This article describes the steps required to make a round gelatin art cake.
To learn how to make individual flowers, visit our instructions page here.
Gelatin Art Cake Video:
Gelatin Art Cake Step-by-Step Instructions:
Start by making several flowers that are slightly smaller in diameter than the height of your pan.
Working on all flowers at the same time speeds up the process and ensures that the colors are consistent across all flowers.
When you finish the flowers, prepare another batch of liquid clear gelatin.
Add a few drops of clear gelatin to each flower hole to seal the color in and prevent it from leaking into the cake.
Take each flower out of the container by keeping it in warm water for a few seconds and place it onto a piece of plastic wrap (saran wrap) to prevent it from sticking to the tray.
Prepare two containers of different sizes to form your cake. The height of the containers should exceed the width of the flower.
You can use plastic, glass or metal containers. Plastic may be easier to use as it is transparent and allows for small adjustments on the fly but it might take a bit longer to warm up when taking the cake out. Plastic containers also tend to have a wider rim which can prevent the container from heating up evenly. This can cause the bottom edge of the cake to be wider than the top.
Metal containers are not transparent but they heat up and release the cake faster than plastic or glass containers.
Place the smaller container into the center of the larger one and fill it with water to help keep it in place.
Pour a little bit of clear gelatin into the gap between containers and allow it to set. Creating this layer of gelatin will prevent the flowers from sliding into the corners and it will also even out the top edge of the cake and prevent it from deforming around the inserted circles.
1. When a flower slides into the corner of the pan, it will look distorted on the finished dessert. The picture below shows three flowers of the same shape and size. The two flowers on the edges look elongated due to their placement at the very edge of the cake.
2. Without this initial layer of gelatin, the cake might develop slight indentations and bumps on the top edge as the inserted circles push the cake surface upwards..
When the first layer of gelatin has thickened up a little, pour more clear gelatin into the opening. Remember to always work with slightly warm liquid gelatin to help the layers stick together better.
Take the flowers one by one, wet them a bit to help them slide in easier and place them around the inner pan.
When all the flowers have been inserted, add more clear gelatin into the larger pan. Watch to see if the flowers are moving. If you notice that the liquid gelatin is causing the flowers to raise and float too high, stop and wait for the gelatin to set a little bit before continuing.
When the larger pan is almost full, you may want to move it to the fridge and pour the rest of the clear gelatin in the fridge to prevent it from spilling while carrying it.
Add enough clear gelatin to fill the larger pan to the rim and leave it in the fridge for several hours.
When the outer layer has set, take the cake out of the fridge and remove the cold water from the inner container. Fill it with warm water and wait for a few seconds until it spins in place freely. Remove most of the water and lift the inner container carefully out of the cake.
At this point you can leave the outer layer transparent and allow the inner layers to be visible or add another layer of colored gelatin to make a contrasting background for the flowers.
Sample cake with visible inner layers:
To create a background for the flowers, place a container that is slightly narrower than the previous inner pan and fill it with cool water to keep it in place. Make sure that the middle container is exactly in the middle of the opening.
Mix in a little bit of liquid clear gelatin with a bit of color and pour it in the gap. Set a little bit of the colored gelatin aside for later use.
If you want, you can also use a fruit juice of your choice for this purpose. Select a juice you like and make a jelly out of it using 3 Tbsp. of gelatin per 1 liter of liquid. Add sugar if the juice is not already sweetened.
When the middle layer of colored jelly is set, remove the cold water from the middle container and fill it with warm tap water.
When the middle container spins in place freely, remove most of the water from it and lift the container out of the cake carefully.
If vacuum is keeping your inner pan in place, you can allow more time for the surrounding gelatin to melt or you can try to allow air to pass under the container.
If you are using a soft container, you can try to apply pressure to one of the sides and allow air to reach the bottom. If your container is firm, you can insert a flat spatula beside the inner container and let the air pass beside it. Be careful not to let your spatula cut the outer gelatin layer.
Pour the remainder of the colored gelatin into the pan.
Pour enough colored gelatin in to match the thickness of the side layer.
Place the cake into the fridge again and wait for the bottom layer to set.
When the bottom layer has hardened enough to hold a layer of mousse, prepare a mousse of your choice and pour it in one layer at the time. Wait for the layer of mousse to set (Usually 15-20 minutes in the fridge) and carefully pour the next layer on top of it.
You can find different mousse recipes here.
Leave the finished cake to set in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
Different options to fill the center:
If you don’t feel like doing layers, you can simply fill the whole center with one color of mousse or add a few scattered drops of color on the top and quickly stir the mousse around to create a funky color swirl.
You can also create a swirl by pouring two different colors of mousse at the same time. Be quick, mousse will thicken up fast.
If you want to estimate how much mousse you will need and how thick your layers should be, measure the last inner container you have used. Fill it with water at the same height as the cake and measure how much water fits into it. Divide the amount of water by the number of layers you wish to make and you’ll get the amount of mousse you will need for each layer.
Instead of creating multiple layers of mousse, you can use regular cake pastry and buttercream but check if the particular recipe you are using is reacting with gelatin by placing a small piece of gelatin onto it. Some cake ingredients will absorb the moisture from gelatin and become wet and soggy after some time. Using a layer of mousse between the cake and gelatin can help alleviate this problem.
If you want to prepare the cake center in advance, you can pour the mousse into a plastic container and freeze it. When the outer layer of the cake is ready, pour a little bit of colored gelatin on the bottom of the pan and wait for it to set. After that, place the frozen mousse cake into the center of the opening and pour the remainder of the colored gelatin into the gap between the cake and clear gelatin.
Taking the cake out of the pan
To take the cake out of the container, run a toothpick around the pan edge to release the cake from it.
Wet the cake bottom with a few drops of water to make it slippery in case you need to center it on the tray after it has been taken out.
Fill a large container or a kitchen sink with warm tap water and lower the pan with the cake into it.
Wait for a few seconds until the cake spins in place and turn it upside down onto the serving tray. Keep the cake above the kitchen sink or a larger tray while you are doing this as there will be liquid gelatin dripping from the pan.
Since the cake fits snuggly in the container, vacuum might keep it in place and prevent it from coming out. You can use a small flat spatula on the side of the cake to let the air into the bottom of the pan and allow the cake to fall out.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can add another smaller cake on top of the fist one to create a two tiered cake.
Remember, assembling a cake like this is an advanced technique. It might take some practice to get all the steps right but, as always, even the cake that doesn’t look perfect tastes great, so keep practicing until you are happy with your results.