Easy Cathedral Window Gelatin

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Cathedral Window Gelatin

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 318kcal


  • 4 small bowls
  • 1 large bowl
  • 9×13-inch baking dish
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cups and spoons


  • 4 cups boiling water divided
  • 4 3-ounce boxes flavored gelatin (strawberry, lime, orange, lemon)
  • 4 cups cold water divided
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk


  • Dissolve each box of flavored gelatin in 1 cup boiling water in 4 separate bowls. Stir well.
  • Add 1 cup cold water to each bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Pour each gelatin mixture into separate sections of a 9×13-inch dish. Chill for 2 hours.
  • Combine milk and sugar in a large bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  • Soften unflavored gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water for 1 minute.
  • Add softened gelatin to milk mixture. Stir well.
  • Pour sweetened condensed milk into milk mixture. Whisk until smooth.
  • Remove set flavored gelatin from the fridge. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
  • Pour milk mixture over gelatin cubes. Rearrange cubes if needed.
  • Chill for 2 hours until set.
  • Cut into squares or desired shapes and serve chilled.


Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 186mg | Sugar: 64g | Vitamin A: 154IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Do you want to impress your friends and family with a visually stunning and delicious dessert? Look no further, as we’ve got the perfect solution for you: a delectable cathedral window gelatin treat that offers a symphony of flavors and textures in every bite. This delightful dessert, reminiscent of a beautiful stained glass window, is made of vibrantly colored cubed gelatin suspended in a creamy and luscious milk mixture. It’s a masterpiece that is not only a feast for the eyes but also a delight for the taste buds. Plus, it’s super simple to make, so there’s no need to be intimidated, even if you’re a beginner in the kitchen.

This delightful creation, while visually intricate, is actually quite simple to prepare, thanks to our easy-to-follow recipe. It’s an ideal dessert for special occasions, holidays, or just when you want to add a touch of whimsy to your day. Alongside the rave reviews you’ll receive on presentation, the fusion of sweet and tangy flavors combined with the creamy milk gelatin base will leave your loved ones asking for seconds. So, what are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and let’s dive into creating this scrumptious showstopper of a dessert in the next section!

Yield & Servings

12 servings


4 cups boiling water, divided
4 (3-ounce) boxes flavored gelatin (such as strawberry, lime, orange, and lemon)
4 cups cold water, divided
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
½ cup cold water
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Notable Equipment & Tools

4 small bowls
1 large bowl
9×13-inch baking dish
Measuring cups and spoons

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Gather and Prep Your Ingredients

All ingredients ready? Let’s begin!

Step 2: Dissolve Each Flavored Gelatin in Boiling Water

In each of the 4 small bowls, dissolve one box of flavored gelatin in 1 cup of boiling water. Stir well until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Step 3: Add Cold Water to Dissolved Gelatin

Add 1 cup of cold water to each bowl of dissolved gelatin. Stir to combine.

Step 4: Pour Gelatin into Baking Dish and Chill to Set

Pour each bowl of flavored gelatin mixture into separate sections of the 9×13-inch baking dish. Place the dish in the refrigerator and chill until the gelatin is set, about 2 hours.

Step 5: Combine Milk and Sugar

In a large bowl, combine the milk and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Step 6: Mix Softened Gelatin into Milk and Sugar Mixture

In a small bowl, sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water. Let it sit for 1 minute to soften. Add the softened unflavored gelatin to the milk and sugar mixture. Stir well to combine.

Step 7: Add Sweetened Condensed Milk and Whisk

Pour the sweetened condensed milk into the milk and gelatin mixture. Whisk until smooth and well combined.

Step 8: Cut Set Flavored Gelatin into Cubes

Remove the set flavored gelatin from the refrigerator. Cut the gelatin into 1-inch cubes.

Step 9: Pour Milk Mixture Over Gelatin Cubes

Gently pour the milk and condensed milk mixture over the set flavored gelatin cubes. Use a spoon to gently rearrange the cubes if needed, ensuring they are evenly distributed throughout the dish.

