cupcakes, diy desserts, diy projects, holidays

DIY: Snow Globe Cupcakes

DIY Snow Globe Cupcakes

A couple of years ago I was trying to figure out how to make a snow globe cake and after failing a few times, I ended up just adding a plastic one to top the cake. It still looked cool, but I was pretty bummed I couldn’t figure out the edible version. I was focusing on sugar and had assumed I’d just need to become a glass blower or something to be able to achieve a perfect dome. I realized my problem was the material – to get a see-through sugar dome is nearly impossible. But, gelatin – well that’s a whole different story. After doing a little research, I gave it a go with the gelatin and voila – it worked! I also used modeling chocolate instead of fondant for my figurines, so that I would actually be interested in eating them. Looking at them, it may be hard to believe, but these snow globe cupcakes are 100% edible…and every piece of them tastes great too!

Tropical Holiday Snow Globe CupcakesTropical Holiday Cupcake Toppers

As you can see I went for a retro tropical feel for my holiday snow globe cupcakes just to be extra ironic, however, the theme you choose is totally up to you. Whether you plan on dreaming up your own theme (go for it!) or just plan on going along with my vibe, the directions are the same. Continue on below for the tutorial.

Snowman Globe CupcakeSnow Globe Holiday CupcakesSnowglobe CupcakesHoliday Flamingo Cupcake TopperREAD MORE

Materials Needed:

  • Snow Globe Materials:
    • Knox unflavored gelatin packets
    • Microwave-safe bowl
    • Whisk, Spoon
    • Small (5-inch) balloons or water balloons
    • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • Toothpicks
    • 1 tsp light corn syrup
    • Snowflake sprinkles
  • 1 batch vanilla cupcakes
  • 1 batch vanilla buttercream
  • Spatula
  • White sanding sugar
  • White modeling chocolate (or fondant)
  • Gel food color (assortment)
  • Plastic bags
  • Toothpicks
  • Edible markers
  • Optional: Edible disco dust, pearl dust


Day Before – The Gelatin Snow Globes: Before you bake your cupcakes you’re going to want to make your gelatin snow globes, as these will need to dry overnight. Follow along below with the directions.

Blow up each balloon to the best size for your cupcake top. Double knot the balloons when tying to prevent any air from leaking. To cover 6 balloons, add 6 tablespoons cold water and 3 packets of Knox unflavored gelatin to a microwave-safe bowl (ratio is 2 parts water : 1 part powdered gelatin). Use a small whisk or a fork to mix in the gelatin with the water. Once mixed, set aside for 5 minutes. In this time, the gelatin will become a semi-firm sponge texture.

Place the bowl in the microwave and heat for 20-30 seconds, keeping a close eye on the gelatin to make sure it doesn’t begin to boil. Remove from the microwave and let sit for a couple of minutes to cool. Once cooled, use a spoon to skim the surface to remove the bubbles, as well as what I like to call the “muck” that can form on top during the heating process.

Using a paper towel, lightly (very lightly) coat each balloon in vegetable oil or shortening. FYI – I found that vegetable oil resulted in a more clear globe once they were dry. Dip each balloon into the bowl of gelatin, working quickly to ensure the gelatin stays warm. Let excess gelatin drip off. To dry, I found it easiest to poke a toothpick through the end of my balloon and then position the toothpick into Styrofoam. You could also set the balloons on a wire rack. Whatever you do, just make sure to cover the surface below your drying area, as things will get a little messy during this part.

Set the balloons aside to dry. You can place them in front of a fan to speed up the process, or just wait for them to dry overnight. When they’re completely hard, that means they’re dry. Once dry, remove the balloon by using a pair of scissors to cut the knot. For an added touch, use a tiny dab of light corn syrup to secure snowflake sprinkles to the interior of your snow globe.

Gelatin DIYCorn Syrup Snowflakes

The Cupcakes and Toppers:

Step #1: Before you frost your cupcakes pour white sanding sugar onto a plate and set aside. Lightly frost each cupcake with vanilla buttercream and gently roll the top of the cupcake into the sanding sugar to cover the frosting. Set in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to allow the sanding sugar to set into the frosting.

Snow Globe Cupcakes 2Snow Globe Cupcakes 4

Step #2: Break your modeling chocolate or fondant into 10 to 20 balls. Using just 1 small drop of gel coloring, dye each ball a separate color. Knead the color into each ball and work the modeling chocolate until the color is completely blended. Store each of your colors in a separate plastic bag.

Modeling Chocolate Colors

Step #3: Prepare your work surface with either wax paper or a silicone mat. Get a knife, some toothpicks, and any other decorating tools you wish to use, and then start molding your figurines. It’s important to make sure that the size of your figurines can fit inside the snow globes, so make sure to keep them to size! If you’re using modeling chocolate you’ll notice how it doesn’t dry quickly, which is amazing…but you will need to allow at least a few hours of dry time for any large figurines. Use edible markers to add any small details to your figurines. Lighlty dust on Pearl dust or disco dust with a paintbrush to add a little sparkle. I’ve provided some closeups of the cupcakes below to help you out. All of the details were added with toothpicks (the trees, leaves, wreaths). Toothpicks are your best friend when working with details this small!

