If you have a unicorn lover at home, then you’ll have loads of fun making these halloween unicorn cupcakes for your next halloween party: zombie unicorn cupcakes and red devil unicorn cupcakes!
Yes, it’s October! Fall weather has just started to peek it’s head here in San Diego, and my neighbors are decorating their homes with pumpkins. Halloween decor is also rolling in and the latest greatest halloween costumes are being designed. Even my teenage kids are feeling the halloween spirit.
Since my kids are older, I no longer bake halloween cupcakes for classroom parties. But that doesn’t keep me from making halloween cupcakes. My 14-year old princess is always ready and willing to celebrate halloween. So these halloween unicorn cupcakes are inspired by her and the crazy unicorn cake we created last year for her birthday.
Do we really need more unicorn cakes?!
When I was young, I had a fascination for all things unicorn, as most young girls did. But it consisted of drawing unicorns and collecting unicorn stickers. Today, unicorn madness has certainly taken the food world by storm and ultra fancy unicorn cakes have popped up everywhere.
Last year I conquered my four thumbs and lackluster cake decorating skills and made a 6-tiered rainbow unicorn cake. Once I broke it down into smaller steps, I grew more confident in my baking abilities and my unicorn loving daughter was thrilled with the results.
While many may have had enough with the unicorn cake and cupcake craze, it appears to be here to stay a bit longer. So why not have some with it this halloween?
Halloween unicorn cupcakes
Since my girl’s birthday is in October, she has received halloween themed desserts for her birthday. I vividly remember decorating halloween cupcakes to celebrate with her class one year, and a halloween ice cream cake for another. This year, we decided to have some fun and create some halloween unicorn cupcakes.
We came up with two new unicorn cupcakes: a red devil unicorn cupcake and a zombie unicorn cupcake. The base for both cupcakes is box red velvet cake. Feel free to use any cupcake base you choose, whether box or homemade.
Supplies for zombie unicorn cupcakes
As with the rainbow unicorn I made, I found that the cupcake decorating required so much attention to detail that I had no qualms about using box cake mix for the cupcake base. And they are red. Very halloweeny.
My girl and I decided to not go ghoulish and gory with these zombie unicorn cupcakes. Our first attempt was made with darker, drabbier colors and we didn’t like how they turned out at all. A little touch of zombie to our still colorful and happy unicorns was the look we were looking for.
For the base of frosting we chose a bright green color. For the colorful mane we used the same green plus purple and touches of orange and black frosting. We also used black frosting for one eye and mouth.
Another option is to continue frosting the mane down half the cupcake, at an angle, covering the second eye altogether. Leaving only the candy zombie eye exposed. Which in hindsight, is what I think I should have done in the first place.
I used candy eyes for the zombie eyes which we adhered with white frosting. You can also use the black frosting, both looked great. We made homemade red gel icing for the red veins. We mixed green fondant for the ears and used an edible black marker to color in the center of the ears.
Black fondant was used to make the zombie unicorn horns. The horns were brushed with a little edible gold dust, which is totally optional. And red gel icing was added to the tip of the horns. That was a gory as we were going to get.
How to make zombie unicorn cupcakes
Once the red velvet cupcakes were baked and cooled, it is time for some decorating fun! Okay, I confess. I don’t always think decorating cupcakes as a fun activity. But the more I do it, the more comfortable I become with a piping bag, and yes, the more fun I have!
I piped the top of the cupcake with green frosting use tip #2A and then used a straight spatula to flatten and smooth the frosting. It is a similar technique for frosting the side of a cake. You can continue frosting the cupcakes or refrigerate the cupcakes so that the top would stiffen a bit for the next stage.
I position the eyes next. I used a tiny dab of white frosting to hold the candy eye. Since I wasn’t needing any fine details for the black frosting, I just snipped the corner of a ziploc bag and used it to dab the frosting. You can also use a piping bag and tip #5 for the same effect.
For the black eye, I was torn between the classic closed eye unicorn look and an ‘X’ for a dead eye look. I tried both and you can decide which you prefer. I used tip #5 to pipe the black eyes and the mouth.