Step 10: Chill Until Milk Mixture Sets

Return the dish to the refrigerator and chill until the milk mixture is set, about 2 hours.

Step 11: Cut and Enjoy your Cathedral Window Gelatin!

Once set, cut the cathedral window gelatin into squares or desired shapes and serve chilled. Enjoy your delicious and colorful dessert!

Substitutions & Alternatives

Fear not, my culinary comrades! Cathedral window gelatin is a versatile and forgiving recipe, making it the perfect playground for creative substitutions and alternatives. Embrace your inner mad scientist and let’s dive into a world of wobbly possibilities.

  • Flavored Gelatin: Can’t find strawberry, lime, orange, or lemon? No problemo! There’s a whole rainbow of flavors out there waiting to be discovered. Try blue raspberry for a pop of color, or go tropical with mango and pineapple. Remember, this is your dessert masterpiece, so paint with any flavors your taste buds desire.
  • Vegan-Friendly: Gelatin is derived from animal collagen, but don’t let that ruin the jiggle party for our plant-based pals. Agar-agar, derived from red seaweed, is a fantastic vegan alternative. Replace both the flavored and unflavored gelatin with equal amounts of agar-agar powder (usually a 1:1 ratio). Make sure to boil the agar-agar for a few minutes to fully dissolve and activate its gelling properties.
  • Sugar: Watching your sugar intake? You can reduce the sugar in the recipe by using sugar-free flavored gelatin and cutting the added sugar in half. Alternatively, experiment with natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or stevia, but be mindful of how it could affect the final texture and sweetness.
  • Milk: Dairy-free diets can still enjoy this technicolor treat! Swap out the milk for your favorite dairy-free alternatives, such as almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: This ingredient adds richness and creaminess to the recipe. If you’re looking for a dairy-free option, try making your own sweetened condensed coconut milk. Combine one can of full-fat coconut milk with 1/4 cup of sugar, and simmer until it reduces and thickens. Voilà! You now have a dairy-free sweetened condensed milk to use in your cathedral window gelatin.

Remember, cooking is an adventure, and experimenting with substitutions and alternatives is a delicious way to learn and grow in the kitchen. Now, go forth and conquer the wiggly, jiggly world of cathedral window gelatin with confidence and creativity!

Storage & Reheating

Preserving the beauty of your cathedral window gelatin masterpiece is as simple as pie – or should I say, as simple as gelatin? No need to stress about storage, as we’ve got you covered with these easy-peasy tips to keep your dessert looking and tasting fresh.

First, if you have any leftovers (which might be a rarity with this scrumptious treat), place them in an airtight container. You can separate the pieces with wax paper or parchment paper if you’re feeling fancy – this helps prevent them from sticking together and losing their majestic shapes. Pop the container into the refrigerator, and your gelatin will remain fresh for up to 7 days! Remember, this dessert is best served chilled, so it doesn’t lose its wobbly, jiggly charm.

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – reheating. We hate to break it to you, but reheating gelatin isn’t really a thing. In fact, doing so would be a grave disservice to its delicate, jiggly nature. Bringing gelatin to high temperatures will simply cause it to melt and lose its divine texture. So, let’s all solemnly swear never to reheat our gelatin masterpieces, okay? Great!

In the rare case that you need to freeze your cathedral window gelatin, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container or a sealable plastic bag. Although freezing is possible, it may slightly affect the texture of the gelatin upon thawing. Fear not, though – it will still taste delightful. To thaw, simply transfer the frozen gelatin to the refrigerator and let it defrost for a few hours. Once it’s back to its chilled self, it’s ready for its grand entrance at your next dessert soirée.

So, there you have it – keeping your cathedral window gelatin looking and tasting fabulous has never been easier. Store it wisely, serve it chilled, and remember: reheating is a no-no! Enjoy your magnificent creation, dear gelatin artist!

