. Three layers of vanilla buttermilk cake are frosted with purple-tinted white chocolate buttercream and decorated with Midnight Magic Sprinkles. Shards of unicorn candy bark and a purple candy melt drip finish it off perfectly.
Unicorn Cake Inspiration
I made a cake!
I’m really rather proud of this cake too, so although I’d only pottered about the kitchen baking this cake for the purposes of a paid Instagram photo, I thought I’d take some extra photos, just in case, and I’m really glad I did!
The inspiration for this cake came from a jar of Dr. Oetker’s new Midnight Magic sprinkles that dropped through my letterbox recently. That, and the candy melts and gel food dye left over from my Num Nums Easter Bark recipe earlier on this year taking up valuable cupboard space.
Plus, there’s the fact that I feel like I have completely failed as a (usually keen) baking parent. None of my three children got homemade cakes for their last birthdays – one got shop bought cupcakes and the other two got supermarket brand birthday cakes. True story. Regular readers will know I’ve had other things on my mind these last seven months. My kids don’t mind, but I still feel guilty.
I thought that now would be a good, albeit random, time to make it up to my children with this dark rainbow unicorn cake extravaganza, and boy were they impressed! You should have seen their faces!
The cake isn’t as sweet as you might think it would be by looking at it, and it serves 12, so it would be perfect for a small birthday celebration.
How to make a unicorn cake – video
For all your dark unicorn fans, this vanilla buttermilk layer cake with shards of unicorn candy bark will make a perfect showstopper party centrepiece!
Ingredients needed for this Midnight Magic Unicorn Cake with Candy Bark
- caster sugar (granulated will work just fine too)
- free range eggs
- plain flour
- baking powder
- candy melts in assorted colours. Note, yellow is shown in the above photo as I’d originally planned a yellow drip but didn’t like the colour after I’d melted it and opted for dark purple instead. Feel free to use the colours you fancy.
- white chocolate
- icing sugar
- purple gel food colouring
- Midnight Magic Sprinkles
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First, the cake itself. Inspired by this vanilla birthday cake recipe, I thought it would make a good sturdy base for all the decorations on top. Alternatively, Nigella Lawson’s buttermilk birthday cake is a tasty option. My cake fills three 6-inch cake tins perfectly, and it can be made a few days in advance too. Simply wrap the cooled cakes in clingfilm and refrigerate, or even freeze, until needed. You could, if you wanted, even tint the cake batter with a little of the purple gel food colouring if you’re into that sort of thing.
How to make a vanilla buttermilk layer cake
- Cream together butter and sugar until well incorporated. This cake has less butter than a cake usually does, so it won’t get light and fluffy like you are used to.
- Add in the room temperature egg whites and the whole free range egg. Beat until light and foamy.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add the vanilla to the buttermilk and add in increments, along with the flour mixture, beating well after each addition.
- Scrape down the sides and beat until well incorporated.
- Weigh out the batter and divide evenly between three greased and lined 6-inch cake tins. Bake until golden.
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To top my cake I’ve used shards of unicorn candy bark made from candy melts. You could just go for a simple white candy bark studded with the Midnight Magic sprinkles, or opt for a more colourful decoration by adding pink and purple candy melts. I find the coloured candy melts cool down and harden really quickly which is why there is no step by step photos of the process – there was no time to stop and take photos!
How to make Unicorn Candy Bark
- Melt your candy melts in a microwave as per the package instructions, or in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of barely simmering water.
- Using a spatula, spread out the melted white candy melts onto a silicone mat or piece of non-stick baking paper.
- Add a little vegetable oil to the coloured candy melts if they’re too thick, and drop small spoonfuls all over the top of the white layer.
- Swirl all the colours together using a wooden chopstick.
- Decorate with a few tablespoonfuls of Midnight Magic sprinkles and refrigerate until hard.
- Remove the silicone mat and cut the unicorn candy bark into shards with a sharp knife.
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White buttercream frosting is a recent addition to my kitchen repertoire – I made a batch to top some raspberry-filled vanilla cupcakes and was really impressed how well it turned out. Here I’ve tinted it purple to keep in the colour theme of the sprinkles.
How to make white chocolate buttercream frosting
- Cream together the softened butter and icing sugar with a hand blender.
- Melt white chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of barely simmering water. Leave to cool to room temperature.
- Add the cooled melted white chocolate and the double cream to the icing sugar mixture.
- Beat well until light and fluffy.
- Add your colouring – I used two squirts from the gel colouring tube.
- Continue to beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
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There is something intensely satisfying about assembling a three-layer cake. I always put a little dollop of frosting on the cake stand to hold the cake in place and arrange torn pieces of greaseproof paper around the edge so the frosting doesn’t get all over the cake stand.
How to assemble & frost this Unicorn Cake with Candy Bark
- Using a serrated knife, slice off the tops of the three cakes so they provide an even surface for layering.
- Spoon a little frosting onto the cake plate to keep the cake in place. Arrange greaseproof paper around the edges to protect the cake stand from getting too messy while you frost the cake.
- Place the first cake, cut side up, on the cake stand. Spread with a generous layer of frosting.
- Arrange the second cake, cut side down, and repeat with another layer of frosting and the last cake (put this one cut side down too).
- Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting – the crumb layer – and chill for 30 minutes to set.
- Frost again with another layer of frosting, smoothing, if desired, with a long ruler (no fancy equipment needed!).
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Now for the fun part – decorating the cake!
How to decorate this Unicorn Cake with Candy Bark
- Decorate the bottom edge of the cake with some Midnight Magic Sprinkles. Use a spoon to help put them in place, pressing them slightly into the frosting.
- Melt some purple candy melts with a little double cream. Cool.
- Place the cooled candy melt mixture into a disposable icing bag (you might need two as I find if it’s too hot it melts the seam and leaks).
- Carefully pipe the purple drip around the top edge of the cake, piping a little more and less along regular intervals to drip down the sides.
- Use the remaining Midnight Magic sprinkles to decorate the top of the cake.
- Using a sharp knife, cut one-centimetre slits in the top of the cake for the shards of unicorn candy bark.
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The star of this cake is, of course, the Midnight Magic sprinkles which have recently been launched by Dr. Oetker, one of three different designs that also include The Glamour & Sparkle Jar and The Unicorn Confetti Jar.
With this new Ultimate Sprinkles Range, you can add a dash of glamour and magic to your bakes. Each 110-gram jar is slightly larger than Dr. Oetker’s usual sprinkle pack size so you can cover an entire cake, and it retails for £2.29. Look out for them in your local supermarket (they’re not on Amazon just yet – watch this space!).
I’ve also recently discovered that candy bark doesn’t always cut into the shapes you really want it to, which is why I’ve made a big batch for this recipe. Any leftover unicorn candy bark could be bagged up in a party bag for kids.
Other Unicorn party recipes you might like
You might also like Claire’s unicorn devilled eggs with smoked salmon and caviar, Lucy’s Easy Unicorn Cake, Emily’s utterly adorable Unicorn Macarons or Grace’s Healthy Rainbow Unicorn Fruit Popsicles Recipe.
Have you ever thrown a unicorn themed party? What did you serve at it? Let me know in the comments!
'Midnight Magic' Unicorn Candy Bark Birthday Cake
for the vanilla buttermilk cake
for the unicorn candy bark
for the white chocolate buttercream frosting
- 110 grams Midnight Magic sprinkles (less the 2 tbsp used in the bark)
This recipe card may contain affiliate ingredient and equipment links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
for the vanilla buttermilk cake
- Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C/ 160 C fan. Grease and line three 6-inch cake tins with baking paper.
- With a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until well incorporated.
- Add the egg whites and whole egg and beat until light and fluffy.
- Sift together the plain flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl. Combine the vanilla and buttermilk in a measuring jug.
- With the hand mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture in alternating increments, mixing until well combined.
- Weigh out the batter and divide by three so each tin is evenly filled. Spoon into the prepared tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 25-35 minutes. Check after 25 minutes and cover with foil if the cake is browning too much.
- Leave the cakes in the tins for ten minutes before removing and cooling completely. If the cakes aren't needed immediately you can wrap them in clingfilm tightly and keep in the refigerator for up to three days.
for the unicorn candy bark
- Melt the candy melts in separate bowls in your microwave, as per the instructions on the packet, or in a heat proof bowl suspended over a pan of barely simmering water.
- Spread the white candy melts out in a thin layer on a silicone mat or piece of non-stick baking paper.
- Add 0.5 tsp vegetable oil to each of the coloured candy melts, if needed to thin, and drop by the spoonful over the top of the white candy melts. Use a chopstick to swirl all the colours together.
- Sprinkle with the Midnight Magic sprinkles, and pop into the fridge to harden. When hardened, carefully cut the bark into shards, and pick a few of the best one to decorate the cake with.
for the white chocolate buttercream frosting
- Cream together the butter and icing sugar.
- Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of barely simmering water. Cool to room temperature.
- Beat the cooled white chocolate and double cream into the icing sugar mixture.
- Add a few drops of food colouring, and beat well until light and fluffy.
for the purple drip
- Melt the purple candy melts along with the double cream.
- Cool slightly and pour into a piping bag.
to assemble the unicorn candy bark cake
- Cut the tops of all three cooled cakes off to make them even.
- Place a little spoonful of frosting on the cake stand to hold the cake in place. Peel off the baking paper and place the first cake layer on the stand, cut side up.
- Add a generous layer of buttercream frosting, and top with a second cake, cut side down.
- Repeat with more buttercream and the last cake layer.
- Cover the entire cake, top and sides, with a thin layer of frosting. This is the crumb layer. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Frost the cake with the remaining icing, using a ruler to smooth the top and sides, if desired.
- Decorate the bottom edge of the cake with some of the Midnight Magic sprinkles.
- Pipe a purple drip around the top edge of the cake, as pictured, and decorate the top of the cake with the remaining Midnight Magic sprinkles.
- Pick a few of the best shards of unicorn bark to decorate the top of the cake with. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut a slit into the top of the cake to push the candy bark in to so that it stays upright.
- Serve! This cake will keep, refrigerated, for a few days.
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Have you made this recipe?
This is not a paid post, although I have been commissioned to post an Instagram photo promoting these new Dr. Oetker sprinkles and I thought the cake was too good an opportunity to waste by not sharing it on the blog. All thoughts and opinions expressed are our own.