Oh my god, you guys. I took some plain ol' beige doughnuts, put them in the closet for Seven Minutes in Heaven with a unicorn, and here's what came out.
Kidding! It was actually handiwork involving a bunch of candy, white chocolate, and food coloring that left my kitchen looking like the leftovers of a Candy Land civil war.
But what I want you to take from this post isn't my cleverness (although now that you mention it, thanks for noticing), it's a tutorial for how to unicorn-ify your doughnuts, now and forever.
I've never been a master cake decorator, I think because I'm more of an idea and less of a mise en place person. Precision is necessary to really create pinterest-worthy cakes.
Like, for instance, when I see some of the adorable unicorn cakes online, I'm like "what a cute golden horn!" but am I going to shell out for golden luster dust and fondant, myself? Probably not, because while it has a great visual, it's expensive and doesn't really taste good.
These doughnuts are meant to be a cute and accessible project. I didn't use anything too specialized or crazy. For instance, the manes are made with shredded coconut, and the horns are actually candy corn coated in tinted white chocolate. Most of the ingredients can be picked up at your local grocery store; I did use some star sprinkles, which were a gift; that's the only "rare" ingredient I used.
Nonetheless, working with common ingredients, I was able to create some pretty darned cute doughnuts that I really think are accessible to bakers of all levels. Feel free to adapt with the ingredients you have on hand!
Yield: 6 - printable version on Google Drive here
6 plain doughnuts (baked or fried, whatever flavor, just use ungarnished ones/no sugar on top, etc)
For the glaze
- 1/2 bag white chocolate chips (from a 12 ounce bag)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons prepared white buttercream
- red, blue, and yellow food coloring
- About 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- candy corn (as many pieces as you have doughnuts)
- black writing icing
Get a few things out of the way first. Have a wire rack set up above a sheet of parchment paper or something to catch drips. Tint your coconut by putting it in a bag, adding a couple drops each of red and blue coloring, and shaking it until it's nice and violet. Have your doughnuts handy and nearby.
Make the glaze. In the top of a double boiler, combine the white chocolate chips and milk. Heat over medium-low until the chips have mostly melted. Remove from heat and stir; any residual lumps should disappear.
At this point, I stirred in a couple of tablespoons of prepared white buttercream (Honest: I used the tub stuff, please don't judge) for a little thickness and opacity. Now, you may be wondering why I chose this method of making a glaze rather than just using plain melted white chocolate or candy melts. I chose to go this route rather than just melting the white chocolate because the consistency of the mixture with milk was a little smoother and easier to work with. If you want to keep it really simple, you could just melt the white chocolate or candy melts and work with that mixture. You're probably far neater than me, anyway.
So, now that you have your glaze mixture ready, reserve two small portion of it in two small bowls. I didn't measure, but one was maybe 1/4 cup, and one portion was smaller, like a tablespoon. To the larger portion, add a couple of drops of yellow food coloring; you'll use this for the horns. To the smaller portion, add a teeny tiny amount (like, less than a drop if possible, I know that's ridiculous but try) of red food coloring. This will be for the rosy cheeks. As you can see, I was already making a mess.
Let's go ahead and get the horns out of the way first. Spear each kernel of candy corn on a toothpick, and dip it in the mixture until nicely coated.
Let the horns set. I did this by spearing the toothpicks on a super creative drying rack: an extra doughnut.
OK, let's move on to dipping the doughnuts. Since it's been a few minutes, the glaze is probably slightly thicker now, which is a good thing, because you want it to be opaque. If it's too thick, stir in a small amount of milk.
Dip the doughnuts, one by one, turning to ensure even coverage. I used a fork to remove them, letting excess glaze drip off.
Remove and transfer to the wire rack so that they can "set". You should have enough glaze mixture left over that if parts of the doughnuts are not fully covered, you can spoon it over to really get nice coverage.
While the doughnuts are still slightly wet on top, decide where you'll put the horn, and carefully sprinkle a little dollop of the coconut mixture in that spot. Be sure to leave room to make eyes and a little smile.
On either side or on the back of the doughnuts, apply some sprinkles; I did a little bit of golden star glitter on either side of the coconut, and then a little smattering of rainbow sprinkles on the back of the doughnut.
Now, let the doughnuts set for a good few minutes, until the glaze is firm. You want it to be a solid surface before you apply the eyes, otherwise they will drip and make your unicorns look creepy.
After a few minutes, let's get to work on finishing these babies up.
Apply the horns. Remove the horns from the toothpicks; gently place on top of the tuft of coconut, pressing in to form a seal. If needed, grab some of the leftover glaze (I'm sure there's some around) and use that to help them stick. If needed, apply a little more of that coconut mixture to cover up any messy edges.
Using your black writing icing, make the faces. In my universe, I did this by making two little sideways parentheses-like marks for closed eyes. Below that, two dots for nostrils. Below that, an upwardly facing little Mona Lisa smile. As you can see here I had done this doughnut before applying the horn. When I applied the horn I messed up the face, which is why I suggest in the instructions that you apply the horn first.
Using a toothpick, I gently dragged tiny lines downward from the eyes to form delicate eyelashes. Not only did this make the unicorns prettier, but it helped to differentiate the eyes from the mouth. :-)
Delicately dab (I did this with the end of a chopstick) either side of the mouth with the pink glaze mixture for rosy cheeks.
OH MY GOD YOUR DOUGHNUTS ARE ADORABLE! Take pictures and post to Instagram immediately.