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Monday 28 April 2014

Gluten Free: Hidden Unicorn Cake

We love a unicorn. It might have been mentioned once or twice in the past, but we really do. There's not much you can do to make any unicorn accessory much more wonderful in our eyes. Except, perhaps, hiding it. Surprise unicorns are very special indeed.

Shapes baked inside cakes have bothered me for a while. When you bake the inside cake twice, doesn't it dry out, go crumbly and generally become rubbish? If that's the case for regular cake, you can bet it applies threefold for a gluten free version! The answer, of course, is to make the coloured cake (the one you cut your shapes from and hide inside the cake) as moist and tasty as possible so it can stand up to a second time in the oven.

The unicorn cutter is from Etsy, it's my pride and joy. It's shipped from Illinois so order a few to make the delivery costs worthwhile. As for how to flavour a unicorn cake, the choice is yours. I've gone for fruits of the forest because I reckon that's what unicorns probably like to eat.

Now, this isn't a quick bake by any means. You're baking two loaf cakes, making a jammy syrup and cutting out dozens of unicorns - it's a bake for a bank holiday weekend. It is a bit of a faff, but the results are worth it. Oh, and do make sure that your cutter fits your tin before you start baking or it'll all end it tears!

Hidden Unicorn Cake 
Preparation time: 50 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 50 minutes
You'll need:
For the inside cake:

  • 200g frozen fruits of the forest
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 300g natural yogurt
  • 2 tsp gel food colouring or 2 tbsp liquid food colouring (optional, but the natural colour from the fruit will fade when you bake the cake)
  • 285g gluten free plain flour mix
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the outside cake
  • 210g softened butter
  • 210g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 210g gluten free self raising flour mix
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Make it!
The inside cake:
  1. Place the frozen fruit and sugar in a saucepan and heat very gently until the sugar has dissolved into the juices from the fruit. 
  2. Stir to combine then simmer for about 10 minutes, until the mixture has reduced to half its original volume.
  3. Strain into a bowl and leave to cool. You'll be left with a sort of jammy syrup.
  4. Preheat your oven to 165C/325F/gas mark 3 and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper.
  5. Thoroughly combine 150g of the jammy syrup with the oil, eggs, yogurt and food colouring, making sure there are no streaks of food colouring left.
  6. Sieve the plain GF flour mix, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the wet ingredients and mix well.
  7. Once there are no lumps, pour the mixture into the loaf tim and bake for 50 minutes, until a cocktail stick comes out the cake clean.
  8. Leave to cool on a cooling rack.
  9. When the cake is cool, slice it into pieces the same sort of width as your cutter and cut a unicorn out of each slice.
The outside cake:
  1. Preheat your oven to 165C/325F/gas mark 3 and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, each with a tablespoon of the flour mix and beat until smooth.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and combine.
  5. Add the rest of the GF flour mix and beat into a smooth batter.
  6. Pour 2/3 of the batter into the loaf tin. Place your cut-out cake shapes into the batter, pushing down to hold them in place. 
  7. Continue to place the shape in until most of the length of the tin is filled. Leave a gap at either end of the tin to help conceal your surprise.
  8. Spread the rest of the batter over the top of the cut-out shapes and bake for 50-60 minutes. Test with the cocktail stick, remembering to push it all the way to the bottom of the tin!
  9. Cool on a rack before serving.


  1. I have dinosaur cutters! I'm going to hide dinosaurs.

    I do love the time consuming problem here. "Can someone else answer the door, I've got a dozen unicorns to cut!"

  2. Thanks for including the link to my shop in your post! I love this idea!


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