Serving Ideas

  • Fun Fiesta: Planning a festive gathering? Let this cathedral window gelatin recipe be the showstopper dessert that leaves your guests in awe. Present your gelatin masterpiece on a vibrant platter, surrounded by edible flowers or fresh fruit, to elevate the ambiance of your party. Pro-tip: pair it with a fruit punch or sangria for a delightful flavor burst.
  • Kid’s Delight: Kids will love the colorful and jiggly nature of this dessert! Serve it at a birthday party or playdate, and watch their eyes light up with excitement. For added fun, use cookie cutters to create shapes like stars, hearts, or animals that will make your little ones giggle with glee. Don’t forget to snap some photos of their joyful faces!
  • Seasonal Sensation: Customize the gelatin colors to match the theme of your holiday gathering. Think red and green for Christmas, orange and black for Halloween, or pastels for Easter. The possibilities are endless, and you’ll have a dessert that’s both visually stunning and deliciously festive.
  • Dessert Bar: Create a dessert bar by offering a variety of toppings to accompany your cathedral window gelatin. Fresh fruit, whipped cream, chocolate chips, or even a drizzle of caramel or fruit sauce will allow your guests to personalize their treat and indulge in their own unique gelatin creation.
  • Elegant Affair: Hosting a sophisticated soirée? Showcase your cathedral window gelatin on a sleek white platter, surrounded by a scattering of edible gold leaf or silver dragees for a touch of opulence. Pair it with a sparkling wine or champagne to toast the night in style.

No matter how you choose to serve this delightful and colorful dessert, your guests will be impressed by your culinary creativity and enjoy the flavorful journey this cathedral window gelatin takes them on. Bon appétit!

Variations & Customization

Embracing the beauty of the cathedral window gelatin recipe means you can have a dessert that caters to everyone’s taste buds and dietary preferences! Here are some variations and customizations to accommodate common dietary restrictions and diets.

  • Vegan: To make this dessert vegan-friendly, replace the milk with a plant-based milk like almond or coconut milk. Swap out the flavored gelatin and unflavored gelatin with agar-agar powder, a vegan gelatin substitute derived from seaweed. For the sweetened condensed milk, there are vegan alternatives available in stores or you can make your own by combining coconut milk and sugar.
  • Gluten-free: Good news for those with gluten sensitivities – this recipe is already gluten-free! Just make sure to double-check the ingredients on the gelatin boxes to ensure they don’t contain any hidden gluten.
  • GAPS/AIP: To make this recipe GAPS and AIP-friendly, replace the flavored gelatin with grass-fed gelatin and natural fruit juices free from additives and sugar. Replace the milk with coconut milk or another GAPS/AIP-compliant milk alternative. You can use honey as the sweetener instead of sugar and skip the sweetened condensed milk, or make an AIP-friendly version using coconut milk and honey.
  • Keto: For a keto-friendly version of this dessert, replace the sugar with a low-carb sweetener like erythritol and use sugar-free flavored gelatin. Replace the sweetened condensed milk with a keto-friendly version made from heavy cream, butter, and a low-carb sweetener.
  • Other Popular Variations: Don’t be afraid to mix and match your favorite fruit flavors in this recipe! Experiment with tropical flavors like mango, pineapple, or coconut. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding some fresh fruit pieces to the gelatin for an extra burst of flavor. For those who crave a touch of sophistication, add a splash of your favorite liqueur to the milk mixture – just make sure to keep it out of reach of the little ones!

By customizing your cathedral window gelatin recipe to fit various dietary needs and preferences, you ensure that everyone can indulge in this delightful and visually stunning dessert. So go ahead, unleash your creativity and make a dessert as unique and colorful as the people sharing it!

Notes & Tips

  1. Get creative with your gelatin flavors! You can choose any combination of flavors that suit your taste buds. Go wild with tropical vibes by using pineapple, mango, and coconut, or stick to a classic combination like strawberry, orange, and lemon. The possibilities are endless!
  2. If you’re in a rush, you can use the quick-set method on the flavored gelatin packages. Combine the gelatin powder with 3/4 cup of boiling water and then stir in 3/4 cup of ice-cold water. This will help set the gelatin faster, cutting down on chill time.
  3. Make sure the milk and sugar mixture is cool before pouring it over the set flavored gelatin cubes. If it’s too hot, it can cause the cubes to melt and lose their shape. Patience is key here!
  4. Want to add a touch of global culinary heritage? Try using agar-agar, a plant-based gelatin alternative derived from red algae, popular in many Asian desserts. This vegan-friendly option also sets at room temperature, which can save you some fridge space.
  5. For a whimsical presentation, try cutting the cathedral window gelatin using cookie cutters in various shapes like stars, hearts, or even animals. Perfect for themed parties or just adding some extra fun to your dessert!
  6. To make removing the set gelatin easier, lightly spray your 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray before pouring in the gelatin mixtures. This will help the gelatin to release more easily when it’s time to cut and serve.
  7. Use caution when rearranging the set gelatin cubes in the milk mixture. Being too rough can break the cubes or cause them to lose their shape. Treat them like delicate little jelly jewels!
  8. Remember, practice makes perfect! If your first attempt at cathedral window gelatin doesn’t turn out exactly as you’d hoped, don’t be disheartened. It’s a learning experience, and your future gelatin masterpieces will be all the more impressive.

Armed with these tips and tricks, you’re ready to impress your friends and family with a stunning and delicious cathedral window gelatin dessert. Here’s to making your next gathering a jiggly, colorful, and scrumptious affair!

Common Mistakes

  • Choosing the wrong gelatin: While the flavored gelatin can be easily swapped for your favorite fruity flavors, don’t make the mistake of using flavored gelatin in place of unflavored gelatin in the milk mixture. The unflavored gelatin is crucial for creating the right texture and taste balance in the cathedral window dessert.
  • Not fully dissolving the gelatin: Take your time when dissolving the gelatin in boiling water. If the gelatin isn’t fully dissolved, you may end up with clumps in your dessert. Stir until you can’t see any granules and the mixture is smooth.
  • Skipping the chill time: We know it’s tempting to dig in as soon as possible, but resist the urge to rush the chilling process. If the gelatin layers haven’t set properly, you’ll end up with a messy, unappealing dessert. Give each layer the necessary time to set, and you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, colorful treat.
  • Uneven gelatin cube cutting: When cutting the flavored gelatin into cubes, aim for consistency in size. Uneven cubes may result in an uneven distribution of flavors and colors in the finished dessert.
  • Mixing too roughly: When pouring the milk mixture over the set flavored gelatin cubes, be gentle. Avoid stirring too vigorously, as this can cause the gelatin cubes to break apart and lose their shape. A gentle touch will ensure that your cathedral window gelatin dessert maintains its visually stunning appearance.
  • Ignoring the global culinary heritage: Cathedral window gelatin is a popular dessert in the Philippines, often served during special occasions and celebrations. Embrace the spirit of this delicious treat by appreciating its cultural roots and sharing the joy with friends and family.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to creating a visually stunning and delicious cathedral window gelatin dessert that will impress your guests and satisfy your sweet tooth. Happy cooking!

Health Risks & Benefits

First off, let’s address the jiggly elephant in the room: gelatin. Yes, this wiggly wonder is derived from collagen (found in animal bones, skin, and connective tissue), but before you let out a shriek of horror, let’s remember that many culinary delicacies have origins that might make you squirm. Plus, gelatin is a low-calorie, sugar-free, and fat-free ingredient with some potential health benefits to boot. It may improve skin elasticity, strengthen joints, and even aid in digestion!

