For years, I've wanted to make a swimming pool cake. The idea of gelatin sitting on top of a cake was intriguing. Ever since I mentioned one of these cakes to my daughter, she's longed to decorate one. After some incredibly hot and boring days at home together we finally decided to make this Swimming Pool Cake. Below are our instructions for making your own swimming pool cake. I hope you have as much fun as we did making it.
What You'll Need:
- Edible Decorations*
- 13x9-inch yellow or white cake (either from scratch or a mix**)
- 3 cups white fluffy frosting (store-bought or homemade**)
- 2 boxes blue gelatin***
Step One - Go Shopping.
We went to a mall candy store for candy decorations*. I knew I could use bear-shaped graham crackers for “people”, but since they get soggy fast I wanted as much “candy” people as I could find. I was able to find gummi army men, octopus, sharks, fish (Swedish Fish), colorful ribbons and individual pieces of licorice. At my local grocery store I found regular gummi bears and Lifesavers.
Step Two - Diagram Your Cake.
Instead of a rectangular-shaped pool, I chose a kidney-shaped one. With that in mind, my daughter did a diagram of how the cake would be decorated.
Step Three - Bake the Cake.
Since the cake was to be removed from the pan, I made sure to grease and flour the pan. **I decided to go with a cake mix and store-bought frosting. Both tend to stand-up a little better with the extra chemicals they put in them.
Step Four - Cool the Cake.
Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting-out the pool. My daughter would check the cake every 15 minutes to see it it had cooled. The cake must be cool or the icing will slide off of the cake and the gelatin won't congeal.
Step Five - Outline and Cutout the Pool.
Using a template from the cake diagram, trace the pool onto the cake. While cutting around the pool-shape, be sure to leave at least an inch at the bottom. Before cutting, I held my pairing knife perpendicular to the cake. I used a piece of masking tape on the knife to mark the maximum amount I could cut down into the cake. Cut 1-inch lines from top to bottom and from side to side still using your tape-marked knife.
Step Six - Scoop Out the Pool.
I used a butter knife to scoop-out the squares.**** Don’t worry if the bottom isn't level. I used the bottom side of my fingers to push the cake down. Even without doing that, you can’t see the bottom through the gelatin.
Step Seven - Time for Icing.
Frost the sides and top of the cake. I didn't frost the complete inside of the pool, but I did go down a little around the sides.
Step Eight - Let’s Fill the Pool.
Mix the gelatin mix and water in a bowl using the speed-set directions
on the box. Carefully pour into the pool. ****I mixed my leftover gelatin with the cake cubes and place it in the refrigerator. It was enough to make a small refreshing dessert for later.
Step Nine – Decorate the Cake.
Add pool “people” and “toys” first. Decorated around the pool and the edges of the cake, if desired. It’s all up to your imagination. As you can see from the photo, the army men are floating in gummi rings. I did breakdown and allow some bear-shaped graham crackers. I’m not sure if the octopus is part of a palm tree or an umbrella, my daughter's creation. She also tried to make a slide out of the gummi ribbon, but it just wouldn’t hold up. I'm not sure it was the humidity or that we didn't use homemade icing to hold things together. I ended-up using the Lifesavers as decorations around the sides of the cake and the Swedish Fish on the top.
Step Ten – Refrigerate the Cake.
To allow the gelatin to complete congeal and to set the decorations, refrigerate the cake. Any leftovers should be kept in the refrigerator. As of this writing, we don't have any leftovers. No one is allowed to cut into the cake until my daughter has shown it to all of her friends.