Jelly cakes don’t really sound very appetizing, or particularly impressive for that matter, but that’s only because you’ve probably never seen one of Siew Heng Boon’s amazing 3D jelly cakes.
Intricately-designed 3D jelly cakes are really popular in South-East Asian countries like Vietnam and Malaysia, and in Mexico, but some of the world’s most amazing such edible masterpieces are actually created by an Australian artist from Sidney. Siew Heng Boon has been making 3D jelly cakes for only two years now, but she’s already considered a master of the trade, and her incredible creations often have people do a double take.
Photo: Siew Heng Boon/Jelly Alchemy
Siew Heng Boon discovered the art of 3D jelly cakes in 2016, while spending some time in Malaysia. Intrigued by the unique food art, she she undertook a 3D jelly class that same year, where she learned all the basics about design, coloring and taste. Fast forward to present day, Siew Heng Boon runs her very own artistic jelly cake business, and her works are regularly featured by some of the world’s largest media outlets.
You’re probably thinking that sealing edible flowers in clear jelly doesn’t exactly require mountains of talent, but that’s not how 3D jelly cakes are made. It all starts with a clean canvas – the clear jelly. Once hardened, the artist will use a syringe to inject edible dyes into the jelly, sometimes using various accessories to create different shapes. For example, the slim petals of a dahlia require a steady hand and a standard syringe needle, while larger flowers, like roses, require a spatula like tool to be attached to the syringe, and a completely different technique.
But what I find even more amazing about this impressive food art is that everything has to be done upside down, in layers. The artist starts with the petals, then adds the leaves and any other design elements he has in mind. Once the design is completed, a hot layer of jelly is poured over the cake to seal it. The fruits of the artist’s labour can only be admired when the cake is flipped over.
Siew Heng Boon says that she can spend up to four hours working on a single 3D jelly cake. Her works feature the classic floral motifs, only visibly more refined than what you normally find in Vietnamese or Mexican dessert shops, and sometimes incorporate new elements, like fish or air bubbles.