Unicorn cakes have been the next big thing in Singaporean patisserie for a couple of years now, but have you ever wondered how to make your own? If so, strap in and read on.
An undying trend
At the moment, it feels like every bakery, cake shop and Instagram feed in Singapore is filled with one thing – unicorn-themed patisserie, and in particular, the far-from-humble unicorn cake. It’s not just a Singaporean trend, either, with ‘unicorn cake’ being the most searched for food term on Google in 2018. And why not? There is little more satisfying than cutting through a thick outside layer of icing to find 5, 6, 7, maybe even 10 different colours of sponge staring out at you, each clearly defined and divided with a thin layer of butter cream. Sometimes eating the sweet unicorn head decoration feels a little cruel (think veal and Bambi), but it’s extremely tasty so we get over it. Of course, now it isn’t just cakes, with milkshakes and tea coffee also being unicornified (new word alert) for our culinary pleasure. But, the original confection, and the one we all know and love, was the cylindrical rainbow sponge topped with a unicorn horn.
The baking basics
If you do fancy making your own unicorn cake, then here are the basics. First, you need to make four (at a minimum) identically sized plain sponge cakes. So, for the uninitiated amongst you, that’s equal parts butter, sugar and flour, and 5 eggs. When the sponges are baking, you need to make a swiss meringue butter cream. For that, start by beating eggs and caster sugar over a low heat until you’ve got something nice and smooth and shiny. You set aside about a third of this for the horn and mane, and mix the rest with butter to make the cream. Assembling the main body of the cake is straightforward: cake, layer of butter cream, cake, layer of butter cream etc., until all the sponges are used. Then you coat the whole cake twice in the remaining butter cream until smooth. When you’ve plucked up the courage, make the horn, eyes and ears out of the meringue, and, utilising all the food colouring you’ve got, make up a few piping bags and decorate the cake with the mane. Ta-da!
How to eat?
Usually here, we’d have a little bit on ways to serve the food we’re talking about, but this seems self-evident. Cut yourself a big slice and maybe a bit of horn, eye or ear, and sit down to eat. It is a very sweet cake, so some black tea (lady grey or earl grey) will pair well with it to take the sugar edge off.
Prepare for the sugar
Hopefully, our short little guide might have inspired you to create your own unicorn cake. If it hasn’t, but it has made you want to eat some, then go grab a slice, and don’t blame us for the two-day sugar buzz.