I make great cakes. Which is funny because I am not that fond of cake. But even though I am not a great cake lover, even I know when I come up with a to die for cake. And when people ask me for the recipe, I always gladly give it. But then the complaints start. Their cake isn’t as high, or moist or whatever and I must leave something out so my cakes will be better. Not so. I bake all the time. So my flour, baking soda, baking powder, etc. are all always fresh. Ingredients get stale. Flour that has been in that flour canister for a while will not perform like fresh flour. So I started making cakes with a basic white, yellow or chocolate cake mix and then adding my other ingredients. It doesn’t always work, some things just have to be done from scratch. But a lot of times it does work. Or put it this way, it is much better than if you made it from scratch with less than fresh ingredients.
The other day I was baking a blackberry cake. This is one that has to be from scratch. I was going to do the baking on Saturday and frost on Sunday just before dinner. Went to my son’s house to pick the blackberries on Saturday. Between my son, his roommates and the birds, most of the biggest ones were gone. Sure there were a ton of unripe ones so there will be plenty over the summer, but I did manage to get a sufficient amount, even if a bit smaller than I would like. But I had to go in, under, climb over and work for those blackberries. And it was like ninety seven degrees. And the thorns were massive. I could have used a machete getting through the weeds. I was too hot, cranky and tired to bake when I got home. So… put it off to the last minute.
The next day I got all my ingredients assembled. Then because I happen to love blackberries, I figured I could eat a few. OMG! They were sooooo bitter. No time to get dressed and run to the store. What did I have in the house? Well, I had a box of white cake mix and four boxes of watermelon jello. I like watermelon. Experiment time. Be sure and read the notes below the recipe.
1 package (2 layer size) white cake mix
5 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup club soda
2 packages watermelon Jello
red food color
1 cup heavy cream
1 carton (8-ounce size) frozen whipped topping
2 packages watermelon jello
green food color
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Set aside.
Mix all cake ingredients together with electric mixer in large bowl. Pour into prepared pans.
Bake for 30 minutes or until cake tests done when wooden pick inserted in center comes our clean. Place pan on rack and cool slightly; remove cake from pan and cool completely on wire rack before frosting.
Beat heavy cream until stiff. Add Jello and beat adding green food coloring as you beat. Add in the whipped topping and beat until all incorporated.
It was the most intense watermelon flavor and got rave reviews!
I wasn’t sure jello would work. I had tried it once before but in very different circumstances. This is a base recipe I have done for other people so they didn’t have to make from scratch but I did it with pudding mix (two in the cake, one in the frosting) in various flavors, then adding my special ingredients. But I like to experiment. The cake did not rise as high using Jello. It was slightly dense but very, very moist. I had it on hand which is why I used two in the frosting. It made the most intense watermelon flavor. I was worried there might be a grainy consistency to the frosting since the Jello wasn’t melted in hot liquid but not at all. Watermelon Jello is pale pink so I added food coloring until I got the colors I wanted to make it look like a nice red watermelon with a green rind.
The only thing that would have made it 100% perfect would have been if I could have figured out something to replicate watermelon seeds!