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DIY Cake Smash Backdrop: Quick, Easy, & Cheap

cake smash backdrop party decor

*It is very possible and highly probably that this post contains affiliate links. When you use them, you are supporting this blog. I really appreciate your support! Thank you! My full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here. I have a privacy policy, too!

Little miss just turned one and I had to throw her an EPIC party. I choose a unicorn theme and it was fabulous. All my mommy friends out there told me that the thing to do on my little’s first birthday is a cake smash. I loved that idea. It’s messy…….it’s crafty……it sounds perfect for me! Immediately I set to work to figure out the perfect cake smash backdrop to coordinate with my theme. In no time flat I came up with a stellar idea and I just LOVE LOVE LOVE how it turned out!

It’s too bad that the actual cake smashing was a flop.  It was hard on this type-A momma, but I am learning to roll with the punches and unpredictability of kids more and more each day. 🙂 My little lady was overtired, had just woke up from a nap (yes she slept in the middle of her party) and wanted nothing to do with her cake! And definitely was not eating it! So instead she planted one knee in the cake momma had so painstakingly crafted for her to eat and destroy, as she climbed into my arms for cuddles, milk, and another nap. I guess technically she smashed it…just not exactly how I had envisioned the execution of it.

Ahhh, kids. I love my little miss and her HUGE personality. She wanted nothing to do with any of those cake festivities…but she sure did enjoy a unicorn cookie on a stick later! 🙂 All and all, she had a fabulous birthday and tons of fun, with or without a successful cake smash. 🙂 Now, let’s get you info on how to setup an easy cake smash backdrop for your little one’s birthday or next party!

Instructions for an Easy Cake Smash Backdrop:

Embracing my unicorn theme, I decorated the party using gold glitter and rainbow colors. I happened to be perusing Amazon when I came across this awesome gold fringe. Once I saw that, I knew exactly what I was going to do. I ordered two that instant and started crafting the rest of the cake smash backdrop while waiting for delivery.  P.S. I love prime shipping!

When the gold fringe arrived I taped it to the wall where we will cake smash. Previously, I made tissue paper tassel garland, perhaps another tutorial coming soon, in rainbow colors. I strung one up high (in case adults used the background for their own pictures prior to the cake smash) and another about one foot off the ground. I wanted it to be in the background of the photos when little miss was smashing away at her cake! Ahh… I had dreams….

cake smash backdrop party decor

Next, and this part is sheer genius, I took one  rainbow table cloth (Spritz for Target) and folded it in half twice and taped it to the floor. It made a festive little party cake smashing area and cleanup will be a breeze. See what I mean, sheer genius! ( I hate cleaning, so anything to simplify that is always a plus in my book!) This will be great for you momma’s who have kids that do smash up their cake 🙂 Here is a great close up of the floor with the table cloth taped down.

cake smash backdrop party decor

Those three simple elements, the gold fringe, tissue paper garland, and plastic tablecloth made for a beautiful festive scene to photograph little miss. I hope that you are able to use this tutorial for an easy to pull together  DIY cake smash backdrop. I would love to see how yours turns out.

I will leave you with this real life moment:  the epic shots of our cake smash fail….now had there actually been cake smashing, the tablecloth would have made cleanup a breeze. Oh well, my princess looked cute even though she was mad! If you love that unicorn horn party hat she is sporting, check out the tutorial here! They made awesome party favors and added so much fun to our party environment!

cake smash backdrop party decor

Yes, that is mommy trying to coerce cake smashing…I was not successful…had she smashed the cake I would have shot photos from another angle, so just the background would have been in the photo….but at this point and time this was the furthest momma could get away from lil miss! The full on tantrum and screaming ensued immediately after this photo was snapped.:)

I am linking up to these parties!

Make sure to let me know how your backdrops turn out. I would love to see other backdrop ideas too! I am always looking for great ways to capture the memories we are making! Can’t wait to see what everyone shares!

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The Easiest No Sew Rainbow Ruffled Table Skirt Ever!

rainbow ruffled table skirt

*It is very possible and highly probably that this post contains affiliate links. When you use them, you are supporting this blog. I really appreciate your support! Thank you! My full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here. I have a privacy policy, too!

Well, as I begin to wind down my posts on the epic unicorn themed first birthday party I threw for my daughter last month, I have just a few more DIY crafts that I want to share. You never know when they will come in handy for your party planning! A list of other unicorn theme party ideas is included at the bottom of your post for your convenience.

Today’s tutorial covers how to make an easy no sew rainbow ruffled table skirt. Now, you could always change the colors up and do a monochromatic ruffled table skirt, or ombre would be super pretty too! I did rainbow because our party theme was rainbows and unicorns. Switch it up however you need to incorporate it into your theme.

Materials for No Sew Rainbow Ruffled Table Skirt

One of the really nice things about this project is you do not need a ton of materials. You will need a plastic table skirt and plastic table clothes in the colors of your choice. You only need one table cloth for each color. We will cut them into strips for ruffling.

I recommend that you use at least 4 different colors, otherwise your ruffles will be super big on your table skirt. If you are doing a monochromatic ruffled table skirt than you will want to purchase a few of the same table cloth. You will also need masking tape and scissors. That’s it!

