DIY Birdseed Suet Cakes

DIY Birdseed Suet Cakes For Our Feathered Friends - these make great hostess and teacher gifts too!

Remember the heart shaped jello mold I got at the thrift store?

DIY Birdseed Suet Cakes For Our Feathered Friends - these make great hostess and teacher gifts too!

Well, I didn’t make jello with it, because that would just be too obvious. And who wants to hear about making jello anyhow? Snoozefest!

I made DIY birdseed suet cakes with it!!!

That uses gelatin. So, come to think of it, I sort of made jello for you after all.

Come along as I take you through the journey of how to make something you can probably buy in the store for $1. It’s so much more fun to make it yourself though!

DIY Birdseed Cakes


  • 3 cups wild bird food
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons Karo syrup
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin (Knox or a generic version)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • non-stick cooking spray – I prefer Pam, for obvious reasons :)
  • a mold of some sort – jello mold, bundt pan, etc
  • string, twine or yarn
  • a straw if your mold doesn’t have a hole for easy hanging


DIY Birdseed Suet Cakes For Our Feathered Friends - these make great hostess and teacher gifts too!


Spray your mold with cooking spray

Mix the gelatin packet into the boiled water until it is dissolved.

Add flour and syrup until it is mixed well. It’s going to look like a thick cake batter.

DIY Birdseed Suet Cakes For Our Feathered Friends - these make great hostess and teacher gifts too!

Add birdseed into the mixture and mix well.

Spoon 1/2 the mixture into your mold.

Push straw through the seed mixture to the bottom of the mold.

Add a bit of string (this is going to act like a piece of rebar in cement and add extra stability).

DIY Birdseed Suet Cakes For Our Feathered Friends - these make great hostess and teacher gifts too!

Spoon remaining seed mixture into the mold and compress it down as much as humanly possible.

DIY Birdseed Suet Cakes For Our Feathered Friends - these make great hostess and teacher gifts too!

Put mold into the fridge or freezer overnight to harden up and allow the gelatin to set.

Remove from the mold. If your seed cake doesn’t slide out of the mold easily when you turn it upside down, sit the bottom of the mold in a shallow pan of warm water for a few minutes and the cake should pop out.

Gently remove straw and thread a piece of string through the hole for hanging.

DIY Birdseed Suet Cakes For Our Feathered Friends - these make great hostess and teacher gifts too!

I figure the birds can steal the “rebar” string to make their nests with when they’re done eating through the cake.

I added an extra step of putting a twig in the hole as a little perch for the birdies.

DIY Birdseed Suet Cakes For Our Feathered Friends - these make great hostess and teacher gifts too!

I did not put that in the official directions, because so far none of the birds are using the darn twig. They’d prefer to just stand precariously on the top and eat the seed.

So much for my plan of a quaint photo of a cardinal sitting on the twig, eating the birdseed cake and smiling at the camera.

Tips and Tidbits:

This recipe is for a medium sized jello mold. If you were going to do a large bundt pan, you may want to double it.

Do not dilly dally when making this. Once the mixture starts to cool, you don’t have a lot of time to work with it in the molds before it starts setting up.

If you plan to give these as gifts, please keep them refrigerated or in a cool place until you gift them.

If you live in a warmer climate or are interested in feeding the birds in the warmer months, Crafty Gardener has a recipe for an All Season Suet that will work well for your feathered friends.

This Explains So Much:

About Karo syrup – My mom used to use this syrup for pancakes and waffles and such. The first time I ever had maple syrup was in college and I about gagged. It’s funny that Karo syrup is what I thought syrup was supposed to taste like.

Needless to say, my Mom was not the best cook :) I won’t get into what she used for spaghetti sauce.

Now get out of here and feed the little birdies! They need to gain their winter five ten pounds like the rest of us.

(This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. You can read my full disclosure policy here.)

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  1. says

    Oh, no! I wonder what my daughters say about my cooking? hehe
    If you stand there long enough, I’m sure you’ll get a wink and a smile from a hungry little bird! After all, you cooked dinner for them. Or is it breakfast since it’s got Karo syrup in it?

    Nice photos, Pam!

  2. says

    Oh, the birdies are getting special treatment…I love it! We feed the birds like crazy here and right now we have flocks of goldfinches coming by every day. We at Karo syrup, too or molasses. My Mom wasn’t a cook and we thought tv dinners were a treat! haha! Enjoy your weekend! Hugs!

  3. says

    These are so cute! I’m going to come back for the recipe as I’ve never used this one. I have everything for the peanut butter and lard ones (doesn’t sound yummy but the birds are suppose to flock to it, we’ll see). Like the twig idea, but don’t know about it because of the deer, they manage to get to all my regular feeders. I can just see them now chewing on the stick or worse yet poking there face with it while they eat! I refuse to stand on a ladder to hang feeders…

    • Anonymous says

      helpful hint: to keep deer away from feeders, hang a cheap bar of face soap from the feeder.
      $store face soap is fine to use, take a small sharp knife, slowly drill a hole into the middle of
      the bar, thread some heavy string or twine thru the hole, make it about 10″ to 12″ long..tie the twine or heavy string in a knot, hand next to feeder or from the end of the feeder. Also works to place the soap bar in shrubs if the deer find them tasty also! I’ve tried just about every idea to keep deer away from the feeders, scrubs, and garden..wherever I lived, and this method works the best. Won’t hurt to give it a try. Leave out all year long. Nancy W.

  4. says

    Did your Mom use plain old tomato sauce? My husband’s Mother used to make mac and cheese a lot (the boxed stuff) but she didn’t…..wait for it……….DRAIN IT. She just put the powdered cheese into the water, stirred it up and served it ‘soup style’. BLARG. The first time I made it, he was astonished. “It’s SO good”, he said. I have a bunch of mold around here – think I might have to do some bird cooking.

  5. says

    I put out a glass of bird seed a day as well as I have a regular seed block. They prefer the loose stuff to the stuff on the block but they are picking at it. Your idea was intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

  6. says

    My grandfather had a big appetite and my grandmother would serve spaghetti with ketchup, being from New England. Their son, my Dad, married an Italian girl and Pop loved going to Nuni’s house for spaghetti and meatballs. I was wondering what you were going to make with that Jell-o mold. Hope those little birds cooperate so you can get some pictures. Birds are so beautiful.

  7. says

    I’m laughing about the Karo syrup, we only ever used that as a recipe ingredient. But I was in my teens before I actually had real Maple syrup as we grew up on Mrs. Butterworths! Now my kids have only ever had the real thing. I’m also smiling at suzieQ’s comment. My dad (a real New England Yankee) wound put ketchup on his spaghetti that my VERY Sicilian mother had just prepared and she would just say “Eech! how do you eat that!?!” :)

    • says

      I tasted it when I was making the birdseed cakes and it’s very very sweet. And thick!!! I can’t even imagine using that on pancakes now. I had never heard of the ketchup thing before. That’s hilarious!

  8. says

    I actually remember putting Karo syrup on my pancakes growing up. It was always an option on our table (along with maple syrup and a bowl of brown sugar). I hadn’t thought about that syrup in ages. I’m sure your birds appreciate their special Valentine gift.

  9. says

    This is such a fun project…pinning! Seems like something kids would enjoy doing, too! I am loving reading all these funny food stories. I’m racking my brain thinking about whether we eat anything weird…we probably just don’t know it’s weird lol.

  10. says

    I sure don’t want my birds to find out how well you treat your birds. I have spread peanut butter on little wooden hearts and rolled them in seeds for my birds. Even though they are wild birds, they are ours, right? Ha! Mostly, I just toss seeds everywhere and fill the feeders. I will be copying your recipe and trying it out. I buy those suet thingys for $1.99 but this looks like fun. I want to see the other side…did it take on the mold design?
    My husband makes syrup…sugar, water and maple flavoring brought to a boil. That’s the way his mother stretched their budget. I’m so glad we can afford real syrup now.

    • says

      @Vicki, the side that’s showing IS the side that was against the mold design part. lol. If you’re really up close and look at it from an angle you can see the design on it, but it’s not enough that you can see it well in the photos.

  11. says

    Oh, that looks like so much fun! I would love to feed our sweet little birds, but the hateful magpies are always so obnoxious and greedy. This might be worth a try though…..

