**I only made a half batch of both recipes. A full batch makes about 30 cupcakes and I only needed 15 for this project.
I first placed these out then traced their shape on a cardboard piece to cut out. You want some sort of slim base for these because the marshmallow gets really messy! Don’t mind the one I had to even out on top. Lesson learned, don’t overfill your cupcakes! Only fill about halfway.
Use your buttercream to frost a nice thick layer across the entire cupcake surface.
The sprinkles aren’t really necessary but I had this sprinkle blend leftover from my Spooky Unicorn Cake and I thought it would be a festive touch. For the eyes, I took two oreos and pulled one side off (as cleanly as possible, trickier than I thought!) and added chocolate chips.
This is the after the first layer of marshmallow. Take a cup of mini marshmallows and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and let cool a little until the mixture starts to get stringy when you pull it apart. Start taking small clumps and pull it apart slightly to drape over the cupcakes. Work quickly because the marshmallow will cool quickly.
I did the same thing with a second cup of marshmallows to add more coverage and depth. I let it sit for a bit so the marshmallow would harden up then I cut the extra “cobwebs” off to clean it up a bit.
Halloween is upon us and I am pumped! I made this “spooky unicorn cake” for a friend’s daughter’s birthday party and I’m so happy with how it turned out. She wanted a witch/unicorn hybrid and this was born! I created a two-tier cake with a funfetti/chocolate spider web bottom and a chocolate/vanilla frosting witch/unicorn top! Here’s how I did it-
You want to put a generous layer of buttercream between each cake layer. Then you do a really thin coat over the three layers. This is called a “crumb coat” and basically just holds all of the crumbs in so nothing gets into the outer layer when you’re smoothing it out. You want to let it chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes (or freezer for about 10 minutes) to set.
While the layers set, you want to dye a small bowl of buttercream electric green. Dye a larger bowl of frosting with the same black you used for the cake. I added about 1/8 cup of cocoa powder as well. This helps darken the buttercream and who doesn’t love chocolate?! Smoothing out the top layer of buttercream takes PATIENCE. You won’t just smooth it out in one swipe. It takes me about 3-4 times around while filling in spots along the way. Then you smooth out the top after the sides are done. If you have a bench scraper like this laying around your kitchen, it will work just fine for these 3-layer tiers. If you ever do a taller cake, I’d suggest getting the Wilton smoother I have pictured above. I learned how to do smooth frosting from this Chelsweets video. She gives a lot of really good tips!
After you have the bottom layer smooth- you need to add support for the top layer. I use either plastic straws or wooden skewers typically. Just cut them to the height of the cake and press 3-4 in the bottom layer.
I didn’t catch a good photo of the final spiderwebs on the bottom tier but watch my time lapse video @SlightlySamantha on Instagram to see it in action. It is SO EASY. I’m serious. Just take a cup of mini marshmallows and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir them around until they cool a bit and get “stringy”. This gets messy…. pick up a clump with your hands and just start stretching bits around the cake. Keep going until you get the amount you want around the cake. I thought this part was going to be a lot easer said than done. But it was the easiest part of the whole cake! For real.
Unicorn Horn & Ears-
So I’m not going to lie, these were a little more tricky. This was my first time working with fondant. I had to have my husband roll it out because I bought way too much (to be safe) and it was a huge hard brick. I’d suggest getting two of these small packs of black fondant. It’ll be much easier to roll out and you won’t waste any. I meant to get purple fondant for the ears and hat accent but the white fondant packaging is deceiving and I clearly didn’t feel like reading. Wilton does make other colors in those small packs so that would probably be better for you! I just made a tapered “rope” out of the fondant to wrap around a wooden skewer. This helped it secure into the cake as well. Then I just cut a basic oval shape for the ears in black then a smaller one in white. I put the ears in the fridge to harden up a bit while I secured the horn and decorated the cake with frosting. You’ll want to wait and put the ears in after you frost so you can nuzzle them in and then they’ll be secured with frosting. I did a couple little dallops with my frosting bag behind the ears then as well to really make sure they were secured.
OR if you don’t want to mess with fondant at all (and save a lot of time), I found this really cute cake topper set on Etsy that I think would look great!
Unicorn Mane & Final Details-
Now you’ll take your remaining buttercream and dye it. I used the orange that was in the same neon pack the purple came in. You could probably use the green too. I just happened to have that Americolor green I linked above and it is extra bright. I used a Wilton 1M (purple), 2A (green) and 4B (orange) for decorating the mane. I got them in this decorating set. Honestly, any 3 tips will work. I’d suggest that they are at least all different tips so they all “pop”. I use these piping bags that come in bulk but you can get smaller packs at any craft store or online as well. Lastly, I added a few handfuls of this Halloween sprinkle mix. The little eyeballs give it any extra spooky touch!
That’s it! If you have any questions, please let me know. As a self-taught baker, I know it can be frustrating trying new techniques. But practicing is half the fun 🙂
Toy Story has been a popular children’s birthday party theme since I was a little kid. My friend Ashley has a one-year old who is in LOVE with it. I’m talking can-watch-all-day-every-single-day in love, love, love. SO when she was planning his first birthday party it was obvious that the theme had to be Toy Story. That’s where I come in… I wanted to make a really festive smash cake for the little guy and then cupcakes for the guests to eat as well. It is easier than it looks and I’m here to share all of the tutorials and tips I found to make this possible.
First and foremost, you need recipes! My absolute favorite cake and frosting recipes come from Chelsweets. I used her Chocolate Cupcake recipe for the cupcakes, Funfetti Cake recipe for the smash cake and her Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe for all of the frosting. I did one full batch each of both the chocolate cupcake and funfetti cake recipes and three batches of buttercream. I baked four 6″ cake layers of the funfetti cake and there was batter leftover so I did about 8 cupcakes with that batter. Can you have too cupcakes? Nope, not possible. You could probably cut the recipe in half and be perfect for three 6″ layers and it would just be about an inch shorter. Her recipes are FOOL proof.
Now the fun part!! I know frosting and decorating cakes seems daunting. Here’s the good news- I specifically went with designs that are flaw-friendly. Trust me:
Assembling the cake: If you’ve never assembled/frosted a layered cake, I highly recommend you watch Chelsweets video. She shows you exactly how to do it. But don’t get too caught up on it being super super smooth because as you can see in the photo, the sides are covered in sprinkles. I swear mine was a hot mess and it was so nice to be able to just push forward! After I frosted the cake, I immediately rolled it in sprinkles. That goes exactly as it sounds. I poured this sprinkle blend into a baking sheet and literally rolled it around. Be gentle with it but feel free to place handfuls of sprinkles on the sides if it doesn’t evenly stick. (Do this quickly after you frost because this type of frosting firms up pretty quickly, which I have learned the hard way more than). Lastly, I just piped small rounds all over the top and a little border on the bottom with some blue frosting (I just used standing blue food coloring). You don’t have to completely cover the top because you’ll be pushing the aliens onto them and snuggling them in which will even it out a bit. You can always go back and pipe little bits in if you feel like it’s too sparse. I used a Wilton Star Tip for the piping. Any frosting tip will do but star is probably the most forgiving (which is the best in my book!). I made the cake topper myself but there are so many cute ones on Etsy to choose from. I don’t own cupcake stands so I found these disposable stands at Joann Fabrics.
Making the aliens and pigs (aka Hams): I got this silicone mold from Amazon and it worked out great! Luckily they make Wilton Candy Melts in a Vibrant Green that is the exact color I needed. I got them from Joann Fabrics but you can get them from most craft/baking stores or Amazon (If you cannot find the Vibrant Green, then I would suggest getting white Candy Melts and Americolor Electric Green food coloring). I just melted a handlful in 30 second intervals in a measuring cup until it was smooth enough to pour into the mold. Once the mold is full, tap it down on your counter a bit to smooth out as many bubbles as possible (It’s impossible to get all of the bubbles out but they’re minimal, don’t panic). Put this in the freezer for 5-7 minutes and you can pop them out and do the next batch. This part is a little tedious. My tip is to invite a friend over for a glass of wine and make them help you/entertain you (Sorry Andrea!). Then use a little leftover melted candy melts to put the candy eyeballs on. I just used a little toothpick to dab it on. You have to work quickly with this because the candy melts harden faster than you’d think. Make sure you find the extra small, “mini”, eyeballs. The large ones will be harder to fit on the aliens. For the pigs, I just used pink Candy Melts (they have several pink colors, any would work) and little black gel food coloring on a toothpick to fill in the eyes but I don’t think this is an absolutely necessary step.
HOME STRETCH- Decorating the cupcakes: I attempted to do a yellow/blue/red swirl and it turned out rainbow so I would suggest doing just all one color or a small batch of each colored frosting. I used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe rosettes on top of the cupcakes. This is another spot where any type of tip/piping technique will look great! You’re going to put additional aliens/pigs on the top so you won’t be able to see much of the frosting design anyhow. I ran out of time to make enough of the aliens/pigs so we used little toy soldiers on the additional cupcakes. You could really do them all with these, they looked so cute!
Decor: My friend found so many cute things for her party and I got a list of the Etsy shops she purchased them from. Every single one of these was perfect, on time, exactly as pictured and such a great addition to the party. And as a bonus, you get to support some small businesses! 🙂
This high chair banner came from GraceNGoods on Etsy. So cute, durable, great quality! You can’t see but he is also wearing a Toy Story t-shirt that was customized with his name. You can find it at ProjectPartyShop on Etsy.
This backdrop was PERFECT for taking photos with the birthday boy and also just really tied everything together. It came from LoveItHangItDesign on Etsy. Lastly, you can get the disposable cow print tablecloths in a 3-pack from Amazon. It was so nice to be able to just pickup the mess and toss it out.
If you’re thinking about planning a Toy Story themed birthday party, I hope this helps! If you have any questions, please let me know 🙂