Usually unicorn cupcakes don’t have mouths and once the zombie unicorn cupcakes were done, I thought they looked better with a mouth. Again, you can pipe whichever you prefer. All I piped was simple horizontal line because zombies don’t usually smile, right?!
Now that the eyes were in position, it was time for the mane. The unicorn mane, whether for a cake or a cupcake, is intricate and colorful – and ever flowing. They are usually piped as rosettes using a star tip. But alas, my tips were too big and so I piped stars.
We started with a large rosette in the center of the cupcake and just above the eyes. My daughter was able to pipe rosettes using star tip #32, which was the smallest start tip I had. But when I attempted it later, my four thumbs took over and I made a mess.
I suspect I need a full set of piping tips to accomplish all of my future cupcake decorating projects! I still liked the stars I was able to pipe, so I filled out the mane using star tip #32 and then various small dots using tip #5. Again, any of the small star tips and small round tips will work.
You want the mane all piped and filled out before you add the unicorn horn and ears. Vary the colors and shapes as you go, and of course, you can drape it down one side in classic unicorn flair, if you choose.
How to make a fondant unicorn horn for cupcakes
You will need both the fondant unicorn horns and ears to harden at least 6-8 hours before adding them to the cupcakes. So I suggest making them the day before you frost your cupcakes so they don’t wilt when inserted into the cupcakes.
For the zombie unicorn horns, we chose black fondant. You can make it yourself or purchase it. I love the ease of purchasing colored fondant, so I did not make it. You start with a small ball of black fondant, about the size of Milk Dud candy or Peanut M&M.
Roll between your hands into the shape of a snake, approximately 4-inches long. Then gently bend the fondant until the tips of the snake join and gently pinch them together.
Slowly twist the fondant so the two pieces of fondant join and twist together. Gently stretch the fondant as you twist it so that the tip is pointy and the base is fat. And tadah, a small unicorn horn for your cupcake!
If you like, use a clean paintbrush and brush on edible gold dust to the horn. Because even though it’s a zombie, unicorns still have a touch of gold and sparkly about them. Then let the fondant unicorn horns sit overnight to harden.
Once hardened, place the black unicorn horn into the center of the frosting mane.
How to make gel icing
For the tips of the zombie unicorn horns, we added a touch of red gel icing to mimic blood and to add the red veins to the candy zombie eyes. I never made homemade gel icing before so I was very excited to see how easy it was.
You do not need much and I bet you have all of the ingredients to make red gel icing in your pantry. Simply whisk together 2 tablespoons of water with 1 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch until combined. Stir in 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup. You can also add a couple drops of peppermint or white vanilla extract, if you want flavoring.
Microwave this wicked concoction in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until the mixture boils, thickens and turns clear. I added 4 drops of Wilton’s crimson food coloring and my gel icing was done. Once cooled, I piped the veins on the candy eyes using tip #2.
I added the gel to the unicorn horns later, after the horns had hardened and placed into the cupcakes.
How to make a fondant unicorn ears for cupcakes
The unicorn ears are also made out of fondant and should sit out for 6 hours or overnight to harden, too. I had some leftover green and yellow fondant from a birthday cake so we mixed the two together until we matched the green fondant with the green cupcake frosting.
You don’t need much fondant to make the 24 pairs of unicorn ears. About 4-ounces should be enough. Roll out the fondant about 1/8-inch thick. I had these small fondant leaf cutters in my bin of miscellaneous baking supplies and they were the perfect size for our unicorn ears.
Once the 48 pieces were cut out, set them on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and let them harden. If your leaf cutter shape curves in like mine do, make sure half the ears and flipped over and curve the other way. So you will have each unicorn ear curving in towards the horn. Make sense?
When the fondant unicorn ears have hardened, use an edible black marker to color in the black part of the inner ear. And once that is dry, you can place the ears on the zombie unicorn cupcakes, on either side of the black horn.
