These Vibrant, Psychedelic Gelatin Creations Were Made by Greater Cincinnati’s Calliope Sweets


Consider, if you will, the gelatin mold. Sixty years ago you’d be hard-pressed to find a household that didn’t have one nestled in a cupboard with the bundt pans and pie plates. Jelly desserts and gelatin-encased foods were expected at dinner parties. 

These days, your best shot at finding a gelatin mold is next to the tarnished kitchenware at your local antique store. At least that’s where Amanda Bowman finds hers. Through her home-based baking business, Calliope Sweets, she’s putting jelly desserts (as well as cakes, cookies, pies — you name it) back on the table after decades of dormancy.

Bowman founded her bakery in January and named it after the giant steam-whistle organ popularly played at circuses. She’s always loved Pierrot clowns (as evident on Calliope’s logo) and the circus tie-in nods to her “irreverent and whimsical approach to pastry,” Bowman says. She isn’t timid about using psychedelic color palettes and concocting unexpected flavor combos in her work, and she has the longtime culinary expertise to whip up just about anything requested of her. 

Bowman’s pastries run the gamut from sculpture-esque cakes to classic 1960s-era pastries to gelatin molds of all shapes, sizes, colors and flavors. But the latter has been her particular fascination over the last year. 

See Amanda Bowman’s creations and message her about orders on Calliope Sweets’ Instagram at And read CityBeat contributor Sami Stewart's full interview with Bowman at

*Dessert descriptions from @enjoycalliope

| Photos by Scott Beseler and Brooke Shanesy