I bought my table skirt on Amazon and all the plastic table clothes at the dollar store. I used a total of six colors: pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

No Sew Rainbow Ruffled Table Skirt Directions

Start by opening up all of your table cloths. You do not want to unfold them width wise, only lengthwise. Take your scissors and cut through all the layers of the table cloth on both sides. This will result in strips of table cloth that are ready to be ruffled.

Once all of your table cloth strips are cut it’s time to get your ruffle on!

Start by laying out your table skirt on the floor. We are going to work from the bottom up.

Using the masking tape, tape the table cloth strip you previously cut to the table skirt. You should start about 4 inches above the bottom of the table skirt. Try to keep the ruffle you are taping consistently 4 inches above the bottom of the table skirt the entire way across as you go.

As you are taping the table cloth strip you want to make sure you are folding the strip a little bit in clusters. Basically you are making pleats. So you take a small section, about 6 inches of the table cloth strip, and crumple/fold/ruffle it so that it is now about 3 inches. Tape this section to the table skirt. Keep repeating this over and over until you make it all the way across the table skirt.

As you go across the table skirt you will need multiple strips to make one entire row. Just pick up the new strip and continue to ruffle as detailed above in the same manner. Make sure you start where the last strip ended. No one will notice the seams. That is the beauty of the ruffles. It all blends in together.

Now we are ready for the second row! Determining the height placement for the next row of ruffles will be dependent on how many total ruffle layers you are using. The key is to make sure that some of the previous layer is still visible. Since I was using lots of colors I only had about 3 inches of the previous layer peeking out. If I were doing a monochromatic ruffled table skirt, say all white, I would probably only do three or four rows, and would space the ruffles out further.

To space the ruffles out further you move higher up on the table skirt base.

Continue in this fashion until you have covered your table skirt in ruffles. Your last ruffle with go across the top of the table skirt base. It should look something like this.

Keep in mind, this is not a hard project, but it is tedious. I was able to do this entire table skirt in one evening. Mind you, my back ached something fierce the next morning. Oh and you must, and I am totally serious about this…YOU MUST have a good movie to watch!

This table skirt was sized to  fit all the way around a 6 foot folding table. So it was pretty enormous. And since I used so many ruffle colors it took some time. All and all, it took me 3 hours of ruffling. However I am absolutely delighted with how this skirt turned out! It was well worth my effort.

Helpful Tidbits

A few things I learned along the way that you should  know about this method for making a no sew rainbow ruffled table skirt.

The top is unfinished. I always make sure I use a table cloth when I have a table skirt. The table cloth will easily hide the ugly masking tape edge. If you were not going to use a table cloth, you could hot glue a coordinating ribbon to cover up the masking tape to finish off the top of the table skirt.

The particular table skirt I used as a base, had adhesive around the top to stick it to the table. I used the built in adhesive, but I also taped the entire table skirt to the table using masking tape. I taped the masking tape at the top of the skirt to the table directly. This skirt is a little bit heavy with all those beauteous ruffled layers, so I wanted to make sure nothing was going to slip and fall. Also, when the included adhesive is no longer sticky the masking tape works just fine on its own!

I also recommend using a white table skirt for the base of your no sew rainbow ruffled table skirt. This will make sure your colors remain pure and crisp and are not muddied by the backdrop. Now, the one time I would steer away from using white, would be if you were making a black ruffled table cloth. Then I would recommend a black table skirt base.

This table skirt is reusable. Just peel the masking tape off gently from the table and fold it over the top of the table skirt. This will give a sturdier masking tape area to adhere your table skirt to its next table!

Styling the No Sew Rainbow Ruffled Table Skirt

For my party I wanted the table top to look as though it was a puffy, soft cloud. I used a white felt Christmas tree skirt I found at the dollar store after the holidays to be the initial table cover. Then, I used fiber fill and put tufts of it around all my dessert trays and platters to give it that beautiful cloud look! Oh I am so in love!

The one thing I forgot to do…take a picture that showed the whole tabletop and the ruffled skirt. DOH! 🙁  So much was going on during the party, I don’t know how I forgot to take a picture of that…but I sure did. Then, one of my wonderful friends helped clean up. and this girl is never turning down cleaning help! That’s for sure! So I wasn’t able to take a picture after the party either.

The table skirt was beautiful in all its ruffled glory. I guarantee it. I did get a few pictures showing the table top with the top ruffle of the skirt.

After the party, to make it up to you guys, I took the table skirt and attached it to our kitchen table so I could get a picture to give the overall feel of how the ruffling and layers turned out.

Making a ruffled table skirt really isn’t hard at all. It takes a little bit of time, a lot of masking tape, and some plastic table cloths. I love projects that provide a huge impact and can be made relatively quickly and easy. Those are the best and this is definitely one in that category. A rainbow ruffled table skirt is sure to stand out in your party decor! I can’t wait to see how yours turns out or would love to hear any advice or tips you have if you have made one of these types of table skirts before. And keep those questions coming too!

