Todays delicious recipe for Lemon Jello Cake is from my friend, Sarah. It is gluten free, and you’d never notice that, from tasting it. I’ve had it at her house before and LOVE it!
My husband’s grandmother, Della May, had the typical 1950’s housewife’s recipe box. Shortly after she died I typed up all the recipes in her box and printed them as a cook book for our family… It has a whole section of “salads” that include gelatin, mayo, cheddar cheese, and boiled chicken (usually all together in some fashion). Most of the recipes use brand names in place of ingredients themselves (“Crisco salad oil” instead of “canola oil”), and a good portion of them don’t include any instructions at all – just a list of ingredients with the assumption that you know what to do with them (which would be fine except I’ve never heard of some of these dishes!) And the dessert section is almost equal to the rest of the book put together. It is a precious piece of family history, especially since some of the handwritten cards that I photographed to have in the cook book have descriptions of where the recipe came from… like “from so-and-so’s bridal luncheon” or “Aunt so-and-so’s baby shower” (that one was the chicken salad suspended in a jello ring). I love it :)
Della May started giving away things in her apartment when she turned 80, I think. So by the time she turned 99 and I was visiting as her youngest grandson’s fiancee, we got to take home a silver spoon, some wooden salad bowls, and the coveted-by-everyone-in-the-family-I-can’t-believe-it’s-in-my-living-room-Picture that Aunt Rosie had drawn/painted when she was a girl. I also got to listen to her describe some of her recipes as she wrote them out for me… including the Lemon Jell-O Cake that everyone who knows her associates with her. You know… the one I forgot to print in the cook book. (I doubt I’ll ever live that down!)
So, here it is. And since my son is the first in our family to have Celiac disease and I’m learning to modify everything for him, the super easy gluten-free modifications will be below :) PS – it’s the perfect cake to take to a church event, and doubly-so as a gluten-free dessert for an event or taking to someone who needs a meal since the risk of contamination is so low (can use all prepackaged/bottled ingredients and use a disposable pan).
As handwritten by Della May:
Lemon Jello Cake
(Duncan Hines cake mix)
1 Box yellow cake mix
1 Box Lemon jello
3/4 c. crisco salad oil
3/4 c. cold water
Mix all above together and beat 4 minutes with electric mixture. Bake 35 to 40 minutes @ 350*. As soon as cake is out of oven – poke holes with fork about 1 inch apart (Holes not quite to bottom of pan). and spread on following sauce for glaze:
2 T real Lemon
2 T Orange juice
2 c. xxx sugar
Immediately return to oven three minutes more or less. (make the sauce thick enough to spread easily)
Notes and Gluten Free Instructions
*Be sure to use glass or metal bowls, spoons, etc, if your kitchen is not usually gluten free!
*I substituted 1 box of gluten free yellow cake mix (mine happened to be Betty Crocker) and followed the rest of the instructions as is. I just ignored the instructions on the box and only added what Gramma said. Although she used a 9×11 pan (which is not in the recipe but is oral family tradition!) gluten free mixes typically yield smaller cakes (1 vs 2 layers) so I used a 9×9 pan… this required a longer baking time so I just kept poking it with a toothpick every 3 minutes past the prescribed 35 until it came out clean.
*I used off-brand oil and lemon juice, and xxx sugar is code for powdered/confectioner’s sugar. I needed probably an extra cup of sugar since it was soooooo huuuuuumid in Houston that day.
*For our church luncheon I baked the cake Saturday night and prepped the glaze as well. Took the cooled cake to church, poked it with holes, dumped the glaze on, and popped it in a warm (250*?) oven when we started eating, and 20 min later pulled it out all moist and warm and lemony-delicious. The added eggs and moisture from the glaze make the texture velvety and nobody ever guesses it’s gluten free!
*If you have leftovers, it’s also great at room temperature the next day after being stored in an airtight container.
- Lemon Jello Cake (Duncan Hines cake mix)
- 1 Box yellow cake mix
- 1 Box Lemon jello
- 3/4 c. crisco salad oil
- 3/4 c. cold water
- 4 eggs
- Mix all above together and beat 4 minutes with electric mixture.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes @ 350*.
- As soon as cake is out of oven – poke holes with fork about 1 inch apart (Holes not quite to bottom of pan). and spread on following sauce for glaze:
- T real Lemon
- T Orange juice
- c. xxx sugar
So… go call your grandmother to tell her how much you love her, and if she’s close enough to visit her, take her this cake