A family member celebrated a birthday this week, and I volunteered to make her a cake. I remembered this one, which I haven’t made in years. In fact, I had to search through my recipe collection to find it. It comes from one of those community cookbook collections of its members’ favorite recipes sold for fund raising. I treasure these cookbooks as volumes of domestic Americana. My Italian grandfather contributed to this cookbook, (he was a damn fine chef) and gave it to me for Christmas in 1985. The cake recipe, however, is not one of his. Because I’m unsure if confidentiality laws apply to cookbooks, I have omitted the name of the woman who contributed this recipe. I have adapted the recipe to clarify the directions.
Note: If you tint the whip cream frosting pink, it’s a perfect cake for a little girl’s birthday party or Valentine’s Day. However, my favorite 10-year-old boy (the one I gave the Brain Cactus to) informs me that if I leave the whip cream frosting white, sprinkle it with green sugar sparkles, and arrange tiny plastic army men on the top, it will be perfect for his birthday party later this year.
Strawberry Angel Cake
1 Angel food cake mix, baked per package directions, and completely cooled
1 small box of strawberry Jello
1 pint whipping cream, whipped and sweetened to taste (I used 1 tbsp powdered sugar)
1 package frozen sliced strawberries (unsweetened) thawed and drained
Dissolve Jello in a bowl, using the amount of boiling water indicated in the package directions. Do not add the cold water too ( the Jello is concentrated by 1/2). Chill for about an hour. It should thicken, but not set. Whip the jello with a whisk or low-speed electric mixer, and fold in about 3/4 cup of the whipped cream. Reserve the rest of the whipped cream to frost the cake. Next, fold the drained strawberries into the Jello. Mixture should partially set. Refrigerate longer if it is too liquid, so it doesn’t drain through the cake. Set the Jello mixture aside. Slice off top 1/3 of the angel food cake and set it aside. Using clean fingers, dig out a trench in the lower 2/3 of the cake, leaving 1- 1 1/2″ of cake along sides and bottom of the cake (see photo above). Fill the trench with the Jello mixture. Replace the top, and frost with whipped cream. Chill until ready to serve.