Now, let’s talk sugar. Cathedral window gelatin is indeed a sweet treat, thanks to the sugar and sweetened condensed milk. While sugar should be enjoyed in moderation, there’s no harm in indulging in a delicious dessert now and then. Just be aware of portion sizes, and perhaps balance it out with other healthier options on the menu.

This colorful concoction is also a great way to celebrate global culinary heritage. With its origins in the Philippines, cathedral window gelatin is a delightful fusion of Spanish and American influences, showcasing the nation’s diverse and rich gastronomic history.

In summary, while this dazzling dessert may not top the list of health food options, its low-fat and low-calorie gelatin base offers a guilt-free indulgence for those with a sweet tooth. Plus, you’ll earn bonus points for broadening your culinary horizons! So go on, whip up a batch of cathedral window gelatin, and delight in the wiggly, jiggly magic!

Recipe History & Context

Oh, the joy of jiggly, wiggly, and colorful gelatin desserts! Our featured recipe, Cathedral Window Gelatin, is a delightful and eye-catching treat that traces its origins back to the Philippines. This popular Filipino dessert, also known as Gulaman at Sago or Broken Glass Jello, is a true celebration of creativity and culinary artistry. It combines a blend of vibrant fruity flavors encased in a creamy, milky gelatin matrix, making it a visually stunning and tasty treat.

The art of gelatin-making dates back to the 15th century, but it wasn’t until the 19th century when flavored and sweetened gelatin became more accessible, thanks to a man named Peter Cooper. He patented a method for producing powdered gelatin, paving the way for fruity and sweet gelatin-based desserts. The Philippines, with its rich and diverse culinary history, embraced this wiggly wonder, creating a variety of gelatin desserts including Cathedral Window Gelatin. This delightful dessert quickly became a staple at Filipino festive occasions, potlucks, and family gatherings.

Cathedral Window Gelatin gets its name from the beautiful stained glass windows found in churches and cathedrals. The stunning visual effect of the multicolored gelatin cubes suspended in a creamy mixture resembles these windows, making this dessert not only a feast for the taste buds but also a treat for the eyes. The combination of fruity and milky flavors also represents a harmonious fusion of global culinary heritage, as the Philippines is known for its love for both fruity desserts and creamy, milky treats.

So next time you’re craving for a colorful, uplifting dessert, channel your inner Filipino chef and create this jiggly, wiggly masterpiece. It’s not just about satisfying your sweet tooth; it’s about embracing a centuries-old culinary tradition, celebrating global flavors, and adding a touch of artistry to your dessert table. Now, wiggle your way into the kitchen and let the gelatin magic begin!

Common Questions

Can I use different flavored gelatin?

Absolutely! This recipe calls for strawberry, lime, orange, and lemon, but feel free to get creative and use any flavors that tickle your taste buds. Raspberry, blueberry, or even tropical flavors like mango or pineapple would add a fun twist to this global culinary delight.

Is there a vegetarian alternative to gelatin?

Yes, there is! Agar-agar, made from seaweed, is a popular vegetarian substitute for gelatin. It has similar properties and can be used in the same way as gelatin in this recipe. Just make sure to check the packaging for the correct substitution ratio, as agar-agar can sometimes set more firmly than gelatin.

How can I create a more visually appealing design with the gelatin cubes?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to creating beautiful designs with your cathedral window gelatin! You can arrange the flavored gelatin cubes in layers, create a mosaic pattern, or even use cookie cutters to make fun shapes. Just remember to handle the cubes gently when rearranging them to maintain their structure.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Certainly! Cathedral window gelatin is a great make-ahead dessert, as it needs time to chill and set anyway. You can prepare it a day or two before your event and keep it covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve up this vibrant, crowd-pleasing treat.

Can I use a different size or shape of dish?

You can definitely use a different dish to make this dessert, but keep in mind that altering the size or shape may affect the chilling time and the appearance of your finished creation. Feel free to experiment with various molds or dishes to achieve your desired presentation – just be sure to adjust the chilling times accordingly to ensure your gelatin sets properly.

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