These Unicorn Reindeer Cupcakes are adorably magical! They are gorgeous to make for the holidays, either for a Christmas party or as a delicious edible gift. You could even make a batch for a bake sale or to take to a winter potluck – everyone is going to love these cute festive cupcakes!
I’ve got more fun Reindeer Crafts and Recipes for you to enjoy – right click and open these ideas in a new tab so that you can read them after this one!
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Unicorn Reindeer Cupcakes
I am so in love with these cute cupcakes! What is there not to love about them? They look so pretty and taste so good too!
This recipe includes making chocolate cupcakes and frosting from scratch, but if you want to save time you can always use ready-made/store-bought cupcakes and frosting you are of course welcome to do so.
These unicorn reindeer cupcakes use a variety of different decorative elements including ears that you will make using fondant, antlers and horns that are pre-made and bought from specific stores, as well as some basic piping work for the holly using ready-made icing tubes.
Now, because my readers a flung around the world, I do have options should you not be able to source the exact (or similar decorations) including how to make the antlers and horns using fondant.
I will walk you through all the steps, so even if you are a novice cupcake maker you will be just fine!
Ingredients used in this recipe
The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but here is a brief outline so you know what to expect from the recipe.
I highly recommend always reading a recipe all the way through before starting.
Alongside regular baking ingredients like butter, flour, sugar, etc., you will need some more specialized ingredients which I’ve linked below to Amazon for your convenience.
- Chocolate Fondant
- White Fondant
- Gold Fondant – optional – see decorating tips
- Wilton Red Decorating Icing Tube – Wilton’s standard piping tips fit onto their tubes of ready-made icing.
- Wilton Green Decorating Icing Tube
- Edible Gold Spray Mist
The unicorn reindeer decorations are part edible/part non-edible, so be mindful to let your guests know that information.
However, as I already mentioned, they are from specific stores which I’ve linked to below, as well as some alternative options.
- Gold Foil Antlers – from Michael’s or
- Gold Glitter Antlers – from Amazon or you can make your own from card and glitter, or from fondant – more on that in the decorating tips further down the page.
- Gold Unicorn Horn Icing Sprinkles – from Hobby Lobby or you can make your own using a
- Unicorn Horn Mold – from Amazon and fondant – more on that shortly too.
Equipment used in this recipe
You are likely to have most standard cooking tools in your kitchen but I’ve added some Amazon links for your convenience should you need something more specific for this recipe.
- Wilton 2D Piping Tip and
- Wilton #2 Piping Tip are used to make the ears using the large end of the tip. Or you could also use
- Round Fondant Cutters/Plungers
- Wilton #352 Piping Tip (Leaf)
- Wilton 1M Piping Tip (Star)
- Disposable Piping Bags
- Fondant Rolling Pin
- Cupcake Liners
Unicorn Reindeer Cupcake Decorating Tips
Some fondant decorations need a long drying time (up to 24-36 hours if possible!), so you will want to get started on those a couple of days in advance of when you want to serve your cakes.
If you have never worked with fondant before, don’t panic – it is really easy to use, follow my tips and you’ll be just fine!
- Dust your work surface with powdered sugar so that the fondant doesn’t stick. Think of it like the way you use flour when rolling out dough.
- Rub a little powdered sugar into your hands and knead a handful of the fondant to make it more pliable before rolling, rather than using straight from the package.
- Wrap unused fondant well to prevent it from drying out.
- Dust your rolling pin too, and roll fondant to about ¼” thick (unless otherwise stated). Some fondant rolling pins have guides you can use. You don’t want it too thick as it will take ages to dry, and you don’t want it too thin as it will become more tricky to work with.
- When using cutters or plungers, pour a little pile of powdered sugar onto your surface and dip the cookie cutter into it before using it. Again, this is to prevent sticking. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to dry overnight (or up to 24 -36 hours if you have the time).
- If you need to stick fondant pieces together, use a little water dabbed on with your finger, or a clean paintbrush.
- The fondant pieces could be solid enough to handle and insert after 3 – 6 hours. I personally leave fondant pieces to dry for around 24 hours. How long this takes, however, is based on the size and thickness of the fondant, and how humid your house is, so judge best if they will hold up as they need to.
- If there is excess powdered sugar on the fondant pieces, you can gently brush away with a pastry brush, or an unused, clean paintbrush.
- Alternatively, you can use a vodka spray. Pour some vodka into a mini spray bottle and gently mist the fondant. Vodka dries quicker than water which is why it is usually used when handling fondant.
- Always make extra pieces – that way if some break or you have another mishap, you have got backups that you can use.
- Leave the cut fondant pieces to harden in a cool, dry place – do not place in the fridge. Fondant can turn sticky if left in the fridge.
- When making cakes or cupcakes that use fondant decorations, I like to make them a few days ahead of time which allows for drying without the stress. Fondant that isn’t dry enough can mean disappointing end results.
- After using fondant the surface will be super sticky (it always is in my experience!) so you will probably have to wipe away the sugar first, then give it a soapy hot wash over and then another clean over! You can always by a fondant rolling mat for easier cleanup!
Making Fondant Ears
- The ears are made with two small (different size) circles of fondant
- Each ear has one chocolate fondant circle and one white fondant circle which is sprayed with edible gold food mist.
- You could use gold fondant instead if you like.
- The circles can be cut using the wide ends of two different size piping tips.
- Alternatively use plunger cutters to cut the circles out.
- Carefully pinch the bottoms together to form the ears
- Make extra ears just in case any break!
Reindeer Antlers & Unicorn Horn
If you are unable to buy the ready-made antlers and horns, you can make them instead! Heres how:
- Use gold fondant or white fondant sprayed with edible gold mist.
- For the reindeer antlers, download, print, and cut out the free reindeer antlers template (opens in new window). The antlers are around 4″/11.5cm
- Roll fondant and use the template to cut out the antlers (2 per cupcake = 36, always make extras though!). If you have used white fondant, spray the antlers gold.
- Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to dry for at least 3-6 hours, but 24-36 hours would be best.
- You could also make antler toppers by printing the template onto gold card and sticking to cocktail sticks and inserting into the cupcakes.
- For the unicorn horns, use a silicone mold and press fondant into the cavity. Pop horn out, spray gold (if required) and leave to dry. Make 18 plus extras.
The frosting recipe uses unsalted Sweet Cream Butter – in the UK, sweet cream butter is our regular butter – buy unsalted. You can read all about different types of butter here.
Holly Leaves & Berries
The and holly leaves and berries are piped on using Wilton’s Decorating Icing tubes which fit all of Wilton’s standard piping tips. In the UK the Dr. Oetker brand has some ready-made icing that comes with various tips that is an alternative option if you can’t source the Wilton ones.
Make It A Meal!
You’ve made the dessert, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full meal!
- Appetizer: Winter Vegetable Soup
- Main Dish: Squash Stuffed with Leeks
- Side Dish: Hasselback Potatoes
- Side Salad: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Shallots
- Beverage: Christmas Margaritas
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy! Please feel free to check them out too.
More Recipes Using Chocolate
Since these are chocolate cupcakes, here are some more chocolate recipes to try:
More Cupcakes Recipes
Need some more cupcake decorating ideas? Take a look at these recipes next:
I’ve got lots of fun and easy Cupcake Recipes for Parties and celebrations (and for everyday treats!) for you to try out – right-click and open these other recipes in a new tab so that you can read them after this one!
For the Ears
- 1 (4.4oz) package chocolate fondant
- 1 (4.4oz) package white fondant
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Edible Gold Spray
For the Chocolate Cupcakes
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup Canola oil
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Gold Foiled Antler Cupcake Toppers (from Michaels)*
- Royal Icing Unicorn Horns (from Hobby Lobby)*
- Wilton Red Decorating Icing with #2 round tip
- Wilton Green Decorating Icing with #352 leaf tip
- To make the ears, roll out half of both colors of fondant onto surface dusted with powdered sugar to ⅛"/3mm thick.
- Use the end of a piping tip or circle plunger cutter to cut 36, approx 1"/2.5cm chocolate fondant circles.
- Cut 36 white fondant circles slightly smaller and spray with edible gold mist.
- Stick the gold circles to the brown ones with a dab of water applied with a clean finger or paintbrush.
- Carefully pick up the joined circles and pinch the bottom to form the ears.
- Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to dry for 2 to 6 hours.
- Make some extra ears in case any break!
- To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line cupcake pans with 18 cupcake liners.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, into a large bowl. Stir in the sugars.
- Add the oil, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir until combined.
- Use an ice cream scoop to distribute cupcake batter into the liners about ¾ full.
- Bake for 17-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the frosting, use an electric mixer and beat the butter on medium speed for 1 minute
- Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder until combined.
- Add the cream and vanilla and mix on medium-high speed until frosting is smooth and creamy.
- Place the frosting in a large piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe frosting on top of each cooled cupcake.
- Place the antlers into the cupcake on each side.
- Place the ears just in front of the antlers.
- Place a unicorn horn into the middle of the frosting in between the antlers and ears.
- Using the red icing, pipe 3 red dots on the right side of frosting in front of the ear.
- Pipe two leaves using the green frosting behind the red dots for the holly.
*See blog post for details of where to purchase antlers and horns and alternative options if you are unable to source them.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 275Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 220mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 26gProtein: 2g
This site uses an outside source (Nutritionix) to provide estimated nutrition. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
The Create the Holidays (formerly Create Christmas) series on The Purple Pumpkin Blog is filled with free printables, crafts, recipes, and more for Christmas and the Winter Holidays! You can check out Create the Holidays from 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 and 2012 for tons of awesome Holiday ideas and inspiration!