I had never made gelatin bubbles before, but was asked to make a bubble gum-inspired cake!
Gelatin bubbles had always intrigued me, but seemed so complicated. I also despise unflavored gelatin, but had to put my feelings aside for this project.
Making gelatin bubbles turned out to be easier than I thought they would be, but they take FOREVER to make. The active time isn’t too bad, but they take quite a while to dry.
I followed Cake Central’s tutorial as a starting point, and learned a ton throughout this process.
I will share my gelatin bubble triumphs, like having some of my gelatin bubbles actually end up being circular!
And I will also share the struggles I had. I repeat, do not turn a fan on and point it directly at the balloons while drying them…they WILL fly off your counter!!
Clearly, making these gelatin bubbles was an emotional roller coaster. But I promise, this story has a happy ending.
Hopefully you can use the tips I share below to easily make perfect gelatin bubbles.
The recipe included below makes enough bubbles to cover the top of an 8-inch layer cake.
Tip #1: Keep Your Gelatin Warm
The first problem I ran into when making these bubbles was keeping my gelatin the right consistency. If it cools off too much, it’s hard to dip the balloons in, and gets kind of a goopy texture.
At the time, I ended up making three different batches of gelatin. However, I think making one large batch, and placing the bowl above some warm water might be a better solution.
The most important thing is to keep an eye on the gelatin, and heat it up if it gets too thick. No one wants a lumpy, uneven gelatin bubble!!
Tip #2: Use Small Balloons, And Don’t Inflate Them Fully
As I began this project, I blew up some small balloons into varying sizes (1 inch to 3 inches in diameter).
I did my best to shape them into circles. But you know what? BALLOONS AREN’T CIRCLES! They are oblong. My makeshift way around this was to tie the knot very high up on the neck of the balloon.
This was easiest to do when the balloons weren’t fully inflated. I recommend leaving yourself a bit of room to work with when blowing them up.
Tip #3: Coat Your Balloons With Shortening
Trust me on this one. It is absolutely essential that you lather up your balloon with a thin coat of shortening. This step allows you to get the balloon out from under the hardened gelatin.
While you may be tempted to completely slather the balloon with shortening, you actually do need to be sure you only add a thin layer.
If you don’t wipe away any excess shortening (white areas), the gelatin won’t stick to the balloon and take shape.
Tip #4: Carefully Use A Fan To Help The Gelatin Bubbles Dry Faster
This tip helps speed up the drying process. Without a little breeze, these gelatin bubbles can take up to 12 hours to firm up.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the patience or the time to wait overnight!! If you do have the time and a safe area you can let these dry, by all means go for it.
If you want to speed this process us, you can use a small fan on a LOW SPEED to accelerate the process.
In full transparency, when I first pointed my fan at my bubbles, 1/3 of them flew off the counter and fell on the ground.
Start by placing the fan a safe distance away from the bubbles, on the lowest possible speed. With the help of the fan, my bubbles (that survived) dried after about 4 hours.
One strange thing to keep in mind as the gelatin firms up. The gelatin will actually contract a bit, and shrink. This will create loud, crackling sounds.
At first I was convinced my bubbles were shattering, but was relieved to realize it just meant they were firming up quickly!
Tip #5: Popping The Balloons
You’ve now invested hours into the gelatin bubbles. And you’re supposed to just take scissors to them and pop the balloons?!
I know it seems scary, but I promise your bubbles will be strong once they’ve dried. It also helps if you use a good, sharp pair of kitchen scissors.
The balloon should easily pull away from the bubbles, thanks to the shortening we spread on them!
There were a couple places where I skimped on the shortening, and the balloons got indented as I removed the balloons.
At first I was pretty upset. Then, much to my surprise, I realized I could simply pop out the intend!!
Like I mentioned earlier, you’ll be shocked by how sturdy your balloons end up being. This is also what makes it easy to trim the jagged edges with scissors.
Tip #6: Making Gelatin Bubbles In Advance
These can be made several days ahead of time, as this process is rather time consuming!
The bubbles can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
I couldn’t resist sharing a shot of the cake I decorated with these bubbles! One the bubbles were dry, I used them to decorate this buttercream cake. I simple pressed them into the buttercream!
DISCLAIMER: I do not recommend actually eating the bubbles. Although they are edible, they don’t taste great (plain gelatin!!).
As you make them, the distinct and unpleasant smell will indicate how they would taste. These are much more of a decorative touch than an edible garnish.
Share Your Creations With Me!
If you try this gelatin bubble tutorial, please tag me @chelsweets. Also use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations!
Nothing makes me happier than when I get emails or DMs with photos of your amazing cakes. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your triumphs, or questions <3
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- 6 Tbsp. of unflavored gelatin
- 12 Tbsp of cold water
- gel food coloring
- 3 Tbsp shortening
- paper towels (to wipe the shortening)
- luster dust (optional)
- Begin by adding 12 Tbsp. of cold water to a bowl. Pour in 6 Tbsp of unflavored gelatin (ratio should always be 2 parts water, 1 part gelatin). Gently swirl the water in the bowl to fully incorporate the gelatin in the water.
- Let the mixture sit for couple minutes to bloom (absorb water).
- Once the mixture firms up, pop the bowl into the microwave for about 20 seconds (time can vary based on your microwave). The gelatin should be warm and very fluid, but not too hot!
- Gently stir in a few drops of gel food coloring (and/or luster dust), being sure the gelatin is fully dissolved.
- Partially inflate small balloons, tying a knot high up at the neck of the balloon to make it into a (somewhat) spherical shape.
- Cover each balloon with a thin coat of shortening. This will make it so much easier to remove the balloons later in the process.
- Using your fingers, gently drip each balloon into the gelatin, rolling it to cover a majority of the balloon.
- Be sure to cover each balloon in a thin and even coat of gelatin.
- Gently rest balloon (with tie side down) on a cooling rack, and repeat with each balloon.
- If your gelatin cools off and thickens, pop it into the microwave and heat for 10 seconds to get it back to the right consistency.
- I chose to dip my balloons twice, and repeated this process once I had covered each balloon in its first coat of gelatin. This ensured they were nice and strong, and colorful (probably not necessary, but I was paranoid they would shatter!)
- Once the balloons have sat for about 30 minutes (I found they were had started to set by this point), you can use a small fan (on a LOW SPEED) to speed up the drying process. Be VERY careful when you do this. If your fan is too strong, it will blow your bubbles right off your counter!!
- My bubbles dried after about 4 hours, but without a fan they will need about 12 hours to harden.
- Once the bubbles have hardened, use scissors to gently puncture the exposed balloon. Once it shrinks, you can easily loosen the balloon from the bubble, and remove it.
- If your bubbles collapse a bit during this process, don't worry! They are rather sturdy, and any indents can be popped back into place.
- Use sharp scissors to trim away any jagged edges around the base of the bubble. Repeat with all balloons, then carefully press into place on a buttercream cake.
This recipe makes enough gelatin to make about 20 bubbles.
As the gelatin hardens, it will shrink. This will create loud, crackling sounds. At first I was convinced my bubbles were shattering, but was relieved to realize it just meant they were firming up quickly!
These can be made several days ahead of time! I recommend making them ahead of time, as this process is rather time consuming!
Amount Per Serving Calories 24Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 1mgSodium 4mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 2g