Culinary Artist Makes ‘3D Jelly Cakes’ Encasing Edible Scenes of Nature Within

3D Jelly Cake by Siew Heng Boon

Cake maker Siew Heng Boon crafts confections that don’t look edible at all. Her glass-like creations are instead akin to office paperweights with florals and fish encased beneath clear surfaces. Known as 3D jelly cakes, these confections are made with gelatin or seaweed jelly powder and use specific tools to inject colorful motifs onto a clear base.

Boon’s cakes are an awe-inspiring example of when food transcends into edible works of art. She’s developed her impressive skills only within the last couple of years—she didn’t even know jelly cakes existed until two years ago. “A neighbor of my mum had made it and gave it to her,” she tells My Modern Met in an email. “Intrigued by it, I decided to take up a course run by a very famous 3D jelly art teacher in Malaysia. After practice and posting it up on Facebook and Instagram, a few people started to order them from me.” She established her business called Jelly Alchemy upon her return to Sydney a year and a half ago.

So, what goes into making a jelly cake? There are a few components needed to produce one: the first is colored milk (or alternatives like coconut milk); the second is a clear canvas for the flowers to be injected into; and finally, a colored base to complete the cake.

To begin, different jelly colors are heated into a liquid state and then injected with specialized tools that create different shapes on the canvas. After the decorative elements are done, a flavored base is poured over the top to finish the cake.

The types of ingredients used depend on the culture in which you learn to make a 3d jelly cake. “In certain countries like Mexico,” Boon explains, “gelatin is preferred to create the clear canvas but in Southeast Asia, we generally use a type of seaweed jelly powder and sugar to make it.” Boon typically infuses flavorings like lychee into the canvas and prefers all her hues to be natural. “The color base can be made out of any ingredients that you like, for example, juice, flavored milk, cordials, etc.” This careful consideration results in beautiful—and tasty—work, and it's the reaction from her clients that keep her making the edible art. “I love the ‘wow' factor that it creates when people see them.”

Siew Heng Boon of Jelly Alchemy creates awe-inspiring 3D jelly cakes.

3D Jelly Cake by Siew Heng Boon

Using gelatin or seaweed jelly powder as well as specific inject tools, she forms colorful blooms and fish underneath a glass-like surface.

3D Jelly Cake by Siew Heng Boon

The results might fool you into thinking that these are glass paperweights…

3D Jelly Cake by Siew Heng Boon 3D Jelly Cake by Jelly Alchemy

… but when you bite into them you'll taste flavors like lychee.

Jelly Alchemy 3D Jelly Cake by Jelly Alchemy 3D Jelly Cake by Jelly Alchemy 3D Jelly Cake by Siew Heng Boon 3D Jelly Cake by Siew Heng Boon 3D Jelly Cake by Jelly Alchemy

Jelly Alchemy: Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Siew Heng Boon.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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