These Stunning Jell-O Cakes Will Hypnotize You

Gorgeous, jiggly gelatin cakes are as tasty as they are mesmerizing.

Fueled by gelatin, syringes, and lots of patience, New York City–based pastry chef Jena Derman made her first Jell-O cake after falling down a YouTube rabbit hole while looking for something unique to bake for a friend’s 35th birthday. “It’s both high art and as low as you can go,” she notes of her craft.

She now runs a business selling these jiggly showstoppers for special events and weddings, and she likens the process of making gelatin cakes, which are popular in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Mexico, to liposuction. Rather than employing store-bought Jell-O, Derman makes her own using sheet gelatin and organic fruit purees for color. She uses milk jelly, or gelatin mixed with sweetened condensed milk, for the flowers, which helps give them their opacity. To shape the petals, she injects the milk jelly into a clear gelatin-and-coconut water base with a syringe through a metal leaf pastry tip. And, just in case you were wondering if these cakes could possibly taste as good as they look, we promise they do.

You Had Me At Jello
Chelsea Kyle

For the 2021 holiday season, Food & Wine explored how gelatin can make "a conversation-starting centerpiece" when defying its inherent instability, and beyond the artistry of a good gelatin mold, you can spike the dessert however you like (such as with celebratory bubbly).

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles