Cathedral Windows Cups Recipe

creamy cathedral windows layered in cups using gulaman or agar agar seaweed gelatin recipe image
IMAGE Majoy Siason | Styling by Lady Badoy

A gelatin dessert that is popular during the holidays is the Cathedral Windows. There are many cathedral windows recipes you can try but if you ever think that you can skip a step or two just to make this dessert easier (and faster) to make, this is one version that you should try. Plus, this Cathedral Window cups recipe is even more creamy and silky than the original! 

This cathedral window cups recipe is one of six recipes that we are featuring as our recommended recipes for your Noche Buena handaan. As one of Yummy's December digital cover recipes, this delicious dish is sure to make your Noche Buena feast a sure hit with everyone at your Christmas party.

What Is Cathedral Window?

Cathedral window is a childhood favorite dessert, and for anyone who loves gelatin desserts, it's comfort food. Did you know the Cathedral Window was originally called "Rainbow Gelatin"? In fact, Goldilocks was the first to introduce the colorful Cathedral Window to the market because it's an original Goldilocks recipe developed by one of its co-founders. 


The idea behind this colorful dessert is many fruity flavors in one product. The assorted colorful and fruity-tasting cubes were covered in sweet milky gelatin that made the gelatin dessert whole. The dessert was originally called a "Rainbow Gelatin", but was changed in the 1980s to "Cathedral Window" since it looks like translucent stained-glass windows according to Pinky Yee whose mother-in-law is Goldilocks co-founder Milagros Leelin Yee

For this recipe, one step is removed and the resulting dessert is a super creamy version that might remind you of a creamy coffee jelly dessert but made with fruity cubes of gulaman instead of coffee-flavored chunks. 

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How to Serve Cathedral Window Cups 

Transforming the original Cathedral Window into individual cups, a deconstruction of the original recipe, makes this easy to serve! Not only do you not have to prep this dessert too far ahead of time to allow the gulaman to set twice, but you can actually put this together on the spot! 


What you can do ahead of time is to make the fruity gulaman cubes and the sweetened cream and chill these until ready to serve. To serve, cut up the cubes into bite-sized pieces and layer these into serving cups alternating with the sweetened cream. Easy, simple, and oh-so-delicious!

You can even personalize each cup so those who love a certain fruity flavor get more of those cubes in their cups. You can even make these one fruit flavor per cup as well! 

How to Make Cathedral Window Cups 

creamy cathedral window recipe made in cups ala coffee jelly using raindow jelly instead
Make rainbow jelly cups or a deconstructed cathedral window cups recipe.
Photo by Majoy Siason | Styling by Lady Badoy

These cups are basically your usual Cathedral Window recipe but with two big twists that change the recipe into a recipe that's creamier and easier to make.

First, the fruity cubes are made with agar-agar, a gelatin from seaweed we more popularly know as a gulaman. You'll need to make these cubes at least a few hours ahead of time so they have to set and cool. Second, we omitted the milky gelatin that binds all the colorful cubes together into one dessert. Instead, we make a sweetened cream much like one that you might make for a fruit salad or a coffee jelly dessert (but without the coffee). This cream is one that you can toss together with the cubes or layer in the cups as you desire! 

Tips to Make Great Cathedral Window Cups 

This dessert is easy to make but it does take a few tips to make it a resounding success every time: 


1 Gulaman needs cold water but should be boiled. 

This is important to note since gulaman is not gelatin. Gulaman needs to be treated and handled differentlyGulaman should be to be dissolved in cold water. Only then should it be heated up until it's boiling before pouring it into a mold. Boiling activates the gelling properties so this is an important distinction between the two kinds of gel.

2 You can make the gulaman and cream ahead of time.

Gulaman has a long shelf life and can be prepared days before you want to put your dessert together. Just make sure to place it in an airtight container so as to prevent it from drying out.

3 Store the cream and the jelly separately.

While gulaman will last long in storage, the cream might spoil the dessert. (Dairy spoils quicker than gulaman.) Only assemble the cathedral window cups on the day you will serve them, and make sure to store any leftover cream mixture separately and in an airtight container.


4 Got liquid? Just discard. 

Your gulaman cubes may leak or ooze excess liquid as it sits. This is normal and when it happens, just discard the excess. It won't affect your dessert. However, this is another reason why keeping the gulaman and sweet cream in separate containers before serving is a good idea. 

How to Store Cathedral Window Cups 

Gulaman thankfully doesn't melt into a liquid mess at room temperature, even during a Philippine hot summer day. This characteristic is what makes it easy to make and serve for any occasion, including picnics and trips to the beach! 

However, for this recipe, keep the cream cold so you can enjoy the cool dessert any time you need a refreshing but creamy dessert. 

Cathedral Windows Cups Recipe 

Prep Time
30 mins 
Cooking Time
25 mins 
Ready In
55 mins 
Cooking Method
Boil, Chill and Assemble

Cathedral Windows Cups Ingredients

How to make Cathedral Windows Cups


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

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