Some other coordinating ideas for a unicorn party that may interest you include Unicorn Cupcakes, DIY Unicorn Cake , Unicorn Horn Headbands, and an Easy Cake Smash Backdrop. Also, make sure to check out the party planning archive for even MORE, yes there are more, tutorials on additional unicorn party ideas!

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Unicorn Cupcakes Done Right – Chic & Easy

unicorn cupcakes easy diy

*It is very possible and highly probably that this post contains affiliate links. When you use them, you are supporting this blog (at no cost to you). I really appreciate your support! Thank you! My full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here. I have a privacy policy, too!

Are you looking for unicorn cupcake ideas? Well, I have one I would love to share with you! My daughter, little miss, just turned one year old and I threw her an epic unicorn theme birthday party! If you hang around the blog long, you will learn, when I say epic, I MEAN EPIC!

This post is one in my DIY series “How to Throw Your Own Epic Unicorn Party”. Oh, and since it’s mainly DIY it is so much more economical than purchasing everything! For today’s edition we are going to chat about making unicorn cupcakes. YUM! YUM!

Prepare Fondant Cupcake Accents

Before we do any baking, you are going to want to jump over to my DIY Unicorn Cake Decorating Tutorial and follow the instructions to make unicorn horns  and ears for your cupcakes. Remember to make one horn for every cupcake. Also, instead of a skewer, use a toothpick to support the unicorn horn. You will see what I am talking about when you look at the tutorial. The fondant horn preparation can be done a few days in advance to when you make your cupcakes. In fact, I recommend that!

Decorating Your Unicorn Cupcakes

On cupcake day, the first thing you need to do is whip up a batch of your favorite cupcakes. A family recipe, straight outta the box…it doesn’t matter. However you roll to get cupcakes baked, just do it! Once your cupcakes are baked and cooled we  start the fun part: decorating.

Oh, and here is today’s random fact. See that pig cutting board in the picture below…my daddy made me that! Pretty crafty dad I have there! I love that pig if you can’t tell! Mainly because he made it. 🙂

unicorn cupcakes easy diy

Cupcakes baked. Check. OK, so next, whip up a batch of buttercream frosting.  While  I’ve got frosting on my mind here is a little frosting tip for you: Add a jar of marshmallow fluff to your buttercream recipe. It makes it taste so yummy! My DIY Unicorn Cake Decorating Tutorial also has a great link for a super buttercream frosting recipe if you are looking to try one out. Guess what, it uses marshmallow fluff!

So getting back to business, after preparing the frosting, add color to it, if desired. Personally, I decided to leave mine the  beautiful cream color that it is. It coordinates nicely with my chocolate cupcakes and golden horns.

Prepare your large pastry bag by putting an extra large star tip in the bag, I used the one from this cupcake decorating set, and filling the bag with icing.

Pipe a swirl of icing onto each cupcake. I let a little of the chocolate cake show through on the edges for a nice  color contrast.

unicorn cupcakes easy diy

Next, place all the unicorn horns in the cupcakes.Try to center them the best you can. After that,  place those cute little ears on the unicorn cupcakes.

Voila! These easy and chic unicorn cupcakes are ready to be eaten! OK, maybe spend a little time to admire them first! They are uber cute, ya know!

Additional Unicorn Cupcake Ideas

A few additional ideas I had, but ran out of time to do:

  • Add sprinkles! Sprinkle the cupcakes with a bit of sanding sugar in a coordinating color to give them a magical glimmer or add some star shaped sprinkles. I love the gold star sprinkles! I even put a few on my unicorn birthday cake.

 

  • On Pinterest, I saw clear plastic wine glasses (the kind from the dollar store) filled with gummy bears. The gummies were sorted by color and layered in the glasses, following the colors of the rainbow,  with a cupcake sat on top. This would be such a fun way to display your final cupcakes. I actual displayed mine on the desert table using the DIY serving platters I made. They look delicious and the fact that there were none left confirmed that they were!

unicorn cupcakes easy diy

 

It is amazing what a magical creation your  cupcakes can become with just a bit of frosting and a few easily made fondant accents! I look forward to seeing how yours turn out! As always, I would love to see, so don’t be shy. We love to share here at Paisley & Pugs!  Also, if you ever have questions or need help please reach out to me. I am always happy to help out my fans and love to hear from you!

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Unicorn Meringue Cookies AKA “Unicorn Poop”

DIY unicorn meringue cookies recipe and tutorial

*It is very possible and highly probably that this post contains affiliate links. When you use them, you are supporting this blog. I really appreciate your support! Thank you! My full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here. I have a privacy policy, too!

Another cookie recipe! Yep, sure is! Really, a meringue isn’t a cookie (at least in my book). Well it doesn’t taste like one to me. Cookie, not cookie…it just doesn’t matter! Whatever it is, I am going to teach you how to make the cutest and best tasting unicorn poop (unicorn meringue cookies) out there!

The recipe I used for these is my tried and true meringue recipe.  OK, true confession; it is my dad’s recipe from his bakery, which is where all my amazing baking skills come from in the first place. I spent years working there as a kid through my college years!

It yields delicious, melt in your mouth cookies with a taste reminiscent of  toasted marshmallow. Scroll down to the bottom of this  post to whip it up!

Now, lets get on to how to make those meringues of yours look like unicorn poop. 🙂

Once you have your meringue batter made (following your favorite recipe or test out mine) we need to add some unicorn colors  to it. Otherwise, they will just be plain old boring meringue cookies as opposed to these really awesome unicorn meringue cookies.

Take approximately 1/3 cup of batter and place in into a disposable plastic cup, or a glass one if you feel like doing dishes 🙂 I made 5 aliquots in separate cups. Set the rest of the batter aside. It will remain white.

Add the appropriate amount of food color to get your desired colors. I choose pastel rainbow colors, which matched beautifully with the rainbow unicorn theme of this epic first birthday party I was throwing for my daughter.

Place each colored batter into a small pastry bag. Cut off the tip of each of the bags, making a small hole. The hole should be slightly smaller than a pencil eraser.

Once you have all your batter colored, prepare your pastry bag  with the tip you want to use for piping the cookies. I used this star tip from Wilton and I LOVE LOVE LOVE how the cookie shape turned out!

Take each of the colors and pipe a vertical line along the inside of the pastry bag.  Start as close to the tip at the bottom as possible. Space the lines as even as you can (it gets a little tricky) around the inside of the bag. This gets a little messy and its hard to hold the pastry bag sometimes too . This is also the reason why there is no picture of this step.  🙂 Don’t get frustrated. I did and thought that the cookies would be a hot mess (good news, they weren’t) SO glad I kept going. It will all be worth it for these unicorn meringue cookies!

Now, after all your lines are piped, spoon in the rest of the meringue batter into the pastry bag. Try to place it into the center of the bag so it doesn’t pull down the batter on the edges of the bag. Once the bag is full, squeeze the batter all the way down to your tip. Sorry no pictures of getting the batter ready. I need more hands! 🙂

A side note, I made solid colored cookies with all the colored batter left in the small pastry bags by just piping them onto the trays as well. We don’t want to waste the deliciousness!

Alright, now you are ready to pipe your  cookies. This is where the unicorn magic happens! Prepare a sheet pan by placing parchment paper on it. Pipe the cookies directly onto the paper. Mine were about 1 inch.

I recommend that size for the perfect bite size treat. They are also the optimal size for baking. You can make them slightly larger if you want. Here are my cookies all ready to be popped into the oven for baking. I can’t wait to eat one!

Bake your unicorn meringue cookies according to your recipe. Let them cool…that is the hardest part for me (almost as bad as watching paint dry, ya know?!) Once they are cooled, ENJOY!

Take a look at my freshly baked unicorn meringue cookies. DOUBLE YUM!

unicorn meringue cookie recipe and tutorial

I would love to see how your cookies turned out, so link ’em up in the comments. Or do you have a to-die-for meringue recipe? I would love to hear more about it!

Happy baking. And if you do try out my recipe (below) let me know how  you like that wonderful toasted marshmallow tasting cookie!

 

Unicorn Meringue Cookies a.k.a. Unicorn Poop


Ingredients

3 large egg whites (chilled)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
2/3 c sugar
dash salt

  1.      Preheat oven to 250 F.
  2.      Add egg whites, vanilla, salt, and cream of tartar to mixing bowl.
  3.      Beat on medium speed until frothy.
  4.      Add 1 tbsp of sugar at a time. Beat mixture on high after each addition.
  5.      Repeat until all sugar has been added.
  6.      Beat mixture until stiff peaks form. At least 5 to 7 minutes. Stiff peaks will be shiny in color.
  7.      Add desired coloring to mixture.
  8.      Place mixture into pastry bag and pipe onto parchment paper. Space each cookie an inch apart. Alternatively, use a teaspoon to drop mixture onto parchment          paper.
  9.     Bake for 40 minutes.
  10.      Turn off oven. Do open door. Let meringues sit in oven to slowly cool for at least 2.5 hours.
  11.      Remove the cookies from paper and store in airtight container.

Yield of approximately 60 cookies 1 inch in size.

Just a note on this recipe. Some people will make it without the cream of tartar. For me, this is what makes it no fail. I have tried to omit it before and my cookies were not quite the right consistency after baking. As long as I always add cream of tartar and follow the above baking directions, I have had no problems.

Water is your enemy when making meringues. Make sure your bowls and beaters and completely dry prior to using. Any moisture will destroy your meringue consistency. (This is another common problem many people run into. Good thing I worked for my dad in a baker for years as a teen, so now I can share my wealth of baking knowledge with you!)

 

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How to Easily Create Awesome (and Cheap) Dessert Platters and Cake Stands

diy party dessert platter cake stand tutorial

Have you  gone shopping for a cake stand or dessert platter recently? Well, I did since lil miss was turning one…and I HAD TO HAVE A PARTY 🙂 because that is just how I roll. I scoped out Target, Walmart, and Amazon. You know what…not one had a dessert platter or cake stand for less than $15.00…and you can bet it sure did not match my décor scheme. Oh and with that price, I couldn’t buy multiples either, which I would surely need for my dessert table plans I had in mind 🙂 That means I had some seriously big dessert plans!

