These Stunning Jelly Cakes Are Edible Works of Art

They're not your grandma's '50s gelatin desserts.

Growing up, it was a pretty common occurrence for me to enjoy a slice of colorful gelatin in a bundt pan shape floating with bits of fruit cocktail (or even sometimes vegetables) at family potluck dinners. If this sounds familiar to you, just wait until you feast your eyes on the internet's next big dessert craze: jelly cakes. In a feat that puts those jiggly cups from our childhood to shame, the latest magical baking trend transforms gelatin into colorful works of art. Tropical island cakes seem to be a popular theme, though there are designs featuring flowers, birds, and other natural wonders.

The popularity of 3D gelatin started growing in the early '90s, thanks to creations by Lourdes Reyes Rosas in Mexico City. Jelly cake makers today combine multiple layers of gelatin using a large mold as the base. For example, after a clear gelatin layer is set for the canvas, colored gelatin (often flavored with fruit) can be injected into that already-set clear layer using a culinary syringe ($20). It's then moved and spread to become flower petals, leaves, and more. Check out this amazing video that shows the detailed process from start to finish. Oh, and to get even more in tune with the sea, it's popular among the creators to use agar, which is a gelatinous ingredient made from a type of seaweed. It makes a vegetarian-friendly alternative to gelatin, which contains animal products. To get a better idea of how these stunning pieces are created, here are some of our favorites among the 71,000+ images on Instagram under #jellycake.

Ocean Breeze

It took @wildflourcakedesign's Asa two days to create this extremely realistic sea-themed jelly cake. In addition to the base, Asa made the island out of a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream. The seashells are made from modeling chocolate and edible paint added as her finishing touches.

Fresh Cut Flowers

Perhaps one of the only things better than getting fresh flowers for a gift is using edible flowers in recipes. There's nothing more beautiful. The side view of the flower's intricate detailing designed by Cass at @cass_chiang are like looking into a glass art sculpture. Sesame Street fans will also appreciate Cass's odes to characters such as Cookie Monster.

Charming Koi Pond

Can you imaging getting this beautiful koi pond cake for your birthday?! According to Jean of @fleur_memories, the colorful vegan-friendly jelly cake bases can be flavored with fruits such as lychee, blueberry, peach, mango, and green apple.

Blooming Heart

Irwan of @ohmyjellie knows how to prepare the perfect edible bouquet for a loved one. The electric blue in this heart-shaped jelly cake really showcases every flower petal inside.

Under the Sea

This scuba diver's view of ocean life created by Summie of @jarum_manis features a molded starfish, seahorse, and even air bubbles. The jelly cake artisan even has a YouTube channel. Prepare to be mesmerized by the process that went into making this masterpiece.

Birds of a Feather

Talk about too pretty to eat—this colorful peacock is another brilliant example of the 3D jelly cake movement. NurArina of @bloomin.jellies puts extravagant flowers, birds, and sea life into her jelly canvas.

Several of these jelly cakes came from social media accounts based in Singapore and Malaysia, but the trend is starting to gain a lot of popularity in the United States and around the world. If you give the jelly cake trend a try, be sure to tag #jellycake (and #bhgfood so we can see them, too.).

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