Monday, April 4, 2011

The utter sugary chaos

J's birthday was this weekend, and between that, his sister coming to visit for said birthday, and keeping up with the class I'm teaching, the above is what my Saturday looked like.  And yes, that's four kinds of jello and two bowls of cake batter.  J got marble cupcakes and this somewhat daunting confection:

J was deprived of jello as a child, so for the birthdays we've been in the same state for (not many, since we were long distance for my first two years of grad school), I've made him jello cakes.  (His sister hates jello, hence both the childhood deprivation and the marble cupcakes).  The first one I did had jiggler letters suspended in clear gelatin (which was a little disturbing even though it was sweetened and flavored), and I've been waiting to make this one ever since I saw this.  I couldn't find a bundt pan, which I think makes the original look even more epic, but the really thin-walled ice ring mold I had I think made it easier to slip it out when it was finished.  (When everything is set, the whole mold gets dipped in hot water, without the water going over into the jello, to loosen it from the sides and let it slip out).  

I used plain, unsweetened yogurt to cloud the pastel layers, and it didn't affect the taste or mouthfeel much except to cut the sweetness a little (a good thing, in my opinion).  I shook the jello and yogurt together in a small tupperware to mix them, since the yogurt stayed lumpy when mixed in with a spoon or fork, so that's why the yellow pastel layer has bubbles in it.  Each layer set for 45-60 minutes, and then I let the whole thing set for another two hours.  It came out pretty wobbly, and would have been less wobbly if it had set longer, but we were working on a deadline.  Overall, I thought it was pretty successful, and J was happy with it.  Definitely not something I would have made for myself, though.  Anyone else done any epic cooking or craft projects for someone you love/care for that you wouldn't have done for yourself?


  1. whoa -- stunning. and seriously, if that's not love, i'm not sure what is. i propose lakeside jello salad this summer.

  2. I sincerely miss jell-o. I've never tried making it with agar agar, though. That mold came out beautifully. I'm curious about the suspended letters, too.

  3. EPIC. Wow. Was there any particular reason J & Sis were denied the formative experiences of jigglers and jello salad when they were young'uns?
    As for kitchenlove we wouldn't otherwise do for ourselves, I'm baking my auntie's wedding cake next month (!!). Please, remind me if my time ever comes that I should NOT be baking my own.

  4. Thanks guys.

    @ab--I've never tried agar agar, but a vegan friend in college said that the clear gelatin and agar agar were very similar (in my experience, Knox unflavored gelatin tends to be stiffer than jello, which works great for molds). I'll see if I can dig up pictures from the previous--really, it was just jigglers layered in clear gelatin.

    @Ethel Louise: J was denied jello as a child because his older sister very loudly hated it (don't know why). And no, please don't try to make your own wedding cake when the time comes--I'm sure with all the cake baking you do, you'll have plenty of favors to call in by then.

  5. That jello cake was epic. This current incarnation looks much better, and I trust that you managed to not put in any letters backwards this time :P