This is where I took matters into my own hands. I came up with a way to make 5, yes 5, platters for a little more than 3 dollars each. And this was with buying cans of spray paint, which will last for many more projects to come. If I already had the paint at home, or if I actually calculated the price to make the platters based on the amount of paint I used from the can, the price to make each platter would be even lower! Oh yeah, and even better, these platters matched my décor and color scheme perfect..

Where to Buy the Most Economically Priced Materials to Build Dessert Platters and Cake Stands

The first thing you will need to do to whip these little guys up, is take a trip to the dollar store. I purchased candle holders, and platters. Another good place to find large, good quality platters is Michael’s or A.C.Moore, especially after holidays. I scored some platters from their Christmas clearance. They were a buck each, and really ugly, but I didn’t care because I knew I was going to paint them anyways!

I then took my endeavors over to Walmart. It is the cheapest place I have found to purchase spray paint. You can customize these platters in a variety of ways, just by the paint you choose.I got the colors I wanted, which happened to be bright spring colors. Rustoleum has some awesome finishes, like metallic if you are after a faux metal look, or the looking glass finish, which provides a mirrored surface! Both super cool. See, the possibilities for your platters really are endless!

diy party dessert platter cake stand tutorial supplies

 

Step-by-step Guide to Creating Designer Cake and Dessert Platters in Less Than 15 Minutes

Now that we have our supplies, the most important step is to prepare the items for painting. I used rubbing alcohol and wiped down each platter and candle holder. They need to be very clean so the paint will adhere and there are no little texture bumps. Items from the dollar store can be dusty some times, so this step really is critical to obtaining a beautiful finished product.

Next, I go down into the scary cave below my house, OK, actually its our basement! I have set up a board as my painting station. It is not anything glamorous, as you will see in the pictures, but it does the job. Not to mention, it is going to get covered in paint. 🙂 Make sure your work area is clean and free of any dust particles, dirt etc. Also make sure you lay a painters tarp on the floor under your work surface. Let’s just say, I may have forgotten to do this in the past one or two times, and the mister was not very happy about my over spray….

Place the items to be painted on your work surface. I started by spraying the candle stick. Apply an even coat of paint. More the spray can in a wisping motion. You do not want to make thick layers of paint. That gives the potential for drips. It is much better to do multiple thin coats. I walk around the candle holder as I paint it to make sure I have painted all the crevices. You only need to paint the exterior of the holder.

.

Once the first coat of paint on the candle holder is complete, spray the platter, either the same color or an accent color. Whatever is your preference. Again, use the same wisping motion for the paint application Thick coats of paint are not your friend! I am talking from experience here people!

diy party dessert platter cake stand tutorial painting

Now, go back and do another coat on the candle holder. Repeat, going back and forth between the two pieces until a total of three light coats of paint have been applied. Do a final once over and make sure the items have even coverage. If there are any thin spots add a little more paint.

Let the items dry, at least over night. You could go back and paint the bottom side of the platter now if you want. No one was going to see my bottom side, so I did not bother to do that.

diy party dessert platter cake stand tutorial drying

Once everything is dry, put hot glue on the top of the candle holder and place the painted platter on top of the candle holder. Make sure the platter is centered. Firmly press the platter onto the candle holder and continue to hold for about two minutes.

Set your platter aside and let the glue cool completely. I recommend not to use your  platter for at least another hour, however, it is now fully assembled and ready for use.

diy party dessert platter cake stand tutorial painting

 

Display and Usage Tips for Your New Cake Stands and Dessert Platters

I have a few platter tips that I want to share with you since you are making these bad boys to help up your platter game even more!

    -Use a doily to dress up the platter and make it look a little more fancy

    – A doily is also great if you have concerns about the food directly touching the painted surface ( I recommend serving

      things that are already in wrappers on these platters, such as cupcakes, mini pastries, cakes, etc)

    -To create the illusion of various height platters, place Styrofoam blocks under some of the platters. I was able to do this

     and hide the Styrofoam in my decor so no one even noticed I had given them a little lift.

    -For a different look, glue 2 completed platters together to obtain a multi-tier platter. These look great with mini cupcakes!

And there you have it. An easy 15 minute project that is easy on the wallet and creates designer looking cake stands and serving platters! The best part about this tutorial is I love how customizable these platters are, making them so versatile for all types of decor.

Oh, P.S. If you need to make those unicorn and cloud cookies (and don’t we all :)), the tutorial is here! And, the unicorn cupcake tutorial will be coming shortly, so stay tuned!

 

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Behind the Scenes: DIY Unicorn Cake Decorating Tutorial from a Professional Baker

 

Unicorn cake tutorialHello, Hello!

Last time we chatted, I shared how to make an easy an amazing 6 layer rainbow cake. Well, I sure wasn’t going to leave you hanging. I am back to tell you how to turn that awesome layer cake into a beautiful unicorn!

If you are not familiar with my past life, I will let you in on  a little secret. I grew up in a bakery family. My father ran a bakery  long before I entered the scene until just last year. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with him from the time I was 15 until I graduated college. It was a great experience. The quality time I got to spend with dad was simply priceless. I didn’t know it at the time, but I sure do now…It’s crazy what living over a thousand miles away from your family and a few years of wisdom will really help you to appreciate. As an added bonus, I also learned some mad cake decorating and baking skills.

