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Jell-O has gifted us with many a classic American dessert. In this column I've only hit the tip of the iceberg with Strawberry Jell-O Salad and Homemade Pudding in a Cloud. Recently, thanks to a friend's birthday, I became acquainted with Jell-O Rainbow Cake—also known as Jell-O Poke Cake— and I couldn't help but give it a shot.
The basic recipe is simple: 1 box white cake mix + 1 box Jell-O = fun. (Make that 2 boxes if you want some dual color action in your cake). After baking and cooling the cake you poke the surface with a fork, then pour liquid Jell-O goo over the top. Finally, you refrigerate for 3 hours then frost al gusto (the folks at Kraft recommend Cool Whip—personally, I recommend pretty much anything other than Cool Whip).
Is this a sophisticated dessert? No. Though making it with a from-scratch cake (as in the recipe that follows) helps. And you can always sub a favorite juice with some gelatin for the boxed stuff to make it a little more fruity and a little less sweet. But for those who grew up in the late 70s and 80s, this cake is pure nostalgic joy. Plus the slices do look very cool.
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Got a favorite classic American dessert recipe you'd like to see featured here? Email us with the subject: "American Classics."
About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered children's book editor by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie and a Midtown Lunch contributor. You can follow her on Twitter at @blondiebrownie.