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Gelatin Bubbles

I had never made gelatin bubbles before, but needed to make a bubble gum-inspired cake

Gelatin bubbles always intrigued me but seemed so complicated. I also despise the smell of unflavored gelatin, but decided to put my opinions aside for this project.

After a few rounds of experimenting, I realized gelatin bubbles are easier to make than you’d think. The active time isn’t too bad, but they do take quite a while to dry.

image of edible bubbles that have been made using gelatin and small balloons

I followed Cake Central’s tutorial as a starting point and learned a ton throughout this process. 

I had some gelatin bubble triumphs, like having some of my gelatin bubbles actually end up being circular!

But I also had some struggles. I repeat, do not turn a fan on and point it directly at the balloons while they are drying…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. 

image of edible bubbles that have been made using gelatin and small balloons

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 & 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’re oblong. My makeshift way around this was to tie the knot very high up on the neck of the balloon. 

image of pink edible bubbles that have been made using gelatin and small balloons

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 lets you easily remove the balloon from the hardened gelatin.

While you may be tempted to completely slather the balloon with shortening, a thin layer works best!

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, 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 I was relieved to realize it just meant they were drying quickly!

image of edible bubbles that have been made using gelatin and small balloons

Tip #5: Pop the Balloons with a Sharp Pair of Scissors

Now that you’ve invested hours into these gelatin bubbles, it might seem crazy to just pop the balloons with scissors.

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 indent!! 

Like I mentioned earlier, you’ll be shocked by how sturdy your bubbles end up being. This is also what makes it easy to trim the jagged edges with scissors.

Tip #6: Make These Gelatin Bubbles In Advance

I recommend making these gelatin bubbles ahead of time because the process is rather time consuming!

The bubbles can be stored in an airtight container for several days at room temperature. 

I couldn’t resist sharing a shot of the cake I decorated with these bubbles! Once the bubbles were dry I used them to decorate this buttercream cake. I simply pressed them into the buttercream and stacked them on top of each other.

image of a bubble gum cake decorated with gelatin bubbles

DISCLAIMER: I do not recommend actually eating the bubbles. Although they are edible, they don’t taste great (plain gelatin!!). 

These are much more  of a decorative touch than an edible garnish.

Share Your Creations With Me!

If you try my gelatin bubble tutorial, I’d love to hear what you think of it! Please leave a comment and rating below.

Don’t forget to tag me @chelsweets and #chelsweets so that I can see your beautiful creations on social media.

Other Tutorials You Might Like:

Yield: 20

Gelatin Bubbles

image of edible bubbles that have been made using gelatin and small balloons

Want to learn how to make gelatin bubbles? This recipe and tutorial walks through the whole process, and makes gelatin bubbles that are perfect for decorating cakes!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

Gelatin Bubbles:

Additional Tools:

Instructions

  1. Begin by adding 3/4 cup of cold water to a small, heat-proof 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 hydrate the gelatin in the water.
  2. Let the mixture sit for a couple minutes to let the gelatin bloom (absorb water).
  3. 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 to the touch.
  4. Stir in a few drops of gel food coloring (and/or luster dust). Make sure the gelatin is fully dissolved at this stage. If it's not, heat it in additional 10 second intervals and stir in between until it's fully melted.
  5. Partially inflate 20 small balloons, tying a knot high up at the neck of the balloon to make it into a (somewhat) spherical shape.
  6. Cover each balloon with a thin coat of shortening. This will make it easier to remove the balloons later in the process.
  7. Gently dip each balloon into the gelatin, rolling it to cover a majority of the balloon. Make sure each balloon is covered in a thin, even coat of gelatin.
  8. Gently rest the balloons with the tie side down on a cooling rack.
  9. If the gelatin cools off and thickens while you're dipping the balloons, pop it into the microwave and heat for 10 seconds to get it back to the right consistency.
  10. I chose to dip my balloons twice, and repeated this process once I had covered each balloon in its first coat of gelatin. This helps them be stronger and more brightly colored. However, this step is optional.
  11. Once the balloons have sat for about 30 minutes (I found they had started to harden by this point), 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!!
  12. My bubbles dried after about 4 hours, but without a fan they will need about 12 hours to fully harden.
  13. Once the bubbles have hardened, use scissors to gently puncture the exposed balloon. Once it shrinks, gently loosen the balloon from the bubble and remove it.
  14. If the bubbles collapse a bit during this process, don't worry! They are rather sturdy and any indents can be popped back into place.
  15. Use sharp scissors to trim away any jagged edges around the base of the bubble. Repeat with all the balloons, then carefully press them into place on a buttercream cake.

Notes

This recipe makes enough gelatin to make about 20 bubbles.

As the gelatin hardens, it will shrink. This will create loud, crackling sounds. Don't be alarmed if you hear this, it just means the bubbles are drying quickly!

These can be made several days ahead of time. I recommend making them ahead of time, as this process is rather time consuming!

The bubbles can be stored in an airtight container for several days at room temperature

Nutrition Information

Yield

20

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 0Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g

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