New Year’s Cake (Easy Unicorn Cake Design)

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

This adorable New Year’s Cake is the perfect dessert for ringing in the new year! It’s a New Year’s Eve appropriate version of the ever-popular unicorn cake and can be made with a wide variety of cake flavors.

New Year's Unicorn Cake on a cake stand with ornaments around
This stunning unicorn cake design is the perfect way to celebrate on New Year’s Eve!

This amazing New Year’s cake was created by Lia Weber. Her step-by-step instructions and best tips are below.

How to Make a New Year’s Cake

Start with Any Cake Recipe

To make this New Year’s Eve cake, start with your favorite cake recipe.

New Year's Unicorn Cake with a slice removed
Use layers of different kinds of cake to make this New Year cake design especially festive and exciting.

I recommend my best vanilla cake! If you want to get fancy, you can layer chocolate and vanilla cakes with chocolate ganache in between like Lia did.

Frost the Cake in Super Black

Frost the cake with super black [paid link] buttercream. Buy more than you think you will need. It takes a lot of black to make the buttercream look truly black versus dark purple.

You can use any frosting that you like. My go-to frosting is my vanilla bean buttercream, but for this cake I would suggest using vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean paste as you don’t want any speckles.

Looking down the New Year's Cake
You’ll love learning how to make a unicorn cake with simple to follow, easy steps for decorating!

Tip: If you need to learn how to smoothly frost a cake, I strongly recommend taking some classes on Craftsy or with Lia directly (if you happen to be in St. Louis).

Pipe Rosettes Onto the Cake

Pipe rosettes onto the cake with your favorite vanilla buttercream using 1M and various other star tips such as #20 [paid link], #32 [paid link], and #18 [paid link].

Piping a white rosette onto a black cake
Because this unicorn cake has a solid black frosting base, you can use any kind of cake underneath the fondant unicorn decorations!

Tip: To pipe a rosette, start piping in the center of the rosette and swirl outward.

Add the Eyes

decorating eyes with luster dust
Adorable and sparkly eyes give this easy unicorn cake design lots of personality!

Pipe on eyes (no need for eyeballs) with royal icing using a #3 tip [paid link] and paint with gold luster dust.

Tip: Use a paint brush to paint on the luster dust.

Add Unicorn Ears

How to Make Unicorn Ears

adding unicorn ears to new years cake
The fondant unicorn ears and horn are a must-have decoration to pull this cake together!
  1. To make the unicorn ears, roll out some white and black fondant.
  2. Cut two larger ears out of the black fondant, using a leaf cutter [paid link] or large rose petal cutter [paid link].
  3. Then, using a smaller cutter and white fondant, use the same technique to cut two smaller ear shapes for the insides of the ears. Paint the smaller ears gold using vodka and gold luster dust.
  4. Place the smaller gold inner ear on top of the larger black ear.
  5. Use a dab of water underneath to glue them together.
  6. Pinch the ends together to form a crease and set in cupcake liners or a flower former [paid link] to dry.

Add a Unicorn Horn

How to Make a Unicorn Horn

To make a unicorn horn, you will need:

Place a Popsicle stick in a styrofoam dummy
Using a cake dummy ensures that your decorations will look perfect before you add them to your New Year’s Cake.

Insert a cake pop stick into a Styrofoam cake dummy, letting it stick out about 4 inches (this will help you determine how tall the hat/horn will be).

Hands on fondant, rolling it out
Once you learn how to work with fondant, this New Year’s unicorn cake design becomes super simple to create!

Roll out a tapered rope of fondant. Use white fondant instead of the black fondant shown in these photos.

Curling fondant around popsicle stick
Wrap the fondant unicorn horn around a cake pop stick and make sure it looks perfect before topping your cake.

Twist the tapered rope around the cake pop stick until you reach the top.

Brush with vodka and gold luster dust.

Tip: Plan ahead. Let the horn dry for several hours before placing on the cake.

