Can I Make a "Bubblepop Electric Cupcake"?
These videos for the awesome "Bubblepop Electric Cupcake" (from the Scran Line's YouTube channel) and a Holiday edition Snow Globe Cupcake (Stay tuned!) showed up in my recommended YouTube videos, maybe because they use similar techniques: making gelatin bubbles using a balloon. How cool is that? Since they both had gelatin bubbles, I decided to try them in tandem. There are a few components with the Snow Globe cupcake (namely something also has to go in the snow globe), so I decided to start with "Bubblepop Electric Cupcakes" to learn about how to make gelatin bubbles.
The Bubblepop Electric Cupcake is from the Scran Line's YouTube channel. He makes really inventive pop art cakes and cupcakes. They really are little pop art sculptures that you can eat! Haha. :) If they weren't cakes and cupcakes, they could be in an art gallery or museum. However, Cattelan's banana taped to a wall with duct tape was just sold to art collectors who thought it was an "iconic historical object" -- with the provision that they replace the banana every 2 days. Haha :) I do like art that makes you think: What is art?
There is something that appeals to me about funneling my artistic and creative urges through cooking and baking. It is fun to use food as materials in unexpected ways. It is intriguing to me that when you make art out of food that you know it's going to be ephemeral. I like the science of it too. And you can eat it! Anyways, the Bubblepop Electric cupcake has all these elements: creativity, art & science, so I was inspired to try to recreate it and a few others ones from his channel too -- stay tuned!
Monday, December 9, 2019/Tuesday December 10, 2019, Attempt #1:
In the video, he makes his own cupcake mix. Something fun about his cupcakes/cakes are that it is not only the outside that is decorated and artistic; the actual cake -- the inside part -- is part of the design and usually multiple colors. A lot of times there is a filling also and he does these awesome scenes where he chops the cupcakes in half and you get see a little ganache / filling pour. :)
I was more interested in the design part and making the gelatin bubbles, so I used cake mix.
It's a pretty fast fun science/art project to do, but you have let the set overnight / 24 hours before you can display or use them.
To make the gelatin bubbles: you need:
- gelatin powder (or gelatin sheets), water, vase (any tall skinny container), straws (or something to serve as a sticks), tape, and a microwave.
- For this project, pink food coloring (I used liquid food coloring, not gel or oil-based; not sure if this matters with gelatin.)
- Optional: pump to fill balloons
I used gelatin powder because I had it around. First, you put some gelatin powder in a bowl and some water. I wasn't paying too much attention in this attempt at how much water I was putting in the bowl, which will become important later. You stir it together. Then you let the gelatin powder+water bloom (sit there at room temp) for ~5 min. In this project, you also add pink food coloring. As I mentioned above, I used liquid food coloring, not gel or oil-based; not sure if this matters with gelatin.
While the gelatin is blooming, you prepare the balloons+straws/sticks. You fill the balloons up. When you are making them for a cupcake, you don't want to make the balloon too big or they won't fit on the cupcake.
You tape the balloons to a straw or stick. In most of the videos I saw and in this one, they use disposable straws in the different videos, which are all the same height. I just used straws or sticks/handles I had in my apartment. I actually found this worked better because this random assortment was different heights, which gave more room for the balloons when they were drying. I recycled this plastic container that my lemonade packets came in to use as a vase.
When the gelatin+water is done blooming, then you microwave at 15-second or 30-second interval until it's all dissolved. (You could do this step in the stove and some videos show that.) You let it cool down for 1-2 minutes, so it's not too hot, then you coat the balloons with the gelatin mixture and let them set overnight.
The gelatin+water mixture I had made was so thin that it wouldn't even coat the balloons (left). I added another packet or 2 to the existing mixture I had prepared to thicken it up. (right)
That seemed to work better. I didn't really pay attention to my dipping technique either. I just kind of put them in a bowl. After I was finished, I put them aside to let them set overnight.
RESULT: Success / Fail, maybe more of a success. :)
We are good at this? / We are good at this. I got bubbles! But they were pretty thin and transparent. So they looked different than the video. More photos below.
For the cupcakes, I mentioned I used cake mix. Then I just used some Pillsbury vanilla frosting and colored it blue with food coloring and added pink sprinkles.
I did some research on YouTube and I needed to pay more attention to the ratio of gelatin powder to water for the bubbles and to my dipping technique.
I found this video from Cheeky Crumb's YouTube channel (bottom of this section) for Snow Globe Cupcakes, which has a really good tutorial on how to make gelatin bubbles.
With this new knowledge, I tried to make them again (see Attempt #2 - below).
Tuesday, December 10, 2019/Wednesday, December 11, 2019, Attempt #2:
In the Cheeky Crumbs video, she uses gelatin sheets and for 36 grams of gelatin sheets, she only uses 4 1/2 tablespoons of water. That was a lot less water than I had used before. I was using gelatin powder and each packet has ~7.2 grams of gelatin powder in them.
I was making the clear bubbles for the Snow Globe and the pink bubbles for "Bubblepop Electric Cupcake" at the same time. I made the clear bubbles first and then added some pink food coloring when I was done with that to make the pink bubbles.
This time, I used 4 packets of gelatin (28.8 grams) and 5 tablespoons of water. You can tell it was much thicker than in the first attempt.
It seemed to coat the balloons much better!
RESULT: Success. :)
We are good at this -- with a period, not an exclamation point. Haha. :)
They looked kind of messed up and tiny when they were drying. I think what happened was that I didn't tie the not for the balloons very well and the weight of the thicker coat of gelatin was so heavy that it made the balloon slowly collapse and push air out. From this, I learned to work on tying up the balloons better. :)
Despite looking messed up, they turned out pretty well and fit on the cupcakes. They were bright pink. They were a little less translucent than in the video. The gelatin mixture I used when I coated them was very thick and cooled down and I could have microwaved it again by the time I got to the pink bubbles (after doing clear bubbles for the Snow Globe Cupcakes) to thin it out a little bit before dipping them.
I will remember that for my next attempts: tying the balloons better and working on the ratios for gelatin powder : water for the dipping mixture.
The thumbnail and last picture in this section has both bubbles in it for comparison.
This is super fun and cool. Give it a try! We are good at this! :)