My youngest child loves to bake. She loves finding recipes and pictures of cakes and treats that she wants to make. I think it is a great skill for her to have, so we end up doing lots of baking. After coming home from a friends birthday party that had a DIY unicorn cake she wanted to create one of her own.
During the summer I am always looking for new and different activities for my kids to keep them busy and having fun. Instead of simply baking a unicorn cake with my kids, we decided to have a DIY unicorn cake baking challenge!
If you’ve never done a baking challenge with kids before, this cake is a great place to start. There was so much laughter and memories made that we will definitely be doing another challenge soon!
We paired each of my kids with an adult in order to oversee what they were working on. My kids basically did all of the mixing and design and everything on their own.
However, when baking with kids the most important thing is to keep everyone safe. Adults are the only ones who should use a stove/oven and any knives or anything sharp. Make sure that children are supervised the whole time during the competition.
Baking with children is a great way for children to learn skills that they will need throughout life. It gets kids interested in cooking and baking and there is lots of art, when decorating, and math, such as measurement, mixed in.
Materials for a DIY Unicorn Cake
If you have children who are interested in baking, it may be worthwhile to purchase some kid friendly baking materials, such as small rolling pins. However, you can keep it simple and use what you already have. For this DIY unicorn cake, you will need:
- Measuring Cups
- Cake Mix (and ingredients needed for the mix i.e. eggs.)
- Baking Pans
- Food Coloring
- Piping Bags
- Bowls (different sizes)
Setting Up Your Baking Challenge
To start, I premade a unicorn cake. I wasn’t anything spectacular, but it gave my kids an idea of what they were working to create. We also used other pictures of unicorns and cake ideas that we found.
It was definitely a friendly competition, and they were excited to see what they each came up with.
After showing them what they were going to create, I then showed them all of the materials that they would have access to. I had set out measuring cups, baking ingredients, icing and piping bags. Everything they were going to need in order to do the challenge.
I had my kids use small recyclable baking tins – mainly because I don’t own 10 small baking pans, but also because the tins made for easier clean up. It was interesting to watch them know to grease their tins and then fill them half way with the cake mix.
I set the timer for 2 hours. Within these 2 hours they had to make their cake and decorate it.
They also had 10 ‘Helps’ where they could ask for help or tips on what to do when something wasn’t working out. I was surprised by how little they ended up needing my help. Depending on the age of the children doing the challenge, you could add extra “helps” or none.
The challenge is to create a unicorn cake, ideally with rainbow layers, and decorated to look like a unicorn.
The challenge is fairly simple and gives kids lots of choice and options. They could create any unicorn they wanted.
Make sure to remind children that they are not to use or go near the oven. I made sure that the rest of the supplies I provided to them were safe for them to use.
DIY Unicorn Cake Challenge
Once they had all of the materials, they were ready to start!
They started by reading the instructions to make the cake. They mixed and added a small amount of mix to each of the tins. They then added rainbow food coloring to the mix and experimented to find just the right shade.
Once the cakes were ready and I had put them into the oven, they started on the fondant. I have never worked with fondant before, but my kids did such a great job!
I think because they are experts with playdough, the fondant was a bit easier for them! Corn starch helped a lot when it became sticky as well – we learned this trick quickly!
This baking challenge is a great way to introduce children to new and interesting materials, like fondant. It is a great opportunity for them to explore and experiment with things they have never before.
While we let the cakes cool, my kids worked on creating the unicorn’s horn. They also got their icing ready to decorate with.
We used regular baggies and piping tips to add details with the icing. They mixed the icing and food coloring. This part was a bit tricky. The icing that we used was not as thick as it needed to be so it ended up running down instead of staying in place.
However, my kids decided they loved the look of it and added candies in order to make it “even more beautiful”.
The final result was awesome! They were so proud of what they had created. Although their cakes didn’t look like the example, they were true works of art. The purpose of this challenge is not to make a perfect cake, it was a great learning experience.
We had some company over in the evening so we decided that we would do a big reveal and taste test. Our guests were the judges for the cakes. They had to give an award to each participant. For taste and appearance.
I was happy that the cakes were being shared! We showed the cakes, one by one and then the kids plated a piece for everyone. We then did a taste test.
The cakes turned out beautifully and tasted delicious! I was so proud of my kids and they were so happy with their creations that they kept going into the kitchen, just to look at them.
My kids decided that they preferred their unicorn cakes to the original and I have to agree! They were delicious and the most creative unicorn cakes that I have ever seen.
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More Hands-On Teaching Ideas
If you are looking for more activities and ideas to do in the classroom, or at home with kids, below are some of my favourite and most popular learning activities.
From lunch ideas, and escape rooms to building challenges and outdoor learning activities, there are lots of things to keep kids busy and learning. Click image for activity description.