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Jelly Bean Jewel Box Cake

The subtle shine and diminutive shape of jelly beans remind us of colorful gems. So we arranged them into necklacelike garlands that appear to hang along the curves of three petal-shaped fondant-covered tiers. For a cake board, we used a piece of wood cut with a jigsaw and painted white, with wooden legs attached.

  • Servings: 125

Photography: Sang Ann

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer


  • 1 each 9-, 12-, and 15-inch petal cake tiers, filled to a 4-inch height
  • Filling of your choice for tiers
  • Frosting of your choice for crumb coat
  • 10 1/2 pounds rolled fondant (2 1/2 pounds for the 9-inch tier, 3 1/2 for the 12-inch, and 4 1/2 for the 15-inch)
  • 1/2 recipe recipe Royal Icing Royal Icing
  • 1 bag (1 pound, 10 ounces) assorted jelly beans (we used tangerine, pink grapefruit, coconut, cream soda, bubble gum, and cotton candy flavors)
  • 14 4 1/8-inch-long 1/4-inch wooden dowels (8 for the 15-inch tier, and 6 for the 12-inch)
  • Paste food color in rose and ivory


  1. Prepare tiers: Place each tier on a piece of foam board cut to fit it. Split the cake layer horizontally, and fill it to the specified height using whatever filling you desire. Spread the assembled tier with a thin layer of frosting to seal in crumbs, and chill until the crumb coat is set, about 30 minutes. Roll out the fondant for the tier 1/8-inch-thick, following the package directions. Remove the tier from the refrigerator, and working quickly, lift fondant, center it over the tier, gently lay it on, and smooth it in place; trim excess fondant from bottom edge using a pizza wheel. Let coated tiers sit at room temperature in a cool place; do not refrigerate.
  2. To support the tiers once they're stacked, first insert dowels in all but the top tier, placing them about 2 1/2 inches from the edge and spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart. To stack the tiers, first place the bottom tier on the platter or cake board, using a rubber nonslip mat under the foam board to keep the tier from slipping. Then stack on the other tiers, brushing tops of fondant-covered tiers lightly with water so the fondant becomes sticky.
  3. Decorate the tiers: Place the royal icing in a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and an Ateco #3 round tip. Using the icing as glue, attach jelly beans to the sides of the tiers in garlands. Begin with the garlands at the back, and position the middle jelly bean of each swag first. Once all of the garlands have been created, pipe icing dots between each jelly bean. To make the jelly-bean hearts for the top of each swag, use sharp kitchen shears to cut two jelly beans on the diagonal, and immediately and gently press one piece from each together in a heart shape, sticky sides facing. If the jelly beans are hardened and will crack when you cut them, microwave them at a high setting for 3 to 6 seconds to soften, and cut them immediately. Attach the hearts to the cake with dots of royal icing. Pipe beaded lines of royal icing around the bottom of each tier.

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