Fancy Jell-O Cakes Are The Next Trendy Dessert You Wish You Could Make

What's even more mesmerizing seeing a shiny, swirly glaze poured over galaxy cakes, or watching bakers pipe intricate buttercream details onto cakes and cookies? The answer is Jell-O cake videos, where a series of seemingly random needle jabs result in breathtaking, three-dimensional flowers and animals suspended in clear gelatin.

Like so many desserts before them, Jell-O or jelly cakes are a hot food trend on TikTok, racking up hundreds of millions of views for hashtags like #jellyart, #3djellyart, and #3djellycake. The creations are truly incredible, full of color and sharp detail, and look more like glass paperweights than edible treats waiting to be sliced. The gelatin art can serve as cake toppers or a standalone dessert.

After watching videos of gelatin artists creating these cakes, viewers may understandably feel inspired to grab a syringe and try making one of their own. After all, that's one of the best things about TikTok food trends: exciting new techniques, formerly restricted to the exclusive realm of trained chefs, on display and so doable in ordinary kitchens. Of course, what those videos likely don't show are the countless hours of practice and the fails that come before that social media-worthy cake is achieved.

The challenges to achieving picture-perfect gelatin cakes

People can get a taste of the work these desserts take from gelatin cake artist Siew Heng Boon, who shows off her work on her TikTok channel @JellyAlchemy. Her stunning cakes feature explosions of colorful flowers as well as whimsical elements like birds, lettering, and even koi fish that appear to swim through aquamarine ponds. Boon shared on Bored Panda that the cakes are infused with fruit and floral flavors.


Jelly fishes dancing in the moonlight. #jellyalchemy #3djellyart #3djellycake #jellyart #edibleflower #flowerart #sydneyfoodie #3djelly #koi #koifish

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A plus for gelatin cake novices is that gelatin itself is an inexpensive ingredient to play around with. (It's sold as boxes of clear, unflavored sheets or powder.) The art inside the cakes is created with gel food colorings, which are also easy to find in grocery and craft stores. However, there are also special tools to invest in, like silicone molds for the cake and for animal inserts like koi fish, flavor extracts, syringe injectors, and specialized tips to create flower petals.

Gelatin can also be very finicky to work with: The time it takes to properly dissolve (the blooming time) can vary from one brand to the next, and gelatin is highly sensitive to heat and overmixing. Set gelatin may weep and most frustrating of all, can tear and stick when trying to release it from molds.

Boon shares that gelatin artwork is created upside-down and injected through the bottom. Finishing one cake can be a four-hour process. She says that above all else, 3D gelatin cakes require lots and lots of patience.