The snow globe—a seemingly miraculous object containing an entire blizzard within a small glass sphere—was invented by Erwin Perzy in Vienna at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, snow globes are simultaneously cliché and magically hypnotic. They transport you to a sentimental place where the world is cold but everyone’s hearts are warm.
In a nod to this beloved holiday decoration, we present the snow globe cupcake. Decorated with a sugary winter landscape, this treat is topped with a transparent bubble that evokes its namesake. The English may have their figgy puddings, and the French their bûche de Noël. But in this country, where we welcome the yuletide with flashing lights and glittering plastic lawn ornaments, snow globe cupcakes symbolize the American holiday season in all its shameless, sugarcoated glory.
Angie Dudley (aka Bakerella, the genius who brought cake pops to fame) created the first snow globe cupcake. She used the bottom of a plastic Coca-Cola bottle to represent the globe. Then Sugar Hero’s Elizabeth LaBau improved upon this recipe with a completely edible version. Her method is as simple as it is brilliant. She dipped a small balloon into melted gelatin, let the gelatin harden, and then deflated the balloon, leaving a clear gelatin bubble. However, LaBau’s earliest attempts with powdered gelatin yielded cloudy, unsatisfactory results. In order to get the proper crystal-like sparkle, LaBau finally settled upon platinum-grade sheet gelatin. Sheet gelatin is an ingredient commonly used by European cooks but are rather new to Americans.
Our cupcake is a basic vanilla cake topped with buttercream frosting. But other cake flavors work just as well—perhaps you’d like to try retro red velvet or gingerbread? Whatever flavor you choose, be prepared for lots of oohs and aahs from the guests at your next holiday party.