Monday, January 18, 2010
Monday Meals with Mincie: Strawberry Jello Cake aka the Dessert Debacle of 2010
As I attempted to bake this today in honor of her birthday, I experienced my first dessert debacle. I didn't have the recipe for Gram's Strawberry Jello Cake in my collection, so my father emailed me the recipe my mother had written down in her recipe box. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me, my mother had made several changes over the years that she'd never written down because she just "knows" how to make it and apparently uses her recipes more as general guidelines than as actual recipes. The recipe that follows is the revised recipe I've made adjustments to after talking to my mother to determine how I went so horribly wrong with my cake.
As if I hadn't had enough of a "Julie and Julia" moment with my cake, the frosting gave me trouble as well. I put the butter in the microwave to soften, but apparently put it in too long as it came out half melted. I used 10 ounces of strawberries (the amount on the original recipe) and apparently should have used fewer and drained them better as well. To get the frosting even approaching thick enough, I ended up using 8 cups of powdered sugar and even then it pooled on my cake plate. Fortunately, it tasted right and was quite delicious even though I've definitely made much better looking Strawberry Jell-O cakes in the past.
STRAWBERRY JELL-O CAKE (from the Cajun country of Southern Louisiana)
1 white cake mix (18.25 oz. approx.)
1 3 oz. pkg strawberry Jell-O
1/2 C water
1/2 C vegetable or canola Oil
10 oz. pkg frozen strawberries (thawed) (about 2 1/2 cups when frozen)
1) Mix cake mix and Jell-O together, then add water and oil.
2) Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3) Add strawberries and juice. Beat well.
4) Pour 1/3 of the batter into a round cake pan (lined with parchment). Repeat with two more cake pans.
4) Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake.
Makes 3 layers
4 cups (1 1 lb. pkg.) powdered sugar + a little more
4 Tbsp. butter (softened) (1/2 stick)1 8 oz. pkg frozen strawberries (well-thawed) no juice (about 2 cups frozen)
1) Take a few of the berries out to garnish the top of the cake, if desired.
2) Mix 2 cups of the sugar with butter thoroughly.
3) Add strawberries, mix well.
4) Add remaining 2 cups of sugar and mix well.
The frosting should be a fairly stiff consistency, so that it holds its shape and will adhere to the sides of cake. Generally, the frosting dripping off the beaters should hold a stream of frosting off the beaters rather than dripping into the bowl. If frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar until it's the correct consistency. This is definitely a "do it until it looks right" part of the recipe, like so many family recipes are.