Cake Decorating Blog

How to Make Simple — But Stunning — Gelatin Bubbles: FREE Tutorial

Simple gelatin bubbles are an easy and quick way to dress up any cake design! They’d be right at home on a rubber ducky cake for a baby shower, a champagne-inspired design, or even on a classic wedding cake

While gelatin is edible, these bubbles aren’t exactly something that you’d want to go chomping into. They’re just a great way to use a food-safe material to create a gorgeous effect. Since the bubbles won’t be eaten, it’s a great excuse to break out the luster and glitter and ramp up the shine! Be sure to remove bubbles from a cake before serving.

Gelatin Bubbles | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

All images via ErinBakes

Make Unforgettable Novelty Cakes Simple!

cakes that wow

Create cakes inspired by classic candies, ice cream sundaes and pieces of art — no sculpting required — in the online class Cakes That Wow!Enroll Now »

Gelatin Bubble Supplies | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

How to make gelatin bubbles

Supplies:

  • Powdered gelatin
  • Balloons (the smaller the better)
  • Lollipop sticks or skewers
  • Petal dusts, luster dust, or glitter (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Cup or Styrofoam
  • Heatproof bowls
  • Spoons 
  • Shortening
  • Paper towels

Step 1:

Blow up the balloons as large as you’d like your bubbles to be. I found just a tiny amount of air was needed. 

Tying The Balloons | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

To get your balloon looking more like a perfectly round bubble, tie another knot toward the end of the neck of the balloon. This should help push the air forward and make the balloon appear rounder. You can also pull on the pointed end of the balloon, twist it, and then tie that and the opening of the balloon together. Once you have the shape you want, slide a lollipop stick or skewer into the knot.

Repeat with the other balloons. 

Step 2:

Combine 2 parts cold water with 1 part powdered gelatin in a small heatproof bowl. I found that 2T of gelatin plus 4T of cold water yielded about 3 to 4 balloons for me. Stir the water and gelatin together until it forms a thick jelly. 

Melting and coloring gelatin | Erin Gardner | CraftsyPop the bowl into the microwave for about 10 seconds, just until the gelatin is fluid. Add petal dust, luster dust or edible glitter to color the gelatin. Keep in mind that gelatin is naturally yellowish in color, so you may need to play around with the colors a little to get the exact shade that you want.

Colored gelatin | Erin Gardner | Craftsy 

Step 3:

Use a paper towel to wipe a thin layer of shortening onto your balloons. You’ll want to coat the balloons, but not add so much that you can see the whiteness of the shortening. 

Dip a greased balloon into the melted gelatin. Swirl the balloon around until it’s coated, being careful to not cover the knotted part of the balloon. Dust on a little glitter while the bubble is still wet for even more sparkle. 

Dipping a balloon | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Set the lollipop stick into a cup or piece of Styrofoam. Repeat with the rest of your balloons and leave them overnight to dry. One layer should take about 12 hours, 2 layers will take up to 24 hours. Any more than two layers and your bubble will get chunky and gummy. 

Step 4:

Once the bubbles are dry, remove the balloon by using a pair of scissors to cut the knot. The balloon should come away from the sides of the bubble pretty easily. Don’t panic if your bubble caves in a little! These little guys are pretty resilient and can be pushed back into shape. 

Popping the balloon | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Gelatin bubbles should be made a day or two before using. Store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.  

Bonus tip!

Spreading gelatin | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Pour any leftover gelatin out onto a piece of acetate or on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Spread it into a thin layer using an offset spatula. Let the gelatin set up overnight. Break up the sparkly sheets into coral-like pieces to tuck in among your bubbles. Crispy gelatin sheets can also be cut into squares or with hole punches to make confetti. Get creative and see what you can make out of gelatin! 

Gelatin Bubbles | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Make Unforgettable Novelty Cakes Simple!

cakes that wow

Create cakes inspired by classic candies, ice cream sundaes and pieces of art — no sculpting required — in the online class Cakes That Wow!Enroll Now »

42 Comments

Lisa

Just to clarify, *could* the bubbles be eaten if guests wanted to??

Reply
Tracey

I think it depends on what glitter and dusts you use.

If you use non edible products then no the guest can’t eat it.

If you use edible products then it should be fine.

I have read that some cake decorators use non toxic chalk and dusts for projects but more research is required to know if its harmful to eat. Maybe in small quantities is fine.

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi! Yes, if you use FDA approved colors and dusts, they are considered 100% edible. There would be absolutely nothing delicious or pleasant about it. 😛 But it would be edible.

Reply
Anna

I live in Florida and the humidity Is high. Will the humidity affect the bubbles if I have them sitting out for the day of my party?

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi! I wish I could answer with absolute certainty, but a lot depends on how humid it is that day. I’m up in NH, and while we have humid days, I’m assuming they’re nothing like you experience in Florida! I would play it safe and set the cake up very close to the start of your event. My advice with any cake outside anywhere is to always take pics right after it’s set up. Thanks!

Reply
Anna

Thanks for your reply. I’ll give it a try.

Reply
Annie

Hi,
Thanks for your article. Do you know where I can find the natural food coloring powder?
Best,
Annie

Reply
gali

you make them edible so you can place them on your cake , but as Erin Gardner said :p . but you can grind them to make your own glitter for your cakes. I save my leftover bubbles they keep for a long time in air tight containers. >?wonder if you added flavor if it would still work ? has any 1 tried that ?