My daughter colored these in, I’d probably make the black part smaller and show more green. But hey, a teenager actually helped me, so I’ll take them as is!
How to make red devil unicorn cupcakes
The red devil unicorn cupcakes are so much easier to make and assemble then their zombie counterparts. The only frosting I used was red and a bit of black. I frosted the top of the red devil cupcakes the same way as I frosted the green onto the zombie cupcakes, using tip #2A and then smoothing it over with a straight spatula.
I piped black frosting for the closed unicorn eyes and then frosted various red swirls, stars and balls for the unicorn mane. The red unicorn horn was made the same way as the black zombie unicorn horns except with red fondant. And yes, we dusted them with edible gold dust, as well.
For the fondant devil horns, we started with a ball of black fondant, again about the size of a milk dud. Then I shaped them into small devil horns, pointy on top and fat on the bottom. Just like the unicorn horn and ears, let the fondant devil horns harden before placing onto the frosted cupcakes.
- 1 box red velvet cake mix
- 1 cup water*
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil*
- 3 egg*
- Assorted food dyes
- 2 cups butter, softened
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 TBS water
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 TBS light corn syrup
- 1/8 tsp peppermint extract (optional)
- 4 oz light green fondant
- 4 oz black fondant
- 1/4 tsp edible gold powder
- Edible black marker
- Small candy eyes
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Mix up box red velvet cake batter per package directions into mixing bowl.
- Place paper cupcake liners into a 24-cupcake pan and divide batter evenly into the cupcake liners.
- Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 16-19 minutes. Let cupcakes cool completely on wire racks.
- Do not begin frosting the cake until the cakes are completely cooled.
- To make the frosting, combine butter, powdered sugar and heavy cream until smooth.
- Remove 2 cups of frosting into a bowl and add food coloring to make purple. If using Wilton Color Right dyes, add 12 pink drops and 2 blue drops.
- Place 1/4 cup of white frosting in a small bowl and add black food coloring.
- Place 1/2 cup of white frosting in a small bowl and reserve.
- Place 1/4 cup of white frosting in a small bowl and add food coloring to make orange. If using Wilton Color Right dyes, add 5 orange drops and 2 yellow drops.
- With the bulk of the remaining frosting, mix in food coloring to make green. If using Wilton Color Right dyes, add 30 yellow drops and 2 blue drops.
- Use black fondant to make a unicorn horn (detailed instructions in blog post). Starting with a small ball of fondant, roll between two hands to form a snake. Then fold and pinch ends together and twist. Allow horns to harden then brush with gold dust.
- Roll out green fondant until 1/8-inch thick. Use mini teardrop cutters, cut out 48 ears. Allow fondant to harden before using a black edible marker to color inside of the ear.
- To make gel icing, mix together 2 TBS water with cornstarch. Stir in corn syrup then microwave in 20-second increments, stirring in between, until mixture is thick and clear. Mix a few drops of peppermint extract, if you like. Add food coloring to make the gel red. If using Wilton Color Right dyes, add 4 drops of crimson.
- When cupcakes are cooled, use tip #2A and pipe the top of each cupcake with green frosting.
- Then use a leveler to smooth the frosting top and flatten it.
- Using white frosting with tip #5, add a small ball of frosting to hold one candy eye. Place candy eye on top.
- Using black frosting with tip #5 pipe an 'X' or an arc for the other eye.
- If you like, pipe a straight line underneath eyes for a mouth.
- Using a small star tip, like tip #32, pipe a large star or rosette in purple in the center of the cupcake and above the two eyes. Continue to add swirls and stars in purple and green to make the mane.
- Use round tip #5 to add small balls of orange and black in the mane.
- When the unicorn horn is hardened, gently press it into the center of the mane.
- Using tip #2, pipe red gel icing from the top of the unicorn horn and down the top of the horn.
- Use the same gel icing to pipe red veins in the candy eyes.
- When the unicorn ears are hard, place them either side of the unicorn horn, into the mane.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 346 Total Fat: 21g Saturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 71mg Sodium: 148mg Carbohydrates: 40g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 38g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 1g