Jellofetti Cake!

Broken glass? No, gelatin cube!

What my family lovingly calls Jellofetti Cake is in truth a reworking of an official Jell-O® recipe called Crown Jewel Dessert, previously known as Broken Window Glass Cake—because that’s appetizing, no?—when it was introduced in 1955.

This is another was-going-to-be-a-tutorial post, but honestly, if you hit a stumbling block while making packaged gelatin, my photos aren’t going to help you. Shown here: A scan of the recipe as printed in The Joys of Jell-O (1962), with bonus recipe for Ginger Fruit Mold because I didn’t feel like editing it out. Click for embiggerating so you can actually read the recipe(s).

Do you remember back in the first paragraph when I said my family (and by “my family” I mean “Grandma Wink”) reworked this? My grandmother’s interpretation is what we’d now call a “mashup” of the Dessert (crumb crust) and Pie (ladyfinger) versions. So here’s what you do: line a springform pan with split ladyfingers (sides and bottom; you’ll need two packages). No crumb crust necessary, no cutting ladyfingers to fit within the confines of a too-short pie pan.

Jellofetti Cake, née Crown Jewel Dessert, née Broken Glass Cake

I never got my grandmother’s own personal version of this recipe (she is notoriously bad at sharing her recipes, which is a shame because she was an excellent cook and we didn’t press the issue before her mind started to wander, now so very much is locked away inside her head and even she can’t reach it) but I am confident that she did not use Dream Whip® or Cool Whip® or any other “whipped topping” that was not simply whipped heavy cream. My example here looks a little “short” because I’ve been dipping into my cream to lighten my coffee. Note to self: buy milk. Anyway, just whip up a pint of cream. I don’t even bother to add sugar.

Another place where I don’t add sugar: to the gelatin used for the fluffy filling part. I mean, really. Is Jell-O not sweet enough for you? That step in the recipe makes me wonder if lemon flavored Jell-O wasn’t always pre-sweetened, which would make it a considerably less bizarre accompaniment to all of those tuna-in-lemon-gelatin salads.

Also variable: I make that last batch of gelatin with pineapple juice if I already have it on hand, but water works just fine. Here’s what I’ve discovered about this recipe: I have tried many different combinations of gelatin flavors, and it always tastes similar (sweet, vaguely fruity) in the end. That ½ cup of pineapple juice isn’t going to make too much difference. Don’t fret if you don’t have it. The current version of this recipe, as culled from the Kraft recipe site, doesn’t call for adding sugar, or pineapple juice, or any kind of crust for that matter. They also suggest molding it in a 9 x 5 pan, which I think makes it look quite unfortunately like pimiento loaf. :P

leftover cubes for snacking

This recipe is going to take you about 9 hours from start to finish, but 8 of that is just waiting for the various batches of gelatin to gel. Prepare the first three the night before, then finish the rest in the morning. You’ll still need a few hours of chilling time after the last step, so plan way ahead. I typically only use about ½ to â…” of each flavor of the gelatin cubes, and impatient kids can snack on those while they wait.

My grandmother always served this to finish out our family’s Easter dinner, but I’ll make it just about any time someone asks nicely. It’s great in the summer when you don’t want to turn on the oven, but it will go limp if left at room temperature for a few hours. Considerably faster if you’re attempting to serve it outside on a hot day.

I just realized that you could probably make an adults-only version using vodka instead of cold water wherever it’s called for, but take away people’s keys. I’ve never met anyone who could eat only one slice. This could lead to serious trouble.

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Filed under collections, family, food, holidays, nostalgia, vintage

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