With dear old dad retiring from the family business, it made me nostalgic for all those times we shared together in the bakery. Learning life lessons, hard work, and the importance of a good sense of humor. Little miss just turned one, so I decided Momma needed to whip up an epic birthday cake. No way was I going to do store bought for my little lady, when I know my finished product will taste and look a million times better than what I can get at most stores around here.

So for all my fans, who have actually made it this far through my reminiscing, I want to share with you how to create your own professional unicorn birthday cake. Everyone will be asking who your baker is and where they can purchase one for their next event and you will get to smile and say “I did it!” You will feel so proud and accomplished.

Homemade Frosting Tips

icing frosting rainbow pastry bags
© Klublu | Dreamstime.com – Beautiful Color Pastry Bags Photo

 

In full disclosure, I did have to call dad and get a few last minute tips on how to pull off this unicorn cake feat at home. There is a big difference in the types of materials a commercial bakery can purchase vs what the home enthusiast can get their hands on. Good thing for me, dad is well versed in this and was able to give me some great substitutions so that everything will work out. Below are a few tips from my dad’s mini cake making pep talk that might pertain to your baking adventures, too. Just wanted to share the love! <3 <3

  • Buttercream frosting will not be white if you make it using only butter.
  • Buttercream frosting will not taste very good if you use basic shortening (ex: Crisco)
  • Bakeries make buttercream using cake shortening and butter: Typically a 2:1 ratio in order to have optimum taste as well as white color. Note, it is very hard to order small quantities of cake shortening, and it is somewhat expensive in comparison to the other ingredient options.
  • Using a jar of marshmallow fluff in homemade buttercream will give it a nicer flavor, especially if you are using Crisco as your shortening
  • If you use Crisco and butter combination for homemade buttercream use a 1:1 ratio and add the marshmallow fluff.
  • If you make buttercream just using butter, I still add the jar of marshmallow fluff.
  • The slight yellow tint from frosting made just using butter will not effect your ability to color the frosting, but you will not have a true white color.

Making Fondant Cake Accents

For this particular cake, I used fondant to make a few accents. It is important to plan ahead of time and make sure you make your accents a few days in advance so they have time to harden and be painted, with food paint of course. : ) I purchased Wilton’s pre-made fondant Note, always sprinkle your work space with confectioners sugar prior to working with the fondant.

Unicorn Horn

To make the unicorn horn, start by taking a piece of fondant and kneading it like dough. You want to soften it and make it pliable.

Next, roll a snake shape ( like you did as a kid with Playdoh). Tapper the two ends of your snake shape. The center should be the thickest part and the two ends the skinniest.fondant unicorn horn DIY

Bend the snake in half having the two tips meet. Twist the two ends together working your way down until you get to the bottom of the unicorn horn.

fondant unicorn horn DIY

Take a skewer and put it into the unicorn horn and push it about 3/4 of the way up the horn. This will help support the horn when it is placed into the cake.

Lay the horn on a pan and let dry for at least a day. Two to three days is ideal.

Once the horn is dry, use gold (or whatever color you want) food paint and paint your horn. Stick the horn skewer in Styrofoam to allow the paint to dry. Now your horn is ready for the cake!

Unicorn Ears

Knead and make the fondant pliable. Roll the fondant flat.fondant unicorn horn DIY

I used a heart cookie cutter to cut out the ear shapes.  The top part of the heart was placed off of the fondant, so I only used the bottom half of the heart to make the ear shape. I used the cookie cutter to make sure the ears were uniform in size. Alternatively, you could also just cut out triangles. Cut out two ear pieces.

fondant unicorn horn DIY

Take the ear piece and pinch together the bottom of the triangle.

fondant unicorn horn DIY

Place the ears on a pan to dry. Remember, a day is the minimum and a little longer than that is even better :).

Once the ears are dry, I used a couple drops of pink from the Wilton color system and thinned it with a teaspoon of vodka. I then painted the centers of the ears pink.

As you can see from my images, I was mass producing unicorn horns and ears to top the birthday cake, smash cake, and all the cupcakes! That was a lot of horns and ears ;P

fondant unicorn horn and ears DIY

Steps to Decorate Cake as a Unicorn

So, lets get started.  Place your cake on a cake turntable. The first thing you will need to do, after you have assembled your layers, is it to give it a crumb coat (or not…read on for more info about that).  A trick that I love to use for frosting cakes is if you have the time and space, is to stick your cake in the freezer for a few hours or even overnight. A chilled cake is so much easier to work with and will prevent you from ending up with tons of crumbs in your frosting. To be honest, when I start with a frozen cake, I don’t even do a crumb coat unless I am going to cover it with fondant. If it is frozen, I tend to just go for it and frost it.

Prior to frosting the cake, decide what color you would like the base of the unicorn head to be. I used a true all butter buttercream recipe for my unicorn cake. Due to the high concentration of butter in my frosting, it has a cream color as opposed to white. This is perfect for the look I wanted, so I didn’t even need to color my frosting. If you would rather have a different color for the head, then color your frosting before you start.