  12. says

    I love this ! What a great idea!! I love hearts too.
    Hey in school did you get called ” Pam in the cooking oil section!” I did everyday by Philip lococo
    used to drive me nuts haha!

  13. says

    This is so cute! My elderly parents like to birdwatch from their apartment but they can’t have birdfeeders there. I could make some of these to hang in the bushes outside of their windows to attract more birds there for their entertainment…I don’t think anyone would notice them but the birds. Thanks for sharing that tutorial! I saw this at French Country Cottage blog party.

  14. Vickey says

    I’d love to make this. I ‘m just wondering how long it will take this to melt in the hot sun?? Or maybe it won’t.

    • says

      I’ve not had one of these out in the heat of summer yet – it’s still in the 30’s here :( But I would think they would hold up in all but the hottest part of the summer.

  15. says

    Oh Pam my kids are so going to love making this project with me! Nice tutorial recipe that will hold up much better than peanut butter on pinecones! Karo on pancakes? I can’t imagine, glad my mom was a great cook, we grew up on maple syrup – and now thats all I can use, well, kind of a curse actually because now my kids cant keep their hands off mine- that stuffs not cheap, and they pour it like its water! LOL

  16. says

    What a great idea! My birds are eating me out of house and home {grin}! If I make some of these, maybe it will slow them down because it will be harder for them to eat, but they’ll still get some treats! Pinning to Pinterest!

  17. says

    This is an awesome idea :} I started making them & couldn’t stop. Couple tricks I found was to keep your hand wet & it won’t stick to your hands while putting it in the molds & you can work with it much longer. . I used a couple aluminum muffin tins & a old tart pan. There in the freezer now & I’m excited. Here at the Jersey Shore we have a black bird called a Grackle (very destructive to suet) made them there own with sunflower seeds & larger kernel type bird food. Also took care of the squirrels (maybe they’ll stop terrorizing my bird feeders) & used corn & old stale cookies & cereal I was gonna throw out.
    My parents also enjoy watching & feeding there birds in NY State all year long, What a huge variety they have, especially finches. They buy suet by the 10 pack box. I’m sure they are gonna love getting these. Anyone who enjoys feeding the birds will love this. SOOO EASY. Let ur imagination run wild. NEXT PENNY GAZING BALL. Thank you again for a awesome idea

  18. says

    Followed the recipe for the most part.. I didn’t have any Karo in the pantry so I used molasses instead. Also added some PB and a quarter cup or so of cornmeal that was out of date. Seeing that 2 of my feeders are 8x8x2 I doubled the recipe and made 2 seed cakes using square pans.

  19. says

    These are beautiful and I want to make them. Wondering if you have a substitute ingredient for Karo syrup? I just read that Karo syrup is corn syrup sweetened with vanilla (never heard of it before) I don’t know if that is a brand name, and if it is not sure I can get it where I live. Or can I use any corn syrup? Thanks.

    • says

      I just Googled it and it appears that you can melt 1 cup sugar into 1/4 cup hot water and make a Karo substitute. Or I would think any corn syrup would work out also. Hope you enjoy making them – and the birds enjoy eating them :)

  20. Anonymous says

    I will be doing this with my Montessori preschool class in small groups for a Valentines Day project. I love this idea and recipe however I am modifying it to be “nut free” and with cookie cutters. How quickly does it set? I’m wondering if I have time to pass the cookie cutter to each child? Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  21. Cate says

    Hi Pam! I love your recipe! I came across it here over a month ago and have since spent every Saturday morning making a batch or two! I use large cookie cutters as my “mold” and even have used styrofoam cups filled halfway! The birds love these treats!! As an extra bonus, I sometimes spread peanut butter on one side of the seed ornament after it has hardened and then press the peanut butter side into loose sunflower seeds! We have quite the variety of birds flocking to our house to feast on these treats!! Thanks for a fun, easy recipe!!

  22. Kim says

    I was wondering, I live in Arizona just outside of Phoenix, will this hold up during warmer days? I used to have a bird feeder when we lived in Tennessee and don’t have it anymore, plus this looked a lot more fun to do than just filling something up.

    • says

      I really don’t think it would. It does fine here in Ohio, but once it gets past 75 degrees or so it starts to get soft. And I’m assuming it gets much hotter than that in Arizona :)

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