Jell-O Through the Years
Delicious St. Patrick’s Day Dessert, try this Jell-O poke cake. The Jell-O Poke Cake was introduced around 1970, while Jell-O also introduced the Jell-O Pudding Poke Cake around 1981. Both cakes are fun to make and eat.
If you are a child of the sixty’s, like I am, you know all about Jell-O. Growing up, we often had Jell-O for dessert. I remember one of my older brothers refusing to eat Jell-O. He would complain that nothing on his plate should wiggle. But between you and me, that’s the fun of Jell-O to make it wiggle. I remember they even came out with a Jell-O that you mixed the Jell-O powder with the boiling water, stirred it, then poured it into small glasses, and the mixture would separate into three layers. For a youngster, it seemed like magic.
I wanted to make a dessert that would be fun to eat on Saint Patrick’s Day. I remembered one treat that my mother made with Jell-O as one of my favorites. The treat combined cottage cheese and pineapple chunks mixed into lime Jell-O. A very refreshing treat when warm outside. I decided to create this St. Patrick’s Day Poke Cake with this idea. Moist, delicious white cake dotted and striped with green lime Jell-O. Cake topping of cream cheese and pineapple folded into whipped topping. I decorated the top of the cake with Shamrock and gold sprinkles. I placed a gold foiled chocolate coin made of Belgium chocolate on top of each cake serving.
Start with Draining the Crushed Pineapple
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees or per your cake mix directions. A white cake will let the green Jell-O stand out. Drain the can of crushed pineapple through a Fine Mesh Strainer. Use a tablespoon to help squeeze out the juice from the pineapple. Set aside both the reserved pineapple juice and strained pineapple pulp.
Enhancing a Boxed Cake Mix
To enhance the flavor of the boxed cake mix, you will substitute melted butter for the oil and pineapple juice/milk for water. If the pineapple juice does not equal the amount needed, add milk to bring the liquid to the amount stated on the cake box. Pour the cake batter into the prepared 9″ x 13″ pan and level out the batter as best as possible. You want the cake to rise level, and then the Jell-O will spread evenly. See Picture.
Cooking the Cake
Cook the cake according to the directions on the cake box. Check the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, then the cake is cooked. Take the cake out of the oven and allow the cake to cool for approximately 15 to 30 minutes. If using a glass pan, like the one in the picture, you will need to let the pan cool off for about 45 to 60 minutes. Once the cake has cooled off, proceed using a fork and poking holes into the cake at approximately ½ inch apart over the whole cake. See picture.
Making the Jell-O
While the cake is cooling, make the Lime Jell-O. Take two cups of boiling water and pour them into a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Immediately pour the lime Jell-O powder and stir continuously until the Jell-O dissolves completely. Once this step is complete, add a cup of ice water to the hot Jell-O and stir. Set the Jell-O aside for the cup and liquid to cool off. I let my Jell-O set out with the cake to cool, and both were ready simultaneously.
Ladling the Jell-O Over the Cake
Cake and Jell-O are cooled down, so start ladling the lime Jell-O over the previously poked cake. I use a ladle instead of pouring straight from the measuring cup because I have better control of where the Jell-O will be absorbed. I want the Jell-O to go down the poked holes and not the sides of the cake. If you get too much Jell-O down the sides of the cake, it tends to make the cake soggy. See photo.
When finished with the lime Jell-O, cover the cake with tin foil and place the cake into the refrigerator for the Jell-O to set up. It will take two to four hours for the Jell-O to set up. It depends on how warm the cake is, how many items you have in the refrigerator and how cold your refrigerator is set.
Making the Topping for the Cake
While the Jell-O is setting, make the topping for the cake. Add the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla to a mixing bowl. Mix all until thoroughly combined. Add the drained crushed pineapple to the mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Gently fold the Tru-Whip into the mixture. You want to mix it all thoroughly but need to be gentle to save the fluffiness of the whipped topping. At this point, the topping can be refrigerated and wait for the Jell-O cake to set.
Adding Topping to Cake
Take the cake out of the refrigerator once Jell-O has set along with the already-made topping. Make six mounds of topping onto the cake for ease of spreading the topping.
Spread out the topping onto the cake in an even layer. Bring the topping out to the side of the pan and smooth it out. You will have some lumps because of the pineapple in the topping.
Garnish the Cake
To garnish the cake. I used St. Patrick’s Day shamrocks and sprinkles.
Complete Cake Garnish with Gold Foil Chocolate Coins
And the last thing I did was add golden foiled coins to each serving. That way, everyone could enjoy a piece of Belgium chocolate from the Leprechaun’s pot of gold.