Looking for a fun way to get the party started? These gelatin cake bubbles bring a sense of fun and wonder into any birthday party.
I love being creative and challenging my kitchen skills. And I really love cake decorating. But being a full-time working mom while trying to manage a kindergartener’s virtual learning experience leaves little mental capacity for much creativity in other areas. However, birthday cakes are what I look forward to with each kid. I love surprising them with something fun and over the top. I also love surprising myself with new baking skills. This round, it’s gelatin bubbles.
Once I know the “theme” for my kid’s party, I start looking up ideas online for inspiration. My daughter recently turned two, so she didn’t really understand the concept of theme picking. However early in the summer, she was fascinated with bubbles. It was one of the first words she really said clearly. I love her little voice saying it. So when I started looking up “bubble cake ideas” gelatin bubbles came up and it was the exact look I wanted.
Now, my attempt at bubble making is not the beautiful perfection I found on google images. However, the step-by-step instructions I found were true to their word.
I always bake the cake ahead of time. It hangs out in the freezer for a day or two (this is a great time management trick when planning a toddler party). When we took it out, we did a “crumb layer” of buttercream icing and let the cake set in the refrigerator overnight. I made the bubbles for Saturday’s party on Thursday afternoon. They will stay in place. Gelatin is good like that. I kept the balloons (some people use water balloons, but I find those really hard to blow up) in the bubbles until I was ready to decorate the cake.
The nice thing about gelatin is that it will hold its shape. If it gets a dent, you can pop it back. They are completely edible but remember you’re using unflavored gelatin. My brother sampled one and did not recommend it.
You do not need anything fancy to do this, but you do need some patience. And time. Definitely let the bubbles sit 24 hours before working with them. And don’t forget to do a very thin layer of shortening on the balloons before dipping in the gelatin. This will ensure easy separation at showtime.
I chose to dry my bubbles on a drying rack, but if you have Styrofoam, sticking the toothpick (or bamboo sticks cut in half that I used) in a Styrofoam ball will allow you to keep a full bubble. If you do 2-3 layers of the gel, there may be some drips. You can just trim those when you remove the balloon. Since I used a drying rack, I had to cut more of the bubble off in the end, but it is still easy to stick on to the cake.
Let yourself have fun. Make a few extra bubbles in case you need to toss a few and it helps with anxiety management during the process. Be generous with the luster dust and enjoy making a beautiful cake!
Simple instructions for a "WOW" factor on your next cake decorating adventure
Decide ahead of time how big you want your 'bubbles' so you know what balloons will work best. Works best to make bubbles 2-5 inches in diameter.
Glitter Dust/Luster Dust
to color your balloons
to coat the balloons
Blow up balloons to desired sizes for your project. I did a variety of sizes since there was a likelihood of less than 100% turning out the way I wanted. I planned to make some extra. As I inflated the balloons, I found that if I overinflated slightly, then pressed down on my chest to let a little air out, I would get a more round/bubble-like quality to the shape.
Tie balloons onto bamboo sticks. I broke mine in half since they are pretty long to begin with.
Coat balloons in a very thin layer of shortening. This will help the balloon detach from the gelatin when you want to put it on the cake.
Mix your gelatin. Mix separate bowls for each color you want to use. Use a 1:2 ratio for gelatin to cold water. It works well to get it about the consistency of syrup, because you will pop it in the microwave which will make it more liquid and you don't want it too runny.
Once your gelatin/water mix is the right consistency, add your color dust and mix it in.
Pop into the microwave for 10 seconds. Check the mixture, it should be slightly warm and a good thick liquid for coating.
Coat your balloons. Turn them in different angles to get the whole thing EXCEPT the balloon knot. You want that and the surrounding area exposed.
Once coated, you can allow your balloons to try on a drying rack, or if you can stick them in some Styrofoam you will keep more of the full bubble look. In this attempt, I used a drying rack which was ok for the final product.
Continue until all balloons are coated in all the colors you want.
Let it set for 24 hours. I have seen some instructions suggesting 12, but I err on the side of time. This does mean you have to really plan ahead. This isn't something you can whip up two hours before a party.
When you're ready to remove the balloons and assemble your cake, simply make a small cut in the balloon near the knot and the balloon should very easily detach from the gelatin.
Use scissors to cut around the opening to make it smooth if needed. And if any gelatin became a bit dented in the balloon removal, it should pop back out.
Add to your cake! I simply stuck them in the icing and then piled them on each other. Hopefully, it gives your cake a really fun effect that everyone will enjoy!