Recipe for angel food cake with jello
September 1, 2022 7:30 PM   Subscribe

The PA Dutch bakery at Reading Terminal Market used to carry flavored angel food cakes. I'd like to recreate one of them if I can. A formerly-Amish coworker said the secret flavor ingredient was Jell-O. The internet is full of recipes for angel food cake IN Jell-O (odd....) but not Jell-O as an ingredient.
posted by sepviva to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps she meant Jell-O pudding mix. That's basically sugar, cornstarch, flour, and IFF flavoring.
posted by dum spiro spero at 7:43 PM on September 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Nope, she meant jello. Like this.
posted by shadygrove at 7:58 PM on September 1, 2022 [6 favorites]

Someone over at Quora asked a similar question. There are recipes there for using yellow cake mix and jello. The jello is dissolved in a cup of hot water and then added. Don't see why you can't use an angel food cake mix.
posted by CathyG at 7:58 PM on September 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

For reference, angel food cake in Jell-O sounds basically like the beginnings of a trifle, which is cake bits in jelly with custard and cream to top it. Not an American staple, as far as I know, but typical British family party food.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 8:11 PM on September 1, 2022

I've definitely seen recipes for strawberry cake that use strawberry jello powder as a flavoring. here's the type of thing, this one's with orange but any flavor will work.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:12 PM on September 1, 2022

Are we talking about poke cake?

The kind of cake we're talking about does not resemble gelatin in any way. It just flavors the cake. It's not trifle. There is a different kind of cake that uses the jello to flavor whipped cream that is then mixed into cut up cake that then just sort of becomes a single unified substance when refrigerated. But it's a gloopy sort of cake you wouldn't want to walk around with. The poke cake is quite dry and far more likely to be close, if not 100% exact in methodology, to the Amish cake.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:44 PM on September 1, 2022 [6 favorites]

Best answer: So, Jello mix is basically sugar and gelatin with some flavoring. The gelatin could conceivably make the cake set up a bit firmer when it is cool however, the extra sugar from the jello would make said cake more tender, so I suspect they cancel one another out. In other words: Just add dry jello to cake mix or to a homemade recipe and you should have a good result.

The fab vintage recipe posted by shadygrove gives you instructions if you are using a box mix. You can just fold the dry jello into all the batter if you don’t want the swirl effect.

If making it from scratch, buy a 3 oz box of Jello and stir it into the sugar really well, and then just proceed with the recipe. If the cake ends up a little too sweet, next time, just reduce the sugar by a few tablespoons.

Oh, and if you haven’t made angel food cake before, it’s important to use an actual angel food cake pan and it’s super important to not grease said pan to ensure a good height and lightness.

Have fun… I’d love to hear how it goes!
posted by jenquat at 10:05 PM on September 1, 2022 [5 favorites]

Like Lyn Never, I suspect the hot, liquid Jell-O was applied as a soak after baking and cooling the cake rather than incorporated into the batter. The result is surprisingly more like cake than Jell-O, albeit very moist.

I became aware of this recipe--technique, really, there wasn't much more to it than making a box cake mix, stabbing the top with a fork, and pouring Jell-O over it after baking--as "Jell-O cake" (I'm not sure I've heard it called "poke cake" before now) in the second half of the 1990s in Ohio. It was a minor trend, and the cool thing to do was to make a rainbow cake with several flavors/colors of Jell-O. It was definitely sold by a few local supermarket bakeries.

If you're making one, it's appropriate to frost with Cool Whip, the Jell-O of frostings.
posted by pullayup at 2:58 AM on September 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yep, this is a real thing. Traditionally this was made with boxed angel food cake mix with a packet of Jell-O thrown in, but here's my favorite from-scratch cake recipe.

1 ½ cups egg whites (10 to 12, but measure them)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups cake flour
1 ¾ cups white sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 package Jell-O gelatin, any flavor
Cool Whip (or whipped cream)

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Mix in cream of tartar, vanilla extract.

Sift together flour, sugar, salt, and Jell-O powder. Repeat five times.

Gently fold flour mixture into beaten egg whites. Pour batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan.

Place the pan in a cold oven. Turn the oven on and set it to 325 degrees F. Bake until cake is golden brown, about 1 hour.

Invert the tube pan and let cake cool to room temperature before removing from the pan.

Frost with Cool Whip or whipped cream. You can also add a package of Jell-O to either of these to flavor the topping. Be fancy like my grandma and use a different flavor for the Cool Whip.
posted by ananci at 6:44 AM on September 2, 2022 [6 favorites]

Yes! That's totally a thing, using Jello IN cake! I just came across this recipe for Strawberry Cake from Joy the Baker - it uses a white cake mix instead of angel food, but definitely gets the idea across. I've made similar cakes myself and wouldn't hesitate to try it with angel food cake mix. Because angel food is so light and fluffy, I'd try it with half a pack of jello first, so as not to weigh the cake down too much, and then if that worked, move up to the full pack. Happy baking!
posted by csox at 7:07 AM on September 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you!! Going to have to try the box cake versions.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't a poke cake, the color was uniform and the cakes were sold un-iced and with no visible poke marks. Those look tasty though.
posted by sepviva at 11:20 AM on September 2, 2022

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