Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Very Good": Lemon Jell-o Cake

I mentioned yesterday that I hadn't realized how many of my family's recipes came from the Cook Book Presented by The Fishwives of Charleston Oregon, and then I posted a recipe that I'd never tasted. Time to remedy that, boys and girls!

My older sister, Kelly, is a bit of a picky eater (okay, that's an understatement, but she's slowly becoming more of a foodie). There's one food, though, that she's always, always loved: Lemon Jell-o Cake. And, we've the Fishwives to thank for introducing us to what would be come the birthday cake in our family.

When I say "Lemon Jell-o Cake," most people think I mean some sort of poke cake, where you have red dribbles of Jell-o going into a white cake. Now, I love me some poke cake, I do. But Lemon Jell-o Cake is a different beastie altogether.
Lemon Jell-o Cake

1 pkg. lemon jello
1 pkg. lemon cake mix
4 eggs
3/4 c. McKay's oil

1 c. powered sugar
3 tbsp. lemon concentrate

Dissolve lemon jello in 1 c. boiling water in mixing bowl. Cool, add the cake mix, eggs and oil, beat well, and bake at 350 for 40 min. While baking make icing, mix sugar and concentrate thoroughly. After removing the cake, stick with fork several times and spread icing on while hot. Will glaze.

--Elsie McDonald
Momma has written in the margin: "Very GOOD." "Good" is underlined twice; it really is that tasty.

The Jell-o keeps the cake moist for a long, long time. It does, however, also start setting up if you're not quick about things. So, don't think about using this as a cupcake recipe unless you're blessed with an oven (or set of ovens) that is big enough to do all the cupcakes at once. The batter won't wait 15 minutes.

So, if not in cupcake tins...in what?

That's right.

You know what I'm going to say: A 9x13 pan.

It's a classic. Ideally, you'll use a clear Pyrex 9x13, but whatever you have will work. If you want to fancy it up, the recipe neatly fills one Bundt cake pan; you'll just have to adjust your cooking time.

I've picked a theme for this week with the Fishwives: baked goods. We'll look at the fish dishes later on, but for now, it's 1970s classic cakes all the time.


  1. OMFG, I think I love you. Were you aware that I was the recipient of my husband's aunt's cookbook collection, from the 30s-70s?

  2. Here's the version Momma put on her recipe cards:

    1 package lemon jello
    1 package lemon cake mix
    4 eggs
    3/4 cup salad oil

    Dissolve jello with 1 cup boiling water. Add other ingredients and beat well. Bake in greased 9x13 pan or angelfood, at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. While cake is still warm stick several times with a fork & pour over top with mixture of 1 cup powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Will glaze.

  3. Oh, and if you use Pyrex, adjust the temperature downward 25 degrees or so, and check for done-ness well before 40 minutes. I never seem to remember both of these steps, and my lemon jello cakes turn out more "done" than Momma's moist marvels.

  4. you know you can use a shaped cake pan too, right? i've made this cake in a flower pan.

    here's one that would be really cute with this recipe: