I never thought I’d be greasing water balloons with shortening at 11 p.m. on a Thursday, but here I am, living out that sixth grade motivational poster: “Shoot for the moon—even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Or maybe I’m more of the “Hang in there” cat. Either way, I went after one of Pinterest’s hottest dessert trends—making a bubble cake from scratch—and learned a whole lot in the process.
If you’ve been scrolling the inspo site recently, you’ve probably noticed these whimsical, translucent dome-topped cakes popping up in your feed, replacing the naked cakes and neon drip confections of years past. In fact, Pinterest says searches for bubble cakes have climbed 55 percent over the past two years, prompting the brand to deem it one of the biggest emerging food trends of 2022. The concept seems simple—dip balloons in a gelatin mixture to form bubbles, pop said balloons and arrange gelatinous exoskeleton “bubbles” atop a cake—but the effect is otherworldly. So naturally, I had to know: How hard are they, really, for the average home baker to make?
The answer: If you’re expecting perfection, call a pro. But if you want an oddly satisfying way to spend a Saturday (or late Thursday night) while simultaneously earning the award for Coolest Aunt/Mom/Shameless-Instagram-Likes-Hunter around, go for it. Here’s exactly what to do (and what to avoid), based on my experience.