Unicorn Cupcake Toppers

Unicorn Cupcake Toppers

Unicorn cupcake toppers hand piped with royal icing make the perfect addition to any unicorn birthday party!

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Unicorn Cupcakes

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to make cupcakes for my niece’s birthday. We were traveling a couple hours to get to the party and so I knew my cupcake toppers had to be sturdy for the trip.

While I love the unicorn horn cupcakes that are super popular right now, she’s only 6 and so I thought a whole unicorn head out of royal icing would be more make more sense to her than simply the horn.

Royal icing dries totally hard, creating basically candy. You can pipe out your decorations a few days before the party, let them sit, and then pop them off the parchment paper (gently) and place them on top of your frosted cupcake.

Piping the unicorn toppers

How to make royal icing cupcake toppers:

Step one: find a pattern. Some people are super talented and can draw their own pattern (or pipe free-hand). I am not one of those people. I typically choose a pattern from a free clip art site. Choose a pattern that is very simple, it’s much harder to pipe than to draw and too many details just look messy.

Step 2: Print out the pattern so it’s about the size of the top of the cupcake. I usually use a cupcake wrapper to measure. I find it ok if the toppers are just a little bigger or just a little smaller than the cupcake.

royal icing unicorns

Step 3: make and color your royal icing. Royal icing toppers use quite a bit of icing. I used a whole batch to make about 30 cupcake toppers. You want to keep your frosting at a thin piping consistency or thick flooding consistency. The wetter your frosting, the longer it takes to dry. Semi-sweet designs has a really nice post about royal icing consistency you should read if you’re unsure.

Step 4: lay out a long sheet of parchment or wax paper. Place your pattern underneath the parchment. I like the flatness of the backside of the decoration, so I pipe all of my outline, then fill in. Once the decoration dries, I pull it off the parchment, flip it, and I have a final decorated unicorn. You can also pipe the outline, fill in, and once the decoration is more dry, pipe the details like the eyes.

Step 5: wait 8-12 hours for the unicorns to dry. Then gently peel them off the parchment paper and lay them on top of freshly frosted cupcakes.

Cupcakes with blue and purple icing

How to make striped frosting

There are a couple ways to make striped frosting. A really simple way is to take a clean, food only paintbrush and brush a stripe of gel food coloring up the inside of your piping bag before you put the frosting in the bag.

In this instance, I brushed a stripe of teal food coloring and a stripe of purple and then filled my piping bag with American buttercream

The drawback and the perk of this method is that as you frost the cupcakes, the food coloring comes out so your first cupcakes have a lot of color but your last cupcakes have only a little bit. I personally think it’s kind of fun to have cupcakes that all look a little different but it really depends what look you’re going for.

Frosted cupcakes with teal and purple

Royal Icing

Quick drying royal icing recipe perfect for sugar cookies and icing decorations.
Course Dessert
Keyword royal icing
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Author Heather


  • 10-12 tablespoons water
  • 6 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 8 cups powdered sugar 2 pound bag


  • If using a stand mixer, fit with paddle attachment.  
  • Put powdered sugar and meringue powder in bowl.  Add 7 tablespoons water.  Start mixing on LOW speed until all ingredients are combined and moistened.  Scrape down the sides.
  • Add 2 more tablespoons water and mix to combine.   Scrape down the sides. Turn speed of mixer up to medium high.  Beat for 7 minutes.  
  • Turn speed of mixer up to medium high. Beat for 7 minutes.   Scrape down the sides.  If the icing is too thick, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time and beat to combine.  You can’t take the water out so don’t put too much in at a time.


Make sure your bowl and beater are really clean.  This frosting does not like even a bit of grease to be near it.

American Buttercream

An easy to make, creamy American buttercream recipe perfect for frosting cakes and cookies.  This recipe makes enough frosting to cover a 9 inch two layer cake or 24 cupcakes.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword buttercream, frosting, icing
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 24 cupcakes
Author Heather


  • Mixer


  • 2 cups butter softened
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water


  • If using a stand mixer, fit with paddle attachment.
  • Beat butter until smooth and creamy.
  • Add in vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
  • Bring mixer speed down to low.  SLOWLY pour in powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  If you do not listen to me about the slow part, you are going to have a big mess in your kitchen.
  • The mixture is going to get thick.  With the mixer still running, add water 1 tablespoon at a time to thin it out to desired consistency.  Don’t put too much water in at once-you can’t take it out.
    How do you know what your desired consistency is?  Honestly, practice, but I like my buttercream to be easy to stir with a spoon but if you stick the spoon in the frosting it won’t just tip over.

Looking for other cupcake toppers? You might want to try these horse cupcake toppers made from chocolate or these strawberry cupcake toppers made with a little bit of fondant.

Happy Baking!

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