Tip: If your modeling chocolate or fondant is getting sticky, work in some confectioner’s sugar.

Retro Cupcake ToppersEdible Disco DustModeling Chocolate Cupcake Toppers

Step #4: Apply a small dab of buttercream to the bottom of each figurine before adding it to the cupcake to allow it to sit firmly on the cupcake. I also like to remove a touch of the sanding sugar that’s going to be under the figurine for a more stable base.

Holiday Cupcake ToppersRetro Airstream with Christmas TreeTropical Holiday Cupcakes-WideSnowmen Cupcake ToppersTropical Snowglobe CupcakesFlamingo Christmas Tree CupcakeRetro Holiday Dessert

Step #5: Once you’ve added your toppers, go ahead and add the snow globes. And there you have it – snow globe cupcakes! You can use scissors to cut a larger opening at the bottom of your globe if needed. Pretty cool, eh?!

Snowman Snow Globe CupcakeGelatin Snow Globe Cupcakes

I made my first flamingo a bit too big, so I ended up turning him into a flamingo pool floatie. Clearly, I spent a little too much time with these guys…I even ended up posing a snowman atop the pool float for a pic. Perhaps, I just need more sleep.

Snowman on Pool Floatie

One last thing to note – if want to make a larger version of these cupcakes for a cake topper, just use a larger balloon for the gelatin mold.

  1. gabocks

    December 2, 2015 at 7:40 am

    This is mind blowing!

  2. Lily

    December 2, 2015 at 10:43 am

    This is possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

    1. alanajonesmann

      December 2, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      aww thanks! i was really excited about them, so glad you like them too!

  3. Homemade Banana

    December 2, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    These are SERIOUSLY amazing! The idea and the execution are both so well done. Brava!!

    xx Hannah //

  4. Yvette Adams

    December 3, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    There are just the most amazing things ever!!! You are too clever!!!

    1. alanajonesmann

      December 3, 2015 at 9:22 pm

      aww thank you Yvette!

    1. alanajonesmann

      December 9, 2015 at 9:04 am

      hahaha now i see what you’re talking about!!

  5. Deb

    December 13, 2015 at 12:51 am

    The cutest cupcakes I’ve ever seen!!! Great job!

    1. alanajonesmann

      December 14, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      thank you Deb!

  6. Aika

    December 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Your creativeness seriously knows no bounds! I was planning to make some gingerbread cookies, but now I’m thinking of making these cupcakes.

    1. alanajonesmann

      December 14, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      you are too sweet! thank you!

  7. Melissa

    December 15, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    These are so cute! How do u store the finished cupcakes? And how long do they keep?

    1. alanajonesmann

      December 15, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      If storing for a few days, remove the gelatin globe tops and store those separately in a Tupperware before putting the cupcakes back in the fridge. As with any type of cupcakes, I wouldn’t store for more than 3 days…you could, but the cupcake will dry out and quickly lose flavor when in the fridge. As long as you don’t use cream or milk in your frosting, you could also store the cupcakes at room temp in a plastic clamshell container or Tupperware.

  8. Vicki

    December 22, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    The google doodle today has a snow globe with a little animation. Ha! Your creativity blasts them out of the water!!!! And you did it first!

  9. Kilee

    December 24, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    These are so great! I saw them a few months back and wanted to make them so badly, luckily I remembered and had time. 🙂 Globes and decorations are made, now to just make the cupcakes (cheating with a boxed mix) and assemble.

    I spent a few days experimenting, and I ended up using some really thin water balloons with a nice shape for the globes, thinking the thinness would make the balloon come off easily without imploding the globe…They did not work well. The thinness of the balloon made it almost impossible to peel off. So I just sat there staring at my colored balls and dying inside, but after googling as a last attempt I remembered rubbing alcohol weakens latex and gave it a try. Just a few drops swished around inside and the balloon started coming off on its own. 🙂 The rubbing alcohol isn’t ideal with food, but I figure I’ll just air them out and no one will eat the gelatin. Just wanted to share in case anyone else has a problem with them sticking.

  10. Anne Campbell

    December 30, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    These are amazing and beautiful–truly works of art. It would be so hard to eat them, because they are too pretty to look at!

  11. Kendyl

    January 6, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    What an artisan you are! These cupcakes are aww inspiring. Thank you for sharing, and all of the detailed pictures. I’ve really enjoyed admiring your work.

  12. JJ

    July 28, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Hi, this is awesome! However, we do not have Knox gelatin here but normal gelatin powder, does it work too? Many thanks for your reply. 🙂

  13. Rosalinda Valenciano

    August 6, 2016 at 7:34 am

    You are sweety thanks for sharing i love your chamb

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