This Kit Lets You Make 3D Flowers in Gelatin Cake
25 June 2018
Needles and Syringes might not be the tools of a pastry chef, but they’re essential for creating a three-dimensional designs suspended inside a thạch rau câu, or Vietnamese jelly cakes.
Despite the name, CAKE, there’s no cake involved in these desserts... it’s jelly all the way down, and the right tools.
Chefs in Vietnam and Mexico, where jelly cakes are also popular, add milk jelly from the base of the clear jelly, so the flowers look like they’re suspended in glass. Some chefs devise koi and goldfish designs, creating an edible fishbowl. To set off the design, the bottom of the jelly can be painted a vibrant, contrasting color.
Jelly cakes are often finished with a layer of coconut or coffee jelly, adding a subtle flavor to the lovely dessert. The process of making a jelly cake is as mesmerizing as the finished product, as shown by this compilation of in-progress jelly cakes.
Gelatin art for Beginners
Gelatin art is made by injecting a colorful base into clear gelatin forming petals, leaves and other shapes.
You start by cooking the gelatin powder with water, just like you would store-bought jello. The trick is to use high-quality gelatin that has high clarity, low odor and makes a firm jelly. Gelatin powder sold in grocery stores is usually not strong enough and is not likely to give you nice-looking results. In addition to that, it is packaged in small (7gr) packets making it much more expensive than gelatin sold by the pound.
Besides gelatin, you will need sugar, citric acid and food flavoring to complete your clear gelatin base.
When the gelatin has set in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight), draw shapes into it using a color base.
There are many ways to make the color base. The most basic recipe contains milk, sugar, gelatin and food coloring.
Click on the link to see the detailed instructions and recipes for Clear Gelatin and the Color Base.
Flowers are usually drawn using a simple syringe with a needle or specialized gelatin art tools.
One very important thing is to pay attention to the temperature of the color base. While clear gelatin should be kept cool, the color base should be kept slightly above room temperature to keep it thick but liquid while working with it.
If the color base starts to thicken up, place it in a container filled with warm water to make it liquid again. If it get's too warm and runny, allow it to cool down a bit.
That is pretty much everything you need to know to get started. Once you get a hang of it, you can perfect your technique by reading the rest of our instructions here.
To save you the trouble of collecting all the right ingredients, we have created a starter kit that has everything you need to start making gelatin art desserts.
|Written by: Julia Wright|