Since this is my 100th post, I thought: Why not make it patriotic? - since the 4th is just around the corner. So, I'm sharing the recipe that I think should belong at every 4th of July party/celebration: A 4th of July Poke Cake.
Most everyone knows what a poke cake is, but if you don't, it's a cake that is poked full of holes and then the holes are filled with Jell-o. It's frosted with a Cream Cheese and Whipped Topping Frosting and then usually decorated with fruit. A 4th of July Poke Cake is decorated to look like the American flagon
You can use any cake recipe you like (white cake is best), or do any version of cake box. Today I opted to use a box cake, but I didn't follow the recipe on the back.
This is what I did:
I used a Classic White cake mix, and added about 1 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt,
Then I added 1 egg white (to keep the cake white, and non-fat)
The last thing I added was 1 1/3 cups water (the recommended amount on the box).
I mixed it all together, and prepared my pan.
I sprayed a 9x13 baking dish and dumped all the batter in. I smoothed it out, and it went into a 350F oven for the recommended time on the box.
When it's golden and springs back when you touch it, it's done. (Also, if a toothpick is inserted in the middle, it comes out clean.)
After the cake is cooled, I poke holes in it using the rounded handle of a plastic spoon. I make sure that every piece of cake will have a few holes.
Just like this:
Next I made the Jell-o. You'll need 1 big box (8 servings) for a 9x13 cake. I like to use berry flavored kinds, since I'm topping the cake with berries at the end. It would also be nice to make one small box of blue jell-o and a second small box of red. Then you could fill the holes with the different colors to make the cake more patriotic looking. :)
Dump the jell-o into 2 cups of hot water,
and stir for 2 minutes to dissolve.
This is where my recipe and the official Jell-o poke cake recipe differ. I say to put the jell-o in the fridge for about 30 minutes to get thick, but not set all the way. Then fill the holes with the thickened jell-o. The official Jell-o Poke Cake recipe doesn't mention anything about cooling the jell-o. So, this time I forewent my traditional way and followed the recipe. I poured the jell-o on warm. It was a mistake. The cake still tasted good, but there was no color differentiation between the cake and the jell-o. The whole cake just turned red. So, remember to cool your jell-o first. Then you will have pretty colorful stripes of jell-o in your white cake.
When all the jell-o is poured into the holes, refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours.
While the cake is setting, I made the frosting. 8 oz of cream cheese.
The cream cheese is whipped until smooth. If you like a sweet frosting, you can add powdered sugar here. I think that the cake and the berries are sweet enough, that I don't need an overly sweet frosting. So, no powdered sugar for me.
Then 1 8 oz container of whipped topping is added.
They are gently folded together, to keep a light and fluffy texture.
After the cake is set, spread all the frosting over the cake.
Cover every inch of the cake. Then quietly scrape the bowl and lick the spatula clean.
Decorating time! I like to block out the blue part of the flag first. Just line it out with blueberries.
After the outline is done, I just grab a handful of blueberries and dump them in the square and then spread them out into an even layer. Much less time consuming than trying to place each berry individually.
To make the stripes of the flag, I slice strawberries and lay them down in rows. These do have to be placed one by one. Try to use strawberries that are about the same size.
I can fit 4 red stripes on my cake. Not accurate, but you get the idea.
This cake need to be refrigerated until served. When you slice into it, you can see how pretty the cake it. Remember: if you cool your jell-o until thick but not completely set first, then you will have stripes of color instead of big blocks of color. The flavor is amazing either way.
I like a piece with both blueberries and strawberries on it.
A little piece of the flag. Who knew the American flag could be so tasty? Like I said: it's a definite must have for any 4th of July celebration - in my humble opinion. You could make a poke cake for every occasion. What's your favorite?
Here's the recipe I used this time:
4th of July Poke Cake
1 Classic White cake mix
1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla is fine)
1 egg white
1 1/3 cups water
big box of Jell-o (8 servings) or 2 small boxes
2 cups of hot water
8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz whipped topping
blueberries and sliced strawberries for decorating
Mix all ingredients for the cake until smooth and bake @ 350 in a greased 9x13 dish for the recommended amount of time on the box. Cool completely. Poke holes all over the cake (about 1/2 inch apart) with the rounded handle of a wooden or plastic spoon. Combine the jell-o with the water and stir for at least 2 minutes to dissolve. Place Jell-o in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes. It should be thick but not set. Stir and then pour into the holes in the cake. Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours. For the frosting, whip the cream cheese until smooth and fold in the whipped topping. Spread the frosting all over the set cake, and decorate with the berries to look like an American Flag. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.