How To Make the Fringe Around the Base of the Horn

Using a fondant roller to roll a small piece of black fondant
Don’t put the fondant away just yet! You can use it to further adorn this easy unicorn cake and add adorable details.

Roll out a long piece of fondant about 1/2 inch wide.

Using a pizza cutter to cut fringes into rolled black fondant
Use a pizza cutter to easily create strips in the fondant that will act as the unicorn’s mane.

Cut slits, leaving a strip at the top.

Wrap around the base of the unicorn horn/hat.

How to Make a Fondant Pom Pom

Rolling out black fondant with a fondant roller

Roll out black fondant.

Pastry cutter next a a circle of black fondant with slits in it
You can also use fondant to easily create a cute and festive pompom for the top of the unicorn’s horn.

Cut out a circle and, using a pastry cutter, make slits about 1/2″ into the circle all the way around.

Forming fondant into pom pom shape
It’s easy to use fondant to create fun and edible decorations for just about any cake recipe.

Pinch the bottom underneath the circle to form into a pom pom shape.

Fondant pom on toothpick in bottle being painted with a brush
Nothing says “Happy New Year!” like a glittering pompom on top of a golden fondant unicorn horn.

Insert a toothpick and let set standing up in a small bottle to dry. Paint the edges of the fringe gold with vodka and gold luster dust.

Decorate the Cake With Silver Stars

Cut out stars from white fondant using a cookie cutter.

Paint with vodka and then shake silver disco dust on top. Let dry.


What kind of cake is New Year’s Cake?

For this unicorn cake, you can use any kind of cake on the inside you’d like. Vanilla cake and chocolate cake are both great options, and you can even use them to make a layer cake. Other good ideas are red velvet cake, pound cake, or even a super festive pink champagne cake!

What is Vasilopita?

Vasilopita is a traditional Greek New Year’s Eve cake that’s used to ring in the new year. It’s often flavored with orange juice and contains some kind of hidden toy or trinket that’s supposed to bring the recipient good luck throughout the year. When searching for New Year cake ideas, you may see this dessert a lot!

Best Tips for Making a New Year’s Cake

  • Plan ahead. You can make the ears, horn/hat, and stars in advance so they’re ready to put on your cake.
  • If the eyes don’t come out perfectly when you pipe them on, use a toothpick to wipe them off and then try again.
  • Pipe lots of rosettes in different sizes – the more the merrier.
  • Have some champagne on hand so you can celebrate while you decorate!
Stef and Lia with champagne glasses behind New Year's Cake
Make this fun and adorable unicorn New Year’s cake from Lia Weber for the perfect New Year’s Eve dessert!

If you like this post, also check out the Halloween witch unicorn cake Lia created.

If you make this cake, post a photo of it on Instagram and tag @cupcakeproject and @madebylia so we can see it!!

Other New Year’s Dessert and Food Ideas

Lia Weber behind her New Year's Cake
Lia’s unicorn cake design is simple but stunning and will be a hit at the end of December and beyond!

Lia Weber, Owner of MADE. BY LIA, creates custom-designed, from-scratch wedding cakes and specialty sweets in St. Louis, Missouri. She is an accomplished pastry chef, cake artist and winner of TLC’s Next Great Baker, Season 4, with Buddy the Cake Boss. Lia is the Baking Ambassador for AB Mauri North America, an innovative baking & technology company. She runs her business out of their BakingHub located in the Cortex district in the Central West End.

MADE. BY LIA has received The Knot best of 2017 and Wedding Wire’s Couples Choice Award and is the recent winner of the Feast Magazine-Midwest Readers Choice Awards, “Pastry Chef of the Year, 2017.” Lia’s love for baking began in her mother’s kitchen & she hopes to pass on the same passion to her daughter, Ella. Someday soon, Lia plans to start a YouTube channel teaching the ‘at home baker’ simple yet delicious from scratch recipes. Until then, stay up to date on the latest cake trends by following her on Instagram @madebylia, Facebook MADE. BY LIA, and on