Once your frosting is the color you desire, we will start by frosting the sides of the cake. I use a flat icing spatula to apply frosting to the cake. While holding the spatula parallel with that of the cake sides, I spread the frosting, using gentle pressure, until a smooth coating of frosting all the way around the cake is achieved. Make sure that none of the cake layers are peaking through the icing. It is too thin if you can see any of the layers and you need to add additional icing.

Once the sides are covered, I then plop some icing on the top of the cake and spread that out evenly using the same spatula. I make sure to spread all the way past the edges.Some icing may even drip onto the sides. That is totally OK.

Next, I grab the icing smoother. As I spin the cake on the turntable, I hold this parallel to the cake and use slight pressure. This tool is taller than the layer cake and will smooth the frosting

Once the sides are smooth, I go back to smoothing the top. I use the flat icing spatula and spread the icing from the edge of the cake toward the center. I do this working all the way around the cake.

To get any additional remaining lines removed from the top of the cake I will let you in on a secret. Boil a pot of water and keep it boiling. Place your spatula in the hot water for about 15  seconds. Now, slowly drag across the top of your cake. This melts the icing just enough to smooth it and remove any spatula marks. We used this tip at the bakery all the time.

Next, I placed the fondant unicorn horn in the top of the cake and one ear on either side. Note, you should make the fondant horn and ears a few days ahead of time to make sure that it has time to dry and harden.  Instructions for making the unicorn horn are at the end of this post.

Once the fondant pieces are in place I began making the mane. I prepared five pastel colors of frosting: pink, purple, blue, yellow, and green. The pink and purple were put into pastry bags with a regular size rose tip (104). The blue was put into a mini rose tip (102). Green was put into a leaf tip (352). Yellow was put into the closed star tip (35)

I made roses and covered the front top of the unicorn head in a triangle shape. Next, I filled in gaps between the roses with the star tip adding little yellow flowers, as well as adding leaves to all of the roses.

I then added flowers in the same manner around the ears. On the back of the head I used flowers to create the mane and had them go down the back side of the cake too. I even had some flowers wrap around the bottom of the cake towards the front on the cake board to extend the mane slightly. I then sprinkled gold star sprinkles and little white pearl sprinkles throughout the mane to add a little extra dazzle.

The finishing touches to decorating the unicorn are adding the eyes. I painted on the eyes using a small paint brush with the black food coloring from the Wilton Color Right Performance Color System. Do not dilute the food coloring or it will run and drip, ruining all that hard work. We sure don’t want that to happen. Ta-da! Unicorn cake complete!

 

 DIY Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Cake

Phew! Glad you made it through the LONGEST POST EVER! Sorry about that. I just had so much good info to share with you. Hope it helps and you can use it on some of your next cake frosting endeavors. If you have questions or need more frosting (or general baking) feel free to post in the comments and I will get back to you ASAP. Happy cake decorating!

I am linking up with these parties!

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The Ultimate Guide to Easy DIY Cookies on a Stick

DIY cookie on a stick tutorial

As promised, here is the first of many tutorials, Easy DIY Cookies on a Stick, that are the result of my daughter’s EPIC unicorn first birthday party…and my it was epic!  My goal, is to help anyone who may want to recreate this unicorn party for their family and friends. This party theme lends itself nicely to kids birthday parties as well as baby showers. It is such a universal and fun party theme. The sky is the limit with the creativity surrounding this type of a party.

One of the most important elements of a good party is good food. In my opinion good food also means fun food! And seriously, what could be more fun than food on a stick.  Think about it. Those super fun experiences in life always seem to have food on a stick…the circus you can get cotton candy, fairs and carnivals always have yummy snacks like corn dogs and meat on a stick…yeah, really what it boils down to is food on a stick IS THE BEST! So, of course for my little sweet’s party, we had to have cookies on a stick.

Although the idea of making cookies on a stick may seem daunting, it really isn’t bad at all. I have been making all types of pastries, cookies, sweets, and desserts since I was about 12 years old. Growing up, my family had a very popular German bakery, so really, baking is in my blood! Now, I am here to share my wealth of baking knowledge and teach you the tricks of the trade to make you baking so much easier!

How to Make a Cookie on a Stick 

First things first! Start by whipping up your favorite batch of cut out sugar cookie dough. If you are feeling like taking a short cut, you can even use a box mix to whip up your cookies. I won’t tell anyone if you do 😉

Once you have prepared your dough, you want to roll it out and cut out your shapes. The key with cookies on a stick is that you need to roll your dough a little bit thicker than normal. I personally roll my dough 1/2 inch thick for cookies on a stick, but you can get away with  3/8 inch. I use this rolling pin with guides to help make sure that my dough is the correct thickness. Super helpful, as the dough thickness is what will make or break these cookies. If you do not have thick enough dough, the stick will fall out of the cookie and then you will have a crumbled cookie not on a stick. 🙁

After your shapes are cut out (I made unicorn and cloud cookies) you want to place them on a cookie sheet.  Make sure to leave room to insert the stick ( this happens post baking). My cookies were approximately 2 inches and I was able to fit 5 on a pan for baking. Once you have the cookies on the pan, bake per the recipe’s directions.

