James, our intrepid Backstage Baker himself, left the Big City to come upstate to celebrate the 4th of July with me. We ate home-smoked brisket and ribs and collaborated on a 4th of July cake that was loosely based on a Taste of Home recipe I’d found, called a “Poke Cake.” The idea of it is that you poke holes in your vanilla cakes, then pour a blueberry or strawberry Jello mixture over the top. The Jello is suppposed to drip down into the holes and the sliced cake will be a lovely Red, White and Blue to celebrate our Nation’s birth.
Well, I baked a gluten-free vanilla cake and, I don’t know, maybe that affected the color and or drippiness. Or maybe I just didn’t make my cake holes big enough or large enough. Because unlike the cheery picture on the Taste of Home site that featured perfect red and blue drip lines traversing a blindingly white cake, mine ended up kind of yellow beige, with pastel smudges of pink and purple.
But James saved the day, whipping the cream to perfection, sugaring it with confectioner’s sugar just so, icing the cake with the cream and decorating it with a star made of blueberries and strawberries. What’s not to like??
4th of July “Poke Cake”
(Loosely based on a Taste of Home recipe you can find here🙂
1 package vanilla cake mix
For strawberry drips:
1 cup strawberries, chopped (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons strawberry Jello
For blueberry drips
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons Berry Blue Jello
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Bake cake according to directions on package. Remove from pans to cool completely, then put cakes back into pans for Jello drip steps.
2. In a small saucepan, combine strawberries, water and sugar. Simmer until strawberries are soft, then strain into a small bowl. Add Jello to mixture and stir until dissolved. Repeat this process with the blueberries.
3. Using a wooden skewer, poke holes in top of cakes (to 1″ of edge). Go all the way through, and try to enlarge the holes a bit with the skewers. Pour the strawberry mixture over one cake, the blueberry over the other. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
4. Just before serving, whip the cream until it stands in peaks. Add confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and beat just a little more. You want your cream to be as stiff as possible, but stop before you turn it into butter!
5. Carefully remove one cake from its pan and place on serving platter. (You can put strips of wax paper underneath to help keep the platter clean.) Cover top with whipped cream, then place second cake on top. Cover top and sides with cream. Decorate with fruit.