Balloon Cake

Balloon Cake

Maybe the *cutest* balloon cake I've ever made! 

I was asked for a birthday cake for a girl who loves animals and balloons. Featuring a cute gum paste (or fondant) bunny and adorable gelatin balloons, this cake was the perfect fit!

Credit note! I got the gist of this decoration idea from Pinterest, though I couldn't find the original pin when I looked for it! (Please ping me for credit if it's yours!)

The bunny decoration was really easy to make out of gum paste, and the balloons were SO fun to make out of gelatin! See the video below the recipe card for a quick overview; it's less than a minute long! 

Recipe note!

Gelatin bubbles need about 24 hours to dry before you can remove the water balloons and use them to decorate!

I only dipped my balloons into the gelatin mixture 1-2 times to keep the colors light. But for more vibrant colors to your balloons, you can add more food coloring and repeat the dipping process. This will thicken the coating and deepen the color. 

All involved recipes below! Happy baking! 

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Don't forget to pin for later!

Balloon Cake - pinterest pin

Balloon Cake

One of my most popular recipes! How to make an adorable Balloon cake, topped with gelatin bubbles to look like a bunny holding balloons!
Prep Time1 day 45 minutes
Cook Time37 minutes
Decorating time30 minutes
Total Time1 day 1 hour 52 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Balloon Cake, Balloon Bunny Cake, Kids Balloon Cake
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 765kcal
Author: Sarah H


Balloon Cake layers

  • 3 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (or 2 sticks, room temperature)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup rainbow jimmy sprinkles (*not* non-pareils; they’ll dissolve and turn the cake grayish-brown!)

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

Gelatin Balloons & Decorations


Gelatin Bubbles

  • First things first - gelatin balloons need about 24 hours of drying time! You'll want to make them a day ahead of assembling and decorating the cake.
  • Inflate and tie off 14+ water balloons to about the size of the balloons you'd like to use on the cake; most of mine were 1 ½ - 2 inches or so.
  • Combine gelatin, water, and lustre dust (optional) in a microwave-safe bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. The mix should become thick fairly quickly. Microwave in 10-second intervals, until melted. Divide into 3 small bowls and add food coloring. Allow to cool until no longer hot but still liquid.
  • Dip balloons into the gelatin mixture, coating them close to the knot. You'll see in the video I used paper clips and a mug rack to dry them, but you can place them knot-side-down on a cooling rack as well. Dip balloons once for a light pastel color, or twice for a deeper color (re-dip after 5-10 minutes; you may need to re-melt your gelatin mixture if it solidifies). I added a few sprinkles to some of my balloons, but this is optional. Dry 12-24 hours. Allow longer drying time if bubbles are bending/cracking when you remove the balloons.

Balloon Cake layers

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with baker's floured cooking spray, or grease and line with parchment rounds.
  • Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined. Mix bits of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  • Pour in eggs and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.
  • Bake for 34-37 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans – it helps to run an offset spatula or knife around the perimeter of the pan first. Cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
  • Once the layers have fully cooled, they can be leveled and any browned bits can be trimmed from the sides / top of the cake using a serrated knife if desired. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble and break. (This is a great time to make your frosting and other decorations!)

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined. Reserve about 1/2 cup of white frosting to pipe the balloon strings, and color the rest light teal.


  • Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle.
  • Spread the layer with frosting, and add the next layer on top. (I added a sprinkle of rainbow jimmies in between my cake layers for more color, but this is optional!) Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.
  • Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer. I usually do this with my large offset spatula.
  • Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting.
  • Once the frosting is set, transfer your white frosting to a piping bag fitted with a small tip.
  • Pipe the balloon strings onto the side of the cake, stopping at the top.

Balloons & Decorations

  • To make the bunny, I used one large and seven small lumps of fondant – the largest for the body, a small round lump for the head, two oblong arms, two small flattened legs, and oblong ears. Shape the bunny as shown in the photo/video; using a bit of water to help adhere the pieces together. Don't sweat it if the ears won't stay; they'll stick to the frosting on the side of the cake.
  • Arrange the gelatin balloons on top of the cake – I used a bit of corn syrup to stick the top balloons to the lower ones. Add the fondant decorations at the base of the cake. Add a few sprinkles to the top of the cake and around the base!



(Please note nutrition information is an estimate and may not be exactly accurate. Nutrition information also does not include gum paste or gelatin bubbles.) 


Serving: 1slice (1/16th cake) | Calories: 765kcal | Carbohydrates: 98g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 38g

Did you make this Balloon Cake? 

Let me know how it went - or find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo! You can also leave a comment and / or recipe rating at the bottom of the page! 

(Credit where it's due - my original inspiration for the gelatin bubbles came from from – here’s a link to the recipe and instructions!)

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