Now, once the cookies are done baking, as soon as they are removed from the oven you need to place the stick in the cookie. You want to insert the stick from the bottom of the cookie and slide it up inside the cookie about 3/4 of the way. DO NOT MOVE THE COOKIES OFF THE PAN. If you do, this will cause the sticks to fall out. As the cookies cool, the dough wraps around the stick and helps secure the sticks, but while the cookies are warm, the sticks have not yet been secured. These are my favorite sticks for cookies!

cookies on a stick

I let the cookies cool on the pan for about 7 to 10 minutes. Then I move them to a cooling rack. I use a spatula to carefully move the cookie from the pan to the cooling rack.

unicorn and cloud cookies on a stick

I recommend waiting at least 2 hours for your cookies to fully cool before preparing to decorate them and use royal icing. It is super quick to whip up. You can check out my go to recipe here. I prefer to make my royal icing  one consistency that has the ability to outline and flood a cookie. Some bakers prefer to make icing with a slightly runnier consistency for flooding cookies. I find this time consuming, especially when icing cookies, but if this method works for you, than go for it! There really is no wrong way to decorate a cookie! Ultimately, you are going to eat it right?! 🙂

Place some of your icing into a pastry bag and use x tip.  Add the remaining frosting into a squeeze bottle. For each cookie, start by tracing around the edge of the cookie using the icing in the pastry bag. Then, take the squeeze bottle and fill in the cookie with icing. If you have small bare spots you can use the tip of the squeeze bottle to help direct the icing. I recommending doing two cookies at a time. If you do more than this, the icing used to edge the cookie will not blend in with the fill icing. The two cloud cookies on the top left in the image below show where I did the edge of too many cookies before flooding the inside of the cookie and had this issue happen.

frosting unicorn and cloud cookies on a stick

Since my base color for both the cloud and unicorn cookies was white, I  went ahead and did all the cookies. Depending on your cookie design, use the appropriate  food colors to tint your icing and apply a base layer of icing on the cookie. Once you have a base layer, than go back and add in the details.

How to Decorate Unicorn and Cloud Cookies

To finish up the cloud cookies, once the initial layer of icing has slightly dried (approximately 15 minutes) I went and did a swirly border around the edge of the cloud. I also piped a little heart in the bottom, right corner of each cloud.  For the detailed cute little cloud faces, I used these awesome food markers, called FooDoodler. They work like a dream and enable precision design. So glad I bought this set, and it was a steal at only eight dollars on amazon. Finally, I used gold food paint, also scored on amazon, to paint the little hearts and add a little bling to those cutie clouds! My party theme accent color happened to be gold, so I incorporated it into the cookies. I may be bias, but I think they came out super cute!

The unicorn cookie details were a little more challenging, in my opinion. I colored three portions of royal icing, one each, pink, blue, and green. Next, I layered the colors in one pastry bag and used a writing tip to decorate the tails and manes. I was hoping to get a multi-color effect for the mane and tail, which I did. However, when the pink and green colors mixed they, did get a little bit muddy. The execution and theory of how I did it works. I have done it in the past, and will also show how I did it in an upcoming post for my rainbow meringue ‘unicorn poop’ cookies. My issue was in color choice. Next time, I won’t use the green.

I used the same multi-color icing to also pipe a small heart on the unicorn’s side as well as pipe the hooves. I also went back and added an accent strand of hair in the mane and tail of each unicorn. By waiting and doing this a little bit later the accent strand was slightly raise up above the rest of the mane. I then busted out that gold food paint again and painted the hooves, heart, and accent hairs gold. After that, I used my food markers again to add a cute little eye. Voila! Unicorns on a stick!

frosting unicorn and cloud cookies on a stick

If you want to duplicate my cookies you can get the unicorn cookie cutter from SheyB.com and the cloud cookie cutter from Amazon.

 

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Throw Your Own Epic DIY Unicorn Party Series

unicorn birthday party cake

Well hello, hello! It has been a little time since I have popped into the blog. Life got a little crazy with the travel and the holidays, but I am back and have a treat for everyone!

Little miss just turned one (yes seriously…already; I may be on the verge of tears) *sniff sniff* but I will prevail with this post 😀 To celebrate her first trip around the sun, we decided to throw her a unicorn themed birthday party! It was  just as magical as her first year was for us!

My over-zealous, super craft happy excited self had created a laundry list of stuff to make for this party. I did so many projects (meaning I went WAY overboard), but the great news for you is that  I am going to do an entire “throw your own epic mystically magical unicorn party” series chock full of DIY tutorials!  These tutorials will cover decor as well as fun unicorn themed foods! I can’t wait to share. A few of the tutorials that will be coming your way include:

  • DIY unicorn party hats (headbands)
  • DIY sky scene setter background and fluffy puffy clouds
  • Fast and easy no sew rainbow ruffled table skirt
  • Unicorn cupcakes
  • Unicorn Meringue “poop” cookies
  • Unicorn rainbow cake

There are so many more in addition to those listed above, but I want to keep a few surprises for everyone! So stay tuned, as the epic DIY unicorn party series starts later this week!! Below is my little unicorn, who passed out right in the middle of her first birthday party! It was HER party, and she slept if she wanted to! 🙂

unicorn birthday party