The present invention includes an apparatus and method of simulating a flame. The apparatus and method provides a top down projection of a simulated flame. The simulated flame may include a multilayered flame effect and may be viewed from both the front and the rear so as to provide a realistic uninterrupted flame with varying color. One embodiment may include a light source, a gobo with a flame pattern formed therein, a rotating disc that spins on a motor, and a lens. The light is formed into a flame pattern by the gobo transmitted through the disc such that the refraction and intensity of the light transmitting therethrough is constantly altered as the disc rotates. The lens focuses the flame pattern. In one embodiment the present invention may include a generally see-through viewing screen onto which the flame pattern is projected.