Make a "splash" at your next birthday party with a cake that's fit for the poolside. Whether you are celebrating the special day with a pool party or just dreaming about warmer temperatures, a pool cake is sure to remind everyone of fun summer days spent at the pool or beach.
Add a clear, jiggling pool to the top of any cake with blue gelatin. Choose a white cake, as you'll want your pool to be a sparkling blue. Prepare a cooled cake by carving out a pool-shaped cavity, leaving the cake at least 1/2 inch thick at the bottom of the cavity. Freeze the cake overnight. Prepare blue gelatin according to package directions and allow the gelatin to cool in a bowl until it is slightly cooler than room temperature. If you cannot locate blue gelatin, look for plain gelatin, which is on the baking aisles of most grocery stores. Prepare the plain gelatin and add a few drops of blue food colouring. You can replace the recipe's water with any clear juice to add flavour to the gelatin. Pour the gelatin into the cavity and chill the cake until the gelatin sets. You can then ice and decorate your cake however you like.
Decorate a pool party cake with edible life preservers, rafts, water noodles, ladders and even a lifeguard tower. Chocolate-covered mini doughnuts look just like black inner tubes and white powdered mini doughnuts decorated with red icing or shoestring liquorice can become life preservers. Roll colourful taffy candy flat with a rolling pin and cut out rectangle shapes with a sharp knife to use as inflatable rafts. Roll the same candies between your palms into long tubes to form water noodles for your cake. Ladders can be created with pretzel sticks held together with frosting. Turn a flat-bottomed ice cream cone upside down on the cake to form a lifeguard tower.
If you have some experience decorating cakes, you can pipe swimmers directly onto the cake using stiff royal icing tinted to the appropriate skin tone. If figure piping is beyond your skills, you do have other options. Use round vanilla or chocolate wafers to represent the swimmers' heads and sculpt arms from soft taffy candies. Perch the heads and arms on top of lifesavers or inner tubes as if the rest of the swimmers' bodies are hidden below the water. Add facial features and hair to the wafers with icing or assorted candies. Another option is to decorate the cake with beach or pool-themed cake toppers available from some cake decorating stores and Internet websites.