Reply
Erin Gardner

That’s an interesting idea! Please let us know how it works if you decide to give it a try. 🙂

Reply
Joanne

I have added flavors to the gelatin & they do work & taste so much better 🙂

Reply
Tami utley

It would have been nice to credit the original creator of this technique from 2010.

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi Tami! I’m just sharing how to make them, not claiming to have invented the technique. I learned how to make them from a fellow pastry chef friend years ago. I thought the technique had been around long enough where it was no longer associated with a specific person or business. If you feel differently then please let me know who you believe should be credited. Thanks!

Reply
Tami utley

To answer gali, yes you can flavor them. Use a clear soda for the liquid, or add candy flavor and a small amount of sugar.

Reply
Erin Gardner

Great info, thanks!

Reply
Landa

Dumb question but how much water do i use per pack of gelatin

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi! So sorry! I could have sworn I responded to your question a while ago, but it looks like internet gremlins ate my response. It’s just 2 parts cold water to 1 part gelatin. Thanks!

Reply
Jane

Hi, I want to make a giant snow globe approx 9″ cake. Would I prepare my gelatine as if I’m doing small bubbles and just use large balloon. It’s my friends birthday on Christmas day, so I want Xmas theme but add birthday devs. Thankyou

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a gelatin bubble that large probably won’t work out. The gelatin would most likely not hold a shape that large very well. I’ve never tried one that large myself, but I have heard of other cake designers not having success with it. I’ve seen some pastry chefs create globes that large out of blown sugar, but that’s an incredibly difficult technique that would take some time to master. Many of the large snow globe cakes that you see are done with plastic fish bowls turned upside down. It really is the easiest and safest way to do it. I hope this helps! I’m sure your cake will come out great! 🙂

Reply
Amie

i don’t really understand the procedure could you plss explain further tanks

Reply
ss

Using latex balloons is highly concerning to me. Many people have deadly allergies to latex ( that can be triggered from just inhaling fumes, (that is how sensitive and severe it can be)….. and a person with that allergy would never think to ask if a cake they were about to eat would have come in contact with latex. Also, balloons are not considered a food safe product (aside from the latex issue) that should not be coming in contact with food.

Reply
CD

I’m not sure latex coming in contact with food is a fact based health hazard since many reputable bakeries require workers to wear latex gloves when working in the kitchen.

Reply
Sylvia Sanchez

My friends daughter has a latex allergy and she had no reaction to them touching the cake. Of course she didn’t eat it.

Reply
Sarah W

I feel like this article severely understates how messy this can be… 😊 And how the cornstarch dust on the balloons could impact the shortening and then gelatin from sticking smoothly to the balloon. Definitely a technique that will take some practice!

Reply
Erin Gardner

Yes, this is definitely not the neatest project! But I’ve never had any issues with dust on the balloons interfering with applying the shortening. The key with getting the gelatin to stick to the balloon, but then peel off later, is to apply a very thin layer of shortening. Using a paper towel to rub shortening all over the balloon really does work well. Thanks!

Reply
Ingrid

If I need them to harden faster can I put them in the freezer? Or what alternative do I have?

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi Ingrid! I can tell you that the freezer would not work. The balloons would certainly harden, but they’d soften and collapse as they thawed. The gelatin needs to dry out, not cool off, for the bubbles to be effective. I would think a food dehydrator would work, although I haven’t tried it myself. I also wonder if the balloon would hold up. Maybe try a hair dryer? I’m not sure that there really is a good time-saving work around for this one. If anyone else has ideas, please chime in. Thanks!

Reply
Sonia

Can you use jello

Reply
Erin

Hi! I’ve never used Jello, so I can’t say either way. I can tell you that the plain gelatin I used in this project is sold right next to Jello in the supermarket. If you give Jello a try, please let me know how it works out!

Reply
Jeannie Neff

I need to apply the bubble to the side of a cake on a picture like she’s blowing a bubble so how would I adhere the Bubble to the side of the cake and stay there without sliding

Reply
Erin G.

Hi! That’s a great question. I think piping gel wouldn’t set firm enough to hold the bubble up like that. Maybe royal icing? And then prop the bubble up with something until the royal dries? I’m assuming the picture will be “painted” on fondant?

Reply
lisa

How far in advance can these be made and how should they be stored?

Reply
Erin Gardner

It really depends on how humid it is where you live. If it’s very humid then I would make them as close to when you need them as possible. If it’s not, then a few days in advance should be ok. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.

Reply
Danni H

How would you attach these bubbles to a fondant coveted cake?

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi! I think it’s best to use royal icing, but anything sticky (buttercream, piping gel, ganache) would work.

Reply
Halal Gelatin

Great article! Thanks for sharing interesting and informative article. I asked a question to this post: How do you get gelatin from rendering beef fat?

Reply
Hillary

Would it be ok to place a cake with gelatin bubbles in the refrigerator or would it mess up the bubbles?

Reply
Erin Gardner

I think it would be ok for a brief time, but definitely not overnight. The humidity in the fridge would cause the bubbles to soften.

Reply
Jewelia Mora

Can you use leaf gelatin and would it make a clearer bubble?

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi! I think you could definitely use leaf gelatin, but I’m not sure if the bubble would be any clearer. If you give it a try, let us know how it works out!

Reply
Holly Rae

Thank you for this tutorial, I really want to give these a try. And you are to be commended for your thoughtful, tactful responses to the array of questions put your way 😉

Reply
Erin Gardner

Thank you, Holly! I appreciate that. 🙂

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply