- 175 g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 225 g (1 1/4 cups) caster (superfine) sugar
- 50 g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 175 g (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 175 ml (6 fl oz) full-cream (whole) milk
- 500g - 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 500g - 4 cups icing (confectioners’) sugar
- 1 tsp strawberry flavoring
- 2 drops pink food gel
- 2 tbsp full-cream (whole) milk (at room temperature) (optional, but recommended)
- 30g yellow fondant
- Gold lustre dust
- Pastel sprinkles
- 24 chocolate buttons
- Preheat a fan-forced oven to 140°C (275°F) or a conventional oven to 160°C (320°F). Line a cupcake tin with brown cupcake liners.
- Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt to a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed with a hand mixer until combined.
- Next, add the softened butter and continue mixing on low speed until the mixture reaches a crumbly, sand-like texture.
- Add the eggs and milk and mix again on low speed until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix for a final 20 seconds.
- Fill each liner three-quarters of the way. Using an ice-cream scoop to transfer the batter to the cupcake liners makes this a quick and easy process, and ensures each liner contains exactly the same amount of batter and that the cupcakes will bake evenly. Bake for 40–50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
- Fit the end of a piping bag with an open star tip, fill the bag with frosting and frost your cupcakes in a signature swirl. Sprinkle with sprinkles, add the unicorn horn on top.
- Before you begin, it’s really important to make sure the butter is soft enough. Some people keep their butter out of the fridge, others chill it. Even if you keep it out, it may not be soft enough. You want your butter to be soft enough so that when you stick your finger in it, it glides in, but not without a little bit of resistance. The best way to get it too that softness is to place your butter on a microwave safe plate, microwave for 10 seconds at a time, testing the softness each time. If it needs longer than 10 seconds, turn the butter over and repeat until it’s ready.
- Add the softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can also use an electric hand mixer for this recipe, but if you do use a hand mixer, just make sure your bowl is large. Mix the butter on low speed to begin with, then switch to the highest speed and mix for 5 minutes until the butter is fluffy and turns pale in color.
- Stop your mixer and scrape down the side of the bowl using a spatula. Add the icing sugar, strawberry flavoring and pink food gel and mix again on low speed. LOW SPEED PEOPLE! The last thing you need is to end up in a sugar dust storm! (I’m speaking from experience…)
- Once all the sugar has been incorporated, it’s safe to turn your mixer up to high speed. Continue beating on high speed for about 5–6 minutes, or until the butter turns pale in color and becomes fluffy again. If you want to soften your buttercream and make it a little smoother, add the milk and continue mixing for another couple of minutes on medium speed.
- Create little pieces of fondant about the size of a grape and roll them into balls. To make each horn you’ll need two fondant balls. Roll them on your work bench using the palm of your hands making one end of the log thinner than the other end. Twist two of these pieces together twirling them around each other. Use a knife to chop off the bottom of the thickest end and set aside to dry for one day.
- Use some gold lustre dust and a food safe paint brush to cover in gold and set aside.